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'The Office' Season 7, Episode 24 (Season Finale) Recap

by Joel Keller, posted May 20th 2011 1:30AM
['The Office' - 'Search Committee']

Right off the bat, let me give this caveat to my review: Going in, I knew that this was going to be a very difficult episode for the writers of 'The Office' to pull off.

'The Office' - 'Search Committee'
The first degree of difficulty was that the episode was an hour, which is not something that this show has excelled at in the past. The second degree of difficulty was the multitude of guest stars -- as candidates -- parading through Dunder Mifflin Scranton, each with their own character flaws on display.

But the third degree of difficulty is that, without some sort of manager to kiss up to or hate, the atmosphere around the show feels rudderless. It's probably the reason why the episodes in which Deangelo and Dwight were the boss more or less worked, whereas this episode and Michael-less stories from earlier this year didn't.

There was a story here -- the search for a new manager -- and you have a pretty good idea who the most viable candidates for the job are by the end of the episode. But in a lot of ways, this felt like a series of sketches in search of a plot.

One thing that was very noticeable about each of the candidates -- most of whom didn't have names -- was that they were written pretty close to what their character types have been over the years:

Warren Buffett in 'The Office' - 'Search Committee'Will Arnett -- arrogant and uninformed. He had a three-step program to increase sales but wouldn't reveal any of them. Sort of a combination of GOB and Steve Wilde.
James Spader -- super-confident, intimidating, a bit slimy, with fantastic verbal skills. Even though he said to Jim that he didn't think Jim could be steamrolled, Jim was still nearly speechless. Think a creepier version of Alan Shore.
Ray Romano -- Neurotic, easily influenced, full of self-doubt. Spader's character convinces him that he's about to enter the ninth circle of hell, so he whines through his interview and eats his lunch. Then, he does a 180 and says "These are the nicest people I've ever met." Think Ray Barone with even less balls.
Warren Buffett -- Well, this is more based on the legends about him, which usually talk about how thrifty he is. He tries to negotiate the mileage allowance up two cents, among other nickel and diming.
Ricky Gervais - He's playing David Brent, so that one's a gimme. Arrogant but clueless. Can't even be bothered to make the trip from England (which, I guess, is what happened with Ricky, but who knows).
Catherine Tate - Her character changed her management style any time she got pushback from the committee. First there were no titles, then everyone managed someone else with weekly firings, then she advocated for a Zen office with massages. Don't know her career as well as the others, so I can't say if this is a match to Tate's past characters.
Jim Carrey - Really liked the Finger Lakes. We only saw him address the camera, not in an interview.

Out of all of them, the only one that realistically might come back is Tate, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which made sense even before that report came out. Everyone else was there to be a guest distraction; they all have different projects going on. Tate might have to work around a stage commitment, but I'm sure that can be worked out. Oh, I guess Spader is available, but he's a bit too intense for the show, don't you think?

Of course, the other thing that makes you think Tate is the one is that her character was suggested by Jo Bennett, who told Jim to make sure that, if he doesn't pick her choice, that the ultimate choice be a real standout. That's a big clue that tells you that it's either going to be Tate or one of the internal candidates.

Jim Carrey in 'The Office' - 'Search Committee'Given what Paul Lieberstein and others have said, it's been apparent for awhile that the internal candidates were going to be Andy, Darryl and Dwight. Dwight was at first indifferent to the process, growing an uneven beard, dressing in his pig-slopping clothes and openly looking through the classifieds ... until Spader's character insulted the place; then he threw his hat back in the ring.

And somehow, by the end of the episode, he became a viable candidate, and not just because he paid off Kelly (who replaced Gabe after she ratted him out to Jo) with the same offer that Jim turned down. Jo, despite her misgivings about his judgment, liked his crazy tenacity, especially when he came in for an interview wrapped in bandages, claiming to be a French man who had been horribly burned. Can the office stand to have Dwight as the manager again? If so, he can't be Frank Burns-ian again, which he might have learned after losing the job the first time around.

Andy finally decided to go after the job, rather than metaphorically let his housekeeper get it for him. It might also be the reason why he turned down Erin, even as she puppeted up to ask him out. And Darryl ... well, he was less prepared than anyone thought. He figured he'd do well because everyone knew him and "I'm blaaaaack!" He couldn't get through an interview question, and didn't have a resume. Then he tries to use his daughter to sway the office his way, getting a "don't do this, man" head shake from Jim, who's obviously in his corner. He doesn't even realize that Microsoft killed off Clippy years ago.

So, as the THR article stated, there's a very good chance that there could be some competition among the three candidates and Tate early next season. It might make for a good few episodes. Though I don't know how much they can take having Creed be the manager, considering Pam is resorting to doing "plays" as fake clients over the phone in order to keep him from talking to any real clients.

More fun stuff:

-- The Angela engagement story got a little overwhelmed by the management search. But, even though it wasn't that funny, it was interesting that everyone decided not to tell Angela out of compassion. She's happy, she'll have kids with him, why rock the boat? That'll burn her later, I'm sure, especially when that upset aide comes forward to the press.

-- Is that Porsche that Creed was driving new or did he have it already? I hope he can bring it back ... loved how he created an acronym and asked the group to make up words for it. Also liked how he split a non-existent meeting into sides, even though some of the people he listed didn't exist.

-- "Did you know Gabe's last name was Lewis? Because I didn't." Jim giving us all we need to know about Gabe's tenure at DM.

-- So is this the last of Zach Woods? Will Gabe be in Florida forevermore or will we see him again? He certainly didn't acquit himself well in Andy's interview, or when he dismissed Kelly's candidacy as "not serious." Nothing is worse than a Kelly Kapoor scorned.

-- Ryan wants to be led, but only when he feels like being led. Not sure where he's going to find that in a manager, so I wish him luck.

-- Ryan had a couple of good moments, like when he said the new boss should be a homeless person, or when he told Jim to take a break from "the Jim schtick" for a bit.

-- I'm guessing Jordan's a keeper. Not sure if she's just going to play the bored mall chick or if there's more in store for her, but she did seem to like Pam's methods to keep Creed occupied.

-- "Corporate wanted you to find the seven differences between this picture and this picture." -- Pam to Creed. "They're the same picture" -- Pam to the camera.

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

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Watch the full episode here:

Part 1

Part 2

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I have to agree with, John...James Spader was excellent, and he was so superior to the rest of the cast that it WAS frightening. He really is a superb and under appreciated actor http://bit.ly/lBiooH.

May 21 2011 at 2:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dwight is one of the funniest characters in the office, but the fact that he has a job (and thinks he qualifies for a promotion) after setting a gun off on company grounds makes the HR manager in me cringe.

I loved Oscar's reaction to Angela's engagement. "As a gay man, I'm horrified; as Angela's friend, I'm horrified; as a fan of extravagant weddings, I'm a little excited, but mostly horrified"

I also liked the dry delivery of Ryan's "Oh no - you're going to live forever" and Jim's reaction when Dwight revealed himself as the burn victim.

Am I the only one that was a little saddened by the reveal that Phyllis and Erin aren't actually related? I guess it was too dramatic for the tone of the show, but it seemed like it would have been an interesting addition to those characters' stories.

May 20 2011 at 10:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dexter Morgan

Finally went back now that the SUPER ANNOYING Carrell is gone UGH....... now let's get equally ANNOYING Helms out of there !!!!!

Was pleasantly surprised to see Spader...love that guy, and miss you much.....Boston Legal !!!!!

May 20 2011 at 9:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is NBC serious about The Office, without Steve Carell, lasting for years to come? If so, the only viable candidate from the finale was James Spader. "Hiring from within" is just safe. I see Jim worshipping him in the same way Dwight did to Michael.

May 20 2011 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jimmy's comment
Ba Ba Bauf

Totally agree. Spader was very good in his two scenes and he clearly has a knack for comedy. Hopefully the writers agree. of course, it's also a matter of Spader not only having time in his schedule to do the show full time, but also wanting to take on a full time job.

May 20 2011 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Or maybe Christian Slater from the Sabre Intro video lol

May 20 2011 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The ideal candidate is PAM!! She saved the place from Creed and she's quick and funny and weird like Michael. She's perfect.

May 20 2011 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SusiQ's comment
Ba Ba Bauf

Pam is cute, but she's not involved in the financial-aspect of Dunder Mifflin at all. She is an office-manager, nothing more. She tried to work in sales and she failed at it, which is why she returned to an administrative position. She would have no business running the branch and managing the sales-staff, as they are the ones who make money for the company, Say what you will about Michael Scott, but we all know he was an incredible salesman. Anyone who runs the branch would have to have a strong sales-background.

May 20 2011 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Warren Buffett -- Well, this is more based on the legends about him, which usually talk about how thrifty he is. He tries to negotiate the mileage allowance up two cents, among other nickel and diming."

It's not legend if it's true. The Oracle of Omaha still lives in a Stucco House (no mansion), still drives the same Caddy that's a few years old now, so on and so forth. If anything, he's a living example of austerity.


As for the new boss, Ricky all the way, James Spader maybe as a second, and Tate as a third choice. Considering how I doubt Ricky wants to see one of his larger cash cows go away and he has enough clout to make his own schedule, he'll step in himself if necessary to run the ship, which is why I think he's the front runner.

James isn't doing much of anything, so he's a solid second choice. Tate, while funny and flighty, has conflicts in scheduling for the first 1/2 of The Office shooting schedule (Much Ado about Nothing London stage show with former Doctor and companion David Tennant) per EW, so unless she wants to rack up frequent flyer miles, I doubt she's going to be in.

May 20 2011 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Thomas

I agree that it will be Jim. I think the writers made it fairly obvious and was waiting for this review to talm about it but it seemed to fly over the reviewer's head. Jim is the most obvious choice, he is basically acting manager right now with the position Jo put him in. It will just take him realizing that. I think Jo made him the head of the committee for this reason, also I thought this episode was very good and very funny.

May 20 2011 at 8:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chris Thomas's comment

We've seen Jim as manager. Jim as manager isn't at all funny. It's the main reason why I've dismissed this as an option. It's been tried already, and the writers backed out in ridiculous fashion (see 'Manager and Salesman') because it failed so spectacularly.

May 20 2011 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ba Ba Bauf

Well, one thing we've learned is this season is that TV Squad, no matter who is writing the recap, is just not a fan of "The Office". Or, more specifically, TV Squad is not of fan of "The Office" since the end of Season Three. Out of the 25 or so episodes this year, we got a positive recap for, maybe, and I mean MAYBE, four or five. I'm not sure if the problem is that the recappers are too busy comparing the show to its first three seasons or possibly comparing it to "Parks and Rec" for some strange reason (and "Parks and Rec" still doesn't hold a candle to "The Office"), but TV Squad has been on the anti-"Office" bandwagon for about two years now, and it's getting very old. There's no point in writing a recap if every week its just the recapper telling us how much the show sucks. The only people who would watch the show and, thus, read the recap after, would be fans of the show, so to endlessly bash the program really makes no sense. Maybe TV Squad might reconsider who recaps this show next season.

Anyway, I personally feel the season finale was very strong, and, in fact, the past couple of post-Michael episodes have been very strong. The ensamble cast has really stepped up their game and the writing has been crisp. The recapper noted how he felt the season finale was more like a "series of sketches", but what he fails to mention is that the first season, and the early portion of the second season, really was a "series of sketches" as well. There were several minor storylines for each episode, with quick cut-away bits and jokes. The show didn't really start becomming more Primary-Story-Driven until around the start of Season Three, when individual episodes started to feature one primary story (usually about Michael and/or Jim and Pam), and the rest of the cast became mostly background filler, save for an ocasional joke here and there. So, in that respect, one might go so far as to say these post-Michael episodes have been returning the show to its roots, so to speak.

As for who the new manager will be, obviously the greatest choice, in terms of pure entertainment, would be Ricky Gervais as David Brent. However, Ricky Gervais has never shown an interest in doing more that 10-12 episodes of any series he's ever been on (yes, I know that's how they do TV in England, but it's a shame we don't get more of gervais), so he's probably not a realistic option.

My preference would be for James Spader to become the new manager, as I found his "creepy", smug, overly self-confident character to be very funny, and Spader had good comedic-timing and seemed to have a rapor with the cast. My other choice would be Will Arnett, but I saw that he is going to be in a new NBC chow in the fall, so he's out of consideration here.

It does seem like Catherine Tate has the inside track on this one, but while I found her scene to be sort of funny, she wasn't as strong as the others.

Overall, a strong Season 7 from "The Office", great work.

May 20 2011 at 5:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ba Ba Bauf's comment

Two years? That's pretty much coinciding with the two years I've been recapping the show. Interesting...

Seriously, the show has been on and off the last two seasons, though this year was stronger than last. You have to remember, I'm a fan of the show, and have been since day one. Which is why, when the show disappoints me, I will say so. I think you could say that of all the recappers not only here but on other sites. They wouldn't be writing about shows week after week if they didn't like them and wanted to watch them. But the fans are usually more critical than the casual watcher, because their expectations are higher.

I don't at all agree with you that Season 7 was strong, but you have the right to express your opinion, as I have the right to express mine.

May 20 2011 at 10:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joel's comment
Ba Ba Bauf

You certainly have the right to your opinion, but the fact reamains that you seem intent on either comparing the current show to its earlier seaons, despite the fact that it has evolved and isn't really the same as it was 7 years ago, or you have some reason why you might be trying to compare it to "Parks and Rec".

You're not the first person on TV Squad to compare the chow to "Parks and Rec", and I've never understood why that is. These are two seperate shows that have nothing to do with one another. Yes, they share producers, but the two series do not overlap in any way. I've never understood why so many people feel these two shows cannot co-exist without being compared to each other. That's like saying "The Simpsons" sucks because you think "Family Guy" is better....obviously that makes no sense, because it's apples and oranges and they only share superficial similarities.

What I'm saying is that there is no reason to compare the show to "Parks and Rec" or any other show. Personally, I watch it for what it is, which is a good, funny series. My suggestion would be to evolve with the show, not be so hung up on what it used to be or what it might have been, but just enjoy what it is. I've seen every episode of the show since day 1....is it as good as it was in Season 2? No. But I still consider it the best comedy on TV right now.

May 20 2011 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

fairly certain it'll be andy or jim. especially leaning toward jim after foreshadowing of ryan saying about how he needs to start caring about something and jo telling him not to mess things up

May 20 2011 at 2:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to clintone's comment

I agree with you. I think this episode made Jim seem like the most appropriate if not the likeliest candidate for manager, especially in the final scenes when he was literally managing the lunacy of everybody else in the office. As far as other candidates go, I'd say Andy's the only one who didn't negatively affect his chances. I've been rooting for Darryl so I was little disappointed that he underperformed and got desperate.

Also in Jim's favor, it seems outrageous to me that Jo would put so much responsibility in his hands to hire his own boss (even after two short-lived replacements) and not try to convince him to take the position. But I suppose it is a TV show and we have been down the Jim-manager road before. In any case, it'll be interesting to see how the show settles into a permanent replacement next season.

May 20 2011 at 4:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ba Ba Bauf

Jim clearly would be the obvious choice to be the new manager, but Jo did offer him the interim-position and he said no, so it just seems like he;s not interested in running the office. Remember that we learned last year salemen at Sabre can make more money in commissions than Managers, which is why Jim stepped down as co-manager in the first place, so it seems doubtful he would reconsider.

Also, lets remember that Jim was a lot less fun and actually a bit boring when he was co-manager, so maybe it's better if he remains a salesman.

May 20 2011 at 5:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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