The Office Season Seven (Blu-ray)
For me, the first six seasons of ‘The Office’ kind of blurred together. There was pre-Jim and Pam wedding and post Jim and Pam wedding, but other than that, the seasons are interchangeable. But season 7 will forever be known as Michael Scott’s (Steve Carell) last season. Conventional wisdom says this is the end of the show, but I don’t agree. In fact, I will say that the creators of ‘The Office’ have a golden opportunity here to breathe new life into the show. Now, whether or not they do that remains to be seen, but Carell’s departure doesn’t have to be the end of the show.
Carell is in all but four episodes in season 7 and as you might expect, most of the season either revolves around him leaving or is setting him up to leave. Holly (Amy Ryan) is back and she provides the catalyst for his eventual departure. Jim, Pam, Dwight and the rest of the gang are pretty much the same as they have been in the previous six seasons. Dwight and Angela are still working out their sexual contract, but things go awry when Angela starts dating a presumably gay senator (Jack Coleman). The supporting situations are good for a few laughs, but the focus of the season is overwhelmingly on Michael Scott and his inevitable departure. Even Will Ferrell’s four episodes were a bit of a letdown. I loved the way they wrote him out, but I also felt there was a lot of missed opportunities.
A couple of the episodes feel like reunion episodes (because they are). In the fourth episode “sex ed”, Michael has a cold sore on his mouth and when someone tells him it’s herpes, he gets confused. In the process, he calls up all of his old girlfriends in the past six seasons and we get a brief look at where everyone is. The other reunion show is episode 16 and is more clever in that it’s basically Michael’s homemade movie “Threat Level Midnight”. In this one, we get to check in on Rashida Jones (who has a great line) and Pam’s boyfriend from the first few seasons. The shows play well, but the best episode of the season was probably episode 7 “Christening”, where Jim and Pam have a Christening for their baby. Of course, things don’t go as planned.
For me, Carell was the fifth funniest person in ‘The Office’. Jim and Pam make the show and a close-up on Jim’s face while someone is doing something stupid is a guaranteed laugh. After them, Andy (Ed Helms) is ripe with comedy and finally grew to more of a starring role this season, perhaps the creators were sensing that they needed another superstar to fill the gap. Then there’s Craig Robinson, who is also hilarious, but criminally underused. So although Carell is a funny guy, his schtick in ‘The Office’ is one dimensional and as the seasons progressed, he got more and more annoying.
In the final episode, we get to go through the interview process as the team looks to replace Michael Scott. In a cruel twist of irony, I loved all the candidates except James Spader. As it turns out, he was the one chosen to lead the show. We won’t find out if it works or not until season 8 kicks off, but I’m holding out hope that the show’s creators fully utilize the chance to do something more with the show.
Video: Prior to this Blu-ray set, I had not watched ‘The Office’ in any other way but on DVD. I’m pleased to say it makes a considerable difference and the clear HD of the show really came through.
Audio: The audio sounded great for TV show.
Commentary on episodes Nepotism, PDA, Goodbye Michael, Threat Level Midnight and Dwight K. Schrute (Acting) Manager: The commentaries range from funny to informative, but each of them feature at least one participant commenting on how they’re not commenting enough. The track most worthwhile is “Goodbye Michael” which features the writers of the show talking about the difficulties in writing the last Michael Scott episode.
Deleted Scenes (1:51:00): Yes folks, almost two hours of deleted scenes. It seems like most of the scenes were cut for pacing issues, but if you’re a fan of the show, it could be a nice way to kill a couple of hours.
Threat Level Midnight (25:49): The full “movie” is shown uncut. Without the context of the show, the movie doesn’t do much.
Bloopers (4:12): I find that TV blooper reels are much better than movie blooper reels. This 4-minute collection is worth the time.
There’s also some Webisodes and Trailers