10 Reasons Why I Hated Season 8 Of The Office


(Note: This post originally appeared on my new TV-related blog, What Is Lisa Marie Watching Tonight?)

This has been a truly depressing television season for me and it all comes down to one show.  For seven season, I loved the Office.  Even when it wasn’t at it best, it was still the show that I based my Thursday nights around.  And yet, as I watched the finale of eighth season of The Office last night, I breathed a sigh of relief once it was finally over.  Why?  Because season 8 was not only the worst season of the Office so far but it was also one of the worst seasons of television that I’ve ever sat through. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I knew that this season of The Office (the first without Steve Carell’s iconic Michael Scott) would be a rough one.  However, nothing could have prepared me for just how bad season 8 would become.  Looking back over season 8, it’s a struggle to remember one memorable line or moment that made me laugh out loud.  Instead, most of my memories center around being annoyed that the show that I loved could have possibly become so …. bad.

In the future, I’m going to write a post detailing how I would have handled the first post-Carell season of The Office.  But before I write that post up, I want to take a few moments to highlight 10 reasons why I hated season 8 of the Office.

(And, believe me, it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to just ten…)

1) Andy Bernard

I have to admit that my heart sank a little bit when, during the Season 8 premiere, it was revealed that the show would now center around the character of Andy Bernard.  Even before Steve Carell left the show, I always dreaded any episode that revolved around Andy.  Andy, who started out as such a perfectly annoying villain in season 3, had developed into a rather pathetic and needy character and Andy-centric episodes were usually the weakest of their respective seasons.  It didn’t help that Ed Helms — who is a great character actor — has a tendency to go overboard whenever cast in a lead role.

So, I knew from the start of the season that I wouldn’t be totally happy with Andy Bernard as manager but I had no way of guessing just how much I would eventually come to despise the character.  Whether he was weakly pursuing Erin or cruelly dumping his previous girlfriend twice in one day or failing to sue Robert California for giving his job away to Nellie, Andy proved himself to be just as stupid as Michael Scott but also a hundred times more pathetic.  It was impossible to root for Andy because so many of his problems were of his own creation.  As needy as Andy was as a character, Ed Helms was just as needy as a performer and every time he showed up on-screen, I felt like he was begging me to love him as opposed to giving me a reason to do so.  It didn’t help that the show’s writers devoted three or four episodes to having everyone in the Office basically spend half an hour tellings us that Andy was a great manager and we really should love him.

At the end of last night’s finale, Andy — after being unemployed for the last few episodes — got his job back in the least plausible way imaginable.  Instead of firing Nellie, he gave her a new job and then he flashed that big, toothy grin of his.

Fortunately, for the first time during season 8, he resisted the temptation to break out into song.

2) Nellie

Nellie showed up during the second half of the season and essentially appointed herself as the new manager of the office.  It was a plot development that made no sense and it was hard not to feel like the show’s producers were trying to force the audience to love Tate as much as they did.   

Yes, the writers of The Office love Catherine Tate and maybe the audience would love her to if  Nellie, the character she was playing, had any real reason for existing beyond the fact that the writers wanted to work with Catherine Tate. 

Since Tate had no real reason to be on the show, it was hard not to resent the amount of screentime that was devoted to her.  It’s also hard to look forward to the fact that it appears that she’ll be an even more prominent character during season 9.

3) Robert California

At the start of Season 8, we were informed that Robert California (played by James Spader) had somehow managed to talk his way into being named CEO of Sabre.  We were told that he was a mysterious, charismatic figure who might be a genius.

Instead, he turned out to be just another inconsistent character whose personality changed from episode to episode until finally, he was revealed to be so pathetic that he couldn’t even handle Nellie declaring herself to be the new regional manager.  In his first few appearances, James Spader brought his trademark quirkiness to the role but then, once it became apparent that show’s writers couldn’t be bothered to figure out who Robert California actually was, Spader pretty much gave up on giving a performance.  Instead, he just became a name actor getting paid a lot of money to do not much of anything.

And yet the writers still insisted on trying to convince us that Robert California was an interesting character.  The first half of the season was largely devoted to the character.  We went to his mansion, we met his soon-to-be ex-wife, and we continually found ourselves wondering why the CEO of a Florida-based corporation was spending all of his time in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Robert California (and James Spader) will not be back for Season 9.  In the final episode, Robert California announced that his latest business venture would involve young women from Eastern Europe.  It was an unfunny end to an unfunny character.

4) Kevin and Erin: Just How Dumb Are They?

This has been an issue for a while but it really became obvious (and annoying) as things got more and more cartoonish during Season 8.  Erin and Kevin both seem to be stupid when the plot calls for it and just dumb when the plot doesn’t.  It wouldn’t be so much of a problem if not for the fact that there’s no logic to their occasional stupidity.  It’s never been firmly established just how stupid either one of them is and, as a result, their inability to understand the simplest of things feels more like lazy writing than anything else.

With Erin, this is an issue because this season was largely built around Andy pursuing her.  For a plot like that to be effective, you have to care about the characters and to care about the characters, you have to see some sort of vague reality in them even when they’re threatening to go over the top.

As for Kevin — well, where to begin?  Remember how, in the earlier seasons, Kevin seemed like he actually had the most active life out of the office of any of the people working there?  He would show up with a jaunty little hat on his head and he would drop hints about being addicted to gambling.  He was even the drummer in not one but two cover bands!

Now, he’s just another moron in the corner.

5) Angela and the Senator

Yes, we get it.  The senator’s gay.  It was funny the first four times that various characters went, “The senator’s gay!” but now, it just feels like a lazy punchline. 

Wouldn’t it have been fun to see Angela and the Senator’s wedding?  Seriously, this is a show that had a tradition of funny wedding episodes but, when given the perfect opputunity,  the show’s writers ignored a chance to showcase one of the strongest members of the original supporting cast.  Instead, Angela (and so many others) were just pushed off to the side so that we could spend more time with Robert California.    

6) What Does Jim Have To Smirk About?

Seriously, the man’s stuck in a rut.

7) When Did Pam Give Up On Being An Artist?

Whenever I watch reruns of The Office, I’m surprised by how much I relate to Pam.  That’s mostly because the Pam of the first few seasons seems to have very little in common with the  Pam of the 7th and 8th seasons.  Do you remember when Pam was an artist and, even more importantly, do you remember how great it was to watch as she finally started standing up for herself and following her dream during the first four seasons?

As I watched this last season, I thought about that wonderfully sweet scene from seasons past when Jim showed Pam the “artist’s studio” that he had set up in the garage.  And I wondered if that art studio was still sitting in the garage, untouched since Pam has apparently decided to give up on her dreams and just spend all of her time obsessing on the people that she works with.

8) What do Ryan and Gabe do all day?

Like seriously. 

9) Val (and others)

Seriously, what was the point of Val’s character this season?  If you’ve watched the entire season, do you know anything about Val beyond the fact that Darryl developed a crush on her?  I didn’t even catch that her name was Val until around her fifth appearance.  Obviously, the show’s writers expected us to take some sort of emotional stake in Darryl’s attempts to woo her but they never bothered to figure out just who exactly Val was meant to be.   

The same can be said, of course, of just about every new character on The Office this season.  Can you remember the name of the woman who Andy dumped so he could (finally) be with Erin?  How about Cathy, the girl who, out of nowhere, tried to seduce Jim and then mysteriously vanished from the show? 

Admittedly, this problem didn’t start with season 8.  Starting back in season 5, the Office developed a bad habit of carefully introducing and then randomly abandoning characters and plotlines.  (Remember Danny, the superhot traveling salesman played by Timothy Olyphant?)   However, it’s never bothered me in the past quite as much as it did during season 8.  Past seasons at least had someone there to anchor the show even when the writers seemed to get distracted.

And that leads me to the tenth reason why I hated season 8 of The Office

 10) No Michael Scott

That, I think, pretty much says it all.

57 responses to “10 Reasons Why I Hated Season 8 Of The Office

  1. I like Andy as manager. I’ve always thought he was a funny and underused character, but really, that’s the only thing I disagree with.

    I’m actually quite sick of all the new characters this show keeps trying to introduce. What was wrong with the original cast? Yes, Michael is gone now, which is a huge hole, but did it really need to be filled? Jim, Dwight, and Andy (along with the rest of the supporting cast) are funny enough as it is. Why did they need ridiculous and/or useless characters like Erin, Gabe, Nellie, Robert California, Cathy, Val, Nate, the old lady and her son in Tallahassee, etc. What was wrong with just using the characters they already had, but just using them more?

    And now, the new Dwight spinoff means that Dwight will be leaving the show, only to be replaced by several other new characters, according to reports. It’s getting seriously annoying and tiresome. It’s almost like with Michael gone, the show’s writers are trying too hard to be funny. Just let the original cast have a chance to shine without being overshadowed by Steve Carell instead of trying to fill the gap he left behind with these weirdos, bland characters, and odd situations.

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  2. I think Lisa got this right on the mark. Ed Helms was picked ONLY because of him being in The Hangover. It was a horrible choice for The Office though. And Mr. California could have been soooo great but the writers had no idea where to go with his character. Erin was the best thing to happen in season 8.

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  3. I have to say something, I don’t care if it’s a year later. Nellie showed up before Season 8, she had interviewed for the position of Manager. She came in talking about knocking down cubicles and a bunch of other wild ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually grew to like Nellie during Season 9. Catherine Tate’s performance seemed a lot less forced and I think that the writers finally figured out a way to use her uniquely odd screen presence to the show’s advantage.

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  4. I feel like Steve Carell left the show just as it started getting stupid. In all seriousness Erin alone ruins the show for me.

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    • Erin was my favorite new character of Season 8. But that’s probably because she was introduced in Season 7.

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  5. Very very very biased review. But I guess that’s why you used the word “I” in the title. Did not enjoy this article as a few of your reasons were just fillers. Anything to bash on a show.

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    • All reviews, by their very nature, are biased. As for some of my reasons being filler — who are you to say what’s filler and what isn’t? The fact that you dismissed my reasons as filler would seem to indicate that you’ve posted a very, very, very biased comment.

      What I will say is this — I watched 9 seasons of the Office. I loved 7 of those seasons, liked one of them, and hated one. There’s a reason why the character of Robert California was never mentioned again after the finale of season 8.

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      • What is your problem? Every time someone disagrees with you, you ignite! It would be nice if other opinions were welcome on here. Yes, the reasons the person gave proving this was a biased review were a flop, but there is no need to rant about it.

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    • She plainly said several times that she loves the show, just not this particular season. You only posted that comment because you feel like your opinion is law and, in your mind, it’s the only one that matters. Why would she WANT to bash on the show when she loves it? It seems like, if anything, she wanted to like season 8 because why would you NOT want to enjoy a show you like? You acknowledge that this is an opinion-based article due to her using “I” …so why did you even have to say anything? Two words: “douche bag”
      I don’t give a fuck how late I am on this response, I’m sure you are still eating dicks all these months later.

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  6. The show always had its weaknesses but became absolute crap somewhere during the end of season 4 or mid season 5.
    When Micheal left it became one of the worst TV shows ever (and that’s saying A LOT).

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  7. I Like The robert calforina character, idk why. I hated erin. I mean the part where pam was like “Someone painted on my mural.” And erin was like “That what i thought you were doing.” “Well they painted over it.” “Oh.. they used worst paint then your paint.” And then pam was like “No, they painted where i didnt want paint.” And then erin was like “I thought you wanted paint everywhere.” To be honest….who is that stupid? And Ellie kemper portray of it, was such bad acting. I liked gabe, he was meant to be the awkward and creepy-not-like-creed-but-in-a-different-way.
    I USED-TO love andy. When we first meant andy he was the sport-videogamey dude who can sing. He is sort of cocky, and sort of like Annoying. and a kiss up. We all know somebody like that. Then he turned into the gay-not-gay-obsessive guy, like a girl would put her coat around him. We all know somebody like that. then he morphed into this jerk who only cares about himself, he was all over the place. I hated what they did to him. But i still didnt hate it so much, because we all know the jerk who only cares about himself, and all over the place but then they morphed into a poor dude. I felt so bad for the character.

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  8. And Kevin, the actor acting….was so awful. So fake, so forced, so asiuehlsoiakds…..Bleh!!! Like that person couldnt possible be real. I feel like all the original cast members actin were relastical…which were funny. Know merdith, kevin, got so over-the-top. I like Meredith, but seriously? Sometimes…to….fake. And Pam and Jim, are so annoying. Its like freaking break-up. I wanted them to cheat on each other. and know the new characters are fake expect for Gabe and Robert California.

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  9. season 8 was horrendous. It’s impossible to feel involved in the Andy-Erin relationship. Their characters are completely inconsistent from season 7 to season 8 which makes you wonder why they even want to go after each other.

    I also dont understand how Andy became such a needy and pathetic character. If this was because of his break-up with Angela, then the writers made a horrendous – absolutely horrendous – job of explaining it. It was just frustrating watching Andy being incapable of dealing with everyday common problems that a 15 year old could have solved. It made the show completely unrealistic without being funny.

    And then Robert California… Why was he even in Scranton so much? Doesn’t he have a job in Florida? His character was completely inconsistent and unlikeable. Like actually, why is he a CEO? Time and time again, he showed himself completely incapable of making a decision.

    And then Nellie… A complete disaster. Completely broke up the chemistry of the show and destroyed any humour. It makes no sense that she can just sit in someone else’s chair and say ‘I’m working here’ – and then expect the rest of the office to say ‘yep, ok,’ and then have Andy not able to say ‘that’s my job, get out’. Absolutely no sense.

    And then all the new characters like Val, Cathy (who disappeared), Jordan (who disappeared), Jessica (who appeared randomly and then was cut out for no reason). There was absolutely no consistency and continuity in this season in either plot or character. The Office started to decline about season 5-6 and by season 7-8 it became just another mediocre sitcom.

    Also, Pam’s sudden change in character to a ‘mini-Jim’ came out of nowhere. Not a fan, even if the actor probably asked for the change.

    I’m currently at episode 21 of season 8, and forcing myself through the rest is soo painful.

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    • Also, why did Ryan become this weird hipster nobody? Hes nearly 30 on the show and hes still a temp… like what does he actually do… His character wasn’t really important after corporate, so i’m not that concerned but whats the deal?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Well you are obviously not a true fan of the office. I, along with all other true fans of the funniest tv show of all time, think that james spaders character was hilarious and well executed and bobody else could captue the creepy, weird, yet hilarious character that is R.C. Kevin’s stupidity is what defines him and is why people think he’s funny, and with the sad departure of steve carrell from the show, people like dwight jim and pam were left to fill the gap of Michael scotts absence, simply the show needed another person who could be a key part of the show and that person was ed helms as andy. And he did an incredible job, also the 8th season was NOT centered around andy as you say in your review. Overall the writers and actors of the office handleed the departure of michael very well in season 8. I personally loved and enjoyed S.8. And thought it was better than some seasons with steve carrell still with the show.

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        • Funny how this anonymous account seems to complain on all of OP’s answers, be them needlessly angry or “ok, whatever”. Can you make your mind? haha

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    • I also loved season 8 but thought season 9 was garbage. Too much about Pam being upset with Jim over nothing. They also implied that she considered cheating on him which is ridiculous, especially after a marriage and two kids

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      • Keep in mind, Jim being in Philadelphia meant that Pam was alone with two very young kids, which can be very stressful. I thought her reactions were believable.

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  11. I think there had been a dip in quality for a while but series 8 was just unbelievably bad. I’m not sure how someone can say you’re not a “true fan” for being horrified at how bad it became. I guess in the end it was worth getting through it all for the excellent finale. Pretty much everything in the list is spot on, except I would focus more blame on Kathy Tate. Awful character and Tate doing her usual “ooh look at me I’m doing something” schtick. Jim and Pam had been becoming increasingly smug for years. Erin is an irritant and I never cared about Andy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Also agree with the Jim Pam smug comment. Pam especially became quite bitchy after the first kid. She used to be one of my favorite characters. Writers really changed the characters personalities as timr went on

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I agree with many points but Robert California was a hilarious character. Don’t understand why people hate him.

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  13. Just stumbled upon this. Its funny how bad people thought season 8 was at the time, little did they know season 9 would be 10 times worse – makes season 8 look gold.

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  14. The show had to evolve ….. had it remained the same as the first few seasons everyone would have been sick of them ‘rehashing the same old shit’ and complained too.

    Pam changed throughout, from shy to confident to apathetic, like Jim, and the rest of the office staff. Why wouldn’t she (start to lose hope)? She was going nowhere. She had Jim, which was great for her, but, that was about it. Same for Jim. He hated his job and life, except for Pam. I know this was written before season 9, and the great wrap up for Jim and Pam together – but I always enjoyed how Jim and Pam were portrayed, season after season.

    Robert California was kind of a low point. I enjoyed him somewhat, but he should have had a 4 to 6 episode arc and be done. And Nellie was so obnoxious it was like Michael, Andy and Dwight if those three characters were mixed together, turned u p to 11, and were insane.

    Overall, while season 8 may have been weaker compared to the early years, it wasn’t too much different from the years just prior – only Michael Scott free. Since Michael Scott was my 4th or 5th favorite on the show (I loved him – just not #1) behind Jim, Pam, Dwight, Daryl and maybe even Andy I don’t think I missed him as much as others who loved the show.

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  15. It was bad when Nellie came on board …. most ridiculous episode where she assumes the office manager job and just gets to have it. She was awful in season 8 – terribly written and stupid character. They realized it by season 9 and downgraded her screen time and more importantly her overall character.

    R. California was weird, but at least fun at times. She was pure suck ….

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  16. i disagree with this:

    1) Andy isn’t that bad. i only disliked him when he left for the boat trip, and then came back, but thats in season 9. was erin and andy’s romance interesting? no. but it definitely does not make it ‘one of the worst seasons of television’.

    2) nellie is fucking awesome. yes she was a little annoying the first time i watched her steal andys job, but she grew on me. after rewatching the series for the hundredth time, i find she is awesome. i realise a lot of americans dont like her because they dont understand british humour.

    3) i didn’t really like robert california either. so I’m not gonna defend him

    4) i can’t believe you dont like kevin. he is one of the shows best characters (although they are all amazing, so that list is very long). yes he did get dumber, but i still love him. on the other hand, i dislike erin. not because she’s dumb, i just dislike her character.

    5) im not sure if angela and the senator getting together would improve the show. then she and dwight would not have gotten together.

    6) doesn’t sound like you love the office to me, if you are starting to hate on jim

    7)good point i guess, not sure why they ignored it. instead the storyline focused on pam and jim’s relationship getting rocky. or at least implied, with the appearance of cathy. anyway, I’ve rewatched this so many times i dont remember where the seasons separate so maybe I’m talking about season 9 where their relationship gets rocky.

    8)i dont get why this is a complaint

    9)i dont think she was ever intended to have a lasting presence in the show. i never got the sense that the show was about daryl’s romances. i just thought she was a new character who was interesting/funny. especially that episode where gabe tries to hit on her.

    10) i agree with u

    i do agree with some things, but i completely disagree with how its one of the worst seasons of tv ever. the office, even at its worst, is still leagues above the majority of tv shows out there. and most tv shows do go downhill, so a little decline with the leaving of michael etc, is to be expected.

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    • and regarding the stupidity of characters, i think u can’t examine that too closely. it ruins the show.
      take dwight for example, he’s usually practically smart – knowledgeable and practical, but emotionally stupid. he believes michaels lies and gets really happy with michael makes a dumb joke. yet he was emotionally smart to realise pam was having a tough time with being office adminstrator so he helped her with the fake office building. and despite the practical smartness, he gets fooled by jim so easily. its all part of the show
      i could go into detail about kevin but I’m too tired now

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    • It’s not that American’s don’t “understand” British humor…maybe we just don’t like it. I understand it. I just don’t find it amusing. Granted that is an EXTREME generalization because of course I do like some British comedy, but since you used a generalization, I followed suit.

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  17. Erin and Andys romance destroyed the show. Erin in general and her actress apparently are one in the same. The actress for Erin likes being the “cute” “whimsy” one. The issue here is she just seem so fake when acting it out, it becomes obnoxious and an eye sore. Such a revolting character. I’m glad This show is over with. Seasons 1-7 were the best hands down. 8-9 is utter trash.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I had to stop watching that season – it was SO DESPERATELY UNFUNNY – they took the good characters and made them awful, they added characters who, as you mention were inconsistent or WORSE – and the show itself had NO reason to exist after Michael Scott left…a brilliant series that fell off a cliff at the end – and took us with them

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You do have to agree that Michael’s Scott relationship with Holly was extra boring. The comedic gold was in seasons 1-5, then it went downhill. I suspect that Steve Carrel knew this and that’s why he left.

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    • I can’t agree with the Holly relationship comment – it made sense given Michael was clueless about relationships and Holly was trying to make it happen. Not the funniest parts either, definitely, but helped building the Michael character for us.

      I do agree that Carrell might have smelled the show weirdnesses and left the boat without “explicit recommendations”, though.

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  20. Pingback: DiscoverNet | Characters That Almost Single-Handedly Ruined A Television Show

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