The office took an awesomely uncomfortable turn tonight as Robert California’s wife, Mrs. Susan California (guest star Maura Tierney) came to town. We dove deeper into the uncomfortable psyche of mysterious, divisive character Robert California when his personal life rudely interrupted his confusing business style. His wife Susan wanted a job at Dunder Mifflin and Robert told Andy under no circumstances was that to happen. Unfortunately, Andy’s earnest charms were no match for Robert’s steely gaze and intensity, so that plan didn’t exactly work out. Oh, and also Dwight opened a gym. We’ll get there.
Let’s back up. So far this season, Robert California has been creepily, I would say intentionally, one-dimensional, spitting out wise truths and cryptic sayings on a weekly basis. I know some of you love him and some of you can’t figure the man out. Frankly, I’m pretty divided myself. So it was nice tonight to see more layers to the enigma that is the head of Dunder Mifflin revealed tonight, from his panicky “my wife will be here in four seconds” to his real anger at Andy when he was defending himself in a disturbing game of cat and mouse.
The episode began with Dwight explaining he would now be standing 100% of the time. “Standing has proven to be healthier, increases productivity, and just looks cooler. Picture someone doing something heroic. Now was he sitting or standing?…Not counting FDR.” You know that annoying person in your office who is always championing the benefits of sitting on an exercise ball (something Dwight has previously done as well!)? Dwight was that person on crack — way too obnoxious and had to be stopped. When it was discovered Dwight was using a crutch to secretly sit down on, I was right there with Jim pushing smug Dwight over. I think I found this “prank” particularly funny because it was realistic — and although I love them anyway, not all of the Jim/Dwight moments always are.
After Dwight was brought back down to everyone else’s level (literally), Susan came in wanting a job, and for a few brief moments, it looked like Andy was following Robert’s orders perfectly, as he explained there were simply no openings at the Scranton branch. Of course, their “game” spiraled out of control fast, with Robert demanding Andy give Susan a job, and Andy, who thought Robert must have changed his mind, agreed. Don’t feel bad, Andy. James Spader can make anyone do anything. Just accept it.
After Susan was hired, and after one soul-crushing HR meeting — be ready for adventure, not that Toby has ever had any — Andy devised a new plan. Everyone in the office should be really mean to her, so she would willingly quit. Problem solved? This had no way of working, of course. There were only two ways to actually get rid of her: 1.) Phyllis could let out one of her classic, room-clearing farts, or 2.) They could let this place crush your spirit by itself. It knows what it’s doing.
NEXT: Andy’s caught in the middle, plus Dwight’s gym!