the office recapping: the incentive

By: Joe Finch

Photo courtesy of

Ponder for a minute a failed relationship you have had at some point in your life. Reminisce about what made you care so greatly in the first place; what made you laugh, what triggered that permanent grin on your face. Now, fast forward a few years, long after the honeymoon phase has subsided. Think about the predictability, the annoying habits, and the lack of excitement that has gradually crept up and tarnished that once infallible bond. Eight years in the making, I finally had a realization hit me last night while watching the newest installment of The Office –the thrills are gone.

The introduction provides a couple of chuckles, as Kevin explains his new time management strategy of eliminating unnecessary words and syllables. As he practices his new language (sounds eerily similar to early Native American stereotype), the office tries to decipher his fragmented sentences, which ironically, takes up a great deal of time.

As the show commences, Darryl shares with his coworkers that he and his ex-wife are back together (she makes an appearance at the office later on in the episode, where she is greeted by all, but is intentionally only introduced to Jim and Oscar), Andy continues with his struggles of being manager, and Dwight reveals that he will no longer contribute much to the team, in hopes that Andy will fail. As if those plotlines aren’t already snooze-worthy enough, the writers continue to befuddle us with their one- trick pony antics.

Robert continues to give misplaced speeches throughout the show that have no real message, although somehow the writers find it plausible that intellects like Jim would be inspired by the meaningless banter.

Andy is a virtual carbon copy of Michael in every facet. His supposedly unorthodox style is in every way shaped by his former boss, as he demonstrates the same unconventional meetings, lack of awareness, and overall buffoonery that exemplified Michael. In this episode, Andy interrupts Dwight’s meeting so that the staff can choose a tie for him, sits on Jim’s desk as he asks people for ideas on doubling profits (since he has no idea himself), and ultimately comes up with a points reward system (some of the prizes include a stuffed polar bear, a vibrator, and a maternity shirt) to inspire the troops to make more sales. The Scranton branch has zero interest in the prizes, until Andy ups the ante and says that he will get a tattoo of their choice on his derriere, to the delight of the roused workers.

For the first time in the history of the show, the office looks functional, successful and highly energetic, which is hysterical when thinking about the motivation that is driving them. That original feel of newfound energy however, is a sad reminder to viewers that the writers have themselves become the same lackadaisical workers they have created.

The eighth season has just begun, but in my head, my relationship with this paper supplier is over. Like many relationships, these feelings will probably linger on, and I will still stick it out, even knowing the inevitable outcome. It might drag on for weeks, months, maybe years, until one day, I will build up the courage to walk away, and maybe find a new show that makes me smile like Dunder Mifflin once did.


Jim – “Kev, are you saying see the world or Sea World.”

Kevin – “When me President, they see. They see.”

Dwight  While speaking to Oscar  “Your friend Neil Patrick Harris made me laugh the other night.”

AndyGreeting Robert “Hi dad.”

Robert – “This coffee is cold.”

Erin – “It’s old. I asked if you wanted a cold beverage and you said coffee.”

Kelly – “Why is it all kids stuff and a vibrator?”

Stanley – “You’ve got to unleash the power of the pyramid.”

Andy – “Let’s ink my stink.”

Andy – “My heart belongs to music. But my ass –belongs to these people.”

Andy – “Invest in softer cotton, sir.”

Robert – “There’s something about an underdog that really inspires the unexceptional.”

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