THE OFFICE “Garden Party” Review

THE OFFICE “Garden Party” Season 8, Episode 4 – The biggest puzzle plaguing my thoughts after watching tonight’s episode of The Office has been trying to figure out how Jim could possibly have pulled off his garden party book prank. Jim has always gone well out of his way to meticulously plan schemes to drive Dwight insane, but this might be the first prank in eight seasons that I just can’t wrap my head around.

It would be one thing if Jim had put together a small pamphlet and convinced Dwight to pick it up, but judging by the size of the book, I’d guess that it would be roughly 250 pages long and written well enough that Dwight would have no suspicions.

From the time Andy announced his garden party at Schrute Farms, Jim would have had to write the entire book, professionally bind it and set it up to be sold and shipped from E-bay. He’d have to spend his entire day and night writing with no regard for his work or family. If by some miracle he was able to write in less time than that, I’d suggest that Jim quit his job and start writing books.

The garden book idea was not very well conceived, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the results of this particular prank. Dwight’s guest announcements, the courtly dance, the tableau vivant of “Last Supper” and the closing ceremonies with torches were well worth my suspension of disbelief and I honestly laughed at every stupid thing Dwight did to follow the instructions in Jim’s booik.

Shchrute Farms has come a long way since its appearance in earlier seasons where it more closely resembled a 1970’s slasher flick farmhouse than a high end event facility. I’m of the opinion that The Office should head out to Schrute Farms more often. Dwight becomes this hilarious proprietor who takes so much pride in his property that he’ll happily make a fool of himself in the name of customer service. While still being true to the Dwight we know from the Scranton office, he is somehow a completely different person eagerly dealing with the business of Schrute Farms.

Plus, more Schrute Farms means more Mose and that’s always a good thing. I loved Mose fighting Toby out of his car and trading his keys for a rock, only to speed around the corner and intentionally plow Toby’s car right into the corn fields. The cut away segments updating us on the status of everyone’s cars were absolutely hilarious (and a bit frightening if you’ve ever wondered what valets do with your car once your keys are in their hands.)

Andy’s daddy issues played out in front of the entire staff at his garden party. Although I always suspected Andy had complex like that, it was nice to see the family that shaped our neurotic Narddog. The duets with Andy, his dad and brother were all at once funny, sad and so awkward. I felt really bad for Andy by the end of it and although I wanted to see him stand up for himself, it was more believable the way it actually played out.

One of my favorite bits was the aside that Darryl and Oscar had when they discovered the terrible things that Andy’s dad had said. Their debate on the meaning of “Rosebud” from Citizen Cane had me cracking up. After that, I think I’d enjoy watching Darryl and Oscar debate any number of topics.

There were a couple of mini storylines running through this episode of The Office. Gabe was having inferiority issues of his own with regard to Andy and Robert California while Angela and Pam were battling it out for the use of the name Phillip for their babies. Both were funny, but they didn’t really contribute much to the episode as a whole so they felt a little wasted.

Since the last few episodes of The Office revolved around Andy’s management skills, it was nice to turn the focus to another aspect of his character outside of an office setting. Andy has effectively transitioned from a side character to an established main character and now I’d like to see some kind of arc come together this season with him as a part of it. I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see what The Office has in store.