Commentary: Commitment, It’s So Hot Right Now

The Office (NBC)

The Office (NBC)

As if you needed further proof that times have changed: tonight’s sure-to-be tear jerking edition of ‘The Office’—y’know, the one where Jim and Pam finally get married!—is taking place on the second Thursday of October, far away from the warm embrace of sweeps week. What should be the biggest narrative moment in the history of the show—something perhaps even reserved for the series finale—is being treated like just another episode. And at this point, that’s how it should be treated.

The Jam Wedding comes on the heels of Robin and Barney hooking up and, thus far, staying together on ‘How I Met Your Mother;’ Mike and Susan marrying—for a second time—on ‘Desperate Housewives;’ Meredith and Derek cementing their nuptials with a Post-It Note on ‘Grey’s Anatomy;’ Chuck Bass telling Blair Waldorf those three little words on ‘Gossip Girl;’ and even Eric and Sloan finally getting engaged after three seasons on ‘Entourage.’ In 2009, it seems that pairing together key couples—often till death do they part—and keeping them together has become the thing to do for show runners.

Jenna Fischer previews Pam & Jim’s big day!

The era of Ross-and-Rachel-will-they-or-won’t-they-we-were-on-a-break!-rinse-and-repeat, has just about ended.

Watch a clip of tonight’s Office wedding toast below:

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And thank goodness for that! Unrequited love affairs are great, to a point, but they eventually wear out. I can’t help but think of the famous dictate that Alan Alda’s character in ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’ utters: “If it bends, it’s funny; if it breaks, it isn’t.” Adjusting that edict for television shows: when destined-to-be-together couples like Jim and Pam play emotional footsie with each other for seasons on end, it won’t just break a series; it will shatter it beyond repair.

The reason shows like ‘Moonlighting’ and ‘Lois and Clark’ failed wasn’t necessarily because they finally allowed their couples to hook up, but because they waited too long to do so. Despite the conventional wisdom that coupling is the death knell for a television series—the Cousin Oliver before Cousin Oliver arrives—it actually winds up revitalizing the proceedings. Once ‘The Office’ committed to the love story that is “Jim and Pam: The Couple”—their engagement, their first home, their first pregnancy—what was a series in creative lull during season four, picked up again.

Take a sneak peek at Michael Scott’s wedding gift for Jim and Pam:

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So whether your favorite television couple is Jim and Pam or House and Cuddy or Jack and Kate, when they finally say “I do,” raise a glass and wish them well. At the very least, they’ll live happily ever after. And if not, there’s always the sweeps week divorce.

Three More Inches

CBS picking up full season orders for freshman hits ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ and ‘The Good Wife’ was the biggest fait accompli of the fall. Is it just me or does CBS seem to have one of the highest hit rates when it comes to their new series?

Thursday is only day two of the Major League Baseball playoffs and I’m already tired of the TBS promos for ‘Lopez Live.’ George Lopez, you are officially the Frank Caliendo of 2009.

And finally… Jane Adams, I love your work on ‘Hung,’ but: you are not famous enough to get away with forgetting to pay a $13 check. That you got the waiter who complained about your actions on Twitter fired is neither here nor there; if everyone I know can remember to pay his or her restaurant bill, you should be able to as well.

Check out a couple more clips from tonight’s Office wedding, below:

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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