By: Joe Finch
Barring some fantastic quips and a couple of hilarious scenes, this week’s episode of The Office was sluggish enough to make a Gettysburg tour seem more exciting.
In yet another episode heavily dominated by Andy and his insecurities, he continues to try and convince people of his leadership by taking some of the “troops” on a field trip to Gettysburg. After delivering a long winded speech comparing war to paper sales, we are finally treated to some comic relief when Gabe is mistaken for Abraham Lincoln (which isn’t the first time). Gabe embraces his new role as the former President, and delivers a hysterical performance, tying his own suffering into the monologue.
While half the staff holds down the fort back in Scranton, Robert stops in and gives them an impromptu challenge to come up with new ideas, and adds that they should feel free to “get weird with it.” Well, that they do. Ryan comes up with an idea to invest in origami, the next big Japanese craze to hit America since sushi. Stanley underwhelms Robert with his idea of women’s paper, even after attempting to play the race card with it. The only idea that invigorates Robert comes from a very unlikely source—Kevin. Kevin’s analysis of cookie placement in the vending machine spurs Robert to shift the focus of their product line, and credits Kevin with the concept. However, Robert also learns about Kevin’s Big Mac idea (take one ingredient a day out of a Big Mac and save it, so that by week’s end you have a free Big Mac), and realizes his cookie pitch was not a metaphor, it was literally a cookie concern.
Back over at Gettysburg, Dwight adamantly insists that Schrute Farms was a bloodier battlefield, only to find out from a historian that Schrute Farms was a refuge site for dandies and dreamers. Meanwhile, Andy grows frustrated with the lack of enthusiasm shown by his underlings, and vents his frustrations to Jim and Darryl.
The show’s saving grace was incorporating the entire cast into the mix. Although it was mostly a toxic combination of Andy and Robert again, it had enough cameo shots to ease the pain. However, the pity party for Andy needs to stop. If the writers want us to move on from the Michael Scott era, then stop reminding us week after week that Andy is the new manager. Just let him be the boss and go about running the company.
Also, it is still so unclear what the developing storylines of the season are, if there are any at all. After last week’s episode, there was potential for a growing plot involving Jim’s health, which wasn’t addressed at all in this episode. Some sitcoms can get away with never really developing a lingering story, but The Office doesn’t have this luxury, considering they have had developing sagas for eight seasons.
The show has really been picking up lately in the comedic department, but came to a screeching halt with this episode. Then again, this should surprise no one, considering the writers chose “Gettysburg” as the optimal location to draw laughs.
Andy – “I can’t force you to go. You’re not my slaves. Thanks to Gettysburg.”
Ryan – “Robert, you got your sheep. You got your black sheep. And I’m not even a sheep. I’m on the freaking moon.”
Jim – “Of course we’re not tourists. We’re just people that aren’t from here that are taking a tour.”
Dwight – “Mad props to Gettysburg.”
Ryan – “Origami—it’s the sushi of paper.”
Stanley – “Paper for women. Pink, scented, and silky soft. Now, you can watch the game, and she can write a letter to her sister.”
Ryan – “Okay, we are now on a planet where Kevin is the most creative person around, and I am just some good looking guy.
Gabe – (performing as Abe Lincoln) “Perhaps a trip to the theater will enlighten my spirits.”
Phyllis – “All I had for breakfast was oatmeal, yogurt, coffee, orange juice and toast—two poached eggs and half a sandwich on the bus.”
Jim – “I’m wearing a very pink hat. I’ve been getting weird looks all day because I’m pretty sure ‘DM Does GB’ means something sexual.”