Rock’n Roll Musician, Ricky Nelson, once wrote a song based on an experience he had at Madison Square Garden. Nelson was booed off stage for trying out some new, unfamiliar tunes, instead of belting out his classics that the audience came to listen to. In response, Nelson wrote “Garden Party,” a song describing his realization that “you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.”
The concept behind that song could certainly be used as a metaphor for this week’s Office, which shares the same title. The show certainly isn’t delivering many hits these days, and the new beats and sounds are hardly recognizable to its core audience.
The writers nail the intro, as Andy finds out that his Sabre billboard campaign has been modified by vandals who apparently felt there wasn’t enough phallic representation in the original ads.
The show leads off with Andy planning a garden party, which will be held at the very prestigious Schrute Farms. It doesn’t take long to be reminded that the Office now marches to the beat of a different drummer, as Andy reveals a Youtube video of his brother (Josh Groban) and father (Stephen Collins) singing a duet. Once again, the cameo appearances are awkward and completely unwarranted.
We are treated to a glimpse of the past, as Jim and Dwight engage in their antics of yesteryear. Jim writes a “How to” book about throwing a garden party and anonymously dupes Dwight into purchasing it. Dwight’s compliance with the advice of the fictitious author, James Trickington, provides a few ridiculously funny scenes.
Robert California returns after a one show hiatus, and delivers a speech about how he contributes nothing to the office, and acknowledges that it is his employees that make everything work. Anyone that has ever watched the show prior to Robert’s arrival would probably concur with his assessment. His character continues to churn out the same spiel week after week, and yet the producers of the show seem quite satisfied with themselves, as the tired act continues on.
Transitioning from one overkilled theme to another, we find ourselves sympathizing with Andy for a third consecutive week. First, we had to hold his hand while he struggled with the complexities of being boss. Then, he needed coddling from everyone when he got his Nard Dog tattoo. Now, the focus once again shifts right back to him, as he desperately attempts to gain approval from his parents by throwing this “high society” shindig.
Ricky Nelson got booed off stage for trying something new. It didn’t work, but he attempted to break his roots in hopes that his audience would still be engaged. The Office producers simply used auto-tunes, without ever giving us the opportunity to cheer or jeer at a new concept. They settled on a lazy and repetitive script, because they knew they could. The ratings were always there, which meant the celeb cameos would be there, but for how much longer will the audience be there? Like the line in “Garden Party” goes, “you’ve got to please yourself.” Perhaps I will, by switching to a different channel.
Jim – “Announcing guests as they enter is the height of decorum. The more volume displayed, the more honor is bestowed upon everyone present.”
Jim – “One of the host’s most important duties is as dance master. A proper courtly dance sets the tone for an entire afternoon.”
Gabe – “I cannot believe I didn’t think of toasting Robert. Get in the game, Gabriel. Why are you talking to Stanley’s mistress?”
Ryan – “I’d like to make a toast. To the troops—all the troops—both sides.”
Andy – “You can’t triple toast someone.”
Jim – “The tableau vivant is not only welcome but expected entertainment at any garden party.”
Robert – “You know difference between a crying baby and a manager? One day the baby will grow up.”
Dwight – “I can get you exotic meats. Hippo steaks, giraffe burgers.”