Did ‘The Office’ Jump the Shark Last Night?

Did ‘The Office’ Jump the Shark Last Night?

Was last night’s installment of The Office, as Comic Book Guy would say, the worst. episode. ever? I’d argue yes. As The Star-Ledger‘s Alan Sepinwall points out, Michael’s done some crappy things, but lying about sending a whole class of students to college, and then avoiding telling them about it until the last possible minute was so icky that it was difficult to find any laughs in the storyline.

And the evil Dwight plot to destroy Jim (and now adding evil Ryan to the mix): also unfunny. It’s well established that both Dwight and Ryan are weasels, but why are they going after Jim now, now that he and Pam are expecting a child? What do they hope to gain? Jim’s job? Not likely, since David Wallace doesn’t like either of them, and has always been fond of Jim (and, as we learned in last night’s ep, even has a social relationship with Jim). Besides, given Dunder-Mifflin’s precarious standing as a company, shouldn’t both Dwight and Ryan (particularly Ryan, with his job history) be more concerned about keeping their own jobs and boosting the company, instead of focusing on Jim Halpert?

One of the main reasons the show has made us laugh so much through the seasons is because there’s been a certain amount of reality, even in the most over-the-top behavior, by the Dunder-Mifflin gang. How many times have you thought to yourself that you know someone just like grumpy Stanley in your office? Or someone kinda mealy-mouthed like Toby? Or someone uptight and uber-judgmental like Angela?

But Michael’s fraud with the high school kids (and the lack of outrage by those around him – Pam pushed him to tell the kids the truth, but how would anyone possibly be able to hang with Michael after hearing he’d done this? Let alone try to console him, like receptionist Erin did!) takes his selfish behavior, his obliviousness to a new level. A new, totally unfunny one.

So I ask … did The Office jump the shark with the “Scott’s Tots” episode? Or, at the very least, did Michael Scott jump the shark in the land of TV characters?

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