When Did The Office Jump The Shark?

by JG

Since that video aired in popular 70s/8s sitcom Happy Days, people have used the term “jumped the shark” to describe the moment when a television series (or something else popular) essentially began its decline. For a better explanation, head over to Wikipedia.

(There actually used to be a great website where users could vote on and discuss various moments that different shows jumped the shark. Now when I try to find it, it looks like TVGuide bought the domain name and closed the site. If you know of another similar site, please let me know in the comments section below).

Now that you’re fully familiar with the term, let’s discuss The Office.

As you may have noticed, I’ve decided to include a photo from when Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) was still part of the cast. While this season, the first sans-Scott, has had its ups-and-downs, it has not been a complete failure. Ratings are still reletively decent (I think), and the show still provides some laughs, it’s just nowhere near what it used to be. I don’t think the show will ever be bad enough that I simply stop watching it (Up All Night, etc.), but I don’t think I’m the only Office viewer out there who wished the show could replicate its earlier days, when Jim and Dwight were constantly fighting and Jim was still lusting over Pam.

A couple of weeks ago, for a reason I can’t remember, I started watching the series from scratch. I’m now nearly done Season 4, the season that was shortened by the WGA strike. I’m about 69 episodes in, and, obviously, enjoying myself very much.

I’m not trying yo say that The Office is garbage now. I still enjoy watching it, and even though most scenes with Robert California make me yawn, Andy as manager actually works. He’s got the nerdy try-t0-hard characteristic that made Michael Scott such a good fit. The inclusion of Ellie Kemper as secretary Erin Hannon (unrelated Ellie Kemper clip here) has also been a welcome addition, though it is a few seasons old.

The real point of this post, judging by the title, is to talk about the moment that The Office jumped the shark, that plot points became too distracting, and the general quality of the show went downhill. In my opinion, that moment is when Jim was promoted as co-manager of the Scranton branch. It took place during Season 6 (2009-2010), and since then, the show just hasn’t been the same.

I miss how awesome The Office was before then. Do you? Please sound off in the comments below.