“Everyone I know who skis is dead.”
In “Training Day,” new manager Deangelo Vickers (Will Ferrell) arrives at Dunder Mifflin, and everyone in the office, even Stanley, is instantly charmed by his earnest, welcoming attitude and endearing interest in southwest America. Everyone tries to make a great first impression with Deangelo, whether it’s Jim and Pam bragging about their baby after hearing Vickers has children, Kevin starting a new life as a cool non-bald guy, or Andy obeying Vickers’ most absurd demands for slapstick humor so he is viewed as the office funny guy. I really love how understated a comic giant like Ferrell makes his Office character — he’s softly kind and interested in the Scrantonites, but at the same time there’s something churning within that reminds me of Andy back when he still had anger management problems.
This episode’s opening scene between Michael and Deangelo ties with David Brent’s appearance in “The Seminar” for my favorite opening scene of the season. Not only was it a strangely awesome way for the two to meet, but I love how the show blurs the line between Michael Scott leaving and Steve Carrell leaving. Like Jim says to Michael after Deangelo calls his first meeting in the conference room, “Listen, you’re the one who decided to leave. He’s our new boss — you know we have to do this.”
There’s been a three-week break since the last episode of The Office, and last night’s episode was a harsh bitch-slap of reality for me. Perhaps the break was meant to make a faster transition between Michael Scott announcing his plans to go to Colorado with Holly and a new manager being hired, moved to the area, and sent to the Dunder Mifflin office for management training, but it seemed strange that everyone in the office (except Dwight, who wants the position for himself) was instantly charmed with Deangelo Vickers, regardless of how undeniably likable Will Ferrell makes the character. It can be threatening to bring in a new boss who is mean and villain-like, but it’s even more threatening to bring in a new boss who is adorable and friendly, and The Office has certainly set this up to seem like the ideal managerial transition.
That’s not to say that’s a bad thing or that this was a bad episode. It might seem jarring that the show moved from Michael’s announcement to Michael’s replacement in two episodes, but what is left to say in between? Rather than put fans through a slow torturous goodbye with Michael kicking and screaming while being carried away, The Office opted to show us that whoever is manager at Dunder Mifflin — dare I say not just Michael Scott — is going to be an anchor for the other characters, and if we give some new people a shot at it, maybe we’ll like what happens.
Megh Wright misses Harrisburg, lives in Brooklyn, and answers phones in Manhattan.