The Shelf Life Of Dunder-Mifflin

Kevin Craft opines that the finale of The Office is long overdue, since “the original theme it explored—office work sucks—is only funny if the characters never grow”:

So The Office‘s characters developed, and their individual stories gradually outshone the show’s focus on survival in a corporate setting. By Season Five, the show was struggling to transition from a narrative about a listless workplace to a comedy that just happened to be set in an office. … Thus, throughout its long autumn, The Office often came across as the shell of something once great. (Perhaps this is why Ricky Gervais pulled the plug on his Office after only three seasons.)

This is one effect of purely commercial broadcasting. If your primary goal is money and your secondary goal is creative integrity, then you will get what we see so often: TV series that do not know when to stop, and ghastly endless piss-poor sequels to cash in on an original hit. Because a lot of British TV is directly subsidized by a government tax, there’s less pressure to milk something until it’s truly a dead show walking.

Gervais, for his part, doesn’t seem to mind: “It’s the gift that keeps on giving, syndication.”