By Madeleine Bond
After a hiatus that seemingly went on forever, The Office is finally back. I can honestly say that I was presently surprised – after a particularly lacklustre start to the season (OK, there were some bright spots), episode eleven was a welcomed change of pace. It was by no stretch of the imagination one of the best episodes of the entire show’s run, but it could have been much, much worse.
To meet the sales target set out by the Robert California, Andy must raise an extra $800. He can no longer afford to buy Dunder Mifflin paper himself (and none of the employees are willing to buy any themselves), so he attempts to force Oscar make an accounting ‘error’, but the accountant needs to leave early to attend a trivia night—with a cash prize of $1000—in Philadelphia.
Unbeknownst to Oscar, Andy recruits the entire office into creating teams and competing in the trivia contest, as well. Oh, and did I tell you that the contest was being held at a gay bar? Because, Andy sure didn’t know. Meanwhile, Dwight travels to Tallahassee to interview for a higher position at Dunder Mifflin’s parent company, Sabre.
My main problem with this episode was its predictability; I don’t think it was particularly difficult to assume how it was going to end, but luckily Steve Hely (the writer) made up for that with some incredibly funny moments along the way. The little things, like Dwight’s prepared speech, Kelly’s NBA knowledge, and Jim’s attempt to not be on the Dunder Mifflin’s A-team, were all incredibly funny.
This sums up season eight of The Office: every storyline has already been done before (in some way), so every new episode is predictable. Of course, the show is still capable of funny moments, but overall the show doesn’t feel ‘fresh’ anymore. I’m not quite sure of how this can be fixed, short of actually ending the show at the end of this season.
Again, Dwight’s storyline was predictable, but it was saved by the wonderful chemistry between Zach Woods (Gabe) and Rainn Wilson (Dwight). Their characters’ interactions are starting to feel like Michael and Toby’s.
All in all, this was definitely one of the season’s better episodes, and so I’m giving it a B+. Maybe I’m just feeling generous, maybe I’m just generally happier because 30 Rock is back, or maybe I’m just glad I didn’t have to sit through another episode like Gettysburg, but I liked Trivia.
As a side note, I didn’t feel inclined to mention the Kevin storyline, because quite honestly, I didn’t feel sorry for him. Does that make me some kind of heartless monster?