This week, I’ll be writing about songs featured in some of my favorite musical moments from some of my favorite TV shows. Be warned that I don’t shy away from spoilers.
The second and final series of The Office (UK) is a bleak masterpiece, subverting all of our expectations of storytelling arcs. The final episode ends with Dawn shutting down Tim off-microphone, David Brent getting fired, and nobody having learned very much.
It must have been tough to write, but I really admire it from an artistic perspective: the original Office was so committed to depicting a bland aesthetic that the starkly realistic (and downbeat) conclusions for our characters feel earned.
But I’m an American, and a sap, so of course I love second chances, redemption, and sentimental payoff. After initially promising that the dark ending of Series 2 would stick, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant delivered a Christmas special that’s one for the ages. Its novel framing, that the documentary of the first 2 series has aired, gives the story new life, just as awkward and tensely hilarious as the first two series.
But, unlike the original series, the Christmas special gives us a happy ending, most memorably Dawn finally realizing she wanted to be with Tim. The shot of Dawn returning to the office party is scored to the gorgeous “Only You” by Yazoo. The heart-tugging vocals of eternal longing add emotional depth to the scene, providing a rare moment of television perfection. (And pleasant irony, as no one around them seems to care they’ve finally got together.) It’s breathtaking, lovely, memorable, and a great ending to an all-time great show.