Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dwight Schrute Spins Off. What Does it Mean for 'The Office'?

Deadline Daily is reporting that NBC is developing a spin off show for The Office in the form of Dwight Schrute and his world of beets. The show will be co-Executive Produced by Rainn Wilson and Office Executive Producer Paul Lieberstein. This is an interesting turn up, indicating that The Office may either be on its last legs, or headed for an even deeper reboot.

As a former Office fanatic, I continue to tune into the show each Thursday night. Like a drug addict, I chase that wonderful high experienced when the show was at its peak. But all I see is a sitcom that's a shadow of its old self, with Robert California's strange, twisted vibe and Andy's woeful supervision of Dunder Mifflin stamping out my jones. The sweet Ed Helms continues at the 'helm' in the unremarkable and unenviable role of Andy Bernard, Michael Scott's bumbling predecessor. Unfortunately, Andy as GM hasn't jelled.  In terms of the show itself, the story lines, once heart warming, relatable and smart, are now devoid of quality, believability and laughs. The absence of Michael Scott has sucked the air out of the room. Something's missing, like we went from color to black and white, "from major to minor" -  or to get all Shakespearean  - as if Prince Hal, the life of the party, left Falstaff and the old pals behind to be Henry V. The lights have been turned off, and we wallow in the dark with old memories and nothing to hold onto.

Also, prime characters are underused, such as Creed and Pam (out on Jenna Fischer's maternity leave). Characters we once knew have had personality transplants, characteristically unrecognizable from their former selves (I'm looking at you BJ Novack aka Ryan Howard). Jim and Pam are ghosts now that marital bliss has morphed into parental responsibilities - an aspect of their world in which I'd love to see more. That old Jim/Pam angst has been replaced with Andy and Erin's non-romantic arc, loosely mimicking the Halpert/Beesly pre-coitis relationship that will never touch the painful beauty of Jim and Pam's fractured and ultimately successful courtship.

Deadline Daily has fleshed out more details of NBC's move toward this potential spin off, and discusses how Dwight will be transitioned to the new show. Also, other cast members are not officially signed on for the 2012-2013 season as of this posting, so more developments will be on the horizon.

If all shakes down, perhaps a Dwight spin off spells a new beginning from an old concept that should have ended with Steve Carell's departure last season.

No comments: