As The Lion King taught us, there is a Circle of Life. Which means, even though the beloved Michael Scott has left, life at Sabre (F.K.A. Dunder Miflin) must move on without him. And in the case of replacement Deangelo Vickers, there is ‘The Inner Circle” of employees who suck up to him and do his bidding. This was an odd episode, and I can’t say that I laughed much. I was still really confused about Deangelo as a person and boss (and I think the writers were too). So, this may sound cruel, but I was more than happy when he injured himself while showboating his basketball skills. That is certainly one way to get rid of a character that is not cliquing…kind of like George’s fiancé Susan dying while licking her own wedding invitations on Seinfeld.
Most of tonight’s episode was devoted to wacky power plays and disgruntled employees. In theory, I should have enjoyed it more because that is what The Office usually does best. But again—most of it crossed that thin line between dark humor and just plain dark. For instance, what started as a funny bit of Ryan positioning himself as Kelly’s boss—and Kelly agreeing to go along provided Ryan behaved as a dutiful boyfriend—resulted in a really hurtful and ridiculous outcome when Deangelo called Kelly hysterical and let Ryan actually be her supervisor. Perhaps it could lead to Kelly finally empowering herself and ending her twisted relationship with Ryan. But, I always liked it best when their relationship was just playful and ridiculous enough.
The remainder of the power plays felt very unoriginal, probably because it was not too long ago we had Charles Miner step in as boss during the ‘Michael Scott Paper Company’ story arc. We had pretty much the same people trying to make a good impression, and once again we had Jim on the outs and wondering what has become of his life. I was happy that Jim actually took a stand this time to tell Deangelo that the women of the office were being excluded. Unfortunaely, that comment got Jim sidelined until the very end. And Dwight refused to play the suck-up games until Deangelo outright screamed at him: as Dwight himself explained, he responds to power.
There were really only three scenes that I feel are worthy call-outs for best comedic moments in this “Inner Circle” episode:
- The fact the Andy actually had juggling equipment for Deangelo to use, which the latter refused. And then Pam imitating Deangelo’s insanely awkward fake juggling act.
- Andy explaining that he would know a sexist if he saw one, because he not only took “a boatload of women’s studies courses at Cornell” but he also wrote his own play in reaction to The Vagina Monologues called “The Penis Apologies.” I think Andy needs to perform that with his regional theater crew!
- Kelly’s dream job is at Anthropologie, and she cannot fathom why the new executive assistant would leave that job to come work in their office. Good question!
At the beginning of the episode, Deangelo held a staff meeting and told his employees: “Big changes are coming…if you don’t like it, there’s the door.” Sadly, this line speaks volumes about the show itself. I am headed toward the door—and I need something great to make me stay.