In only hours, The Office will be airing its final episode of its entire series.
The Office has been on for a long time. Definitely not long compared to other series, or certain soaps which have been on for several decades, but still long enough. In the series' universe, it's been nine years. It's actually only been eight - as a March mid-season replacement, the first season was only six episodes, with the second season beginning the same year.
Typically, in reality, a documentary crew would probably only have hung around for two episodes' worth of material, but instead they fictionally stuck around for an entire nine years. That's enough material for months of hour-long documentary specials. The final episode has the crew returning six months after the airing of the documentary; perhaps that's how long it took for them to air the entire nine-year production. I'm not going to do the math.
At the age of fourteen, I began watching the series by its second episode. I don't think I was exactly hooked on to it by then and only mildly interested, but I definitely started watching it constantly by the time it was halfway through its second season, becoming hooked on it by then. From then on I watched it every week, seeing almost every episode of all the seasons.
No one in the series is in any way similar to how they were when it started; all the characters have definitely matured and changed through the years. I'm almost surprised they managed to continue it this long without running out of ideas, but character development was always key in its longevity, especially after the huge Jim/Pam affair was largely resolved by the fourth season. In fact it's never been perfectly resolved, at least until the last episode, when he finally gave her a romantic note he'd written for her years ago to prove she was always everything to him.
It will be a very big send off for everyone involved. It's cool, I find, to look at all the time that's gone by...I hadn't even started high school when it debuted. It's ending the same year I finish college - after having returned to it a second time, with a year off in between.
A one-hour retrospective of the series will air before the actual super-sized episode, which will be interesting. Those things always are. It's almost 5pm. The workday is just about done. After eight years (nine in the series), it'll finally be over.
I'll miss it.