The cold open for tonight’s episode of The Office, “Fundraiser,” let Ryan’s pretentiousness run wild as he expressed his devastation over the loss of Smokey Robinson. We’ve all known someone who has been duped by rumors of an unexpected celebrity death, but what made this opening particularly funny was the way Ryan reacted to the news. Ryan had to point out that he was the first to know about the death and, even more importantly, he needed everyone to know how big of a fan he was.
Of course, a quick internet search put the death hoax to rest, but Ryan would never let his pride take that kind of hit. He quickly squirmed his way out of going to the Smokey Robinson concert by ranting about parking prices and Paul Anka.
For the first time since he was fired, Andy would be in the same room as Robert California and the rest of the staff at a fundraiser organized by Angela’s husband, “The Senator” Robert Lipton. As Erin’s date, Andy was determined to prove to everyone that he was doing just fine.
Clearly, he wasn’t. Ryan – who knows first hand what a breakdown looks like – pointed out that Andy was headed straight for a major meltdown. Andy ended up embarrassing himself, spending a lot of money, and impulsively adopting a pack of homeless dogs, but his breakdown could have been much worse. All things considered, it actually wasn’t all that bad and it didn’t feel like he had really hit bottom.
David Wallace (one of my absolute favorite secondary characters from The Office) ran into Andy at the fundraiser and gave Andy a little glimmer of hope for life after Dunder Mifflin/Sabre. After hitting bottom himself, David’s crazy invention ended up being his goldmine. I’m not totally convinced that David Wallace’s story is as simple as the one he tells, but maybe that’s just because I’d love any excuse for him to work his way back into the story lines for The Office.
Meanwhile, Oscar’s interactions with The Senator were fueling his suspicions that Angela’s trophy husband might be gay. Oscar’s retelling of his encounters to Jim and Pam were cracking me up (“He wanted to rock more than my vote!”) and I loved the way Oscar would light up with excitement while also saying that he’d feel horrible for Angela. I had to laugh out loud when Jim scolded Oscar and Pam with a dry, “Not every glance means something… life isn’t Downton Abbey.” Oh silly Jim. Pam is right about this one, “Life is Downton Abbey.”
Although Dwight has experience with traditional auction formats, he struggled with the silent auction at the fundraiser dinner, confusing it with a “Quaker Fair.” He ended up signing up to donate $34,000 to the cause and realizing too late what he had done. He wiggled his way out of it with a lecture about waste and excess, but I wasn’t a big fan of the way this plot line wrapped up. I think I would have been fine if he skipped the speech altogether and just ran out of the ballroom in a mixture of humiliation and panic.
Trying to earn Darryl’s friendship, Nellie was determined to build some camaraderie between the two of them. Nellie was so much more likable in tonight’s episode than she has been recently and her ridiculous way of eating tacos definitely helped soften her image.
Eventually we found out that all of Andy’s dogs were adopted and that a number of the staff had taken in dogs themselves. As the staff swapped dog owner stories, Kevin had to interrupt so he could brag about his perfect dog. As he described the dog’s behavior, a look of dread spread across the faces of everyone in the office as they pieced together the idea of a clueless Kevin living with a dead dog for a pet.
In the last few seconds, we got a glimpse of Kevin laying by the couch with his potentially dead dog. I was trying to decide if Kevin snuggling up to a dog corpse was somehow funny, and if so, was that kind of morbid humor appropriate for the tone of The Office? Before I had time to be either offended or amused, the dog playfully lifted its head to lick Kevin’s face. At that point, I didn’t care if the maybe-dead-dog gag was funny or not because that little scene was absolutely adorable and I simply couldn’t help smiling about it. That’s good enough for me.