Hands down, season 3 was an Office high note for me (and, based on the lookbacks pre-last episode, it was for the cast as well). I remember multiple quotes from seasons 3 and 4 being used as teachable moments or simply random texts to Kristy.
So I think to myself, “would a stupid person do this?” and if so, I do not do that thing.
I bought the Beni Hana Christmas and the Jim & Pam Wedding episode on itunes. This was pre-DVR yet post-VHS era and I had no choice, but I watched and rewatched my money’s worth.
I put a mark on her arm… so I could tell them apart.
The season following was hit-and-miss, though I still had high hopes. Don’t get me wrong… the sharpie marker directives by Dwight were quoted frequently during a time when several of my friends’ babies were born (and that episode replayed the night little Kyle was born, which provided a flurry of texts). And when Pam got excited over the baby suddenly latching better, only to find out it was the wrong baby? Hilariousness.
But to be honest, after Jim and Pam got married and had their baby… I gave up on them. For some reason, once I had my happy ending, I had little incentive to come back for more. Especially because Jim seemed to stop pranking Dwight.
Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.
And once Steve Carrell – who generally only provoked anxiety upon me each episode – left, I only tuned in when JJ happened upon the station. We didn’t even set the DVR.
My slow fade from The Office allegiance made me question life. I don’t think as a whole the product diminished in quality; the characters continued to come to life, story lines deepened even amid the shallow setting.
But Jim and Pam were together and part of me felt like the development arc had hit a plateau. I got what I wanted and moved on.
I think it has something to do with Donald Miller’s take on story and how we love the conflict. It changes us. We thrive with the tension, the not knowing. Once resolution begins, we want to know how it turns out, but it lacks the power of the unknown. And somewhere we know that the resolution, the peace, isn’t what changes us and develops us, but rather in that tension.
Perhaps that’s why I was drawn back for the final episode. Not simply to relive the best moments (wallets in vending machines, popping medicine balls) but also to celebrate the growth of the characters. I’m not just celebrating that Jim and Pam are together, but reminiscing on the very qualities that drew them together in the first place. I’m watching and loving their journey, not just their victory in enduring the hard times.
So often in the tension we ache for resolution. But if we’re not careful and the resolution becomes the point, we quit the story several seasons before the show is over.