Thursday, May 16, 2013


Dunder Mifflin closes up shop tonight.  9 Seasons of a once bubble show I crossed my fingers would get renewed to a show that became a sure bet I was hoping would end.  I never gave up on NBC's THE OFFICE.  I guess the past 3-4 seasons I was just expecting it would end soon or they'd once in a while work back that magic for an episode or two that would restore my faith in watching it and keep me from deleting the series recording from my DVR.  Since I've been with it since somewhat season 1, but a regular weekly ritual since Season 2, I wanted to do something in honor of this show.  It was at one time the funniest, can't miss comedy on TV for a few seasons.  I even think its prime seasons surpassed the greatness of its British counterpart.

Since THE OFFICE is pretty much a character driven show, I decided to give my 10 favorite characters after all these years.  Some were great but as time wore on they got extremely tired and I couldn't stand them anymore (Jim, Pam, Andy) or we got too personal with (Angela).  But there were a time where those were my favorites.  But these 10 I still liked all the way to the end.  Who were your favorites from the show?

10. Robert California

His debut episode is maybe a prime reason for this.  James Spader channeled years of working close with William Shatner and put it all into this character.  I was always never knowing what to expect from this guy.  He started to get a little played out, but was gone in an instant (after 1 season).  I'll always remember how much I laughed at him in that finale.  His subsequent moments were great as well and he made the season following Michael Scott's exit somewhat watchable at times.  And that name, "Robert California", so lavish and ridiculous that I loved it.

9. Darryl Philbin

From a little bit player to full on featured player, Darryl was the first taste of Craig Robinson for many of us.  His act on THE OFFICE has been taken to many movie roles for him.  Things got personal for him at times, but never too deep.  Darryl was always a likeable and funny guy.  Constantly paired with Andy, he was able to ground and make silly moments work when that character was tired.

8. Stanley Hudson

Kinda a one-trick pony, but never overused and abused.  If he had a storyline it was never fully focused or it actually felt true to the character (his adultery storyline).  He was always good for a surprise here or there.  It was a schtick, but never overdone and always welcome.  But, its impressive nonetheless as I still like Stanley and he's been there since the beginning.

7. Erin Harmon

A later addition to the cast, the 2nd main receptionist.  Its amazing she makes my top 10 as she was involved plenty of bumbly romance storylines that were forced or clumsily handled.  How did she make it then?  Because through all that, the character stayed true.  In those storylines she was always Erin and never changed or became "not weird' after finding her beau.  I liked her gullible, unknowing dorkiness and it shined everywhere.

6. Gabe Lewis

While we're on the subject of weird, here's where I suppose I have a wildly different opinion than a lot of people.  From my findings over the years, many didn't like him and wanted him gone.  I loved him.  His bizarre, scary and odd personality was fantastic.  My favorite moment of his was where he and Erin hosted a party and he told everyone he didn't write music, he "created soundscapes".  I relished in his creepiness and socially awkward interactions with...EVERYONE.  We only got him for a couple seasons, but every time he popped up in a guest spot I welcomed his return.

5. Karen Filipelli

We weren't supposed to like her.  She was Pam's competition for Jim.  She was with Jim and not Pam.  But quite frankly...I didn't care.  Rashida Jones created one of the most likeable characters ever to enter Dunder Mifflin in a role that should have been one of the most despised characters on the show.  She did nothing wrong and was quite worthy, but she just wasn't Pam.  Subsequent guest spots have made her a little crazier and angry, but during her mainstay on the show, she was quite great.  Funny at times, but just a loveable soul for the most part.  Maybe we all just fell for Rashida.  Its good we get her on the superior Parks & Recreation which is still going.

4. Todd Packer

What has two thumbs and loves Todd Packer?  THIS GUY!  Todd Packer was a complete asshole, but I loved his rude and inappropriate manner.  He wasn't there every week, so it was no bother.  This guy was great at mixing it up with a cast that was rather tame compared to him.  David Koechner just let loose on network TV and I hope most everyone liked it.  He was even brought back for a while to bring back some old memories when Michael Scott was gone.  He was a jerk, a swine, an ass, a double crosser, a real piece of work...and I loved him.

3. Jan Levinson

Jan was psycho crazy.  It wasn't until the dinner party at her and Michael's that we even got a whiff of it.  And from then on it was all on display.  The more crazy she was, the more she became one of my favorites.  Yes, we all wanted Michael Scott to get out of his relationship with her, but I really didn't want to see Jan go.  Luckily she's popped up plenty since.  Melora Hardin definitely gave one of the best performances of the entire series with this character.  Just fully committed to power hungry and insane.  My favorite seasons always had plenty of Jan.

2. Michael Scott

The flagship character of the series.  No matter how dumb, how ridiculous and outrageous this character could be, I always still felt for him and rooted for him.  I can't really say that about anyone else in the series.  Carrell was able to create some of the most uncomfortable moments seen on television (only matched by something like Curb Your Enthusiasm).  But those uncomfortable moments were hilarious and what THE OFFICE excelled at in its prime.  Carrell knew the show was out of gas (maybe even a little too late when he realized it) and bowed out gloriously.  The show has lacked consistency and a central character to enjoy week in and week out since.  Prison Mike (as pictured) was probably my all-time favorite Michael Scott moment.  Sorry David Brent, Michael Scott gets my Dundee for regional manager.

So who's #1?

Drum roll...

Keep rolling...

Roll some more...

1. Creed Bratton

Just like Creed, the unexpected #1 choice.  Always in the background, never at the forefront, Creed can steal an episode with just one look or one line.  The character's outside life from Dunder Mifflin is all over the charts and I thank the writers for never trying to explore it and keeping it always shrouded in mystery.  I'm always watching wondering and waiting for my Creed moment.  He's been my favorite all along.  This isn't a revelation when making this list.  He's just the best.  He was never overdone, always present and always making me laugh.  Creed, you're #1 on my list.

Everyone enjoy the 2 hr 15 min(!) series finale of THE OFFICE tonight.  Remember it for its peak seasons, not the last few.  But most importantly...STAY FOR FRICKIN' HANNIBAL!  The show it great and nobody is watching!

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