When a show jumps the shark

Most of my favorite TV shows are canceled after two or three seasons, thus forcing a series finale that is usually good and ends on a proper note. This includes “Arrested Development,” “Party Down” and “Twin Peaks.” With the exception of “Party Down,” the rest did have moments of absurdity that one could claim the show “jumped the shark.”
Then there are the shows that just last and last or get so convoluted that they deserve to be canceled. “The Sopranos” certainly lasted a season or two too long. “Heroes” got so ridiculous in the final season I was actually happy to see it canceled.
But recently I watched what should have been the final season of the American version of “The Office,” which was last season when Michael Scott (Steve Carell) leaves his job at Dunder Mifflin. The episode when he leaves and heads off to Colorado should have been the logical ending to what seems to be a seven-year-long mockumentary about a paper company in Scranton, Pa.
What followed was a strange and absurd series of episodes in which the company tries to find a new manager. In a two- part episode, the plot is the interviews with people for the job, which was a celebrity cameo madhouse including Warren Buffet, Jim Cartey, Ray Romano and another cameo from series creator Ricky Gervais, who reprised his character David Brent from the original “Office.” Gervais played Brent in one of Carell’s final episodes, bumping into Scott at a hotel. It was a nice nod and wink for fans of both series. The second appearance was just goofy and made no sense.
That’s when “The Office” jumped the shark. It was embarrassing and did not seem planned out very well. Why is the show still going when the main character leaves and what are the chances of succeeding? Having watched the first couple of episodes from the current season on Hulu, it’s not going well at all.
This is a problem for many shows. They never know when to end. “The Simpsons” have not been funny since Bill Clinton was president. “Cheers” could have ended after Diane left. A lot of shows simply keep going and eventually lose quality with it.
Perhaps “The Office” may beat this stigma, and I hope it does. But I wouldn’t put money down on it lasting another season after the current one, if this season doesn’t get the axe before then.

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