Every week, I find it harder to review The Office. It’s not that the show isn’t enjoyable anymore—in fact, this week’s cold open made me laugh harder than anything else on the show in years—but as a whole, The Office isn’t particularly ‘great’ anymore. Tallahassee is a key example of this. While, again, it featured some truly funny moments, as a whole, the episode wasn’t anything special. And the reintroduction of Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate) certainly didn’t help matters.
Nellie is tasked with running the special project that has sent Dwight, Jim, Cathy, Erin, Ryan, and Stanley to Tallahassee. Of course, they can’t create the Sabre retail stores on their own, and are joined by other employees, chief among them Todd Packer (David Koechner).
These days, The Office feels like The Simpsons (and not in a good way). Both shows have gone from being at least partly rooted in reality to caricatures of their former selves. That is, once upon a time this storyline would have probably revolved around the Scranton group’s difficult time dealing with their new wacky boss, and Dwight be at his sycophantic best but still act semi-realistically. In Tallahassee; however, Dwight’s craziness reached a completely new level – he battled through Appendicitis in order to impress Nellie. Of course, this was actually quite funny, but I expect more from The Office. Unlike 30 Rock or Community, I don’t expect it to be a joke machine, but rather a funny show rooted in some form of realism. Dwight is seemingly no longer realistic. I know you could make an argument that Dwight was never particularly true-to-life, but this felt out of character, even for him.
Fortunately, there were enough laugh-out-loud moments in this episode to make up for that, as well as the start of some great new friendships (Ryan and Erin, Stanley and Jim), and a nice B-story involving Andy’s love for reception work. This episode really signified what the show has become; not great, but funny enough to not be completely terrible, either. That’s why I’m giving it a B.