The suspense, irksomely, continues. On Thursday night's season finale, The Office continued its quest to replace Dunder Mifflin boss Michael Scott (Steve Carell, who left the show a few episodes ago). A "search committee" considered candidates played by guest-stars ranging from Warren Buffett and Jim Carrey to the supposed frontrunner, British actress Catherine Tate. In the end, no hiring decisions were made, delaying the big reveal until next season — a tedious cliffhanger that commentators called "disappointing." Was it really so bad?

It was a star-studded trainwreck: What a "bumpy, awkward, great big mess of a finale," says Alan Sepinwall at HitFix. Just as I feared, all the high-profile guest stars did "not fit comfortably into the world of the show." Will Arnett, Ray Romano, James Spader and others wandered in, did some schtick, and left. Spader aside, the big names disappointed.
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And way too long: With no more than 20 actually funny minutes, the hour-long finale demonstrated why sitcoms should stick to a half hour, says Matthew Gilbert at The Boston Globe. "Compression is an essential part of the format, and when shows like The Office stretch out they too often lose their sharpness." And way to annoy fans by not revealing the new boss. "This show is already past its prime, and NBC is running the risk of making us stop caring."
"The Office season finale"

Hey, it had its moments: Maybe Carell's final episode would have made for a better season finale, but there were still "a few good moments in last night's episode," says Julie Steinberg in The Wall Street Journal. Creed's lecturing a near empty conference room was amusing, and a subplot where Phyllis and Erin discover they might be related was "sweet." It wasn't all bad.
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