As "The Office" kicks off its ninth and final season, executive producer Greg Daniels has provided some hints as to what might happen. In order to end the show in a way that satisfies fans, the writers should consider the following do's and don'ts.
Avoid silly stuntsWhile many viewers left the series along with Steve Carell at the end of Season 7, the writers should be careful about how they try to build excitement. While ratings-grabbing guest appearances by well-known stars are almost a guarantee (think of last season's Will Ferrell and the temporary addition of James Spader), the writers should be careful not to go too far. If Dwight (Rainn Wilson) buys a motorcycle and starts building a ramp, we'll know the show's about to jump the shark.
Provide satisfying resolutionsJim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer), the heart of the series, are now married with two kids, yet Daniels promises this will be "a big Jim and Pam year." Please spare us from melodrama, as turning too serious is often the failure of long-lived comedy series. Instead, whatever new challenges the couple may face, stick to the spirit of the show. Jim and Pam won us over with a romance based as much on humor as sentiment. Remind us why we fell in love.
While wrapping up the storylines of everyone at Dunder Mifflin, give priority to a resolution of the Dwight/Angela (Angela Kinsey) tale. She's currently raising their child while married to a politician, who everyone but her believes is homosexual. Although the writers probably intend to milk this storyline as long as possible, getting the odd couple back together earlier in the season could be better, as their ideas of family and parenting are sure to be rife with comedic possibilities.
Don't forget, in all of the eagerness to recapture the "water cooler" nature of the show, that some of the best moments of this show have been some of its quietest. When Jim finally proposed to Pam, the event was shown from across the street in the rain with no sound. And that moment is still one of the most effective -- and talked about -- of the entire series.
Don't pull a "Seinfeld"In the guise of creating a television event, "Seinfeld" concluded its successful run with a two-part episode, bringing back characters from throughout its run. Instead of incorporating them into a new storyline that stuck to the spirit of the show, the writers delivered essentially a glorified clip episode. The "show about nothing" ended with a truly nothing episode that angered and disappointed fans.
It would be hard to top the elegant way that Carell's Michael Scott left the series, leaving the camera crew behind in the airport as he boarded a plane to take him to his fiancee. In a moment that was both funny and oddly moving, he returned to give the crew the wireless microphone he'd been presumably wearing all along. "Let me know if this ever airs," he told them.
Something like that would be just about perfect.