Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Office is losing its mojo

Just watched the latest episode and the rhythm was really off. It was very conventionally, self-consciously jokey, as if it was timed to a laugh track. Scenes might just as well have ended with a flashing sign that said "You can laugh now." I've been patient with the new season so far, but it's becoming clear that the people behind the scenes are just trying too hard.

As brilliant as Steve Carell was as Michael Scott, I actually kind of looked forward to seeing him leave just to see how the show would rise to the challenge -- the way "Cheers" did, when Coach was replaced by Woody and Diane was replaced by Rebecca. In both cases, the show adapted perfectly, and found a way to make the change work in its favor. With The Office, though, I think you're seeing a lot of confusion. They don't know what to do. Should the show center around the new boss, Andy (Ed Helms), or around the CEO, Robert California, played by James Spader? Do you replace Michael's brand of uncomfortableness with Andy's? Do you let Robert California's domineering not-so-passive aggression set the tone?

I'll remain faithful to the end, but I gotta be honest: I'm smelling flop-sweat.

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