The Office Recap: ‘The Seminar’

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“Where’s your jetpack, Zuckerberg?”

Now that the Michael Scott is Leaving The Office countdown has begun, I expect that Steve Carrell and his character must pass through a series of gates, sacraments even, before he can step over to the mysterious land that is The Future of Steve Carrell. And even though the much-anticipated Ricky Gervais cameo in the beginning of last night’s episode was brief, the meeting of Michael Scott and David Brent was as necessary as it was inevitable. But who will rise to the throne when Michael disappears? Jim is hiding from the cameras, Dwight likes the cameras too much, Darryl is hiding behind his newspaper, and Gabe is repeatedly embarrassing himself, so it looks like we need a new guy to pull at our heartstrings a little. Enter the Nard Dog.

Renewed with motivation from his roller-rink epiphany last week, Andy tries to increase his sales by putting on a “How to Grow Your Small Business” seminar. His planned speakers — Jim, Dwight, Stan, and Phyllis — all bail on him, so he recruits Ryan, Creed, and Kevin to help. Kevin opens the seminar with rock ‘n roll and victory laps, then he throws up his sandwich. Ryan calls in as a Yale professor, and Creed delivers a cryptic rant on the Loch Ness Monster. Andy’s seminar starts to look like a failure, but after Michael (dressed as his Greek-Italian alter-ego Mykonos) pulls Andy aside and encourages him to close the sale, he succeeds with the help of the underdogs. Check out Creed’s part of the seminar below:

Andy’s love for Erin played out again in “The Seminiar” and also echoed a lot of what’s going on between Holly and Michael these days, it’s just a little younger and a little more painful to watch (and, at least in this episode, more interesting). Holly can be silly, but at the end of the day, bitch is smart; Erin thinks “mood” is “when a cow mooed yesterday.” But Andy likes Shrek 2 and will sing her a cappella lullabies and has discovered himself, and Erin is the meek and naïve chameleon ready to give a surprise outburst at any moment and…wait. Did I just see Andy approach Erin at the reception desk while Gabe was there too? Because this dynamic is a little too Jim and Pam for me. And so the question is, is The Office trying to push Andy and Erin as the new cute would-be couple to root for? Do we want a new Jim and Pam? And what about the old Jim and Pam? They have been taking a more supportive backseat role to the rest of the office lately, and Jim certainly had a bad confrontation this episode with one of the seminar students, a childhood friend who he called dumb in the third grade. Jim, come back! And lighten up.

This episode gave many characters a chance to steal the spotlight: there was Kevin running in circles while eating a sandwich, Michael and Holly’s faux-Greek improv adventures, Kelly’s “Business Bitch” branding, and Gabe’s scary inability to relate to Erin. But it was Andy who beat them all, not only because he made sales and potentially saved his job, but because he told Kevin, in all sincerity, that he thought he was great. Andy displayed many traits of a good boss, shared a lot of sincere moments with other characters, and radiated his new, happy, nurturing energy. It is probably no coincidence, then, that Angela was absolutely nowhere to be found last night. Oh well! Bring on the Nard Dog 2.0!

Megh Wright is a writer, TV addict, and Harrisburg native. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York and is a Gawker TV contributor.