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'The Office': How's new boss Andy Bernard doing?

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Andy The Office
Ron Tom/NBC

Community: it’s not just a show that’s on before The Office. This week’s Office featured the Dunder-Mifflin crew coming together on a challenge to increase sales after new CEO Robert California said he wants to see them double their percentage growth this quarter, despite a little national recession.

Naturally, new boss Andy was feeling the pressure. He wanted to continue making a good first impression on Robert, so he crowd-sourced tie options in the conference room while Dwight led a meeting about a brand new heavy triangle tablet. (Side note: Awesome). The plot point I’m most thrilled about is carefree Dwight. Being passed over for the promotion really did a number on him. For the first time Dwight doesn’t care about selling paper — and that’s exciting. He’s baking brownies, dissing Wall Street, and when it comes to brainstorming, just wants to talk about how fast children grow up.

Without Dwight to lean on, Andy came up with his own strategy to inspire sales: an incentive point system. Unfortunately, besides Meredith’s enthusiasm for the vibrator, the prizes left a lot to be desired. So a panicked Andy, egged on by Jim, over-promised and declared that if the office got 5,000 points, they could tattoo whatever they want on his butt.

Cut to: The office buzzing with sales. Dwight was trying again! Stanley skipped afternoon naptime! To the surprise of no one but Mr. Bernard, they reached the goal by the end of the day. Which got Andy into one of those classic ass-tattoo incentive situations.

Michael may have occasionally gotten caught up in the moment and over-promised (Scott’s Tots, anyone?) but I don’t think the gang would have been able to get Michael to the tattoo parlor. There are certainly a lot of similarities between Michael and Andy, but one key difference is confidence. Michael may not have been confident with women, or with friends, but he was positive he was the World’s Best Boss. He had a mug. And a Dundie. And when his confidence wavered, he faked it. The Cornell grad has neither the mug nor the confidence, and he can’t fake it like Michael. That insecurity drove him to the tattoo parlor. And that insecurity, even after Jim told him no one expected him to actually go through with it (a kind, classy move on prankster Jim’s part) is what led Andy to take his pants off and get on the table.

By that point, anyone could see that Pam was going to change the tattoo design, and while I couldn’t predict what it was going to be, when Andy showed off the newly-minted Nard Dog, it was perfect. Mr. Nickity-Name finally has his own. And he’s not the only one calling himself Nard Dog anymore. It took being promoted for him to be one of the group.

That mentality led to some extra poignancy with Robert California’s final voiceover about why he picked Andy as the new boss.  “There’s something about an underdog that really inspires the unexceptional.” Much like his winners and losers speech at the end of last week’s episode, it wasn’t particularly kind, but it was particularly true.

The sub-plot of Angela looking for a pregnancy walking buddy was a fun add-on, especially the tag at the end of the episode. Pam finding out that Angela called Child Protection Services because she’d been drinking tea out of a coffee cup (leftover caffeine residue!) was perfect. The walking buddies were fun while they lasted. She’d never go for it, but Angela as a new mom with her state senator husband? I’d watch that reality show.

Highlights:

-“When me President, they see. They see.”

-“What do you think, C-Span?”

-“You have a walking buddy.”

-If an impromptu song is to be believed, things are going pretty well with Darryl’s ex-wife.

-“Is that a vibrator?”

-“Let’s ink my stink.”

-Dwight has got some serious bloodlust.

PopWatchers: What did you think of this week’s episode? How are you liking new boss Andy? What would you tattoo on the S.S. Bernard?

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