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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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The final episode of "The Office" was really well done.
The final episode of "The Office" was really well done. (Photo: NBC)

TV loyalty

I watched the series finale of "The Office" last night, but before I did, I had to blow through the previous five episodes gathering dust on my DVR. In the end, it was worth the night of marathon television, but when I think about the entire final season of "30 Rock," also unwatched on my DVR, I wonder when I’ll get around to it.

Honestly, I’ve lost interest in "30 Rock," and "The Office" didn’t make me laugh out loud anymore. But these shows – like most shows I watch – I’ve seen every episode in order. I feel like the least I can do is see them through to the end.

These aren’t the only two series that I’ve watched in their entirety. "Big Love," "Breaking Bad," "Mad Men," "Hung," "True Blood" and "LOST" come to mind. "LOST" was, as I recall, the first show that every episode was unmissable. I certainly don’t remember feeling this way about "Three’s Company."

The problem is that almost every show "jumps the shark" near the end of its run. Some much sooner, like "The Simpsons." A few don’t, like "Breaking Bad," which continues to get better until its series finale this summer.

But if I’ve invested years in watching a show like "The Office," I feel the need for television closure. I’m not sure if it’s loyalty or stubbornness, really.

Fortunately, in the case of "The Office," its writers thanked my loyalty/stubbornness with an excellent final two episodes. The last one was really, really great, reminding me of why I started watching this show in first place.

I like the long-form storytelling that comes with a serial show, in which episodes can be strung together to form a long, long movie. But I wouldn’t mind throwing in a few more shows like "Always Sunny In Philadelphia" into my roster, in which I could watch when I feel like it, and skip when I don’t.

I just don’t have that much time to devote to my TV, and my DVR is still pretty full.


AndrewJ | May 17, 2013 at 12:06 p.m. (report)

36464 LOST is a great example of TV loyalty that went bad. The series started to go off the rails about season 3. At that point I felt so invested I stuck around for the last 3 seasons, even though interest had diminished a ton. By the last season I was tuning in hoping they'd redeem themselves at some point. Never really happened.

The only series I can think of that went wire to wire and was great the whole time: The Shield on FX. Breaking Bad is likely getting on that list as well. Can't wait to see how that ends.

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Bobby | May 17, 2013 at 9:49 a.m. (report)

I prefer the BBC version of The Office for this very reason. It knew when to quit. It got in, did two awesome seasons and a pair of specials and was done. American TV never knows when to stop. They beat every good thing to death.

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