By Madeleine Bond
Garden Party—while not perfect—was delightful. Not only did we get to meet Andy’s family, but Jim was back to his prankster-ways, and Mose Schrute solidified his position at the top of my list of favourite fictional characters ever. This episode definitely played to the show’s strengths.
By returning to some of the its most celebrated settings and plot points, Garden Party proved that The Office can still be very funny, even without its former star, Steve Carell. The episode followed Andy’s quest to prove himself to his parents and new CEO Robert California, by hosting a garden party at Schrute Farms. Of course, things didn’t go exactly to plan: his parents maintained their unwavering (and borderline-heartbreaking) disappointment, and Robert didn’t really leave the party much more impressed by Andy than he already was (and not in a good way).
This episode heralded the triumphant return of the weirdest character on the show, Dwight’s cousin and best friend, Mose. Being the nerd that I am, I was particularly impressed by the fact that the show’s producers were able to persuade their former showrunner and the co-creator of Parks and Recreation, Michael Schur, to reprise his role as the absolutely insane beet farmer. I’m sure his job as showrunner at Parks leaves little spare time, and I’m thankful that he showed up in typical Mose fashion.
I found it kind of ridiculous that Jim would have the time to write, print, and sell one copy of a rules for garden parties book, but I loved the pseudonym he used: James Trickington. Also, I still haven’t completely warmed to the idea of Andy as the boss. Sure, I truly felt sorry for him in Garden Party (something I was having trouble with in previous episodes), but the Nard Dog has nothing on Michael Scott.
All in all, this was a reasonably good episode of The Office. Not only was the storyline sweet (and vaguely depressing), but the change of setting really allowed the supporting characters to shine (particularly Gabe, the biggest sycophant I’ve ever seen in my life). The guest stars (not just Michael Schur) were a nice surprise, and although I won’t ruin them for you, they made complete sense and were used to great effect. That’s why I’m giving Garden Party a B.