Author Archives: readersremorse

the office recapping: garden party

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.

 

QUOTES

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.”

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the office recapping: lotto

By: Joe Finch

Growing up, there were always adults throwing around clichés that I never quite comprehended, and to be honest, still don’t to this day. What rule does one’s thumb carry? If I can have cake, why can’t I eat it too? And I would never pick a bone with anyone, because it seems a bit intrusive and kind of gross. While these phrases continue to mystify me, the latest episode of The Office finally made sense of one of these adages—addition by subtraction.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying third time’s a charm, but it took Season 8 three episodes to retreat back to its roots of good old fashioned comedy. The show opens with Oscar bashing in someone’s car window (an assumed snowboarder pothead, based on the vehicle’s bumper sticker) for leaving their dog unattended. 

Following the intro, the show hits the snooze button and does its usual lag, before providing more laughs. We learn that all of the warehouse workers resign after hitting the lottery collectively (playing Darryl’s birthday, who wasn’t included on the winnings), leaving Andy with shipment orders and no shippers.

Andy and Darryl team up to recruit new workers, which is a painfully boring scene that is finally rescued by humor when Darryl reveals that he has developed a soy allergy at 35, and Stanley realizes his lunch has been eaten by one of the interviewees.

As the botched search for new employees continues on, Jim, Kevin, Dwight and Erin team up to carry the workload in the warehouse to fill the void, only to find out that their moving methods can’t quite handle the task (Kevin oiling up his body and being slid across the floor with packages on him went into the good idea category). Darryl and Andy resolve the warehouse crisis, but only after they address their personal conflicts. Darryl lets Andy know that he deserved the promotion over him, only to be surprisingly and refreshingly combated with a strong response by Andy that satisfied even Darryl.

This episode should satisfy Office loyalists for eliminating a good portion of what is wrong at Dunder Mifflin Sabre. Robert California isn’t in this episode, which allows us to watch the original cast interact without the nonsense that he contributes to the show. Also, the writers finally let Andy Bernard be Andy the Manager and not Michael Scott Jr. (with the exception of a random Mr. T impression, which was familiar to Michael’s random outbursts). His uninspired and awkward leadership is still hard to digest, but it felt natural watching him attempt to manage.

The approach of simplifying the format of the show is both effective and rewarding. Clearly, the producers felt the need to make a splash once Steve Carell announced his departure, so they pulled out all the stops (another idiom that’s origin is still unclear to me) and brought in a heavy artillery of celebrities. Now that the transition is fully in place, hopefully the Hollywood noise will subside, and the focus can once again be on the people who put Scranton, Pennsylvania on the map in the first place. I can only hope that future episodes are as consistently funny as this one was, but I won’t count my chickens before they hatch.

 

QUOTES

Kelly – “You want to just let him die, you scumbag?”

Meredith – “We’re looking at one suicide and one weird sex thing.”

Dwight – @Jim  “I know what you’d do with the money. “Hey Pam, let’s buy expensive bathrobes and hug.”

Jim – “I’m a barista in your fantasy?”

Meredith – “Get. A. Divorce.”

Darryl – “Hide is investing in an energy drink for Asian homosexuals.”

Darryl – “Who gets a soy allergy at 35? And why is soy in everything?”

Andy – “Does anyone get distracted easily by bubble wrap?”

Darryl – “My future is not going to be determined by seven little white lotto balls. It’s going to be determined by two big black balls. I control my destiny. I do.”

Jim  – “Senor Loadenstein.”

Toby – “I would spend a lot of time launching my true crime podcast, The Flenderson Files.”

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the office recapping: the incentive

By: Joe Finch

Photo courtesy of http://www.laughspin.com

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.

QUOTES              

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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