An Office without Michael Scott? I actually wasn’t too fond of his character (he tended to make me cringe rather than laugh), but I wondered how the show would get by in his absence. The last few episodes of season 7 convinced me that The Office could survive and even thrive with him gone, so I looked forward to what the show would do with season 8.
I’d read that Robert California (James Spader), my least favorite candidate for the new boss, was coming back to the show, not as the new regional manager, but as the new CEO, replacing Jo (Kathy Bates, who I assume is busy enough with her own show, Harry’s Law). They managed to keep the new boss a secret right up until the season premiere, and they went with – Andy!
I think Andy was the perfect choice for the new regional manager. He has a bit of that delightful cluelessness that made watching Michael Scott try to run a company so much fun, without taking it to Steve Carell’s extremes. He cares about the company and the people in it. His efforts at trying to win Erin’s heart won his audience’s heart instead.
And while he does lack some backbone, this episode showed that he’s willing to stand up for his employees (though it feels so weird to be typing that, since they’ve been simply his coworkers for so long) and that he plays fair, except perhaps where Gabe is concerned.
I hope California won’t be in too many episodes this season, though if he spends half his time in the conference room, I’m guessing he’s going to end up in at least half of the episodes (plus he’s in the new credits, too). But I guess it makes sense to have someone around that makes everyone in the office a little nervous – which they can take to fun extremes like they did in this episode.
So Pam’s expecting again! I knew that coming into the episode, with Jenna Fischer’s pregnancy influencing the storyline (as Emily Deschanel’s did on Bones). Her weepiness was a little over the top in this episode, but I loved her reaction to Jim’s list.
And Angela’s expecting too! I did not see that coming at all, nor that she and the (state) senator would already be married. I wonder when his secret will come out, and I can’t fathom the effect that will have on Angela. But for now, she’s going to make a far different mother-to-be than Pam did.
In all, good start to the season on a show that’s still going strong.