'The Office': 9,986,000 minutes or, the beginning of the end

michaels-last-dundies-320.jpgThe original title of Thursday's "Office" episode was "Goodbye Michael, Part 1." It was changed to "Michael's Last Dundies," but the first one fits just as well. This was about the Dunder Mifflin crew -- and the people who play them, and us -- saying thanks to Michael for his 9,986,000 minutes of service (that's 19 years, in case you're counting).

Even within the context of Michael gearing up for his last awards, there wasn't a whole lot of story: Erin's amazingly awkward dumping of Gabe and Deangelo's stage fright/ineptitude as a performer was about it. But there were enough funny moments within the Dundies ceremony itself, and of course that very sweet ending with the whole staff singing a version of "Seasons of Love," for that not to matter a whole lot.

Deangelo's freakout over serving as co-host gave Steve Carell and Will Ferrell another chance to play, particularly in the bathroom scene where Michael gets Deangelo to slap out of it and go put on a show (the clip is below). Ferrell also showed a little (but not too much) of "Will Ferrell" when he got a little carried away during "Seasons of Love." But the better of the two ongoing bits, for my money, was Erin's dumping of Gabe. It was one of those can't-look-can't-stop-looking "Office" scenes that have typically been Michael's sole province, but the fact that it came from the normally sweet, equally (more?) clueless Erin made it worthy of the show's pantheon of cringe.

But like Oscar, I'm not going to spend too much time analyzing "Michael's Last Dundies." Some of the highlights:

  • The show's good-natured dig at "Office" creator Ricky Gervais as Michael describes the Dundies as "like the Golden Globes, but less mean."
  • More meta: Jim bailing out of Erin's car as she starts detailing her issues with Gabe. "Sorry ... that just wasn't interesting to me." It felt more than a little like he was speaking for fans of the show, or simply the fact that the show hasn't really invested any time into Erin and Gabe being a couple.
  • The Dundie for hottest in the office goes to ... Danny Cordray! Danny is still on the road/starring in "Justified" and was unable to pick up his trophy. Equally good: Ryan trying to rationalize his disappointment at not winning again.
  • Phyllis, reacting to Stanley's Diabetes Award: "I have diabetes too. You don't see me making a big deal about it."
  • Love that Darryl is still wearing southwestern attire to the office.
  • Jim's acceptance speech for best dad: "I don't parent for the award, but I've gotta tell you it feels pretty good. By the way, Cece, if you're watching this at home, it's way past your bedtime." And, after he gets back to his seat, Pam: "Didn't think to mention me, huh?"
  • Hey, Toby's off jury duty! And starting to have doubts about sentencing the Scranton Strangler to death. How very, very Toby-like.

Michael's closing talking head was, "Yeah, OK. Well, this is going to hurt like a motherf*****." Based on what we've heard from other cast members in interviews, that's a pretty accurate description of Carell's last days on the show. We're not sure his farewell next week is actually going to hurt, but we imagine the room might get a little dusty at some point.

What did you think of "Michael's Last Dundies"?

Photo/Video credit: NBC