'The Office' Season 7, Episode 13 Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Jan 28th 2011 12:30AM
['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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Watch the full episode here: