Sad News about Funny Shows

It’s a very sad week for TV comedies.

Today, Bill Hader announced that he’s leaving Saturday Night Live at the end of this season.

He means, “goodbye!”

What will we do without Stefon to tell us which club is New York’s hottest?

The absence of Stefon will be sad, but even sadder will be turning on NBC next fall and not seeing The Office on the Thursday night lineup.

The Thursday night shows will just be the amazing Parks & Rec, and bunch of other crap. Who even cares what the rest of it is? Really. Who cares? Not I.

Seeing The Office go off the air is bittersweet – on one hand, it hasn’t been particularly great since Steve Carrell left, and it’s nowhere near the level of quality of the first few seasons. On the other hand, The Office has been a solid part of our American consciousness for the past eight years – almost a decade! It was one of those shows that almost everyone watched, or had seen at some point.

The Office was understated, witty, and weird, while also appealing to mainstream America. It bridged the gap between Curb Your Enthusiasm and Everybody Loves Raymond, and for that, it deserves more Emmys than it ever won. It’s hard to make a comedy that’s both smart and commercially successful, but The Office did it.

Personally, when I think about The Office, I think of watching the first season on DVD on a break from college. My parents had started watching it, and loved it, so I watched all six episodes in a single sitting (I guess that’s only like, 2 hours…) and cried from laughing so hard. The first season included gems like:

and this:

I was immediately obsessed with Michael Scott’s hilarious, oblivious commentary, and couldn’t wait for the next season to air.

I watched season 2 during my sophomore year of college. We didn’t have a TV in our dorm room, but somehow, we found a TV to watch the show every Thursday night. I still remember coming home for summer break and watching the season finale alone, which felt strange, after a whole year of watching it with my friends at school. When Jim finally kissed Pam at the end of that episode, I frantically IMed or emailed (or whatever we were doing back then) my roommates so we could share our glee together. Finally! I have rarely – except in my own love life – felt that level of pure joy over a kiss.

Even now, I have many days when I come home from work and watch an episode from one of the first few seasons. There’s something so appealing about watching something familiar and well-worn, but that will make me unexpectedly burst out laughing at some joke I’d forgotten about.

Although the quality of the show has, in my humble opinion, waned throughout the years, it had so far to fall that it remains one of the funniest shows on TV, and had a major impact on the types of comedies we want to watch. The Office cleared the way for shows like Parks & Rec. It was one of the first mainstream shows to say, you don’t need famous actors to be relevant, and you don’t need a laugh track to be funny. And for that, we should all salute The Office.

Say goodbye to the gang this Thursday night, and in the meantime, check out what the cast had to say about their love for this show:


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