The Office: The Complete Seventh Season [Blu-ray]
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In the seventh season of this Primetime Emmy Award-winning series, inappropriate behavior is business as usual, but big surprises are in store! Dwight is now the owner of the building and he may be letting this power go to his head; Andy is courting Erin, who is dating Gabe; Jim and Pam are struggling with being new parents; and a parade of ghosts of girlfriends past haunt Michael, leading to his final days at Dunder Mifflin. Catch the antics of all 24 laugh-out-loud Season Seven episodes of”…TV’s funniest half-hour” (Rick Kissell, Variety), developed for American television by Primetime Emmy Award Winner Greg Daniels. This memorable season features guest appearances from Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), a cameo from Ricky Gervais (The Invention of Lying), and an unforgettable hour-long season finale with Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Ray Romano (Everybody Love Raymond), James Spader (Boston Legal), and Catherine Tate (Doctor Who), all vying for Michael Scott’s old post. Plus, see hours of bonus features, including extended episodes, deleted scenes, bloopers, webisodes and more, in this must-own four-disc collection.
Michael Scott's long tenure as manager of Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch comes to a bittersweet end in the seventh season of The Office, leaving viewers to wonder how and if the show will survive without star Steve Carell. The actor's departure marks a turning point for the comedy that extends beyond finding a replacement for its lead. The Office itself had begun to show cracks in its façade in its fifth season, with too frequent dips into implausible story lines and character behavior that hewed more cartoonish than the careful mix of sitcom humor and human observation with which the show made its mark. How The Office resets itself in Carell's wake will remain the task of its eighth season, but season seven offers an agreeable place-marker for the cast and crew, who pay tribute to Scott with several genuinely funny episodes and a wrap-up that manages to be heartfelt without tipping into overly sentimental territory. The season also features a recurring turn by Will Ferrell as Deangelo Vickers, Michael's temporary replacement and a walking collection of frayed nerves and personality tics. Ferrell is amusing in his four-episode story arc, but at times, his livewire routine clashes mightily with the lower-keyed energy of the established cast. More effective is the parade of celebrities who queue up to replace Michael in the season's conclusion, ""Search Committee,"" with James Spader (a new Office cast member as of season eight), Ray Romano, Jim Carrey, Will Arnett, and UK Office creator Ricky Gervais (as David Brent) adjusting their respective styles to the level of the series. Other highlights include the unveiling of Michael's long-gestating film project Threat Level Midnight, which features an array of past Office performers, and ""Viewing Party,"" which evokes past after-hours get-togethers in its barrage of neuroses run wild.
Extras on the four-disc Blu-ray set include four episodes with commentary tracks, each featured on a single disc; Carell is again noticeably absent from these tracks, but series creator Greg Daniels and various cast and crew members, including B.J. Novak, Ellie Kemper, and Paul Lieberstein, do their best be informative and entertaining. Deleted scenes from most of the episodes provide more footage of Ferrell and the other guest stars, while extended versions of ""Training Day"" and ""Search Committee"" provide some subtle moments of character development. The complete Threat Level Midnight is a welcome addition, as is The 3rd Floor, a series of webisodes about the staff shooting a horror movie in the office after hours. A fairly hilarious blooper reel rounds out the set. --Paul Gaita
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The setting (the office of a small branch of paper-selling company) and the stories (everyday life of the people found working in such a low-prospects jobs) seem mundane at first. And there lies the magic of the creators. For (if the endless strings of CSIs are any indication) it not hard to create good TV with car chases, gadgets and explosions. It is extremely hard to make excellent TV with only the everyday grind to work with. It seems effortless only because they made it look easy.
The brief one-way interviews each character had with the camera functioned as either prefatory summaries of stories about to unfold (building up the anticipation) or as instances of pushing back, yet never breaking, the forth wall, and, thus, making the viewing experience more personal and involving. All without the show ever loosing its step.
Producing, directing and writing will only get you so far without the right cast. And THE OFFICE enjoyed such stellar cast. Steve Carell may have risked getting typecast by creating the unforgettable character of Michael Scott but it was worth it. Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) served first as the precarious love interest and then as the familiar friends you care about and the rest of the cast was one successful pick after another.Read more ›
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So, how does Steve's announcement to leave the series affect season seven? Well, first of all, Michael is clearly, and often awkwardly, pushed to the sidelines in order to instantly faze him out. The character that was for six seasons the driving force of every single episode is now rarely featured in the same capacity. There are very few episodes that allow him to take center stage and this hurts the show, badly. There are far more B-stories, and sometimes C-stories, that feature the rest of the cast. Sometimes this a good thing, but many episodes start to feel crowded and paradoxically, the more sub-plots given to side characters, the less time there is for them to shine as the cast begins to become fragmented. There are very few 'ensemble' eps that involve everyone in the same story. Some characters are featured way too much... Kevin for example, becomes a bit over used, and as a result he wears a little thin. The same goes for Erin. Both are great characters but season seven puts way too much pressure on them to be funny. All the while Creed is rarely even given a single line. The biggest mistake the writers make is giving a ton of screen time to Gabe, who is without a doubt the worst, most painfully unfunny character the show has ever scene. I could write another whole review just on how and why this guy is ridiculously awful.
Season Seven also features a string of guest appearances by Will Ferrell as Michael's (temporary) replacement. He fits in fairly well at first, and there are some great scenes that showcase Carrell and Ferrell as a powerhouse comedy duo, but it's hard not to wonder why the producers would bring in such a high profile guest star to share the spotlight with Steve in all of his last episodes. It may just be for ratings, but you'd think the last episodes to feature Steve Carrell would be enough to generate hype. It may be to keep the audience's interest in the show beyond Steve's departure, but, ironically, Will is only featured in one (sub-par) post-Michael episode, then the series actually gains momentum when Will is written off and the remaining original cast members take the spotlight. Whatever the reason, it's hard to resent the presence of Will Ferrell, because he has good chemistry with the cast and, well, he's funny, plain and simple. At the same time though, it's a little strange not to have a complete and total end of the season celebration of Michael, even his last episode features a Will-centric sub-plot.
Season Seven is a hard season to define. It's certainly not a bad season, there is plenty to celebrate but at the same time it makes the previous season, thought by many fans to be sub-par, look like pure gold. The episodes that do celebrate Michael are kind of hit and miss. The return of Holly Flax is a great boost to Michael's character arc, but the progression of their relationship is rushed and often pushed into the background. Dwight, on the other hand, is ace all year long; 7 is chalk full of great stories revolving around his ownership of the building. There also plenty of great stories with Jim and Dwight that do not disappoint. Andy is also hilarious all year long as he continues to get more and more well deserved screen time. Pam also gets some nice subplots as newly promoted Office Administrator.
Notable episodes include...
Nepotism- A great premiere that sets the bar high. Michael hires his worthless Nephew and Pam attempts to prank Dwight.
Christening- A great Jim and Pam story that manages to involve their daughter in a non-invasive way. Also features a great sub-plot where Michael, feeling excluded from the ceremony, impulsively boards a bus to Mexico.
Viewing Party- A Glee party at Gabe's house??? Amazingly this ep is actually really funny. Feat: another great Jim and Pam parenting sub-plot where Dwight is the only one able to calm Ceci down, Andy gets high on powdered seahorse, and Michael gets jealous and disconnects the cable.
Classy Christmas- One of the few Michael-centric episodes featuring the return of Holly Flax as well as an epic snowball war between Jim and Dwight. Possibly the best episode since season five.
Threat Level Midnight- Considered a fan-favorite by some, I personally consider this episode to be over the top and way out of character. The idea of Michael actually filming his legendary screenplay sounds funny but it doesn't really play out that way. I'd like to know how his production values could be so high that he could afford CG and massive set pieces. Also, why was the cast so eager to participate and when did they find the time?
Michael's Last Dundies- A classic written by the great Mindy Kaling. I can't think of a better way to end Michael Scott's tenure at the office than another episode revolving around the Dundies.
Goodbye Michael- An emotional and hilarious send-off to the world's greatest boss, expertly written by Greg Daniels (making you wonder if the series would have had more stamina if he wrote more than just one post-season-4-episode a year). It has the energy and pacing of the show's earlier seasons, as well as a few very satisfying call backs.
Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager- A tremendous episode that allows Dwight to run away with the spotlight. Steve's presence is missed but this ep proves that the show can in fact still be great without him.
The Search Committee- Another surprisingly high-energy, high quality post-Carrell ep featuring a plethora of entertaining cameos from Ray Ramano to Warren Buffett. A very promising prequel to season eight.
Though starting to drift farther and farther away from its prime, The Office is still relatively excellent throughout season seven. A must have for all fans, especially since it is Michael's last. And though the show will go on, Michael will always be missed. He had a had a great run. But as great as it was, it didn't last nearly as long as it should have... That's what she said.
I know a lot of people have objected to this season because the show doesn't focus on Michael as much as it has in the past. Lets remember that the show did not phase Michael out because they were trying to cut Steve Carell out. Mr. Carell CHOSE to leave to pursue other work. We can't blame him for wanting to try something new but the lose of his character is not NBC's fault and I'm sure they are doing the best they can to maintain the unity of the show. I feel they have done a great job. There is still a little void in the show and each episode that does not have Michael in it. I eagerly await the eighth season though because I have full faith in the writers and actors that made the show so great. It was not Steve Carell's performance alone that made the show one of the most influential comedies in recent history.
Remember season 2/3 when the show had the ability to make you laugh so much you nearly choked to having sympathy/empathy for a character(s) in a devastating emotional moment to having you wipe tears out of your eyes to see the whole cast involved in something together whether it was silly or poignant (or both)? That's the kind of stuff "Andy's Play" has.
There isn't one false step in this episode; everything works. That's something I haven't been able to say for this show over the majority of the last 2 seasons. There have been great episodes scattered throughout those two seasons (sometimes even in stretches) but not on a consistant basis.
For this season while some episodes haven't been as funny as others the believability factor has been there early into this season. And for this episode everything came together again...not only is it believeable but it is hilarious and emotionally compelling. And from what I know about what next week's episode is about, things are looking good for the show to ride this wave of greatness.