The eighth season of The Office has been a bit frustrating, to say the least. Obviously, the show was going to be changing greatly with the departure of Steve Carell as Michael Scott. Many fans thought that Michael leaving Dunder Mifflin should have been the end of the series – and if that were the case, Goodbye Michael could not have been a more perfect swan song. Personally, I remained optimistic. I’ve always liked the idea of The Office as a show that could continue on for a long time, cycling through salesmen and accountants like ER cycled through medical staff. I was even excited when I read an interview with Paul Lieberstein (writer and producer who also portrays human resources representative Toby Flenderson) describing that each episode of season eight would focus on a different character, taking advantage of the show’s great ensemble cast as opposed to singling out a specific character as “the lead,” as Michael Scott was. It didn’t hurt that season seven also felt like a dramatic improvement over the two previous seasons.
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