April 20, 2013

Rerun Review: "New Guys"

I didn't plan to write about The Office this week. First, because it was a rerun, and second, because I had every intention of blogging about Community. But everything that can or should be said about that borderline mediocre Christmas episode was already said in TV.com's review of the episode or in its comments section.

So at the risk of redundancy (since my last post landed in Scranton), there were three things I noticed when I re-watched "New Guys" this week.

First, there was so much Jim and Pam foreshadowing/setup! Their general conflict this season is Pam's satisfaction with life versus Jim's dissatisfaction. In "New Guys," Jim sees a younger version of himself in Pete, and wonders if he's wasted his best years at Dunder-Mifflin. Pam, while attempting to talk Dwight off the roof, declares that she loves her life, even if it seems boring. The look on Jim's face in that first confessional with Pam said it all. She might be comfortable with nothing changing for a long time, but Jim's not. That's what leads him to accept the job in Philly at the end of the episode, the root of all marital problems in the season to come. But back to that first confessional interview: I missed, or had forgotten, that we hear a voice from behind the camera in that first episode of season 9. Was it Brian's voice? Even if it wasn't, this season was obviously carefully planned by this show's masterful writing team. It's coming together like a really good novel or a 5000-piece puzzle. Everything's falling into place.

This episode was also the beginning of Dwight and Clark's father-son bond. In my last post, I wondered what was going on with these two and the weird tractor rental situation. But ever since Clark was declared "Dwight, Jr.," the two have had their own special subplot. Of course, this was particularly evident in "Suit Warehouse," but it's been developing all throughout season 9. And the fact that Clark's introduction follows on the heels of Dwight's discovery that he did not father Angela's baby is reassuring. It makes Clark a lot less superfluous. He's actually central to Dwight's inward struggles.

The last thing I realized while watching this episode again was that Andy was a jerk before he left on his boat trip. Somehow, I'd gotten it into my head that Andy became particularly awful when he went sailing away from Erin, the office, and his grown-up responsibility. But the way that he treats Nellie in this episode is despicable, albeit hilarious. And this is a good thing, because it demonstrates a consistency of character. Remember, this is the guy who was sent to anger management. He's supposed to be kind of terrible.

I don't mind reruns, not when a show is as good as The Office. I can't express how sad I'll be to see it come to an end. 

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