After getting off to an awful start, season seven of The Officehas been shaping up to be very satisfying. It’s nice to see Michael finding true love–this episode takes a few more steps in that direction–even if that means he’ll be leaving us soon. Fortunately, the writing has become funny again and while this episode won’t be a classic, it makes you realize that “The Office” is still worth watching.

The Players:

Episode Title: “The Seminar”

With AJ out of the picture for the time being, Michael starts spending more time with Holly. In the meantime, Andy needs to boost his sales so he holds a seminar for local small business owners with the intention of selling them paper, and he enlists the help of other office members to share some business tips. Erin tries to defeat Gabe in Scrabble and Oscar goes from lending a helping hand to dominating the game.

The Good:

  • Ricky Gervais: The appearance of David Brent is one of the best moments this show has had in a very long time. Nothing more needs to be said.
  • Michael and Holly: One of the main elements that dragged season seven down during the first few episodes was the fact that Michael, who had previously generated laughs by being awkward and lacking in basic social skills, had begun to simply act like a jerk with malicious intentions. We hate to refer to characters as if they were real people, but to be fair, Holly’s availability seems to have balanced Michael out. By assuming the character of a stereotypical Greek man (this kind of thing only happens on “The Office”) Michael starts to just have fun again. It’s good to see.
  • Creed’s presentation: Creed exists on the show so the writers can practice some good old fashioned absurdest humor from time to time. The laughs he scores come from the fact that much of what he says and does is completely random. Take this episode, for example, where his presentation to the business owners attending the seminar included a speech about the Loch Ness monster that was entirely unrelated to business. In any other show we’d be surprised that a writer would even type something like that, for fear the joke would fall flat, but with Creed, it works perfectly.
  • Jim’s old friend: Jim avoids the seminar because a very old friend of his is in attendance, and he is afraid that a minor falling out that they had in elementary school might still affect their relationship. It sets up one of the best moments of the episode, when they do in fact bump into each other.
  • Kevin: Kevin running around the conference room in a circle while “Crazy Train” plays? Awesome.

The So-So:

  • Scrabble: This subplot is funny enough, but we know what to expect from the characters involved. Oscar, who thinks he is smarter than everyone else, will get too zealous about the game. Erin will continue to be cute but vacant; the writers need to give her some more substance.

The Bad:

  • Missing characters: Folks like Dwight and Darryl are in this episode, but their role is generally limited, and seeing as how those are two of the best characters on the show, we wish they had more to do.

Overall:

When the biggest complaint you can make about an episode is the fact that you kind of wish some characters had been featured more, then it was probably a pretty good episode. Such was the case with “The Seminar,” and while it may not have been the funniest episode ever, it was fairly consistent with the laughs.

Rating: 8/10

“The Office” airs every Thursday night on NBC!

Photo Gallery:

What did you think of last night’s episode? Tell us in the comments!