Was I the only one experiencing déjà vu while watching tonight’s episode of The Office? The major plot line in “Turf Wars” features Andy impulsively starting up his own “Big Red Paper Company” in an effort to steal one of Dunder-Mifflin-Sabre’s major clients, Prestige. Back in season 5, after Michael Scott walked out on Dunder-Mifflin, he also started up his own paper company, The Michael Scott Paper Company. Although the stories weren’t exactly identical, they’re so similar that it’s hard to understand why a decision was made to take Andy’s arc in this direction.
Andy was around when Michael started up his paper company, so I would have expected Andy to see a little irony in the fact that he was continuing to follow in Michael’s footsteps in his post-Dunder-Mifflin-Sabre experience. It might have helped this story line feel less like a repeat if Andy had at least mentioned that the paper company scheme almost worked for Michael before. Instead, the similarities were ignored and we were expected to treat this as a novel idea.
The stories of The Michael Scott Paper Company and Andy’s Big Red Paper Company are bound to end differently, but judging by Andy’s visit to David Wallace, it’s probably just going to be a variation on the same theme. Dunder-Mifflin wound up offering to buy The Michael Scott Paper Company from Michael Scott. This time, it looks like the Big Red Paper Company is going to try and take over Dunder-Mifflin.
Putting aside my issues with the familiar main plot line, there were a number of bits that I still enjoyed in this episode.
I go back and forth with Robert California most of the time, but his angry retort, “You don’t even know my name! I’m the f*cking Lizard King!!!” might be the single greatest thing he’s ever said on The Office. I didn’t really buy the drunken closing of the Binghamton branch, but his avoidance of the problems caused by the closure was mostly entertaining.
I also enjoyed Toby’s detailed persona that he created for “Lloyd Gross” when he was dragged into the meeting with Harry from the Syracuse office. Dwight and Jim kind of glossed over the embezzling they were doing by creating a fake employee, but since Toby had mentally checked out of HR management long before this, so it was apparently a non-issue.
Gabe and his greasy bangs were a crack up. I noticed his new look in the background of an episode earlier this season and thought maybe he just had a flat hair day, but it seems like those plastered bangs are a part of his style now. I loved his “ovaries in my scrotum” comment, and his contribution to the girl-talk session with Nellie, Pam, and Angela made that scene golden.
The Office has been trying really hard to get us to sympathize with Nellie and it has mostly backfired. I’ll admit that part of me can’t separate Donna Noble from Catherine Tate, so I have a built in soft spot for her, but listening to all her depressing voicemails felt like a desperate attempt to guilt us into forgiving Nellie for being a brat. I did feel bad for her when it was obvious Nellie had no idea about the content of her voicemails, but my sympathy felt like it was the result of a sucker punch.
There was plenty in tonight’s episode of The Office that made me chuckle, but it was hard for me to get past the Big Red Paper Company/Michael Scott Paper Company story reincarnation. I know I’ll have to wait and see where it goes, but I just hope I don’t spend the next couple episodes experiencing déjà vu again.