The Office exposes its film crew

The Office has finally done what it promised to do in this, its (mercifully) final season: revealing the crew behind the scenes of the documentary or reality TV show that has been following the office staff for years. The clip is below; read on if you’ve already watched or already given up on a show that seemed to have given up completely last year and has rebounded only every so slightly as it heads toward its finale.

Actor Chris Diamantopoulos, who’s had roles on 24 and The Sopranos, among other shows, appeares in the final minutes as Brian, a boom mic operator who convinces the crew to stop filming after Pam has a fight over the phone with Jim. Pam actually directly addresses Brian, breaking the fourth wall, at least of the documentary within the TV show.

Of course, the show has consistently broken the fourth wall–if it can be called that–since its first season, with cast members acknowledging the cameras and being interviewed by producers, though the series itself hasn’t given it much thought beyond those two things. For example, there’s never really any continuity to where camera crews should be standing, so when the angle changes it’s like a camera has just disappeared from the room.

That the characters being filmed have developed some kind of relationship with the crew certainly makes sense, though there are many reasons why a crew member would have crossed the line like this earlier, from the crew protecting their own safety to other kinds of emotional breakdowns. So, the sudden acknowledgement does feel last-season gimmicky rather than organic. (Then again, so does the meta casting of Ben Silverman, the show’s executive producer–and executive producer of many reality series such as The Biggest Loser, never mind former NBC entertainment president–as a co-worker of Jim’s.)

I’m interested to see where it goes, though, if only because I am not very invested in any of the characters any more. There are flashes of their former selves, and some of the episodes have been decent this season. Still, the intense love I once had for The Office and its lovable characters is now focused on Parks and Recreation, which is often better than The Office was at its peak.

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