The Office Season 9 Review “Customer Loyalty”

This was an unusual episode of “The Office” and, in some ways, “Customer Loyalty” could be seen as a metaphor for the entire series. After all, the show’s been on for nearly ten years and any show that’s been going on that long is bound to eventually show its age. At the same time, as a hit show, you do want to go out as successfully as you came in, if at all possible. You want to deliver those goods one last time, and deliver them right, you know?

This has been a bit of a hit-or-miss season, as has the show itself been on the whole, post-Carrell. In recent months, though, “The Office” has been able to get back a little of what it lost over the years, and even surprise from time to time. I think the addition of Clark Duke, in particular, has been a boon to the show- especially as a foil to Dwight- and though the character is a bit bland, Jake Lacy (Pete) has provided a bit of youthful energy to the show as a romantic interest for the adorable Erin (Ellie Kemper).

Occasionally, the show has come close to taking itself a little too seriously, resulting in some overtly dramatic moments for a comedy show, such as the scene tonight where Pam and Jim fought over the phone. Still, the show’s been on the air long enough to earn a little dramatic license. I actually thought the outcome of the episode where Angela found out about her husband finally and tried to have Oscar whacked (“The Target”) was well-earned. Angela deserved that moment, and maybe Pam did, too, despite it ending the episode on a bit of a downer. (Thank God for the bumper joke at the end of the episode- one last chuckle for the road, am I right?)

This particular episode also featured a big reveal at the end: we finally saw two of the people in the camera crew tailing our gang for all these years. There was Brian, the director/producer (?) and the woman handling the sound (who wasn’t named as of yet), with the cameraman/woman remaining behind the camera, voiceless and nameless. Brian seemed a bit on the too-close-for-comfort side to Pam for my tastes, and the way it happened was a bit showy, as in “Why has this never happened before?” After all, a lot of opportunities have presented themselves over the years.

Still, one thing is undeniable. The show does seem to be winding down in earnest. Though how this latest plot twist plays out remains to be seen- I will be skeptically optimistic for now- I have faith in the gang. They’ve been on a roll as of late, and I think this bunch can bring this sucker in for a landing just fine. I’ll be pulling for them.

Best bits:
The “Quest for the Holy Grail” by Dwight and most of the rest of “The Office” was amusing, but also telling- even Jim couldn’t remembered the specifics of it, having pulled so many tricks on Dwight over the years. Was it me or did it seem like the show brought attention to this on purpose right up at the front of the show, as if to say, “Yes, even we know that this sort of thing gets old after a while…which is precisely why we’re ending this thing.” By acknowledging this within the show- call it a “Dunder Code,” I suppose- the writers seem to be saying to the audience: “We’re on your side, too.” Nice touch as well, making the revelation of the “Grail” so wonderfully mundane.

I also liked the “Youth Task Force” bit, especially when Erin & Pete allowed that they’d created a fake Facebook page, populated with fake people with their own fake accounts, all of who “like” Dunder-Mifflin, but “So far, we’re only popular with imaginary people.” Such a wonderful indictment of the times we live in, and nice going using that as a sort of matchmaking device to boot, with Nellie playing Cupid (“I did everything but unzip their pants for them.” LOL.).

Getting everyone else involved on forming an opinion on this situation was exactly the sort of thing Michael would do, especially if he was afraid to broach the subject himself, as Nellie clearly was at first, so the group meeting bit was great, too, and led to my favorite exchange of the night, by far.

Phyllis: “Andy’s cute, but he’s too Vanilla. Whereas Pete…he’s just one sick dude. I mean, you know this guy likes to get weird.”
Meredith: “With slammin’ bodies like that, you know they ain’t playing checkers.”
Pete: “Come on, guys. Where is this even coming from?”
Kevin: “Your feelings for Erin? Probably your heart…and a little bit your penis.”

Love it, love it. Admittedly, not that much in the way of big laugh lines overall, and aside from the net result (the YouTube-type video at the end), the Dwight and Darryl subplot was a bit of a bust. Still, some good stuff here and there.

What did you think of “The Office” this week? How about the big reveal of some of the camera crew? How about the vested interest Brian took in our Pam? What of the drama between Pam and Jim? Welcome, or not so much in a comedy show? Let me know in the comments!