Category: The Office

NBC announces the end of ER

Er_nbc_mt_sg_250 The long-running medical drama "ER" will come to an end on March 12, NBC announced today.

One of TV's most honored shows, "ER" has won 22 Emmys and has the most Emmy nominations of any other show on television. It will say goodbye with a two-hour episode.

The announcement was part of a news release NBC issued about its midseason schedule, which included the following:

"The Office" will have the coveted post-Super Bowl slot on Feb. 1.

— The new drama "Kings," starring Ian McShane, will premiere on Thursdays, beginning March 19.

— "Celebrity Apprentice" will premiere on March 1 and will be expanded to two-hour episodes.

— "Medium" will return to the lineup on Feb. 2, the same night that "Heroes" kicks off its new volume and "Chuck" returns with a 3-D episode.

— The miniseries "XIII" will air on Feb. 8 and 15.

—Maria Elena Fernandez

(Photo: Maura Tierney as Abby Lockhart, Scott Grimes as Dr. Archie Morris, courtesy Joel Warren / NBC)

'The Office' preview: Will Angela choose Dwight or Andy?

Angela When we last saw the dysfunctional love triangle that is Andy, Angela and Dwight on “The Office,” Angela had rejected Dwight’s me-or-him ultimatum, ignoring his 6:14 p.m. deadline to choose him over Andy.

But actors Ed Helms and Angela Kinsey, who play currently engaged couple Andy and Angela, reveal that perhaps the decision wasn’t final, and things are about to get a lot more “complicated” as we head into tonight’s episode, the beginning of the show’s run at November sweeps.

The pair spoke to reporters Thursday morning about where it’s all going. Sort of:

The documentary crew asked already, but I’ll ask again: How does Angela Martin sleep at night?

Angela: She’s wired pretty tight right now. She definitely doesn’t want to sleep next to Andy. I think she tosses and turns quite a bit.
Ed: Actually, I think Angela’s childhood was probably pretty disturbing. She’s found a lot of coping mechanisms. She’s able to sleep through a hell of a lot.
Angela: She doesn’t speak to her sister, we find out she used to be in little girl pageants. There are definitely some issues there.

Is Angela pregnant with Dwight’s baby and are they going they going to have a shotgun wedding?

Angela: Wouldn’t you like to know? Wouldn’t it be funny if I had to be pregnant since I was just pregnant for real? I can’t answer your question! I can tell you this: Things get complicated really quickly in the next few episodes.
Ed: You can’t just ask for blatant spoilers.
It’s like Fort Knox over there!

What do you think of Angela and Andy together?

Ed: What they have is largely horrifying, but they're real in some ways. Who they are dovetails together perfectly. Angela being so demanding and Andy being so accommodating. It’s not healthy but it works.

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'The Office': A season finale worth watching

After an uneven post-strike season, "The Office" came back tonight with a funny ensemble episode that hearkened back to some previous plot lines and obviously left open questions for next season.  It got off to a very promising start, going back to a basic plot point of the show: Jim (John Krasinksi) torturing Dwight (Rainn Wilson) by posing as him on the phone via devious means.  The show could be all Jim and Dwight and it wouldn't be half bad. 

The main setup for the episode was that it was Toby's (Paul Lieberstein) last day, which is a shame because his hound-dog expression and monotone voice have provided a lot of laughs throughout the show.  So has Michael's (Steve Carell) loathing of Toby, placing his view of HR as the killjoy enemy on Toby's unassuming shoulders.  In order to celebrate Toby's leaving, Michael ordered an extravagant party, but first he had to meet Toby's replacement Holly (Amy Ryan). After distrusting her, Michael found himself falling for her, as Holly was in some ways the female Michael, only more competent and socially savvy. 

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'The Office': Michael Scott's night out

Office Is it possible that Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is now the weakest part of "The Office"?  The same complaint has been lodged here in this column: that when it's at its zaniest, "The Office" is at its worst. Lately, there is almost nothing that Michael does that's not ridiculous.  In last night's episode alone he got gum stuck in his hair by crawling under a car, had his head massaged with peanut butter and left work early to go clubbing in New York with Ryan (B.J. Novak) and Dwight (Rainn Wilson) in order to find a one-night stand.  That list would seem like something out of a subpar slapstick sitcom, not a smart, reality-based comedy.  The most realistic thing Michael did in the episode? Admit that he had a hard time understanding the characters on "The Wire."  Frustratingly, Dwight also behaves as fatuously when he serves as Michael's sidekick.  There was Dwight, doing the massaging of the peanut butter into Michael's scalp at work, convinced a short man was a hobbit, singing Ryan a lullaby. It's just too silly to be funny.

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'The Office': Fools rush in

Office Last night's episode of "The Office" undoubtedly had Jim-and-Pam fans squealing.  After joking with Pam (Jenna Fischer) about proposing to her, Jim (John Krasinski)  held up a diamond ring to the camera and indicated that he was serious: He purchased it a week after they began dating.

This will be an unpopular opinion, but perhaps a point of view other than "OMG! JAM 4-EVER" will be permitted.

Don't do it, Jim.

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"The Office": You burn it, you buy it

Officenbc If someone watched "The Office" for the first time last night, he or she might not be that clear on why, in fact, the show is titled as such.  After all, other than for the first few minutes, the episode took place in Michael (Steve Carell) and Jan's (Melora Hardin) condo. However, for the rest of us, despite the "out-of-water" concept of the episode, it worked out largely as a satisfying take on the play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" as Michael and Jan's interaction during their dinner party was funny, terrifying, sad and bizarre, just as with the lead couple in the Edward Albee classic, which presented a reality of a kind other than the dull office life we usually see in the show. 

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'The Office': What you need to know


With "The Office" returning tonight after a four-month layoff, here's a quick refresher so you don't feel like you're walking in late to a meeting.

Show: "The Office"

Location: Scranton, Pa.

Setting: Dunder-Mifflin paper company.

The players:

Regional manager of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton branch: Michael Scott (Steve Carell)

Sales rep (assistant to the regional manager): Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson)

Assistant regional manager: Jim Halpert (John Krasinski)

Receptionist: Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer)

Account supervisor: Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey)

Michael Scott's former boss, his current unemployed girlfriend: Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin)

Former intern, current VP of regional sales: Ryan Howard (BJ Novak)

Dunder-Mifflin sales: Andy Bernard (Ed Helms)


To recap:

Tonight's episode, "Dinner Party," centers around Michael Scott's season-long desire to have the recently-coupled Jim and Pam over for dinner. After three seasons of hinting at a relationship, Jim and Pam officially announced their relationship in the first episode of Season 4.

Throughout the season, Jim has dodged dinner invites by changing the subject or inviting Michael and his boss-turned-unemployed girlfriend Jan over for a meal on a night when he knows Michael is out of commission.

-- Michael, the clueless boss who ultimately means well, is obsessed with being friends with his employees.

-- Unlike past seasons of "The Office," early episodes of Season 4 have centered heavily on locations outside of the Scranton cubicles. Ambitious brown-noser Dwight Schrute, for instance, was revealed to own a bed & breakfast, and Michael spent one episode trying to prove to his current boss (and former intern), Ryan, that he could survive in the wild.

But the more inspired moments of the season continue to take place inside the Scranton office, such as when Jim faced a staff revolt by deciding to combine three birthday celebrations into one.

-- Michael and Jan have had a rocky past.

In the last episode aired by the writers strike, Michael was caught in the middle of Jan's suit against Dunder-Mifflin for wrongful termination. Michael says in a deposition that Jan believed her termination had something to do with her "twins," a.k.a., her recently enhanced breasts.

It's also revealed during the depo that Jan gave Michael a scathing performance review -- after they had started dating -- and had looked through Michael's diary. These storylines will likely pop up in the remainder of the season.

-- Dwight and Angela, who long had a "secret" relationship, split up early in Season 4.

The breakup happened shortly after Angela had asked Dwight to take care of her sick cat, Sprinkles. Rather than follow a lengthy medication procedure, Dwight killed the cat, justifying his actions thusly: "As a farmer, I know that when an animal is sick, sometimes the right thing to do is to put it out of its misery. With the electricity we're using to keep Meredith alive we could power a small fan for 2 days. You tell me what's unethical."

-- Seeing an opportunity to hit on a grieving Angela, Andy made his move. He brought Angela a new cat, a ploy Dwight had tried and failed. Angela finally accepted Andy's advances: "You may ask me out to dinner. Nothing fancy or foreign, no bars, no patios, no vegetables, and no seafood." A major plotline of Season 4 has been Dwight's grieving over Angela.

-- NBC has announced a spinoff to "The Office," which will debut after the Super Bowl in 2009. Details are scant.

-- Todd Martens

Photo courtesy NBC

'The Office': Overtime

Helmscontest The final evening of the "Office" convention kicked off with a VIP cocktail reception that I was not invited to, but that's OK: It gave me a chance to check out Farley's, one of the actual Scranton establishments mentioned on the show. It was a great place to grab a burger -- sort of like Bennigan's if Bennigan's was a knickknack-free independent restaurant and not a national chain. I also popped my head into the Bog, a bar not mentioned on the show but one where the night before cast members had whiled away the evening singing karaoke (not surprisingly, from what I hear, Craig Robinson, a.k.a. Darryl, was one of the main performers.) 

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'The Office': Get to know your co-workers

Scranton315The sun finally came out this afternoon, probably willed out of hiding by the sheer star power of the cast of "The Office." 

I never did get to ask Angela Kinsey (Angela) what hair product she was using to keep her flaxen locks so immune to the humidity, unfortunately, but it was on my mind. 

The citizens of Scranton, Pa., and convention attendees have been deliriously anticipating any sightings of the actors, and were largely rewarded all day today. 

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Oscar Nunez (Oscar), Andy Buckley (David Wallace) and Craig Robinson (Darryl) took part in an improvised Dunder Mifflin stockholders meeting along with local actors. 

The event was held at the Mall at Steamtown; the good news for the cast members was that it was better attended than a Debbie Gibson concert. This wasn't so great for attendees, however, as it was nearly impossible to see and hear.

Oh, well: I got to check out Bon-Ton, which is a department store I'd never heard of that carried a great array of the cute hats that are so "in" this season. 

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'The Office': Staff orientation

"I wish Dwight was here," sighed a young lady during "The Office" Olympics. It's unclear whether she meant Dwight Schrute, the character, or Rainn Wilson, the actor who plays him, as the coffee cup races, trash can H-O-R-S-E and other events going on around them would only be enhanced by a stern taskmaster, as there was entirely too much gaiety going on.

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'The Office': Scranton welcomes you

A chilly rain fell on Scranton nearly all day today, which would enhance the sometimes-desolate and drab Scranton2bighalf Pennsylvania town we see as the setting for NBC's "The Office." But this is not TV! This is real life! And in real life, for this weekend at least, Scranton is anything but desolate as it hosts the first of possibly many "Office" conventions to come.

The festivities kicked off on the "Today" show with cuts to Al Roker broadcasting from the University of Scranton. Those gathered around him cheered more loudly than a high school volleyball team that had come all the way from Alabama, or than 10 lifelong friends who had traveled to the big city to celebrate their 50th birthdays. 

The throngs seemed delirious, not just about the national attention but also the absurd fun of the situation. Cast member Craig Robinson, who plays Darryl from the Dunder Mifflin warehouse, seemed completely tuned in to the brouhaha, whooping it up and egging on those in attendance. Sadly, I have yet to meet any of the cast members on my particular jaunt, but thus far the locals like to boast about which actors they've met, and a Scranton convention volunteer showed me some photos of Robinson cheerfully holding up her infant nephew, so obviously he seems like a good time.

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'The Office': Jan, from Ann Taylor suits to sweats

Jan Of all the characters on "The Office," none has undergone a more dramatic transformation than Jan Levenson, played by Melora Hardin.  When the show started, Jan was the exasperated straight man not only to Michael (Steve Carell) but to the entire Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin.  It was clear that she'd rather be dealing with any other group of people.  It wasn't long, however, before Jan made a more regular, self-destructive presence, giving in to her inexplicable attraction to Michael, eventually allowing their relationship to jeopardize her career and, finally, to end it, explosively.  Jan began the series as the epitome of rationality and control, but by the end of the third season she embodied complete surrender to impulse and emotion.  So what's going to happen now? 

The fourth season didn't start promisingly for Jan.  After being fired (or quitting, depending on your perspective) from her corporate job at Dunder Mifflin in New York, she moved in with Michael, but so far all viewers have seen is an unflattering portrait of her snoring on Michael's bed and her occasional visits to the Scranton office, in sweats, to visit and insult Ryan (B.J. Novak), who replaced her, and to make threats against Pam (Jenna Fischer), lest she consider making any moves on Jan's man.

"I think she's feeling threatened by everybody right now," Hardin says about her character.  "Jan's used to being the boss.  I think she's still comfortable in that position and wants to keep a sense of that, her own sanity, but really has very little to hang on to in that regard."

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