9:15pm PT by Aaron Couch
'The Office' Finale: The Key Moments Examined
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Office series finale.]
The Office is officially closed.
Thursday's series finale saw the Dunder Mifflin gang back together one year after their PBS documentary aired. Wedding bells rang for Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Angela (Angela Kinsey), far-flung guests returned and Pam (Jenna Fischer) made a big move for Jim (John Krasinski).
The Hollywood Reporter looks back on where we leave the Scranton, Penn. gang after the office doors closed.
Speculation swirled that Steve Carell would return as Michael Scott -- and return he did. Jim played one final prank on Dwight, telling him he had to step down as his best man. That’s when Michael stepped in.
“I can’t believe you came,” said Dwight. Michael replied with (what else?): “That’s what she said.”
Carell had previously indicated he would not return to for the finale, reportedly because he didn't want to overshadow the rest of the cast. His return was slight, with Michael uttering just one other line. Looking at Jim, Pam, Angela and Dwight seated at a table, a teary-eyed Michael said: “I feel like all my kids grew up and then they married each other. It’s every parent’s dream.”
But through a voiceover from Pam, we learn Michael does indeed have the kids he’s always wanted. The proud father has filled his phone with so many photos of them that he had to get a second phone. True to fiscally irresponsible Michael, he’s paying for a second phone number.
“He’s just so happy to have a family plan,” Pam said.
Pam made the big move of selling her family’s home so Jim could pursue his sports marketing dreams. It was one of the luxuries of the finale jumping a year in time, because it's plausible that Pam would come to grips with the notion of leaving Scranton. We also learned the PBS doc was tough for Pam to watch, because it was a reminder of how afraid she once was to take risks and how much time she spent not living the life she wanted. (On a related note, there was no appearance by Roy in the finale.)
There was a callback to the first episode in which a younger Jim talked about the quantities and types of paper he sold. From day one it was clear the bright but bored Jim would (or at least, should) move beyond the Dunder Mifflin office. But after deciding to move to Austin to join Darryl (Craig Robinson), he reflected that the paper company helped him get what he wanted out of life (namely: a family).
“Even if I didn’t love every minute of it, everything I have I owe to this job. This stupid, wonderful, boring amazing job.”
We finally got to see Dwight get married standing in his own grave -- but the wedding wasn’t the “bleak affair” he once teased that Schrute weddings tend to be. We leave Dwight as manager of Dunder Mifflin, a father and a husband.
In arguably the finale’s sweetest moment, Dwight answered the question how he gets along with his coworkers. (Technically, they are his subordinates now, he noted.) He went on to note Meredith is the only person he knows who can properly head-bang to Motorhead, Oscar is the godfather of his son, Jim was his best man, Angela is his wife and Pam is his best friend. So you tell him how he gets along with his coworkers.
When Jim and Pam told him they were going to quit and move to Austin, he fired them so they’ll get severance pay. Dwight has come far as a human being from the dweeby assistant to the regional manager we first encountered in 2005.
Andy (Ed Helms) became the laughingstock of the web when footage from his disastrous reality singing tryout went viral. But he has since recovered, giving a fantastic commencement speech at Cornell (did we mention, he went there?) and getting a job in the Ivy League school's admissions office.
Later, he gave the best misty-eyed quote of the finale, saying when he worked at Dunder Mifflin he always reminisced about his Cornell buddies. But now that he’s at Cornell, he thinks about all the good times he had in Scranton.
“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” You're so money, Andy Bernard.
Kelly and Ryan
Mindy Kaling and B. J. Novak returned so Ryan and Kelly could run off into the sunset. In true Kelly fashion, she was totally flattered when Ryan gave his baby an allergic reaction just so he could distract Kelly’s husband and make a move on her. Ryan abandoned his baby, only for Nelly (Catherine Tate) to finally got the adopted child she always wanted. Happy endings for all!
Oscar (Oscar Nunez) was seen getting sweet revenge on his and Angela’s former lover, the senator, by running against him. David Wallace (Andy Buckley) committed to lending his support to the campaign, saying Oscar had good ideas. We couldn’t help but think of the season six episode “Shareholder Meeting," in which Oscar had plenty of good ideas but was too scared to share them with Dunder Mifflin’s top brass. We think Oscar is finally ready to unleash that know-it-all brain of his.
Dwight fired Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) because … well … he is terrible with numbers. Kevin went on to become a bar owner, and eventually made up with Dwight. He and Oscar shared a moment in the episode’s final minutes, with a crying Kevin remarking, “I think I’m gay. 'It’s just I’m so emotional.' " It was a nice callback to all the homophobic (but totally non-malicious) remarks Kevin made to Oscar over the years.
Poor Toby was fired in the early minutes of the finale, and ended up moving to New York, where he lives with six roommates. The former HR specialist has dreams of writing the great American novel, and ended up being weepy-eyed during the wedding. He also uttered the saddest line of the finale, saying of his roommates: “They’re better than friends, because they have to give you one month's notice before they leave.”
Creed (Creed Bratton) has always been the show's wackiest character, adhering to neither the laws of man or nature. It was revealed in the finale that like the actor, Creed once played in the rock band The Grass Roots. Unlike the actor, he was wanted by the police for drug dealing and other transgressions, so he’s been on the lam since the documentary aired. The last we see of him, he was being escorted away by the police.
Phyllis and Stanley
After Stanley (Leslie David Baker) retired to Florida, Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) missed him so much that she tried fattening up Stanley’s replacement with fudge. The pair shared a moment at Dwight and Angela’s wedding, with the usually cantankerous Stanley admitting he’d missed Phyllis. Aw, Mr. Hudson has a soft spot after all.
During a Q&A session for the documentary, Erin (Ellie Kemper) was asked by a woman (Joan Cusack) if she hated her birth mother for giving her up for adoption. Long after everyone in the room had figured it out, Erin realized this woman was said birth mother. A happy reunion ensued, and Erin's birth father (Ed Begley Jr.) turned out to be in the room too.
Meredith (Kate Flannery) didn’t change much over the nine seasons of The Office, and that remained true on the finale. But her son did end up being the stripper at Angela’s bachelorette party. So there’s that.
For fans feeling blue after saying goodbye to The Office, consider reading what the stars themselves told THR about bidding the show farewell.