From the opening minutes of its swan-song episode, The Office delivered as promised, after NBC announced an extra 15 minutes would be tacked on to the hour-long finale to ensure storyline closures for each of its characters, which viewers have come to know and love over the course of nine seasons.
We learned that Stanley Hudson is retiring, which was okay with him. Breaking into a wide grin, the typically grumpy and disgruntled sales associate said: “I’ve been looking forward to this day since I was 18-years-old."
With the words, “Get Out” on a “thickly frosted cake” — delivered in the same conference room Hudson beamed over his retirement — the typically one-step behind, hangdog-faced Kevin Malone learned that his days at the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company were over as well.
“It’s a colloquial way of saying, ‘You’re fired,’ which you are,” manager Dwight Schrute said, in his typical deadpan delivery.
Ever the optimist, Kevin replied: “At least I got chocolate.”
Apparently, viewers of the long-running comedy sitcom, which told the stories of Dunder Mifflin employees at work, at home and with each other, through the documentary lenses of behind-the-scenes videographers, leave with a lot more than chocolate.
It's as if a piece of their lives had a final cut as well, a loss lessened by what apparently was received as a satisfying closure to a long-term relationship.
Here in the Greater Brandon area of Hillborough County, viewers were quick to post their reactions after viewing The Office finale.
"It may sound ridiculous to some but I feel like this show, these characters, their stories, their lives — no matter how fictional, are part of my life, too," said Michael Wood, founder of Mike Wood Lighting Design and the theatre design and technology teacher at the performing arts magnet program at Blake High School.
Wood agreed to let his hometown Brandon Patch post the Facebook comment he left hours after viewing the final episode. He said he was in high school when the show started, and that it had become a part of his adult life.
"Watching The Office has gotten me through so much [over] the past nine years," Wood said. "Ups, downs, changes, and just plain entertainment. And it ended so perfectly. I will miss it terribly."
Kimberlee Sivret responded with her own post, which she also allowed Patch to republish.
"Same here," she said, noting that "when My Space was around," the characters Kevin Malone and Angela Martin were there as well.
"I had quite a few nice conversations with them," she said. "It's what they kept on their 'office' computers while they were shooting. Such a wonderful show. The perfect mix of comedy with emotion."
Speaking for many, whether they wanted to acknowledge it or not, Sivret ended her post with two words:
Post your own farewell comments to The Office in the comment box below. As Steve Carrel, as Michael Scott, the original Dunder Mifflin boss, put it: "Ain't no party like a Scranton party."