Tonight is Michael Scott’s last episode of The Office. Even though the show has lost some punch in recent years I feel obligated to watch Steve Carell’s last dance. Nothing can stay fresh forever and when I watch The Office now, that is my feeling. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with it, but it doesn’t have the same impact that it once did. The gags get old or too far-fetched, plot lines are eventually resolved, and the show basically outgrows itself. It was still a great show, though, and so I feel the need to put it to bed. It’s not a series finale, but with departure of Steve Carell, it might as well be.
The show took a sentimental turn last week and I think tonight will be more of the same. Jim is crying in the previews after all, and I imagine the Nard Dog and even Dwight might be total wrecks. Even with the sentimentality, though, I’m sure The Office will still crank up that awkward meter. It’s the show’s calling card. Back when it was really clicking I used to hear about people who didn’t like it because it was too awkward. Watching Michael Scott made them want to change the channel. I know that feeling. It could definitely get uncomfortable, but that was part of the fun. I might cringe or look away, but I never bailed completely. I hope they can find some of that magic tonight, and close it out with a good episode.
If awkwardness is your thing, and I know there are plenty of you out there, but The Office doesn’t do it for you, perhaps you’ll want to check out the NFL Draft instead. It should be an uncomfortable nightmare. It’ll come at you right from the start with the first appearance of Roger Goodell. I imagine we’ll see the worst reception a commissioner of any league has ever gotten? There was a big question about whether the college players should attend the draft, but maybe the NFL should have taken steps to get rid of the fans, because Goodell is going to get hammered. He’s going to get showered with boos to the point where it becomes uncomfortable. It may interfere with the proceedings. An interesting side bet for the Draft might be, do the fans ever relent? By pick 20 are they out of energy, or do they load up on Roger for all 32 selections? Let’s not doubt the commitment of NFL fans.
The cloud of the lockout will take a lot of the fun out of the evening as well. Even with the lockout temporarily “lifted,” I don’t think there is anyone out there who thinks this will end up being decided by a judge. I have to hand it to Judge Susan Richard Nelson, though, she is hammering the league and seems to be enjoying the opportunity. The NFL hasn’t had much luck in the courts recently, and the ruling by Judge Nelson is the latest blow. All reports indicate she went out of her way to write an iron-clad decision that will be difficult to overturn in the court of appeals. At the very least she should be getting gift baskets from the players union by the truckload, but even if her decision ultimately sets a deal in motion, it won’t change the face of this Draft–which is no player movement and no deals getting done. Every pick will get the question, “How do you feel about going to (Fill in City)…..maybe?” That’s no fun.
The crowning achievement of Draft awkwardness, though, the thing that will would make Michael Scott and the writers of The Office proud will be that green room. A record number of players, twenty-five to be exact, have accepted invitations to attend the Draft. That’s a lot of guys, and that’s a lot of waiting. Also, they are only doing one round tonight, so what are the chances that all 25 guys get selected? Pretty high, I would imagine, but there’s always a chance. If someone sits there all night and doesn’t get their name called–that’s rough. Do you come back Friday morning? Do you leave around pick 25 no matter what so they can’t get the shot of you sitting there while the staff breaks down the room? Tough decisions out there.
The good news is you really don’t have to choose between Michael Scott and Goodell. You can catch the first few picks, then swing over and watch The Office, and you’ll be back in plenty of time to see those final uncomfortable moments. Overall, it’s a pretty interesting TV night.