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I’m a huge Office fan. Always have been and always will be. I have seen every episode and for the first five seasons I’ve seen every episode more times than what can be considered healthy. Without fail, my wife and I are right there every Thursday night to watch the newest episode. Even though it sucks now. And let’s be honest…it’s sucked for a while now.
The departure of Steve Carell is not what caused this problem either. His leaving the show is only what exacerbated the problem because the show had been on the decline for a while. Now when I talk about the show declining and “sucking,” I’m not referring to the ratings or # of viewers. I’m focusing on the quality of content on the show, the overall likability, and the connection I feel to the characters.
I want to back up for a moment though and talk about why I fell in love with The Office to begin with. I remember first hearing about the show from others and not really getting it. Its a documentary, but not a documentary at the same time. Sounded stupid. But everyone was raving about it so I started watching. It took a little bit to get used to the format, but by the end of the first season I was hooked. I loved the characters. The dry, awkward humor was priceless. It had the unrequited love story, the bad guy everyone likes to hate, the token fat guy, etc. Everything about the show was awesome.
This is why I have watched every episode of the first few seasons a ridiculous amount of times. I even use certain episodes in group therapy sessions I facilitate as a way to highlight a particular issue in a way that is more applicable and easy to approach (more on this later because it has great results). But alas, all good things must come to an end.
My love affair with The Office continued through the end of Season Five. If I’m honest with myself, it starting ending in Season Four but didn’t die out until the end of Season Five. I didn’t know this however until mid-way through Season 6. Two managers? Sabre? No thank you. But I kept watching as a dutiful fan hoping it would all turn around. After all, it was still funny, just not AS funny as before. It never turned around though. We’re almost at the end of its ninth and final season and I’m still foolishly waiting for a comedic comeback. Instead I get stupid drama with Pam and Jim and inane storylines with Dwight that I couldn’t care less about.
But I have to know what happens. I have to know how it ends. There’s an innate drive to have that resolution whatever it may be. Knowing is better than not knowing even if what you know really bites. Dr. Miriam Vega talked about this on her site and has an excellent post related to it. It can be found here.* My hope is that the show will at least end on a good note so as to not leave a sour taste in my mouth. So Jim and Pam better get their crap together or I’ll be seriously ticked!
Regardless of how the show ends, I made a decision recently that moving forward from the moment the final episode airs, I will only watch seasons 1-5 in the future. I consider this to be the backbone of the series and the only episodes that matter. I don’t really care about anything after this (except for Jim and Pam’s wedding which is the only exception to the rule). I want to watch that awkward dinner party from Season 4, the Jim/Pam/Karen romance triangle from season 3, Andy being sent to anger management, and everyone playing the island game while in the parking lot (“fire guy!”). I also want to erase Erin from my memory, wish Gabe was never born, and never want to suffer through Andy as the boss ever again.
*For anybody who went and read that article, I would love to see a prequel to The Office to see how everyone ended up there.
This is a great post about our fascination with fictional characters and wanting to continue on with them during their journeys. It covers one of the keys of how we can keep the magic of our escapism alive.
“What’s your prequel Heather?”
I am sure you have heard of “do overs” and how we rarely ever get one in life. We may often regret our actions and perhaps as a result we may learn from our mistakes, changing for the better. At times we may just be fools and repeatedly make the same mistakes. But we cannot rewind or delete our actions no matter how much we may block them from our consciousness. Denial is evolutionarily adaptive.
As a country, the United States is a bit obsessed with sequels. While we cannot delete past actions, oftentimes we seek to keep something like a personal storyline going, no matter how ill-advised that may be. Look at American soap operas, Many have lasted 30 years. Wow, talk about growing old with someone. Foreign soap operas tend to be time and storyline-limited. Collectively, we wanted to see Ripley keep coming back…
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