NBC’s ‘The Office’ Finally Does Something Right, But Only After Doing Something Dumb

Filming has begun on the ninth season of The Office, which is about four seasons more than it should’ve gone on. However, the ninth season does see the return of the show’s original showrunner, Greg Daniels. There’s even talk about a bounce-back season despite the losses of Mindy Kaling and James Spader, the lighter workload of Ed Helms, B.J. Novak, and John Krasinski, and the decision to make Catherine Tate a regular (ugh). In the last week, however, The Office has done one thing right, and one thing wrong. Let’s take a look:

The Right: Back before last season ended, I made a few a suggestions on how to improve the ninth season. They were right, for instance, to reset Dunder Mifflin under old management. They were wrong, however, to bring back Nellie. One of the suggestions I made was to bring back Roy. If Jim was going to be absent part of the time, I argued that Roy’s presence could at least provide a somewhat credible threat to Jim and Pam’s relationship, at least enough to create some slight tension. Apparently, they have listened because, according to TVLine, David Denman will return as Roy for the first time since season five. We only know, so far, that he’ll be in episode two.

The Wrong: One of the other suggestions I made was to write out Andy and Erin (and bring Jan Levinson back to run Dunder Mifflin). The Andy and Erin romance never created much humor or drama, and both characters outstayed their welcome long ago. Unfortunately, instead of writing them out, Daniels has decided to throw another wrench into their relationship and add a potential new love interest for Erin. Jake Lacy (Better with You) has been cast in that role. It’s absurd to spend nearly that entire Florida arc last season working to reunite Andy and Erin only to pull them apart again. You can’t create a will-they, won’t-they romance in a couple where the audience doesn’t actually care if they will or they won’t.

On the other hand, if the new love interest is being added to draw Erin out of The Office for good, then maybe it’s a good decision after all. I love Ellie Kemper, but that character is useless to the show.