WE JUST WANT TO SEE HOW YOU END UP: That's what the off screen camera crew on The Office said when we heard from them for the first time earlier this season (in the context of Jim and Pam asking about why the crew stuck around Scranton so long), and it's also a pretty accurate reason of why the remaining audience is watching. We haven't talked about the show in a while, and 90% of last night's episode followed the standard pattern of an amusing cold open basically unrelated to the episode's plot and the remainder of the episode returning to wells of diminishing revenue (Dwight is a Jackass, Andy/Erin/Pete love triangle, basically anything to do with Nellie, even if pairing her with Toby is kind of inspired).
That said, the final few minutes of the episode, in which Pam finally has a breakdown about Jim being in Philly and we see the camera crew for the first time were tonally jarring, really well performed by Krasinski (getting to play against his nice guy image for once) and Fischer, and made me wonder if The Office might actually have a downbeat ending. It was particularly shattering after a 30 Rock in which things moved rapidly towards an implausibly happy ending for everyone. We'll see where they go with this (the cast and producers' statements indicate that this is a big milestone on the way to the end), but I'm in it to the end.