The Office, “Garage Sale”

Well, it feels real now. After a summer of speculation and 18 episodes of wondering and looking for clues as to how The Office would figure out how to say goodbye to Michael Scott, “Garage Sale” gives us our answer. As this episode unfolded, I was assuming that I’d be of two minds as to how it this whole thing was executed, but by the time it ended, I couldn’t really bring myself to be that critical. Michael Scott has found his happy ending and it’s really exactly what we wanted.

Michael Scott likes to do it big. Every little moment has to be a big one for him and so it’s only fitting that he wants his proposal to Holly Flax be an event that will be remembered by everyone for all of time. I was a bit concerned with how this episode was going to execute the proposal because of Micheal’s big dreams. I understand that bigger might sound better to him and I was at least moderately worried that the writers and NBC would agree with Michael’s “think big” way of life. The promos for this episode sort of primed me for annoyance, and that’s probably unfortunate. I really loved the way that Jim proposed to Pam because it was true and honest for their relationship, so at first I was hoping that Michael would follow suit. But then I realized that Michael isn’t Jim and his relationship with Holly isn’t like Jim’s relationship with Pam. They are two different couples and widely different individuals in their own right. At that point, I kind of hoped for Michael’s proposal to be as INSANE and OVER THE TOP as possible because that’s something that Holly would realistically love and react to.

Thankfully, “Garage Sale” figured out how to have it both ways and because of that, it became the best episode of the season by far. In the beginning, Michael’s plans are as insane as you’d think they’d be. He wants to write a proposal with gas fire in the parking lot, but thankfully Pam stops him. From there onward, this episode does a really fantastic job of staying true to the characters while allowing for a certain level of change or disbelief so that the whole office can support Michael and Holly in their future with one another. Things start small, with Pam pulling in the people in the office she trusts most (Jim and Oscar) and backing them up with someone she knows Michael will listen to (Ryan) so that they can legitimately help Michael plan this proposal. It was smart to not really build the entire episode completely around this event, which made the sequences where the topic was discussed seem ever better. I really adored that Michael, being a completely different kind of person than Jim and Pam, pointed how lame and simple their proposal moment seemed to him. It’s not an entirely malicious moment, but honest one from a guy who’s legitimately scared to take the biggest step of his life. Similarly, it was just as cute to have Holly almost propose to Michael because it fully feels like the way their relationship would go.

In the end, the episode steps into a world that is probably going to anger the people who thought it was ridiculous that everyone attended Andy’s play back earlier in the season. I didn’t particularly enjoy Michael taking Holly down a trip of memory lane, if only because my knowledge that Carell is leaving made it seem more manipulative than it probably was. That’s a real thing that someone would do in a situation like this so I can’t really fault the episode for my stupid hang-ups. And yeah, the whole office participating in Michael’s proposal will probably annoy some people who hope this series keeps up THE REALISM or something, but I mean these are the people who danced at Jim and Pam’s wedding and all came to Andy’s play. We’ve already been down this road enough that it’s probably just time to let it go and enjoy the charm and grace of the moment. Thankfully, the episode did hold on to that moment for too long and made sure to pay off the ridiculous amount of candles everyone had stupidly decided to set up around the office. By the end of it all, Michael and Holly are soaking wet, but they’re engaged and it couldn’t be better.

Oh. Right. Also, Michael is moving to Colorado with Holly so that they can take care of her parents. Bombshell! I’m really interested to see how people react to the series’ exit strategy for its lead character, but this is as good as it could have been if you wanted a happy ending, I think. There might be an argument for the fact that it came out of nowhere, but you know what? That’s life. Things happen, big decisions have to be made in an instant and when you’re in love, that’s what happens. The fact that the series kept to its grounded roots in this instance probably made me happier than anything else in this episode. Sure, it might have been interesting to have Michael go out on a miserably compelling note, but that’s just not this series and not American television. Michael Gary Scott deserves his happy ending with Holly in Colorado and he’s going to get it.

Other thoughts on tonight’s episode:

  • Though the proposal plot dominated my review, I found the garage sale conceit to be a very good one. In fact, I liked it so much that I kind of wish it wasn’t used in an episode with so much other great stuff going on.
  • Jim has been enjoying himself a lot more in recent episodes, especially when screwing with Dwight. It’s totally immature and childish, but I approve. Never change, Jim.
  • Dwight’s bartering was well-executed as well. He was Dwight-like without moving too far into the cartoon world.
  • Ryan DOES have so many business ideas.
  • I would never play a board game with Kevin. Dude’s good.
  • Interesting that NBC brought the series back for this ONE episode and now it’s gone again until April 14.

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