Will Ferrell Makes His 'Office' Debut: Season 7, Episode 20 Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Apr 15th 2011 12:00AM
We all know that Will Ferrell isn't staying long at 'The Office.' So to go through an analysis of his character, DeAngelo (or is it D'Angelo? Deangelo?) Vickers may seem beside the point, since he's ultimately not going to be the boss at Dunder Mifflin Sabre in Scranton.
But I'm going to do it anyway, for reasons that'll become evident pretty quickly.
I'm not sure what to think of DeAngelo. Is he just there to show how much the people in the office are circling the fresh management blood, just waiting to plant their lips on his patootie? Is he supposed to be a clone of Michael in temperament and childishness, but is more ruthless? Or do we just not know yet?
We'll find out soon enough, but tonight's episode didn't give me enough about DeAngelo to figure out where he's coming from and why he's here. And, believe me, Ferrel's performance isn't really helping that.
Maybe because it's WILL FERRELL, big comedic movie star, in the role. Or maybe it's because the goofy, over-the-top nature of Ferrell's style just doesn't fit in with the subtlety that makes 'The Office' so funny when it's clicking. Or it could be that two Michael Scott-type characters are just one too many. But Ferrell felt more like a distraction when he should have brought a fresh comic voice to a veteran show.
We just don't know who he is -- besides the fact that he loves the Southwest, doesn't want Erin to give her name when she answers the phone, and gets barber shaves in his office -- or why Sabre sent him there. Contrast him with the last person who replaced Michael, Charles Minor. We knew why he was there -- to straighten out the branch -- and with Idris Elba playing him, we knew right away that he was intense and didn't take crap from anyone.
The episode really did start in a promising way, with Michael and DeAngelo bonding in a hotel bar before they even realized they were there to meet each other. Then came a night of roaming around the office like a couple of schoolgirls. "She'll do," DeAngelo says as if he was taking over a ship. "She'll do just fine." It felt like the office was going to have to deal with a maybe slightly smarter version of their old boss.
Then? Meh. DeAngelo was all over the map. His demands to Andy -- who he thought was the "office funny guy" -- seemed more cruel than anything else. "Make me laugh, funny guy!" "Drink some soap!" Of course, Andy, who has become more awkward this year than ever, figured he should oblige. Then there was his really sudden cut-off of Pam and Jim ("Jap," as Michael called them) as they tried to ingratiate themselves to him with pictures of CeCe. "I know what you're trying to do," he told them.
But maybe it wasn't DeAngelo that made me scratch my head but the rest of the office. Kelly with her "meet-cute" move? Darryl sporting cowboy garb? Andy pouring hot coffee on his crotch? Everyone seemed to have lost their minds trying to kiss the new boss' butt.
The only one in the DM universe who made any sense was Dwight. It's been so long since he really acted like Michael's Machiavellian right-hand man, it was kind of surprising that he even wanted the manager's job, or that he was disappointed that Michael didn't recommend him. But at least his behavior was consistent with what his character was at some point during the show's seven seasons.
Of course, the "Michael moment" was about Michael not being able to let go, which is why he threw PB&J sandwiches in DeAngelo's direction, despite the new guy's allergy; it was so bad the last time, he itched all over. "I stayed in bed for three days! I missed the OJ verdict! I had to read it in the paper like an idiot." But it was the ending, where DeAngelo told Michael how much he deserved his "senioritis moment" after 19 years that he should enjoy it.
Which made me just realize: Maybe DeAngelo Vickers is just Frank the Tank from 'Old School' with a fake name.
More fun stuff:
-- Clever way for Andy to not get in trouble for his "What do African-Americans call..." joke. When Darryl asks him to finish it, Andy asks him for help.
-- "What is the name of the Native American woman?" Um, that would be Kelly... I think.
-- Would you trust Erin with shaving cream and a razor? Neither would I.
-- Every time Angela mentions her state senator boyfriend, we get a flash to Oscar. This is something he's been holding onto for quite some time... Any ideas of when he's going to drop this little bomb on Angela?
-- "Am I Ashton Kutcher? No, I'm Kevin Malone. Just as handsome. Just as smart."
'The Office' airs Thursdays at 9PM ET on NBC.
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Watch the full episode here: