In the seventh season of The Office, the writers of the long-running NBC comedy series had two big tasks ahead of them. First, the staff had to deal with the impending exit of manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) which included giving him a worthy exit and finding him a strong replacement, but also proving that the show would be able to survive without the presence of Carell on-screen. Sadly, this season proved to be one of the weakest, and seems to be proof that the series, just like its former star, might be on the way out. However, the seventh season of The Office still contains some truly great episodes, genuinely touching moments, and one marathon of a fantastic performance from Steve Carell (who should’ve won the Emmy over Jim Parsons last month). For more of my impressions of the DVD release of the seventh season of The Office, hit the jump.
Perhaps the biggest problem with The Office now, is the charm of a mockumentary crew following what feels like a real-life office has simply become another exaggerated comedy series. Maybe that’s because real-life can only be funny for so long, but the antics of Ryan Howard’s new business WUPHF.com, some escalated prank confrontations between Jim, Pam and Dwight, and the screening of Michael Scott’s movie Threat Level Midnight (though mildly entertaining) just put this season over the top, and not in a good way. Though the comedy side seems to be suffering, the more tender and touching moments of this season are spectacularly well-crafted and certainly warm the hearts of fans who have been with Dunder-Mifflin since the beginning.
Thankfully, there’s one element of the series trying too hard that seems to have paid off, and that’s in the guest star department. Aside from the stream of high profile guest stars like Will Ferrell, Ray Romano, Jim Carrer, James Spader, Ricky Gervais and more brought in to interview for the open manager position, there’s other great appearances by Timothy Olyphant, not to mention the return of Holly (Amy Ryan) and Todd Packer (David Koechner). Their presence makes certain episodes shine, but at times the stunt casting is apparent, especially with how silly Ferrell’s behavior as Deangelo Vickers turns out to be.
But for fans of The Office, who have stuck with the series through all its ups and downs, there’s plenty of the fun extras on this DVD set that you’ve come to expect. Aside from the usual deleted scenes that come with each set, several episodes have extended cuts that allow for more of Will Ferrell’s zaniness, as well as audio commentary with certain cast and crew members on a handful of episodes. The specifics on those special features are detailed below along with the rest of the supplements.
Every disc has a series of deleted/ scenes from this season’s episodes, but it’s easy to see why most of them ended up on the cutting room floor. There are a few great gems among the total two hours of scenes that didn’t make the cut.
The following episodes each have audio commentary with the cast and crew:
- Threat Level Midnight
- Goodbye Michael
- Dwight K. Schrute (Acting) Manager
Two episodes are given extended producer’s cuts, and wouldn’t you know it, they’re Training Day, the first episode with Will Ferrell as the new manager, and the final episode of the season Search Committee with a whole slew of guest stars interviewing for the manager position at Dunder-Mifflin. Of course, the extended cuts do offer some pretty hearty laughs and will be thoroughly enjoyed by anyone who didn’t want the season to end.
More entertaining than the deleted scenes is the blooper reel, and just like any good montage of mistakes made while shooting, it really shows just how much fun the cast and crew have on set.
Webisodes: In a series of online shorts that total eight minutes, some of the lesser celebrated characters try to make their own horror film, and well, the webisodes in themselves are what’s truly scary, mainly because they are devoid of any humor or charm that makes The Office great.
Threat Level Midnight: The Movie (A Michael Scott Joint): Though this was one of the elements this season that makes me feel the season has jumped the shark a bit, this uncut version of Michael Scott’s film does have its moments, but is really just for the hardcore fans.
Poster: For those who put their love for The Office on display, there’s a pretty cool poster that puts the cast into the iconic Seurat painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.