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Arts in Review

Channel Surfing: The changing of the seasons

Warm weather and longer days signal many things: the changing season, some much needed time off from studying, and the finales of the television shows that kept us from absolutely loathing weekdays during the dark winter months. And while summer programming offers many things in terms of entertainment, it has a hard time competing with the intrigue of hiring a new office manager and the shock of seeing our favorite irritable doctor finally take things one step too far.

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Date Posted: June 17, 2011
Print Edition: June 10, 2011

By Trevor Fik (The Cascade) – Email

Warm weather and longer days signal many things: the changing season, some much needed time off from studying, and the finales of the television shows that kept us from absolutely loathing weekdays during the dark winter months. And while summer programming offers many things in terms of entertainment, it has a hard time competing with the intrigue of hiring a new office manager and the shock of seeing our favorite irritable doctor finally take things one step too far.

While the exit of Steve Carrell from The Office was known before the start of the seventh season, it still hurt to see the man who has become an absolute staple of the series go. The relationship we as an audience shared with Michael Scott can be described as complicated at best. While loathing and cringing at his many interactions with those in and outside of the office, we secretly rooted for the manager with no filter to find the true love and happiness he unquestionably deserved.

The difficulty in replacing a character like Michael Scott is that he has become such a centerpiece to many of the other characters’ storyline and development. The camaraderie he shared with Dwight, the absolute disdain for Toby, and the affection shared between Michael and Holly will surely be missed in the series. The question is, now that Michael has left, who has the comedic and acting chops to step in to the role as the leading man at Dunder Mifflin, Scranton.

While many names have been put forth, and certainly several talents made an appearance in the season finale (Jim Carey, Ray Romano, James Spader), how this individual meshes with the rest of the cast will determine the future of the show. While The Office has become multi-dimensional in its laughs, given the depth and talent of the supporting cast, many of the episodes revolve around the individual at the helm of the office.

Whoever the executives decide on, it will take the show in an entirely new direction, which is exactly what a show in its eighth season requires. For better or for worse revitalization will keep things interesting and relevant for a show that long ago embedded itself in popular culture.

When one of the last remaining mysteries of a show is finally revealed, and an audience is shown what they have wanted to see for the better part of a decade, it allows for an immense feeling of satisfaction for a viewer. This is then followed by catastrophic panic for television executives and writers.

With the 6th season of House ending with our protagonist with the awful bedside manner Dr. Gregory House getting together with Dean of Medicine Lisa Cuddy, many wonder how the show that has been lauded for being too formulaic will remain fresh and engaging.

The solution has been to put both characters through a mid-season breakup that has pushed the always uneasy House over the edge in a fit of road rage worthy of a Grand Theft Auto re-creation. Throw in the added intrigue of Lisa Edelstein (who plays Cuddy) noting that the seventh season was her last on the show, and the future of House becomes that much more uncertain.

With uncertainty, however, comes mystery, with mystery inevitably giving way to intrigue and a reason to tune in to the upcoming 8th season of House. All the way in September…

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