“The Office” Review: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Matt Wood, Staff Writer

At the conclusion of the last series, Office fans’ hearts were broken when they found out that Michael Scott would be leaving the Dunder Mifflin paper company. Many viewers wondered how the show would continue, without the quirky, eccentric manager. Although the show might be missing the personality of Steve Carell as Michael Scott, and all the situations he would get himself into, the show hasn’t lost all of its momentum just yet.

The first replacement manager, Deangelo Vickers (Will Ferrell), was effectively “killed off” the show, after having a basketball hoop fall on him, the regional manager position of Dunder Mifflin was still unfilled. Near the end of Season Seven, viewers saw an array of different characters interview for the job, with Jim Carrey, Ray Romano, and Will Arnet of Saturday Night Live passing through. In addition, the existing employees interviewed for the job as well, with Darrell, Dwight, and Kelly also interviewing for the position. The finale, however, ended on a cliff hanger, as Michael Scott said his final goodbyes to his employees and walked off, boarding his plane and leaving Dunder Mifflin forever.

The Sept. 22 series premiere had a rather long intro, which featured the internet ‘planking’ sensation as a fad that was getting out of control at Dunder Mifflin. As for the new manager, The Office viewers were most likely tricked into thinking that Robert California (James Spader) was the new manager. However, he was immediately dissatisfied by the position, and somehow convinced the company’s CEO, Jo Bennett (Kathy Bates) to promote him to her job. With California as the new head of the company, he promoted Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) as the new manager.

Although the manager has been settled for The Office, it’s still questionable how long it can go on. The planking opening didn’t quite go anywhere, although viewers did get to enjoy Dwight being the “Enforcer” and knocking people over.

However, the general humor of the episode seemed to be more obvious and lacked the subtlety the show originally had. Stanley explained his self-proclaimed catch phrase, where he tells people how to do things with deliberate steps and then tells them to “shove it.”  It feels a bit forced, and as though it’s trying to replace the lack of “That’s What She Said,” that Michael Scott coined.

As for new twists, the show brought up not one, but two new pregnancies, with Pam and Angela as “big pregs” and “little pregs.”

Unfortunately, the tendency for sitcoms when they run out of ideas is to add new ‘twists’, whether they are pregnancies or marriages, or taking ideas from current culture, like planking. Although it may be worrying to viewers that The Officer writers might be struggling for ideas, the show isn’t missing in good laughs.

Although the direction of the show is a bit uncertain, the characters are still the same likable ones, with the new challenge of working with their intimidating new CEO.