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'The Office' Season 7, Episode 13 Recap

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 28th 2011 12:30AM

'The Office' - 'The Seminar'['The Office': 'The Seminar']

Tonight we had an episode full of bad signs.

For one, it was a bad sign that the episode's cold open, which featured the much-anticipated cameo of Ricky Gervais as David Brent, was the best part of the episode.

For another, it was a bad sign that an episode that was decidedly not Michael Scott-centric was confusing and not particularly funny. It feels like episodes that feature Andy generally are in the less-than-stellar category, which isn't a good omen for Ed Helms being the emotional and comedic center of the show, no matter how much the writers try to position him in that direction.

This episode needed more Jim, and it needed more of Kevin running around the conference room until he puked. That would have helped a whole lot.

Let's get the big summit meeting out of the way first. It was fun seeing Gervais and Steve Carell interact, playing the two biggest bosses in 'The Office' universe. But a thin Ricky Gervais makes for a not-as-funny looking David Brent. Brent is supposed to be a paunchy and pasty loser; this version of Brent was tan and lean, as if he had just gotten done hosting the Golden Globes.

We saw some of the glimmers of Brent there, and it was a hoot when Brent let loose with a "That's what she said." So, for something that seemed to be written and shot at the very last minute, it came out much better than I expected. When Brent asked Michael if there were any positions open at Dunder Mifflin and Michael said that there wasn't right now, it was a funny wink and nudge towards Carell's departure.

So, on to Andy's business seminar. We get that he was holding this seminar to bring in potential sales targets, because he all of a sudden is a horrible salesman. But what, exactly is he selling to these people? Paper? Printers? Advice? A little of everything? Either I'm dense or it's not clear at all why this seminar will help him go up the sales ladder. It makes a little more sense why Dwight, Stanley and Phyllis were trying to pick off the least crackpotty of the crackpots; they want to start a ground-floor relationship with a promising business. I'm sure that's Andy's goal, too, but I just wasn't sure what that was in that "small business package" he was selling at the end of the seminar.

Again, we needed to see more of everyone who wasn't Andy here. I've already mentioned Kevin, but there was also Kelly and her "Bitch" line of expertise. Who else can get a chagrined Yale professor on the phone to give actual business advice, mainly because he wanted to rekindle something with Kelly? We needed to see more of Creed describe the Loch Ness monster as having two nipples and a penis. And we needed to see more of Darryl be Andy's Yoda.

As for Michael and Holly... it was interesting to see that, through Michael's horrible Greek guy impression (he sounded more like Cookie Monster than anything else) and Holly's Greek-as-Russian shtick, he was relatively restrained in the aftermath of Holly's break-up. Sure, she saw through what he was doing, and her walking away when he kiddingly tried to kiss her, as well as her quick confessional "Nope" tells you everything; she's just not ready. And it seems that Michael knows it; he just can't help himself sometimes.

Will he force the issue soon? There's only a few weeks before Carell is supposed to leave, and it does seem like it's looking more and more like Michael Scott will be riding off arm-in-arm with Holly.

More fun stuff:

-- This was a week where Erin was portrayed as being more stupid than innocent. It switches depending on the plot she's given. It's why she can't get cows out of her head when she plays phone Scrabble with Gabe, and that "Mood" is the past tense of "Moo."

-- How creepy was the fact that mild-mannered Gabe loves all those horror movies? And it seemed like most of them contained small children either doing horrible things or having horrible things done to them. At least Erin enjoys the parts at the beginning where the families are happy.

-- Andy might have found a way back in with 'Shrek 2.' "There's a 'Shrek 2?'" Yes, and a third and fourth one.

-- Is John Krasinski on a film project? We barely saw him last week, and this week, we see him in only isolated scenes. Funny moment when Pam coaxes what he told his childhood friend way back when "My mom says you're too dumb to hang out with me." He sure got his, didn't he?

-- How did Oscar expect Erin to spell "apoplectic?" "Ape" was probably the best he could expect.

'The Office' airs Thursdays at 9PM ET on NBC.

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I think the writer of this review is secretly Gabe, cuz he wants to take over for Michael. Not gonna happen Gabe-wad

January 29 2011 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought maybe the cold open was a hint that Ricky Gervais would be taking over...

January 29 2011 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I cannoty understand a word Ricky Gervias says;his accent is unbearable to Americans.
when he speaks there should be sub-titles

January 28 2011 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to olympioh's comment
Ba Ba Bauf

I'm an American and I understood everything he said and I find him very funny. Perhaps you don't speak for all Americans.

January 28 2011 at 9:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

the office should just call it quits its not funny anymore

January 28 2011 at 12:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Joel, I support you!! I'm a huge fan of the show too, but here's how I think of it. My sister has seen a few eps over the years, and doesn't get why people love the show. So every week, I think "Would I show her this one to show her how great it is?" So of course, I'm looking for something really stellar, but there is definitely a big difference between seasons 1-3 and now. Last night, I felt like there was just too much happening, and I don't like when Erin is just plain dumb either. But there were, as always, some funny moments too!! So, I can see the negative, but there are also some positives. I like reading your reviews, because you seem a lot like me- we really WANT to love the episode every week, and just feel kind of sad when it's not amazing =)

January 28 2011 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to EOR's comment

Thank you! That pretty much sums up what I think of this show (and any show I review) quite well. I wouldn't review it if I wasn't a fan of it. But as a fan, I have high expectations, and when an episode disappoints me, I don't hesitate to say so.

January 28 2011 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i actually agree with the review. it was funny, yes, but it was confusing too.

January 28 2011 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike G

I've come to the conclusion, Joel, that what you want is not what the rest of us want. The show you're saying should've happened sounds considerably worse than what we saw onscreen -- which was generally funny, by the way.

January 28 2011 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I challenge you, Joel, to not write a negative recap on "The Office". You seem to be blinded by your love for Parks and Rec to see that The Office hasn't dwindled or become less funny, you've just lost interest. Face it. Somebody else should be writing recaps on The Office. Nobody is looking forward to your "here's why the show sucks, but OH look at all these funny parts" routine.

January 28 2011 at 3:18 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lsmithgeorge7's comment

My reviews at the beginning of the season were very positive; I was of the mind that the show had made a comeback. It's in a slump right now, though, which is leading to negative reviews. A few in a row doesn't mean I hate the show.

January 28 2011 at 9:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ba Ba Bauf

oh if only Ricky Gervais was willing to be the replacement for Steve Carell. That would give this show a new lease on life and keep it on the air for another 10 years. Of course, Ricky Gervais doesn't seem to like to do more than 2 seasons or 12 episodes of any show he does, so that would probably never work out.

anyway...I also think this episode was lacking in something. Actually, I think it was lacking in focus. It's seems like the writers were trying to cram too many storylines into a single episode, and by doing so they were unable to really flesh-out anything at all. I also wondered what it was, exactly, that Andy was trying to sell in those packages. He was a transfer from the Stamford-branch, one of the few salesmen that kept their jobs after the Scranton-merger. Wouldn't that indicate he's supposed to be one of the company's top salesmen? Or did the new Sabre-centric focus on Printer-Sales maybe hurt his career a little bit?

Oh, and how is it that Ed Helms was able to shoot "Hangover 2" in Thailand over the past few months and still get back to Los Angeles to film "The Office"? That mystifies me, unless "The Office" did him a favor and shot most of the first-half season's episodes way early so he could do both projects. Speaking of which, I agree that the lack of John Krazinsky over the past two episodes is odd. He was only in the cold open last week, and most of his scenes this week were clearly shot seperately from the rest of the episode, so maybe he is indeed filming a movie or something. IMDB does say he is in two movies that recently wrapped production, and he is also supposedly in the new "Muppets Movie" which is currently filming, so that may be the answer.

January 28 2011 at 12:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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