Andy on “The Office,” Ed Helms has always had his work cut out for him. On the one hand, his character is a painfully annoying man, the kind of coworker that could easily drive a sane person to violence. On the other hand, audiences are still asked to sympathize with his constant attempts to find love. Last night’s episode was his chance to shine, and Ed Helms pulled it off convincingly.
Take a look at the review to find out why…
- Writer: Charlie Grandy
- Director: John Stuart Scott
- Cast: Steve Carell, Ed Helms, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey
Episode Title: “Andy’s Play”
Andy has always been one of the more, er, “theatrical” character on “The Office,” often speaking in exaggerated accents and breaking out into song. These tendencies are given what Pam calls “context” when Andy invites his coworkers to see him perform in a local theater production of Sweeney Todd. His plan is to impress Erin and win back her love, but Jim and Pam hire her as a babysitter for the night (although she decides to arrive, baby in tow, towards the end of the show anyway). Michael, on the other hand, is bitter over having not been given the role of Sweeney Todd when he auditioned earlier in the month, and gets slightly drunk during the play, resulting in his typical obnoxious behavior.
- Ed Helms: This guy can act, make no mistake about it. Anyone who is familiar with his character on “The Office” can tell that he’s spent some time on stage in his life, and if this episode was simply a roundabout way for him to show off his talents, there aren’t any complaints over here.
- Law & Order: Each episode of “The Office” ends with a short scene, maybe a few seconds long, designed to get one last laugh in. This time around, a minor joke that was made earlier in the episode is elaborated on when we see Michael auditioning at for the local theater group by reciting an episode of “Law & Order.” Including the opening narration (“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups,” etc). His stupidity and complete lack of social skills are never easy to believe, but this show probably jumped the shark in that regard a long time ago. Might as well enjoy the laughs.
- Stanley: Everyone always cites Jim and Pam as the two “normal” people working in the office, but that’s a nice lie we tell ourselves. The only realistic character is Stanley, whose “I’ll go to work, but don’t ask me to enjoy it” attitude is reflective of how most actual office workers feel. His reluctance to give a standing ovation at the end of Andy’s play isn’t rude, it’s simply what most people would be feeling in that situation.
- Dwight’s Knife: The episode opens with Andy and his fellow cast members arriving at the office in costume as they market their production. However, they also bring along props in the form of fake razor blades. A quick but effective gag is thrown in when Dwight is seen slowly backing away from them, a very real knife held carefully at his side.
- The Cell Phone: A scene in which Andy’s cell phone goes off in the middle of a performance is awkward, embarrassing, and goes on for far too long.
- Michael’s Behavior: Michael is getting more and more difficult to like as the series goes on, and his behavior in this episode isn’t helping. Still upset over not being cast in the show, when the production is over and everyone is taking their bows, Michael audibly “boos” the man who played Sweeney Todd. It’s one thing to see Michael drunkenly squirm as he watches the show. It’s another thing to deal with him being a petty jerk. Nothing funny about that.
A nice episode to showcase the talents of Ed Helms. Sure, his situation with Erin needs to go somewhere definitive, but in the meantime, as long as “The Office” can make us laugh, it’s well worth tuning in to.
“The Office” airs on NBC every Thursday night!
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