The Office "Moving On" Review: Better Call Saul

The Office S09E16: "Moving On"

Andy wouldn't be such a monster if everyone in the office wasn't so complicit to his tyranny.

I know that's like saying Tokyo would've been better off if they'd just ignored Godzilla. I'm not trying to blame the victim. But Pam, Dwight, and Angela's way of gutting the beast, by ignoring him and undermining his authority, is the only reasonable course of action. The man ditched work for three months and is now only sticking around because of a pass from a guy who doesn't deserve to run a business. Wallace kept Andy on because he owed Andy a favor? Logical but not reasonable.

Pete and Erin are feeding the monster, though. While everyone else in the office is ready to ignore or straight-up ditch Andy, these two pathetic souls feel like they owe the guy something for their not-so-clandestine relationship. How are you, Pete the girlfriend thief, going to offer advice to the man that you burgled?

Wait, that came out weird.

The show maybe, possibly suggested that Erin wasn't so much into Andy while he was gone, maybe, possibly so often that the storyline itself got so dull in its holding pattern that I could've sworn they were just repeating the same script every episode with regard to these two. With that, I don't think Pete was an actual "thief" of a person, although that would be how Andy feels. And, as a person in the awkward position of being too nice for his own good while feeling guilty about wrecking a man, I can see how Pete might feel compelled to give Andy some assurances about the relationship.

But I won't forgive Erin and Pete for providing Andy the only pathos he's had since the beginning of the season. When they both came in and tried to convince Andy to move on (which felt more like an excuse to bring up Alice, Pete's ex, than anything reasonable), I almost felt sad for the man. Here he was, enduring sanctimonious platitudes from the pair that conspired behind his back. Watching it, I was overcome by a feeling that I hadn't felt for the Nard-Dog in some time. "What is this? Sympathy?" I asked myself, disgusted.

Happily, that was enough to sic him to ravage the office. My sympathy melted in the conference room scene at the end. But none of it would have been possible without everyone involved being complicit to the monsterdom. Gabe's presence was easily explained because he's a weirdo and still in love with Erin (this possibly being the best version of Gabe I've seen—the insane almost-stalker) but everyone else just stayed in the room. Erin may have stayed out of guilt. Pete sticking around seemed out of character for him, particularly since he'd walked out on Andy's last tantrum, when Andy fired him. And Alice? Why didn't she just bolt when she found out there wasn't a marketing department?

I want to say this was a good cap to Andy's consistent villainy but he seems to get worse every week. He's on thin (vanilla) ice with Wallace, but what will it take to bring him down to earth again? If the writers were ever planning to restore Andy's underdog status or to make him at all sympathetic, could it possibly work with the height of antagonist he's become?

One of the best lines of the episode, and proof that Andy might be reduced to the poor whelp that he is, came from Pam as she departed for her episode arc. "Where are you going?" Andy asked. "Not on a three-month boat trip." Throwing how Andy shouldn't be qualified to sit on the throne of the Scranton branch in his face is enough to undermine him and maybe take the evil wind out of his sails, but not until he admits some fault. He hasn't done that at all since returning and it seems like that's the point. He will in no way be sympathetic until he admits some fault for splitting for three months with no repercussions. Maybe that's what makes us working stiffs the most upset with him.

But let's backtrack to Pam's arc a little bit because there was a bit of disappointment here, too. We didn't get the fight. Not even a snippet. Not even a mention. It was just Pam going for a job interview in Philly, leaving us to assume that the result of the fight was that the family should just pack up and move to Philadelphia. Not that the plan is a terrible one but I was hoping for some catharsis from the argument. Instead it looks like we'll have to wait for a while longer.

The beginning of the dinner was nice. Jim: "This is consolation champagne. It came from the part of France that immediately gave up to the Nazis." I think the worst part about Jim and Pam heading into Dullsville, PA, was the elimination of their banter. It's probably what made us fall in love with them the most outside of carefully choreographed will-they-won't-they scenes. I mentioned in an earlier review the phone conversation at the end of "Initiation" being important to the story of Jam. Most of it was about nothing: Sandra Bullock, having a number of kitchens, time zones. But that's the part of them that makes us understand why they belong together, that their conversations operate like a Swiss clock with timing and delivery that almost couldn't happen in real life but they make work because of their undeniable chemistry.

By the time they rolled around to the end of dinner, when Pam suggested that she maybe didn't want to do the thing we assumed they decided to do, we found ourselves at a crossroads. Again. It's like the fight never happened. So, to me, I'm going to assume it never did. At least we didn't have to see Brian.

We did, however, see Dwight and Angela kiss and it makes me happy to see that story progress. We know how it's going to end, but I'm looking forward to that specific journey. Especially if it'll provide a reprieve from Andy's reign of terror. A head who has been unquestionably blessed by a higher power but sits unjustly as ruler of everything he surveys, and terrorizes his subjects, even going so far as to (metaphorically) behead them. If you think about it, Andy is kind of like Joffrey Baratheon. Don't think about it too much.


NOTES


– Well, there goes our theory that Toby is the Scranton Strangler. UNLESS HE STRANGLED HIMSELF AS A COVER!

– What a waste of amazing talent at the real estate office. Bob Odenkirk was wonderful, as you could expect, and played Michael Scott almost as well as Carell himself. But that he was only around for that one-off and that Michael Weston only had a single line is a crime. I also appreciate Odenkirk's, "I think they indulge themselves a little too much." It's like they know we know they know.

– No single document in the history of television has appeared as often as the relationship disclosure form on this series. Dunder-Mifflin Employees bone more often than at Señor Frogs in Cancun. (Full disclosure: I don't officially know anything about the inter-employee relationships at that particular establishment—it's fair to assume they bone less).

– Erin: "I've seen Pete's butt. It's sick."

– This was a good episode for the background characters: Meredith with floating kisses to the "fresh meat," Stanley feeling the same way about horny people that Phyllis feels about sad people, and even the coda with Oscar and the boots was pretty good (mostly for little things like Phyllis bringing Stanley some tea and not the contrived scenario that was only meant to bring about the mention of the documentary premiere). If The Office has done anything consistently well over the course of the series, it's make sure the bit players have decent material.

– God help us all if they do show the documentary and it turns out to be an excuse for a clip show. I despise clip shows.

Comments (44)
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Clip shows are inevitable. Man, I was so happy to see Michael Weston on tv again! I even thought he was going to incorporated as a recurring character. Nope.
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I'm with you when it comes to clip shows, I would rather stab myself in the eye with a pencil (actually happened to me once, not a funny story) than sit through one, even if it was my favorite show it would still piss me off. And like you said it's strange that Weston only got the one line, is he desperate for any role he can get his hands on or will Pam go back to the real estate office and he'll turn out to be a bigger character? That would also fix your complaint about Odenkirk being underutilized.
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Saul, mmm... Busted out a guitar, called Pam kinda cute but married. lol
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I got the impression that this was supposed to be the build up to the launch of the series that we've been watching. The "documentary" they showed, is Season 1. As in...I assumed this is just another example of bad writing and trying to bend the show to their needs instead of working around it.
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I was so disapointed with the Halpert's storyline. They are just retreading everything with them. I totally agree that Andy's set up with the ex's was too contrived. I guess times are tough for everyone, and what better way to make a paycheck than not having to do anything?
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First off, yes that did seem to kill the theory that Toby is the original Scranton Strangler. However, I still feel like it leaves the door open to Toby being a copycat, and this episode could have been the catalyst to that, he takes brave action only to see the raw power that is the maniac strangler. C'mon Toby, 2 birds with 1 stone - you explain your utter weirdness, and you get rid of Nellie!

Bob Odenkirk did a really good job playing Michael Scott, perhaps that's partly because the baseline character Odenkirk and Steve Carell play are surprisingly similar even before this casting move - shallow, selfish, just stupid enough to make it to where they are, and they both want to be liked but not by being genuine and liking others. But it was indeed totally wasted, as was Michael Weston just appearing out of nowhere for one line, what was that???


As for the main event... Wow, that is a brutal assessment! If this show were better written, I'd agree with you, but Andy's been slowly becoming a monster since replacing Michael Scott, long before this season even started really. Season 8 Andy is a limp dishrag, he lies and misrepresents to cover this up while trying to make nice to prove himself. His jealousy over Gabe & Erin comes out in ugly ways, and he eventually abandons his job to track down Erin and get her back, during the return from that personal mission he treats his then-girlfriend horribly due to his wishy-washy ways. Andy becomes a real douche once he starts scheming to get his job back from Nellie and has to be fired for his inability to do what the company owner tells him. Eventually he simply undermines the company altogether to get his job back. This is Andy being a failure as a person and as a manager, and that's before the season 9 personality disorder changes. Andy brought this upon himself every time, your assessment is just our characters reacting to that.

All that said, Pete and Erin coming to Andy so soon was grotesque and cruel under their pretense of making nice. They brought out the ugliest side of Andy in his Michael Scott-like selfish, cruel actions. Erin tried to stay into Andy while he was gone, she just asked for some interpersonal time, and he blew her off at every opportunity - of course she fell out of love with him, his personality changed entirely. Pete isn't a thief, he tried to keep this from happening, but the real culprit is unfortunately the writers for contriving such a mess out of these characters, and that is the sort of thing that takes away from an episode - when the writers are in the way of the story working, nothing can work.

Good writeup on Pam & Jim all around. The problem with these characters is that we've become so familiar with them, and the writers know that, so they write them as if it's a cliff's notes version, taking out the meat and just giving raw mention to the majority of their lives. We don't get a look into who they really are supposed to be most of the time, we just get a head-nod acknowledging that they argued and something came from it.

Dwight & Angela's storyline was unwatchable, this felt like the backdoor pilot it probably was meant to be, it was awfulness in every conceivable manner, and didn't even feel true to the Dwight universe we already knew, more like a clumsy parody of that.

Oscar's bit at the end tag felt really forced, even if it did further the documentary's existence as a thing. Might Brian's actions have forced that card? Probably not, it takes a long time to cut something like this into a cohesive documentary movie or series, and they wouldn't announce its upcoming airing before it was nearly ready to go, but I'd like to think Brian breaking down the walls with Pam forced the situation.
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I thought it had a lot of good moments. I think people are kind of ready to find flaws in every episode at this point.
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Don't like the Pam and Jim storyline. Pam is being portrayed like a selfish child that doesn't want anything to change, thinking this paper company will live forever. Like screw Jim and chasing his dreams and making more money and giving a better life for her and the kids. Forget, Jim waited and supported her through art school or when she quit to work with michael scott paper company. It's like the writers just threw out the last 8 years, and just did whatever they felt like, its kind of annoying. But I did enjoy Andy being a douche this episode, even though it contradicts everything he was before this season.
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Seems unfair IMO, Pam made a life with Jim in Scranton, and now that he's out of town most of the week she has almost no support system and he acts like she should be able to handle it all and go with the flow while he lives his dream. She has 2 kids and a house, bills and a full-time job, that's a lot to contend with while Jim isn't even really phoning it in, just texting it in. If anything, looking for a job in Philly should prove she's not being selfish, and not working for Michael Scott 2.0 proves she's not afraid of change. The problem seems only to be communication of needs on both Jim & Pam's parts.
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She's wasn't looking for the job. Jim was trying to get her the job and trying to move the family to philly and this situation has been a few months, not years. And adding the bills part is unnecessary, i doubt Jim is not paying the bills and the mother is living with pam, she's not completely alone. I get it, you are a Pam fan, I am too, which is why the way she is acting is so odd. She was always supportive and Jim was the same way. My main point was it seems like the writers have gone out of their way to change these characters' core traits which would have easily resolved this situation before it became so serious, its like they are trying to make them complicated but its coming off crude to me.
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She was willing to take the job, hence: looking. Jim's Dunder Mifflin paycheck had shriveled since he's only paid for time he's there which is not much, and he's not taking anything in from his company yet, so they're living on Pam's check and savings, and Pam seems to be responsible for the actual chore of paying said bills. I'm a Pam and a Jim fan, I usually like them both quite a lot and equally, I'm trying to be objective about the situation. To me, this seems like a naturally-stressful situation that could test any relationship.
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I still think Toby is the Scranton Strangler, he knows George Howard Scub is innocent because it is himself. Toby would've gone into the Jail to tell George he knew he wasn't the one and that it was him, George would've got angry wanting to be the one known as the Scranton Strangler. It has been lead on too much to be shrugged off that easily.
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Doesn't just have to be George wants to be known as Scranton strangler, could also be george is pissed he's rotting in jail because of toby.
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Ah yes very true, I really do hope they wrap this up. Maybe he kills Nellie! :-P
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This. ^
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Has Jim left the office? I cant remember the last time i saw him working there. The philly thing never really worked. Jims best moments were his interaction with dwight and they replaced that with what ?
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I laughed so much during this episode. I loved the Michael Scott impersonation. I'm sorry but if I had to choose to work for him or Andy I would move in a second. Andy is the worst. All I could think about is how many law suits he would have filed against him. Loved the Dwight and Angela storyline. Of course I love every storyline that includes Dwight.
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I enjoyed parts of the episode, if not the whole thing. I was hoping Pam's job interview would help put an end to the whether they end up happy or not story.
She was always the one who said she wanted to live in a big city,jim was looking to just breeze through work and have a quieter life. She always hoped he would try a little harder or be a little more ambitious because she liked to see him care more about his work, now he does and she wants the old Jim back, and doesn't seem to care that he is happier working there. I was hoping that the 4 hours she had to kill before dinner would remind her of that. Scranton is nice, I have visited, but Center City in Philly has a lot of things to see, especially for Pam who seemed to enjoy her time away taking classes in a bigger city. One of the largest mural arts programs in the country. I'm not saying she would have to just agree to going back to being a secretary for a new Michael Scott, but let's be honest, she got her title by fooling Michael into giving it to her, not by doing anything special. She couldn't sell paper, but helped the manager keep the office supplies managed. It wasn't rocket science. SO having her come to what looks like her final straw in the argument we aren't going to see aired out, was a little underwhelming. Maybe when they watch the actual footage from the documentary they remember how much they love each other, but right now, I'm kind of tired of how much they don't like each other and so I don't care if they do or not right now. I know their romance became a large part of the show, but rather than just let them be happy and content, the writers have to give their characters something else to overcome because the other storylines with the other characters didn't hit the mark.

This show use to take one mundane thing about life in an office and make it so ridiculous that you had to laugh, usually at Michael Scott's expense. The endless office meetings, the memos and policies that just added to their tedium. The show shined when they were trying to find a way to distract themselves from all of the nonsense that they had to put up with that stopped them from getting work done. Now they are doing nothing but nonsense and they happen to be standing in an office while they do it or make plans to do it. Michael Scott was an unorthodox manager whose biggest strength was in getting the most from uninspired employees. The other branches were closing around them, but Michael and his antics kept his employees working and his branch alive. Now they survived a corporate buy-out, and bought back by DAvid Wallace because they were such a good investment, not a sinking ship. Their situation was working in a mediocre company, in a little town with nothing to make you believe they were going to have those jobs until they retired, like many companies today. Now they are in the flagship branch of a company that sells paper in a paperless world, and they no longer have a problem selling it. Pam wants to stay in Scranton because she can see herself and Jim retiring there now??
The final season of Roseanne , where thay were millionaires, may have drawn from some of the things Rosanne lived through once she found success in real life, but it didn't make sense for the show. This season feels the same way. Instead of putting the little-branch-that-could out of it's misery, the writers are using the same sets and character names for a season that seems to have little to no connection to its past. I too have seen all of the seasons, and because I know it is the last, I am watching and hoping it finds a satifying end. But if they told me it had been re-upped for another season or two, I would have just given up on it.
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"God help us all if they do show the documentary and it turns out to be an excuse for a clip show. I despise clip shows."
Omg i can totally see this happening. it would only be worse if they also made it the final episode. imagine a series final being a clip show episode... oh wait seinfeld did that :/
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The multiplied horribleness of The Office doing a clip show is that it would inevitably be a review of better times and we'd slowly see the hot garbage to which this series has devolved. You can go either way on a clip show: reminiscing fondly on the past or cursing a show that seemed like such a good investment at first but ended up crashing and depleting your patience reserves.
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The only reasonable clip show they could produce as the doc is the first episode in the series, and only in small bites during a real episode - not a whole thing a la Threat Level Midnight (the episode).
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Very good episode for me. Best of the season. Probably not a coincidence that there was a Michael Scott clone in it.
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Toby probably told the guy he was the strangler, and the guy in prison attacked him
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I like where your head is at. Maybe this is the guy that Toby framed and Toby actually went to see him. Quick! Someone cancel The Following so we can do this show instead!
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I could see watching that! Also, it'd sure make the upcoming "The Office" in-universe documentary a hell of a lot more interesting.
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I was so excited watching Bob Odenkirk and seeing Michael Weston.. Then Weston barely said a line, and I realized Odenkirk won't be around past this episode. A waste, I say! Other then that, I enjoyed the episode.
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I think it was a mistake to have Bob Odenkirk on in the same episode that they have Andy running around being such a tyrant. It just shows how poorly chosen the new boss was after Michael left. I understand with The Hangover that Ed Helms is a pretty big star now, but the show was better suited having Andy be more of a background character, have a bit of a storyline without dominating the episodes. Nothing against Ed Helms at all, that's just Andy's character. Bob Odenkirk coming in and doing a ridiculous Michael Scott impression just reminds us how much better this show was with Steve Carell. And honestly, I think that looking back if instead of Andy they hired Bob Odenkirk's character, and the joke was that he was exactly like Michael, as much as we all would've groaned initially, it would be a better show now instead of limping across the finish line.

I've spent the majority of my adult life watching The Office, and I'm determined to ride this out to the end. That's just how I am, I've watched like 170 episodes and I can't quit with 8 left. But damn if this show isn't trying to make me. Even from Season 5 on, when the quality was starting to dip, this show has shown it was capable of pulling out all the stops when need be. Jim and Pam's wedding, or the few episodes before Michael left come to mind immediately. I'm begging you, The Office. I don't care what it takes. Throw tons of money at Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak. Whatever you have to do, please, give us a couple more good episodes before you go.

P.S - The Michael Weston casting was just odd. Anyone else feel like we might be seeing this character again somehow?
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As much as I enjoyed Bob Odenkirk's appearance in this episode, I don't think I could have tolerated a Michael Scott impersonator for 2 seasons. It was a funny guest spot and it was nice to be reminded of Michael, but it would've just seemed cheap and lacked creativity to introduce a new character who happens to be a clone of an old one. It just goes to show that what the show is sorely lacking is Michael Scott, but that character can only really be played by Steve Carrell. Anyone else and it would be either a parody or an imitation. It would be a disservice to both Carrell and Odenkirk to hire Odenkirk as an impersonator. No matter how liked or talented any veteran actor is, there is no replacing Steve Carrell's Michael Scott.
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Gemma312, I totally agree with you. However, Andy's character is being forced down our throats at this point so badly that I think even that would be an upgrade. That was the point I was trying to make. That, and that Bob Odenkirk just showed us how badly the show misses Steve Carell. As if we didn't already know, I think this proved it's even worse than we thought.
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Bob Odenkirk would make a great addition to any show. He was actually considered for Michael Scott in the beginning. I can't figure out why he doesn't get more work to begin with; he's hilarious.
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I was re-reading an interview with vulture where Paul Lieberstein describes why they chose Andy Bernard to be the new manager. "The Andy character is very different from Michael, but one of the things they have in common is that they both put people first and relationships first." I haven't seen that since last season. Might have something to do with Paul no longer being the showrunner? I do miss old Andy but I feel like we're closer to getting him back. It's just terrible writing to destroy his character and end the series that way. Considering how awful it was to have Erin and Pete tell Andy to "move on", I actually enjoyed the revenge scenes. Maybe they needed that little lesson in empathy. At least, Erin did. I remember the last time Andy moved on from their break-up, she got drunk and sort of told him to make his new girlfriend, Jessica, dead (her Christmas wish). There was also that time she tried to make him jealous when he was happily dating someone by flirting with Dwight. Dwight! They guy who slept with his ex-fiance. Andy moved on in the first place because she was dating someone else. Did he try to encroach on their relationship then? Not really. He was a good friend. I can see why people think he's a total villain now, but I guess I have a better memory of the office than the people writing this season. Can they fix what they broke in 7 episodes? Doubt it.
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I don't think I can wait until May to get this show off the air. From one of my most beloved shows, it now needs to be in Dwight's slaughterhouse and taken care of appropriately. Maybe I'm a happy relationship fool but I hate beyond hate what they've done with Andy and Erin. From back when Michael was around it always looked like Andy and Erin should be together. For a split second they sorta were but can we at least develop something long enough before a split? I'm pretty sure I'll erase this season from my collection since it's a terrible, pathetic direction for The Office. I thought I hated Season 8 but that's brilliant compared to this crap. The Dwight / Angela stuff was pretty good though so I give that part credit. Oh, woops, the Odenkirk being like Michael was priceless. Amazing how a bunch of crap can make you forget the good stuff, haha.
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Yeah don't know why they felt the need to mix it all up at the 2 minute warning, Andy and Erin were supposed to be the "True love" solution to her and Gabe, now they just turn likable regular Andy into a total loon at the end of the run ruining the character for all time so we can have some new unknown swoop in. Add that to all the Jim/Pam drama and it just seems like they're trying to purposefully screw with the fans while the curtain closes.
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Turned this episode on, saw Andy too often and knew what type of episode it was gonna be, deleted from DVR after 5 minutes.
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I like guy playing the real estate boss. He is a completely different character from his time on HIMYM.
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You are apparently not a viewer of Breaking Bad.
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Staff
Or Mr Show.
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Or The Larry Sanders Show
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Ah, so many good memories of that show. Everything he's in is better off for his presence.
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Andy was a complete jerk in this episode and I understand he would be hurting, but seriously??? Andy still doesn't have the balls to admit that his little boating stint did more bad than good and I hope Erin and Pete stick it to him.

Yeah, I thought Jim and Pam were supposed to air out their grievances (well more from Pam, really) but I guess that didn't happen. Okay, now that I think more about this episode, the more all this cluelessness is making me angry LOL
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They've ruined Andy's character, and I now hate Erin and don't think a guy as smart as Pete would have anything to do with a woman that crazy. On the plus side I thought this was one of the few shows since Steve Carell left that I actually laughed out loud. I've always though the office was better when it was an hour long.
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I agree about Andy. I still thought he was tolerable, even likeable in season 8. Back then I rooted for the guy when he was pining for Erin. Now, he is even more obnoxious than Michael ever was. It is out of character for him. He was always a selfish jerk, but still likeable. Now he is Disney evil almost. But apart from him, I did enjoy this episode.
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I would say the "Roommate Agreement" from TBBT probably has surfaced more times.
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As cynical and frustrated as I have been all season long with the Office I can confidently say this was the best episode this season BY FAR. I don’t know what they did differently but I found myself laughing hysterically multiple times more than I have during the last few episodes combined. Andy was actually interesting this week and quite frankly extremely funny. Is he still a douche? Yes but that’s okay because the douchieness actually worked this episode. I loved Gabe coming back he was always incredibly underrated during his time on the show and his work in this episode was brilliantly awkward in the best way possible. I thought it was really smart having Andy get his revenge and even though it was pretty cynical of me I actually thought Pete deserved it for trying to be cocky about getting over ex’s. It was also refreshing to see Dwight and Angela back together again even if they don’t end up together it was sweet to see them kiss one last time. Bob Odenkirk’s Michael impression was pretty good and if it was anyone else I may have been a little pissed but he did a nice job with it. Finally the Jim and Pam storyline ended with a little bit of drama and it will be interesting to see where they go with it. Overall I was extremely pleased with this episode and hope it is a sign of more to come!
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