The Office Season 9 Review “Moving On”

When we last left Andy on “The Office,” things were not looking good, as Erin had accidentally blown the whistle on the fact that he had been away at sea for three months, and thus not at work, to boss man David. Fortunately for Andy, David feels he owes him for his current position, so he cuts him a very tiny amount of slack, assuring him that it will be the last. Needless to say, this fact and the whole break-up with Erin make a bit tough for Andy to get to “Moving On.”

Phyllis: “I can’t be around sad people, it makes me sad.”
Stanley: “I’m the same way with horny people.”

Erin did her best to make do with the bed she’d made for herself, but it was clear she was more than a little happy to have moved on herself- maybe a little too clear.

Erin: “We thought that keeping it secret was more considerate to him…and hot for us. I mean, I saw Pete’s butt- it’s sick!”

Meanwhile, Dwight sought out help from Angela in dealing with his ailing Aunt Shirley, who not in the best shape from the sounds of things.

Dwight: “It’s all hanging out and there’s parts of her I don’t even recognize. There’s this one hanging part in particular that’s some sort of flap. It’s like a prehensile wing or something. There’s a divot where it was.” Um, ew.

Andy, knowing that Erin has moved on, is desperately trying to figure out who Erin is with now. He ironically seeks out help from the man himself, Pete, along with Clark, though Andy being Andy, he can’t help but lean hard on the nicknames all around, to hilarious effect.

Andy: “We are in the Bro-zone Layer: Nard Dog, Plop, and Clarker Posey, aka Clark-work Orange, aka Zero Clark Thirty.”

He discovers that the culprit’s name is Pete, but he realizes that Andy has been calling him “Plop” so long, he’s actually forgotten his real name! In the end, it’s the labeled lunch that gives Pete away, and Andy finally puts two and two together, realizing the traitor is in his midst. He calls Pete into his office, and Pete knows the jig is up.

Andy: “You are fired. One of the perks of being the boss is that I can fire anyone who steals my girlfriend and, wow, that turns out to be you! Sorry! (Singing, “American Idol”-style) ‘So you had a bad day…”

Later, Toby shows how above-board the Erin and Pete thing is: they even signed a full disclosure contract, which he gives Andy to read.

Andy: “Every phrase is just like a dagger in my crotch…well, I’m not signing away my rights!” (He crumples up the paper.)
Toby: “That’s not the original, and destroying it will no keep them from dating.”

Meanwhile, Pam is off to Philly to interview for a new job, working at a real estate office. Once there, she realizes things are oddly familiar, and not in a good way. Her new potential boss, Mark, it seems, is not too far removed from her old one: Michael Scott. Guest star Bob Odenkirk positively nailed the Philadelphia version of Steve Carell’s character to such an extent you almost wish he’d been the replacement when he first left.

If only for the fact that it would have basically been a complete retread, that would have rocked, but as it was it worked like gangbusters in the short term, as the “new” Michael rattled off outdated impressions (his Bob Dylan bit was priceless), made faulty references, and said wholly inappropriate things, much to the Philly office’s chagrin, like this bit of business.

Mark: “Hi, I’m Mark. I’m the ‘horrible boss’ around here, but please don’t hire Jamie Foxx to kill me! (Sings) ‘Django!’ I don’t agree with the “N”-word use in that movie- it’s too soon.”

As all this is going on, Angela is getting fed up with Dwight’s animalistic treatment of his Aunt Shirley. After he tries to chain her down outside and hose her down instead of giving her a proper bath, Angela step in and lets Dwight have it with the hose, though not entirely on purpose. Dwight gives in and Angela does things her way, even braiding Shirley’s hair tightly: “Loose braids reflect loose character.”

Dwight is duly impressed by Angela’s handling of the whole situation. Shirley, no fool she, points out the two are clearly made for each other, but Angela protests.

Angela: “We are just friends.”
Shirley: That’s what Mose said about his lady scarecrow and look what he did to that poor thing.”

Toby is not faring much better, when after rattling on to Nellie in a pseudo-flirtatious manner about going to interview the Scranton Strangler, who he thinks is innocent, decides to finally go for it. Things do not go well, and Toby ends up getting firsthand knowledge of his guilt when the man lives up to his nickname by strangling poor Toby. Though it doesn’t do much for his self-esteem, what does is Nellie’s admiration for his finally going through with the meeting, even if he now sports “The Proud Neck of Justice” as Nellie dubs it, as a result. Maybe there’s hope for these two after all, as unlikely a couple as they may be.

Back at the office, the Andy insanity continues, as he berates everyone for not having his back while he was gone.

Meredith: “Hey boss, I did everything I could. I invited Pete over for drinks. I emailed him shots of my junk. That kid doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body.”

After terming his life to be a “booger bubble” (ick!), he isn’t exactly thrilled when the source of his pain comes into his office to give him a pep talk.

Andy: “Kind of painful to chat with you, Pete, ever since the ole one-two punch to my scrotum pole. Translation: penis. Translation: my manhood.”

Pete and Erin try and convince him that working in the same office won’t be awkward, but Andy isn’t too convinced. As revenge, he hires back Gabe, Erin’s ex (aka the “Birdman”) and Pete’s ex, Alice, who is a little on the mean girls side. The gang are bemused to see Gabe again, or at least Kevin is, who asks him about his past with Erin, which Gabe is only too happy to talk about.

Kevin: “Didn’t you two use to do it?’
Gabe: “We absolutely did. Thank you for remembering that.”

Actor Zack Woods’ delivery was spot-on this episode: he gets the most valuable player of the episode award, with apologies to Aunt Shirley, who was a hoot. Take his exchange with Erin, as he sat right up front, making an ad-hoc desk out of an end table, complete with a nameplate and a laptop and the like, a great visual joke.

Gabe, leaning over, with his butt out in Erin’s direction: “Feel how fat my buttocks are. Yeah, it’s crazy. Touch it- it’s like a warm pumpkin.”

Andy, of course, was eating all this up: revenge is a dish served best cold, as they say. He couldn’t resist rubbing a little salt in Pete’s wounds for good measure.

Andy: “We all just got to move on, ain’t that right, Professor Lecture-Much? Uh, question? How’s that medicine taste? Your-own-flavored? Is it just me or have these tables turned?”

Meanwhile, back at Dwight manor, Angela, after getting the gift of the “stink sack” from their meal of skunk surprise- as in: Surprise! You’re eating a skunk for dinner!- shares a moment with Dwight on the porch. They kiss, but she pulls back, even though the two are clearly made for each other. After all, who else is Dwight going to find that not only happily downs skunk for dinner but can handily deal with all manner of his crazy relatives? But Angela wants to stick with her sham of a marriage, taking her vows seriously, despite the whole nasty Oscar-and-the-Senator thing. Too bad.

Pam joins Jim after the job interview debacle, confessing that she just spent years on end working for Michael Scott and she didn’t intend on doing that again, least of all back at square one as a receptionist, which is what she would have been doing if she took the job in Philly. Jim is fine with it and they celebrate anyway, but then she drops the bomb, admitting that she wishes they weren’t moving to Philly at all, and that-gasp!- she actually likes her life in Scranton. Jim is understandably not sure what to do with this information, but he’s clearly taking it under consideration, and promises they’ll work something out.

At the end of the day, Andy calls in Pete and Erin and their respective exes, admitting to the exes that it was all a ploy, but not apologizing for it for a second, relishing in the awkwardness of having them all in the same room. As both Alice and Gabe berate Pete and Erin, things reach a fever pitch of sorts.

Erin: “I didn’t ask you to get that Nike Swoosh (tattoo)! Nobody did. You did that for you!
Gabe: “Just do it! You were the ‘it’ I was just doing!” (Turns to Pete) What kind of music are you into, Peter?”
Pete: “I like all kinds of music, Gabe.”
Gabe: “Really? All kinds? So you like ‘Songs of Hate’ written by the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan? Erin, are you even hearing this?” (He mentions how he even shave off all his body hair…even down below.) “I am smooth as a porpoise for you!” (Not the best mental image in the world, but still hilarious.)

As the super-sized episode comes to a close, we see that “The Office” documentary that has apparently been going on for ten years (!) is soon approaching, perhaps hastened by the loss of a beloved crew member, aka Brian, the boom guy. It will be interesting to see what comes out of it. I suspect the final episode will, in fact, be said documentary, which would make perfect sense. After all, you’d get the opportunity for some choice fave moments, coupled with whatever ending they come up with, and it does indeed feel like things are finally winding down, with the endgame becoming clearer as we inch towards the big finale.

What did you think of this super-sized “Office”? I thought it wasn’t quite as effective as the other one this year (“Junior Salesman” /“Vandalism”), but not bad. The Andy stuff was excellent, and Odenkirk is worth his weight in gold, so it’s definitely enough on the whole to recommend, though it could have been classic “Office” with some paring down of the lesser subplots, which weren’t nearly as funny.

What did you think of “The Office” this week? Appreciate the expanded running time, or thought it could have been more tightly-wound? Wondering what the next move for Jim and Pam should be? How about Dwight and Angela? Is there hope for Andy yet? Let me know what you think in the comments!

About The Author

Mark Trammell is the resident entertainment critic at UAB, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is also a Graduate Student and does a vid-cast movie review show. His impossible dream is that "Twin Peaks" will one day be resurrected and pick up where it left off. Until then, he drowns his woes in anything remotely similar, from "Buffy" to "Lost" to "Pretty Little Liars." This has not always been a good thing-cough, "Ringer", cough- but now at least it can help pay the bills.

  • Josh

    Phyllis is the one who said she “can’t be around sad people.” Not Meredith.

    • Mark Trammell

      Oops! I will change that accordingly. Thanks for the head’s up!