We’ve had a pretty uneven season of “The Office” so far, with numerous subplots (Holly, Danny, Erin) all going nowhere and the comedy being generally inconsistent. Last night was almost a return to form, thankfully. While certain characters were annoying when they were supposed to be funny, the script got enough jokes in there to keep us entertained. Read the review for a closer look…
- Director: Ken Whittingham
- Writer: Jon Vitti
- Cast: Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms, Ellie Kemper
Episode Title: “Viewing Party”
Gabe and Erin invite the entire office over to his apartment to watch the latest episode of “Glee.” When Michael learns that some of his employees consider Gabe to be their new boss, he takes it personally and tries to sabotage the party. Pam brings over Cici and discovers that Dwight has an uncanny ability to calm her baby down. Andy, still jealous of the relationship between Erin and Gabe, ingests a large amount of a “Chinese sea horse powder” that is supposed to increase male virility but in fact has far worse effects.
- Pre-credits: “The Office” has been on fire with the brief pre-credits scenes this season. Aside from a musical number in the first episode, they’ve all been pretty entertaining, and that pattern continues this week when everyone in the office is fixated on the in-progress capture of the notorious Scranton Strangler. When the police chase roars right by their building, Michael collects some gravel from the road with the intention of giving it to his granchildren one day so they can sell it and “go buy a nice spaceship.” Seriously.
- Gleeks: As it turns out, a number of workers in the office happen to be pretty obsessed with “Glee,” and if you know anyone who is into that show, their dedication can be pretty funny. When Jim checks the scores of a sports game during a commercial break and causes everyone to miss a few minutes of the episode, their concern borders on the unhealthy.
- Dwight: Is there any episode that isn’t made better by a hefty dose of Dwight Schrute? When he asks Pam, “Are you going to quiet that baby down or will I have to?,” it sounds like a rude comment, but hey, turns out he’s very good at getting babies to be still. Like so many of his other bizarre skills, this one comes from an old Schrute family tradition in which the oldest child was forced to raise all of the younger ones.
- Andy’s jealousy: With the Jim and Pam storyline at a dead end–seriously, it’s not like they’re going to get a divorce or anything–the writers have been trying to milk some drama out of the other potential romances, but everything seems to be fizzling out. Do we want Andy to get with Erin? Sure, but we’re not as emotionally invested in this relationship as we were in some of the others. Perhaps this is because although Erin is cute, that’s all she is. There’s no character there so it’s hard to tell what draws Andy to her.
- Oh, Michael: Michael slips back into his recent habit of being a malicious idiot this week. His antics in the past seemed like they were the result of complete social ignorance. Now they’re just the result of bitterness and bad intentions. We groan a little inside when we see him trying to ruin Gabe’s party. It’s childish behavior and it doesn’t add much comedy to the episode.
While it’s still weak compared to classic episodes, this felt a little more like “The Office” that we were used to a couple of years ago. Aside from Michael being a self-centered jerk and Andy being involved in a love triangle that’s not going anywhere, there were some great laughs anyway, and that’s what we want most from a sitcom.
“The Office” airs every Thursday night on NBC!
What did you think of last night’s episode? Where is this Andy/Erin situation going? Share your opinion in the comments!