‘The Office’ introduces new storylines, characters

John Sturgeon

When “The Office” was at its best, the show blended elements of a soap opera with sheer lunacy to create a winning combination.

Throughout the first few seasons of the show, the plotting was near perfect as the comedy was top notch and the drama of whether Pam and Jim would ever get together was insanely fun to watch on a week-to-week basis.

At the end of Season 3, the show put the two lovebirds together and has essentially failed to come up with any compelling storylines in the past two years.

Season 4 featured some funny moments with Holly (Amy Ryan) coming in to work with Michael (Steve Carrell), but still a lot of the stories felt like re-treads, and there were no serialized elements outside of the Dwight/Angela/Andy love triangle.

Season 5 has been very similar to last season with occasional exceptions but no storyline for viewers to sink their teeth into and invest in these characters.

Finally a light went on inside the creative heads behind the show two weeks ago.

A game-changing storyline was introduced when Idris Elba came in as Charles, the new vice president of Dunder Mifflin.

Michael immediately ran into conflict with Charles’ no-nonsense personality and fled to David Wallace’s office in New York City, where he resigned from his post as regional sales manager.

Last week saw Michael disrupting work during the two-week grace period before his departure, drinking in the office, playing pranks on his staff and accomplishing nothing of any substance, like finding a new job.

One day he asks Pam to put Michael Scott Paper Company on the top of a piece of company paper and plots the formation of a new rival paper company.

What followed were several hilarious scenes showing Michael trying to convince his former office workers to join him in his new venture.

Charles throws Michael out, but Michael finds a way back into the building and crawls around to steal a few documents like a stealthy secret agent.

As he leaves for good, Pam shockingly decides to take him up on his offer, stipulating that she will go with him if she can stop being a receptionist and become a saleswoman.

Since he sees how happy she is, Jim lets her start this new adventure, and the show ends.

The possibilities with this new storyline are endless.

Charles comes from a different line of work and does not know Michael’s employees as well as Michael did, seen in his decision to put socially inept Kevin in charge of the phones and individual-minded Stanley as the new productivity czar.

The dynamics at Dunder Mifflin will be a joy to watch with these changes, as every character will be out of his or her comfort zone and striving to impress the new regime of management.

Meanwhile, Michael knows the paper business and how to sell. Obviously, he will try and convince others to join his new company.

Television journalist Michael Ausiello has confirmed that Ryan (B.J. Novak), the ex-temp worker, will be joining the Michael Scott Paper Company.

This new storyline provides several entertaining new directions in which the show can head in the next couple of years, and which could bring the show back to the glory days of Season 2, when the show won its only best comedy Emmy.

Steve Carrell has been fantastic this season and with this new direction, “The Office” has finally become a show you cannot miss once again.

“The Office” airs two new episodes next Thursday with one at 8 p.m. and another at 9 p.m. on NBC.