When a great show, especially a great comedy, begins its death spiral into mediocrity, a part of the collective unconscious withers. I can't say definitively that this has irreversibly occurred with the American version of The Office, but this fourth season has struggled mightily. Dwight has faded into the background, Pam and Jim are an officially boring couple, and every week I wish they would kill Michael. Not just kill the character, but the actor who plays him as well, that's how insufferable Michael Scott has become. The Michael and Jan storyline could've, should've been delicious with her bossiness and his infantile behavior, but Jan turned out to be abusive, physically, mentally, and Michael became regressed into full on infancy. And what does a big baby excel at doing? Manipulation, usually passive aggressive manipulation, but only if a temper tantrum isn't enough. Oh, how I wish Stanley was suing MS and Dunder Mifflin. Wouldn't that at least provide some fodder for the writers to nosh on?
The funniest episode all year was when Michael hit Meredith with his car. The incredulous look on Jim's face when he gets Michael to admit that he was the one driving the car, not just 'in' the car was classic. And Dwight euthanizing Angela's cat, Sprinkles by placing her in the freezer, was also a brilliant, if twisted, gag. But they've been so few and far between this year. We're much more likely to see Michael yelling 'Pam-Pam-Pam!!!!' anytime she tries to correct him. Pam, please, slowly start to poison his coffee. I would say shoot him, but messy just isn't Pam's style. I could see her poisoning him though.
Now and again I'll catch an older episode of The Office in syndication on TBS, and it reminds me of how far the show has slipped. By placing so much focus on MS's character we're missing out on the periphery characters that so often drove action.
Oh well. I'm still watching, and I hope next season is better than this writer's strike shortened one, but I'm a little nervous. Yeah.