Season premiere review: ‘The Office’ – ‘New Guys’

“The Office” has begun its final season, and I have a review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I take a course at the Weintraub Memory Academy…

When Greg Daniels announced that this would be the last season, I wrote that if anyone had a chance to right the ship before the end, it was him. And though I skipped some episodes towards the end of last season, I feel enough nostalgia for the show as a whole that I expect to watch til the end (even if I’ll only be writing about it on occasion).

On the comedic side of things, “New Guys” (which Daniels wrote and directed) unfortunately didn’t give me a lot of hope for a last-minute resurgence. An Andy with more confidence is still Michael Scott 2.0 – even the Outward Bound running gag was reminiscent of how Michael was a boy who never really grew up – and all the slapstick involving Dwight and the tightrope, and then Dwight and his bicycle stunt, fell flat to me. Dwight falling down in and of itself isn’t funny, even if he keeps doing it until he injures himself. Also, Kevin continues to act mentally disabled(*), and Oscar having an affair with Angela’s husband is no funnier than when Angela was cuckolding Andy with Dwight.

(*) Although credit where it’s due: Brian Baumgartner’s delivery of “But you can’t eat cats. You can’t eat cats, Kevin,” was enough to make me laugh despite myself.

But as the documentary filmmakers note – in what I believe is the first time we’ve ever heard one of them speak – at a certain point, this became Jim and Pam’s story as much as it was about the paper company, if not more. And even though the show lost the thread on Jim and Pam around the time Cece was born, their scenes in the premiere, and the way the arrival of the new guys forces Jim to realize he’s trapped in the job he despised back when he was that young, was interesting. This is a character arc I’ve been waiting for the show to remember to do for years now, and the scenes here were promising (if not incredibly funny).

What did everybody else think? Did you like the way that Kelly and Ryan were written out because of “The Mindy Project”? Did anyone come back specifically because it’s the final season? Did you like Clark Duke and Jake Lacy as Dwight Jr. and New Jim?