NBC’s ‘The Office’ review: Everyone’s a jerk

If there is one thing that we learned from watching Thursday night’s new episode of “The Office,” it is this: these are not the same characters that we once enjoyed watching so many years ago. As a matter of fact, we’re not even sure if any of them are even remotely likable anymore.

We will at least give the writers and director Bryan Cranston some credit here for coming up with a story that was fairly interesting. After all, we saw a half-hour about the gang getting on a work bus after Dwight had to shut the actual office down due to health hazards, and thus a journey began for Jim to get Pam a slice of pie. It was something that was at least modern, and it showed off some of the actors in an extremely confined space.

Unfortunately, this is really where some of the compliments end, since really the most appalling thing here is the hasty transformation of Jim for likable and funny guy to complete tool in a matter of a few episodes. While the episode never said it, it was obvious that he was just trying to get her a slice of pie since she was obviously pretending to be okay with his new side business, and there was a part of him inside that knew it. The emotions here were handled well, but they were still stemming from something that seems out of character for Jim, as does his blind rage towards Dwight simply for not driving the bus fast enough or to the places he wants.

As for some other characters who threw around insults this week, Andy continued to treat Nellie like dirt in her adoption process, and it took Erin crying for him to change hid mind; meanwhile, we also saw a number of other assorted insults thrown around by Stanley and new character Clark, who we still don’t really understand very much as to why he is there.

As much as Jim bothered us this week, there was a tiny bit of redemption for the episode in the lovely talk between him and Dwight on the top of the bus, when Dwight actually opened up his heart a little bit. It was a reminder there these are real people underneath the silliness, and this softening of the character also bodes well for Rainn Wilson’s upcoming spin-off series.

What did you think about this episode?

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