Andy wasn't elevated to Michael's position to give us those awkward moments, that's what James Spader was brought in to do as new CEO Robert California. This week, he was absolutely impossible.
He started the episode by giving Andy four seconds warning that Mrs. California was coming in for a job and that Andy shouldn't hire her. He then simply went way too far in insisting that Andy give her the job -- gotta save face in front of the missus -- only to yell at Andy later for doing just that.
That said, Spader was perfect this week. He's there to inspire and terrify the office, and keep everyone on their toes. But Andy has stepped up beautifully into Michael's shoes with a completely different but equal level of awkwardness.
As promised, he instead quickly took over Jo's position as CEO of Dunder-Mifflin, though they show pretty quickly glossed over what could have been a fascinating scene. Couldn't they steal Kathy Bates away from 'Harry's Law' for one quick transfer-of-power scene?
Right off, though, Robert is a more hands-on CEO, as we learn that he spends half his time setting up camp in the Scranton branch's conference room. He's certainly an interesting character, but very different in tone than Michael Scott.
Ferguson said Spader could end their chat with one of the following: "a mouth organ, awkward pause or go for the big cash prize." After mulling it over for a while Spader opted for the awkward pause -- "I'm good at those."
Then Ferguson upped the ante. "We could add in a subtext if you'd like," he said before announcing that the subtext is: "I find you wickedly attractive and I'm trying to sneak a look at your genitals."
Cue really awkward pause with a large helping of creepy subtext.
It's no secret James Spader will join the cast of 'The Office,' but did you know he's intimidating the pants off the other actors? In a new video, the cast talk about Spader's new CEO character and what it's like working with a method actor like 'Boston Legal' veteran Spader.
"He scares the sh-- out of me," Phyllis Smith said.
In the video below, 'Office' showrunner and actor Paul Lieberstein (Toby) and the cast preview the new season and finding a new Scranton branch manager.
To answer Lauer's first question, Carell said, "Yes, I am a very fine dramatic actor. I know that's the point you were trying to make." Lauer laughed and said he wanted Carell to say it himself. "Well, I wanted to say it, and I was hoping that that subject would come up, because I really have a lot of pride in my dynamic dramatic acting," Carell deadpanned, motioning toward Moore. "She was so intimidated by me."
Steve Carell, who played Michael Scott on 'The Office' for seven years, said he thinks James Spader is a great addition to 'The Office' cast.
"I think it's an excellent choice," Carell told Access Hollywood. "I think it's great and he will infuse all this new energy into the show."
'Boston Legal' veteran Spader will reprise his role from the Season 7 finale, Robert California, and replace Kathy Bates' CEO character. Spader's character originally interviewed for Michael Scott's vacated branch manager position. Fans will learn the character was hired to run the Scranton branch, but then quickly worked his way up the corporate ladder to become the CEO of Dunder Mifflin Sabre.
"James will reprise his role as Robert California, this uber-salesman that has a power to convince and manipulate, like a high-class weirdo Jedi warrior," Paul Lieberstein, who is executive producer and plays HR rep Toby, said in a statement.
"He'll have been hired over the summer as the new manager, but within hours, got himself promoted. Within days, he took over the company. James has an energy that is completely his own, and 'The Office' has no tools for dealing with this guy. We're thrilled he's joining our cast."
The 'Boston Legal' star is reportedly in talks to join 'The Office,' but not as Scranton branch manager -- as the Dunder Mifflin/Sabre CEO. 'Harry's Law' actress Kathy Bates currently plays the paper and printer company honcho, but won't be able to reprise her 'Office' role and star on 'Harry's Law' at the same time.
"In the finale, he kicked ass," a source close to the show told EW. "He was so funny and had this weird energy. We didn't want to pass it up."
While no scripts have been written for 'The Office' Season 8 and Spader has yet to sign a deal, the likely scenario according to EW is this: Spader's character is hired as branch manager, but quickly decides the job is too small for him. He then convinces corporate to give him the CEO gig. That would leave the branch manager position open for either an internal or external hire ... and we're back to square one.
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.
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.
Speculation's rife about who will step up to the plate, and just about every guest star in the current season has been linked with the top job. Most recently, we reported that 'Office' creator Ricky Gervais could be taking over from Carell, but now even more names have been added to the ever-expanding list of nominees.
The upcoming Season 7 finale was already set to be a star-studded affair, with Gervais, Will Arnett and Will Ferrell all having booked guest slots. However, according to TVLine.com, yet another comedic trio has signed on for the episode -- Ray Romano, James Spader and Catherine Tate -- and now they're all being linked with the top job.
Is there a grain of truth in the rumors, or is it all just smoke and mirrors?
Not one to let a serious matter stop her, host Kathie Lee Gifford asked Spader "Then why didn't you want to play like a little fairy in 'Midsummer Night's Dream' as opposed to being a lawyer again?"
Spader seemed surprisingly on board with the idea of playing a fairy, even suggesting that his character in 'Race' could sprout wings. As the segment progressed, it had the most uses of the word "fairy-- without any sexual innuendo attached to it -- that you've ever heard.
Watch the video after the jump.
'Boston Legal,' starring William Shatner and James Spader, runs weeknights at 11 PM ET on TV Land. And to celebrate, you may be able to tune into 'Boston Legal' five nights a week with a brand, spanking new TV! Yes, sir. There will be one (1) Grand Prize winner receiving a 26" LCD HDTV (MSRP $349.99). The contest begins today, March 9, 2010.
From cases that even Don Quixote would think were lost causes to the inappropriate behavior of Alan Shore, Denny Crane, and others, to the not-so-subtle references that these lawyers know they're on a TV show, Boston Legal was always was one moment away from drowning in its own silliness.
But last night's series finale descended into more silliness than I think even the show's most ardent fans could handle. There were sincere moments, but most of them barely had time to breathe and linger on people's consciousness before we got even more silliness.
Over at the L.A. Times, Tom O'Neil has put together two teams to predict the Emmys. One consists of writers who cover TV, including our pal from AOL, Maggie Furlong. The other is filled with award nuts, like O'Neil. The teams found a lot of common ground, with overwhelming agreement on Mad Men for Best Drama and 30 Rock for Best Comedy. They also seem pretty set on Glenn Close (Damages) for Best Actress, Drama and Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) for Best Actor, Comedy.
Those all sound like reasonably safe bets. Things get a little more interesting when you look at some of the other categories. Best Actor, Drama looks to be a three way race between Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Hugh Laurie (House), and James Spader (Boston Legal). All solid choices, to be sure, but the most surprising part of the category is that Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), who should win, only garnered one vote. Read on past the jump for more of the categories.
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