I must have been 15 when Seinfeld wrapped up it’s show about nothing. I was 20 (or about to be so) when about 15 girls crowded into the small dorm room that belonged to my roommate and I to watch the finale of Friends. I knew I would like the finale of The Office, but I was surprised by how emotional I was while watching it last night.
Like a lot of fans, I saw the the second season finale cliffhanger episode where Jim finally kissed Pam, and decided to tune in after that. I didn’t know much about the show before that, except that a handful of my friends watched it, and it made the viewer feel awkward and uncomfortable. After watching a decade of Friends who were slightly more glamorous than the Dunder-Mifflin gang, it felt like The Office forgot to edit out the parts that aren’t supposed to make it on screen. And that’s what made it so hilarious.
For millennials my age who are fans, I’m wondering if they couldn’t help but feel like they were a part of Dunder-Mifflin? For me, age 20-28 covers quite a lot of ground in my life. At one point Jim Halpert said that during his time at Dunder-Mifflin he fell in love, got married became a father. I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve grown up to this show. Well, I have and I feel a special connection to this show. A lot of my life’s milestones have happened during this show:
1) Roommates: Living with several roommates of all walks of life and personalities.
2) Dating: Experiencing your own relationship drama and witnessing that of your friends. Many millennials probably found their Jim or Pam, or are still working relationship with their Ryan or Kelly. (Dwight & Angela. Angela & Andy. Jim & Karen. Roy & Pam. Angela & The Senator. Oscar & The Senator. Dwight & hot farm girl. Kelly & hot doctor guy. Jim & Pam. Angela & Dwight. Kelly & Ryan? And so it goes…)
3) Work: At a cubicle job I worked for three years, I learned a ton during that time about getting along with others. I swear I’ve seen elements of Phyllis, Meredith, Holly and yes even Dwight at work. I had an internship my junior year of college and, I kid you not, the manager looked and acted exactly like Michael Scott.
4) Marriage: I met my husband in the Fall of 2006, and introduced him to The Office which we watched together through our dating relationship, engagement, early married years, and up until the finale last night.
5) Parenting: I became a mom to my son, and an aunt to 5 nieces and nephews.
6) Moving: Like Jim & Pam I remember about a year and half ago when the buyers of our house said “We’ll take it!” and it was time to go off to a new adventure.
Better than >
I remember when watching the finale of Friends when Ross and Rachel finally ended up together, it felt slightly anti-climactic, like “wow, that took 10 seasons?” I remember liking how on The Office when Jim and Pam finally found their way to each other, they jumped in. This theme of making sure to live now adds to the show’s charm: that there is an art to seeing what’s right in front of you. It’s easier said than done, but if you can do that there is a huge payoff.
One of my favorite parts of the finale was when Pam was questioned at the panel about the hard times her and Jim went through in their relationship. She responds:
“…when the documentary started airing, people on the street told me that I had this fairytale romance. But there were a lot of times last year when it did not feel like a fairytale. But then it got deeper, and it got stronger, and now it’s better than a fairytale. It’s like a long book that you never want to end, and you’re fine with that because you just never ever want to leave it.” –Pam Halpert
To me, this quote applies not just to relationships, but to all areas of life. Millennials have heard the news by now (or are just learning) that life is hard, and sometimes just boring and awkward. Millennials are a generation that has experienced disappointment. We are growing up during a time when there seems to be little room for big dreams. The good side of this is that we can let go of burden of expectation for something better than a dream: a life.
“There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things.” –Pam Halpert
There is a simplicity to millennials that is fresh, necessary, and quite great. If we’re destined to be the next “greatest generation”, this will be our contribution. A life lived well.
So thanks The Office for a satisfying ending last night. And that’s what she said.