‘The Office’ review: Was Andy’s anger wasted the second time around?

Is Nellie now the problem?

Over the years, we’ve given “The Office” plenty of breaks. Season 2 may have actually been one of the strongest seasons ever of any comedy series, as there was both an air of mystery to some of the characters as well as a lovable oaf in Steve Carell’s Michael Scott taking us along for the ride. With that, we dealt with some of the unfortunate storylines (Pam going away to art school, Michael’s hostess girlfriend cheating on him) in hopes that things would improve.

However, this season has produced a number of bumps in the road — including making Ed Helms’ Andy the main character despite the fact that the character was never someone that most of America wanted to actually root for to begin with. He was a schmuck out to take Dwight’s job by kissing up more than him, and his anger attack in season 3 when things fail to work out for remains a landmark moment of the series.

Thursday night, the show tried to revisit the anger problem by taking us back to a very similar situation — but it really just showed us how far down this show has declined. No longer was Andy’s anger shocking, and the way it happened (with he and Erin shouting incoherently about Nellie being allowed to keep the manager job) felt so forced. Much of the problem is that a once-realistic series has no ventured into full-on ridiculous territory. Who punches the same wall twice in the same spot? We also still have no idea how someone can literally walk into an office, claim themselves the manager, and have no one really protest it. Catherine Tate was a breath of fresh air during the show’s excellent Florida arc earlier this season (which was a nice reminder of the glory days), but since she arrived in Scranton it’s worked out about as well as Robert California. (In other words, not very well.)

With James Spader leaving the show and Mindy Kaling, Rainn Wilson, B.J. Novak, John Krasinski, and Ed Helms all potentially walking away, the rumors have started to churn as to whether or not a reboot should happen. If it does, why not make it another spin-off like what is coming up with Dwight? Have one of the people in Scranton move somewhere else, and explore the dynamics of a brand-new group of people. As it is, we have a hard time seeing how the show can bring back some of the brilliance it once had — especially when they are having to re-use the same wall-punch as before for laughs.

What do you think should be done with the series at this point?

Photo: NBC

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