Is "The Office" in decline?

In spring 2005, NBC premiered a new comedy adapted from an immensely popular British show. At first, The Office was panned by critics as an unoriginal copy of the BBC version. But early in the second season, those opinions changed as the show, starring Steve Carell as the childishly incompetent boss of a midsize paper company, broke into its own. Now midway through the sixth season, The Office has perennially been a masterful series, followed by perhaps the largest and most devoted fan base of any current comedy show. Nielsen Ratings reported that on average, 9.2 million Americans watched each episode of season five, capturing the fourteenth-highest amount of viewers in the coveted 18-49 year-old demographic. Clearly, The Office has become an American icon, a delightful show that never loses sight of its primary goal to entertain. But recent episodes have left fans wondering if the show is declining; Rainn Wilson (the actor behind such glorious films as The Rocker ), who portrays Dwight Schrute on the show, took to his Twitter and discussed whether the Jan. 21st episode was the worst ever. The following episode, on Feb. 4th, detailed the office’s transition into new, more strict management after the Dunder Mifflin chain was bought out, and extended story lines that didn’t seem to go anywhere interesting. The most recent episode, on Feb. 11, did provide a lot of classic Office humor, but didn’t end up with any intriguing new developments. S ome fans have been speculating that The Office is wrapping up. It must be recognized that Steve Carell has signed a contract through season eight, which gives the show at least two and a half years and places it currently in the middle of the series arc. But its most captivating storylines- Dwight Schrute and Angela Martin’s quirky affair, Ryan Howard’s move from office temp to corporate boss, the merger with another branch, Michael Scott’s brief formation of a competing company, and, beyond all others, the story of Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly-h ave all been resolved and faded into the back. The current storylines-the office’s takeover by another company, the slow-moving anticipated romance between the two newest characters Andy Bernard and Erin Hannon, and Jim and Pam’s search for a babysitter-are just not important. I, and seemingly the rest of the Office fanbase, haven’t had any new emotional attachments to the show since Jim and Pam’s wedding, which aired in early October. In my opinion, this is partially a fault of the writers for not putting anything in recently except superficial humor, but more importantly the fault of Greg Daniels and the producers for not creating any interesting storylines that viewers can get attached to. Yesterday’s episode featured the birth of Pam and Jim’s child, which does offer a big incentive to watch (not in that way, of course ), but other than that, I don’t have many reasons to watch until the season DVD comes out and I can marathon the episodes to glean the humor out efficiently. And, as always, wait for season 7.