By: Joe Finch
Maura Tierney, best known for her role as Dr. Abby Lockhart on ER, guest starred this week as Robert California’s wife, Susan. Unfortunately, even with her presence on set, the show still flat lined.
As usual, Robert continued his cat and mouse game with Andy, only this time, made the mistake of getting his wife tangled up in his lunacy. After initially ordering Andy not to hire Mrs. California under any circumstances, Robert then jumbled Andy’s mind with mixed signals, which ultimately led Andy to erroneously hiring her. With the bickering between Andy and Robert being so annoyingly overdone, it was sometimes hard to remember that Susan, not Andy, was Robert’s wife. Although there were no laughs provided from this trio, the groundwork for a potential tryst between Andy and the boss’s wife was laid (pun intended).
While the work triangle played out in the office, Dwight continued his entrepreneurial ways by opening “Dwight Schrute’s Gym for Muscles.” After renovating the gym (according to Darryl, the original setup looked like something out of Saw 5), Darryl agreed to join. With Dwight acting as his personal trainer, we learned that Darryl’s sudden fitness motivation was Val (from the warehouse, not Kilmer). Interestingly enough, this was the same woman that Gabe fell for in previous episodes.
The saving grace for laughs, and perhaps the funniest moment of the season, was Jim’s attempted escape from Dunder Mifflin headquarters. Realizing that he was about to be called into the conference room to settle Andy and Robert’s dispute, Jim ran out of the building, and right for his car. However, Robert’s call down to security foiled his getaway plan, as the gates closed as he tried to pull away. Totally out of character, Jim left his car unattended (and unlocked), and made his way up the fire escape, knowing that he was being chased down. Upon reaching the roof, he was greeted by Creed, who was casually operating a mechanical toy helicopter.
If it weren’t for that last scene, this could have potentially been the dullest episode of the entire eight seasons. They did take strides with the plot, if in fact something is brewing in the extramarital affair department. Also, we are in store for a Darryl/Gabe clash, which should make for great comedy. However, the writers used to find ways to setup storylines while still intertwining humor. These days, they sacrifice one for the other. If you want character progression, you can’t have slapstick, and vice versa.
Maybe this was the real reason Jim was trying so hard to escape.
Darryl – “I used to say I wanted to live long enough to see a black president. I didn’t realize how easy that would be. So now, I want to live to see a really, really gay president. Or a super model president. I wanna see all the different kinds of presidents.”
Dwight – “It’s the second easiest job in the world (sales). Being a mom.”
Darryl – “Uh, no, this is not a gym. This is like a scene out of Saw 5.”
Andy – “Let me beat around the bush for a second.”
Jim – “No, I don’t think we should be trying to make this place unpleasant. I think we should let this place crush her spirit by itself. It knows what it’s doing.”
Robert – “I should head out. Get to the ATM before the homeless man sets up camp for the night.”
Darryl – “It’s Lejon Brames.”
Dwight – “Well, how do you think the Fonz got so cool? He stretched his pelvic bowl.”