WARNING! SEVERE SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ UNTIL AFTER WATCHING THE OFFICE EPISODE "GARAGE SALE"!
I admit it. I cried like a baby while watching this week's episode of NBC's The Office. It started when Michael (Steve Carell) begins taking Holly (Amy Ryan) on a tour of all the places that played an important role in their relationship in the Dundler-Mifflin building. That place is Michael's life, and it only makes sense that his true love would share his fondest memories there. It got worse as Michael opens the door and reveals the staff, all of whom have shown up to support him. Truly, his family, there to shower the two with love and share in their special moment. Of course she says yes! She has to! Though I knew the announcement would eventually come, but didn't expect it to come right then, Michael tells his co-workers he is leaving the company, leaving them, and they all stare back, speechless and stunned.
It is necessary to walk through those moments again, certainly among the most powerful The Office has yet produced, to get just how great this is. For all the squabbles and antics the staff of Dundler-Mifflin goes through, they are a tight-knit group. When it was announced long ago that this would be Steve Carell's final season with the show, it was a sad day indeed. But it didn't really sink in to me until Michael broke the news to the other characters. Their looks tell it all. I'm tearing up just remembering it. Their boss, leader of the gang of misfits, is going away. They are just beginning to cope, and now it's time for us, the fans, to do the same.
The fact that the writers chose to bundle that news with Michael's proposal to Holly make the emotional impact a double punch. One second, it is tears of joy pouring forth, the next, tears of sorrow. A better time could not have been chosen to make the biggest possible impact. When Michael is fondest in our hearts, they rip him away. I am not complaining; it's the gripping intensity that made the scene so good. Michael still has a few episodes left (Holly will be leaving sooner), but now there's an end in sight. A ticking clock, if you will. Evey moment that Michael Scott is on screen from now until the end will be infused with sadness at his imminent departure. Keep the tissues handy.