The Office: Episode 135 – Goodbye, Michael


  • The Writer – Greg Daniels
  • Director – Paul Fieg
  • A brief synopsis – It’s Michael’s last day, and he’s in a giving mood.  Everybody gets something they may or may not expect, but for reasons they can’t know.
  • The best line – Michael: [pulls out a list of everyone in the office, then puts it back in his jacket] Attention everyone, before I leave tomorrow I would like to reveal a secret I have kept for over twenty years. A secret about Phyllis.
    Phyllis: Please Michael.
    Michael: When Phyllis was in high school, she was so… cute. [Phyllis looks relieved] And she still is.
    Phyllis: [Later, to camera] I thought he knew about the baby I gave away.
  • The best moment – Pam and Michael at the airport.  Shades of Lost in Translation, to be sure, but it sure is sweet.
  • The second best moment – Toby tells Michael about his brother Rory, in Boulder.  In the next frame he is talking with his brother, who thinks, maybe a gift basket would be appropriate…awesome desperation.
  • The third best moment – Andy wins back a customer despite DeAngelo.  Yay for poor Andy.
  •  The best storyline – Michael’s leaving, and his day meanders as usual.
  • The second best storyline – Poor Andy, losing all of those sales.
  • Notable guest appearance – Wil Ferrell is still there.
  • Would Michael have been reprimanded? – No way, even if he had used the baler.
  • Grade – A-
One of the iconic boss figures in television history, Steve Carell’s Michael Scott started off like a brightly lit, yet awkward star.  He has had some of the best moments on the show, and then the show outgrew him a bit.  I am not sure that this is Carell’s fault or that of the writers, but the last 3 seasons have been a steady dose of torturous over exposure, with occasional moments of brilliance.  This episode manages to capture Michael as mostly the brilliant genuine side, with very few unnecessarily dumb moments.  One of these, with Oscar, is kind of turned on its ear, giving us a peek behind the mask of his idiocy.  While not sure it can be explained away that easily, it is all very fun.  The last 10 minutes of Michael, with Dwight, Jim and Pam are touchingly wonderful.  As nice as it is for Carell’s career to move on, his character, like Gregor in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, just kind of weighed down the show.
Many have predicted the end of the show is near with his departure, and, sadly, it may happen.  I hope not.  This is not like News Radio after the tragic loss of Phil Hartman.  That show had just found its stride when he died.  The Office, however, is well into its prime (some might say past it), and like the best trees, can only improve with some careful use of the pruning shears.
“Goodbye Michael” might have been better with a few less attempts at repetitive to the point of uncomfortable shots (see you on the flip side), but then, it’s pretty good as it is.
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