The Office Season 9 Review “Work Bus”

The Office Season 9 Episode 4 Work Bus (4)

The latest episode of “The Office,” entitled “Work Bus,” had one of those only-on-television scenarios that can be a bit make-it-or-break-it for a lot of people. Either you were on board, so to speak, or you weren’t, much like the somewhat unwilling passengers/workers on the titular bus.

Although I’m the first to admit the overall concept was completely ridiculous and out of the realm of possibility altogether, when you consider the general conceit of the show itself is one and the same, it’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. In other words, the idea that someone would put together a bus intended as a working office is no harder to buy that the fact that someone- or several someones, as the case may be- has been filming this group of office workers in a paper supplying company for nearly ten years now.

In a sense, we are those who find such people and their shenanigans compelling and amusing or we wouldn’t have a show in the first place. Because we watch, the show continues to exist, and because the show continues, whoever it is behind the camera shooting this endless documentary or whatever continues to shoot. Wrap your head around that, why don’t you? (Okay, it’s late, I may be getting a little too Meta for my own good, so I digress.)

Anyway, long story short, the plot was silly, to say the least. Basically, after Jim arranged a prank that worked all too well, the office was closed for repairs. The idea was to get a week off, so that he could do something nice for Pam after she was (seemingly, at least) so accepting of the news that he’d been keeping a whopper of a secret from her, that he’d invested in a business idea that she’d previously shot down.

Well, leave it to Dwight to throw a monkey-wrench into those plans, as he instead arranged for the gang to continue working in a rented bus. Eventually, the bus takes to the road, with Dwight insisting on everyone continuing to work, of course. This leads to the expected silliness, including a sing-a-long chant. I liked Kevin’s verse: “My name is Kevin, cause that’s my name!”
Jim finally confesses that it was all a prank, leading to Dwight availing himself to the rooftop in protest. “Perfect time- right in the middle of a rooftop crisis!” laments Andy when Nellie tries to get him to sign a letter of recommendation on her behalf so that she can adopt. Erin does her best to help, though: “Always say that a child is placed for adoption, not surrendered- that way it doesn’t sound like you’re kidnapping them.”

Eventually, when he sees how upset Erin is that he wouldn’t sign off on the letter, Andy caves and actually does something sweet- gasp!- on Nellie’s behalf, even going so far as to add a few flattering sentiments to the letter. It was a nice moment for Nellie, and I’m continuing to warm to her over the last few episodes, I must say, after being a bit iffy in the past on her character.
Meanwhile, the gang converts Dwight off the roof and into taking the bus back to the road, so that they can make it to a roadside pie seller’s cart to get pies for everyone before the seller closes for the day. (“What do we want? Pies! When do we want it? Pies!”) Along the way, Kevin determines he is an idiot math savant- but only when pies are used within the equation- salads are a no-go. (“So when pies are involved you can do math?” asks an incredulous Oscar.)

All in all, “Work Bus” featured pretty stupid subject matter in terms of plot, but it had an infectious sense of playfulness to it that “The Office” has been missing as of late, from the opening bit with Andy’s fail-less “Epic Fail” video reels (“Congrats on your epic fail of the use of the word fail!”) to Dwight’s rooftop mischief. Goofy stuff, to be sure, but still fun, and a fine entry from everyone’s fave meth maker, Bryan Cranston, who stepped behind the camera (but not in front of it) for this entry. In short, classic “Office.”

Best lines, most of which belonged to Dwight, who walked away with most of the big laughs. “A baby what? A human?” “I can live very happily in a magnetic field- most of my childhood heroes became superheroes that way.” Best of all, his declaration of his supposed infertility: “My trouser hives are void of honey.” I also got a kick out of Andy’s faux commentary over the non-failing fails: “I’m Pete! Puberty is such a drag! I’m Clark! I like to eat toilet -paper!” Ultimately, it was Meredith that got the biggest laugh out of me: “I’ve already lost my uterus! I’m not losing any more good parts!”

What did you think? Too silly to work, or did it work like a charm, despite the implausible premise? Let me know in the comments!