The Office made its long-anticipated return to new episodes last night wiiiiiiithhh… a clip show featuring about six or seven minutes of new footage, five or six minutes of which existed solely to set up the clips.
Basically, it was the equivalent of your girlfriend/boyfriend being out of town for six weeks, returning, making dinner reservations, getting drunk, coming home, taking you into the bedroom, and showing you an Office clip show.
I found nothing particularly bad about the episode, at least in any conventional sense. The episode fit the plot established by the one before the break, the characters all acted believably in their eight seconds on screen, and most of the clips were funny (obviously), but the entire night just felt weirdly inessential; it was, almost literally, like sitting down and watching a repeat, which is fine, but only when you aren’t eagerly anticipating a brand-new episode and you’ve been given no indications not to expect one. Plus, with 30 Rock sitting on-deck on my DVR, watching old Office clips was more than a little patience-testing.
Granted, The Simpsons, my deity, has tossed out its share of clip shows over the years, some of them entertaining, some of them painful, but The Simpsons (which was more expensive to produce episode-wise than The Office and thus more desperate for a break) also managed to churn out one of the most self-awarely brilliant and entertaining clip shows ever, the 138th Episode Spectacular, using a combination of old footage, unseen footage, and a hilarious framing device. The Office tried only the former.
Don’t get me wrong: The Office clip show wasn’t offensive because it was a clip show — there’s worse things than being reminded of past Office moments in a thematic way — but it was disappointing just how lazily clip-showy it was. They didn’t have any fun with the concept, and it was essentially just every clip show ever (loose excuse for characters being reminded of the past), just with Office clips.
I assume we’ll be back on track next week, right fellas? Because frankly, I was a little disappointed by your most recent attempt to entertain me year after year for free.
Office clip show reactions? Leave ‘em in the comments.