'The Office' Season 7, Episode 1 (Premiere) Recap (VIDEO)
by Joel Keller, posted Sep 24th 2010 12:00AM
['The Office' - 'Nepotism']
What do you do when a season premiere starts with such great promise then lays an egg? And what would you do if that premiere is starting a critical season for a long-running show that's losing its lead at the end of the it?
What you is let out a huge sigh and pray that Steve Carell's last season on 'The Office' isn't going to be a huge disappointment.
The lip dub opening -- using the tune 'Nobody But Me' by the Human Beinz -- was such a great way to smash into season 7, wasn't it? It reminded me of all the lip synch openings Drew Carey used to do on his show, but without all the choreography or panache. From Kelly and Ryan arguing over Ryan promoting his Wouhf social network, to Stanley going to Toby the cameraman "You'd better catch up," to Creed playing the guitar while fielding calls, to Michael's inability to lip-synch and do lame magic at the same time, it was 'The Office' at it's near finest. It was so good, I'll attach it to the bottom of this review.
My love of the cold open made me hopeful. The rest of the episode got me depressed.
It's not even that I'm disappointed that the story threads left hanging last season weren't addressed, except for the fact that Dwight bought the building (more on that in a bit). Those threads will be addressed at some point. So, even though Michael was left with the hope that Jo Bennett would somehow bring Holly Flax back to the Scranton office, it was fun to hear about his adventures with West Nile and peeing on his foot over the summer.
But the only other summer story that stuck out was Darryl's, mainly because he started talking about his softball injury and watching a lot of CNN and how we should get out of Afghanistan... then veers to how bad the new assistant is.
Which is when we devolved into yet another story where Michael acts strange in order to service the episode's comedy. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that he'd hire his nephew, especially if he needed to reconnect with him. After all, he did leave Luke in the forest 15 years ago (point of reference: 'Ace Ventura II'), so he owed the kid one.
But even in his dumbest moments, Michael wouldn't put up with the kid's insubordinate behavior for very long. Or he would have already told people who the kid was so they could treat him differently from the start. There's no way he would keep the detail that the two of them were related a secret for as long as he did. Sure, he'd equate giving Luke a job to God employing his son Jesus. But that's the type of thing that Michael Scott can do in his sleep.
So we get the spanking. That felt so odd and inappropriate, almost as odd and inappropriate as Michael and Dwight kidnapping the pizza delivery kid a few years back, which was a creative low point for the show. Is Michael that spineless that he couldn't just say, "You're fired!"? In what world does he think that spanking a 20-year old kid that he barley knows is appropriate just because he's related to him? Again, Michael is capable of a lot, but here it felt like the writers needed to make him creepy, too, just to serve the plot.
It doesn't matter if Kevin thought it was "awesome" or that Andy (I think) praised Michael for his "Texas justice." It just felt icky to me. Even if it does set up those potentially explosive counseling sessions between Michael and Toby, the ends didn't justify the means there.
-- Beyond the first few scenes, we didn't really explore the notion of Erin dating Gabe. I do love that Erin thinks that his being tall is an achievement. "Thank God he's my boss, because I wouldn't have said yes to that first date if I didn't have to." Oh, poor, sweet, naive Erin.
-- Dwight owning the building has a lot of comedic potential, mostly in the area of Jim/Pam pranks. I thought the key thing was pretty good, until Pam ruined it with her infernal laughing. Her way of making up for it, messing with the elevator, didn't seem to be as funny to me, except for the fact that she wouldn't come off the stuck elevator for a good reason: "Don't want to get cut in half."
-- Kelly completely wasted her management training, didn't she? She now wears purple suits instead of purple blouses, but how did she go through the whole program and then call the Michael/Luke thing a "zoning" problem? Was it the notion of an "even playing field?"
-- Andy about Luke: "He called me the 'Nard Man.' I'm the Nard Dog. Nard Man is my dad."
-- Creed loved the debate among the "great minds" in the conference room, and was happy to have a "front seat," even though he was in the back. Even the worst episodes have good Creed moments.
-- I wonder why Michael didn't realize that Talbot's wasn't a store for guys. The scary thing is that the pants he ordered actually fit. I want to find where they got that late '80s era Honda CRX that Luke was hiding all the packages in, by the way. Those things could fly (mainly because they weighed 900 pounds).
'The Office' airs Thursdays at 9PM ET on NBC.
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