The Office: To the left, to the left

OK guys, what did you think of The Big Decision? I’d heard over the summer that James Spader’s character of Robert California would be promoted to CEO, leaving the Scranton managerial position open once again. And in the cold open of this season’s premiere, we learned that one Andy Bernard had gotten the gig.

Personally, I’m OK with this. I hated Andy at first, but he rapidly became one of my favorite characters on the show. The only downside is that he’s a similar personality to Michael Scott, but I definitely think this is a development the show can work with. That said, the episode DEFINITELY lacked the spark it used to have – I don’t think it will ever be as good as it was with Carell at the helm.

So, other big news at the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch? Pam’s pregnant! Very, since they decided to just play along with Jenna Fischer’s real life pregnancy. Also with a (much tinier) baby bump is Angela. We know that baby isn’t her gay senator husband’s, so is it Dwight’s? I hope so.

As the new CEO, Robert California works from the conference room half the time and spends his breaks wandering the office and making intense small talk with one lucky person. As Jim said, “You just hope it’s not you. Yet you hope it is you, too. It’s strange.” Although I felt lukewarm about the episode after all, I did enjoy the premise – Kelly saw a list in California’s notebook of everyone in the office, divided into two columns. Then he took the left-hand column people out to lunch.

This was the kind of super awkward, paranoid inner-office drama that I like to see. The boss admitted to everyone over lunch that he thought they were winners, and the people left back at the office simply weren’t. He was so blunt, even though Jim’s wife Pam was one of the losers. And he pegged Kevin as a winner, which is more than questionable.

In the end, Andy stepped up and defended all the “losers” in the office, minus Gabe. The real heart came, though, when Pam showed a note Jim had dropped on the floor – in one column it said “Pam, CeCe, new baby” and in the other column it said “everything else”. I’m not even pregnant, and I would have cried and gotten it framed too.

While the episode by far wasn’t my favorite, it wasn’t terrible either. I certainly won’t be giving up on the show. Here’s some other things I liked:

  • The planking gag was kind of funny, especially Erin saying “Planking is one of those things where, hey, you either get it or you don’t…and I don’t, but I am so excited to be a part of it.”
  • Stanley’s new “…and shove it up your butt!” joke is hilarious, mostly because Stanley himself finds it hilarious
  • “It’s kind of a medium year for women’s soccer, no?” – Andy
  • “Apt. Apy analysis Robert.” – Darryl
  • Toby cracking under the pressure of being labeled a winner and bailing in the middle of lunch
  • “Pam, come on. Don’t be such a right-sider.” – Dwight
  • “Jim, your daughter Cecelia, what does she think of The Street?” – Robert, talking about Sesame Street




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