The Office recap: Sad Romance
Ed Helms hasn’t always had the meatiest role on The Office, but “Andy’s Play” gave him as good a showcase as he’s ever had, and the guy killed it. In an episode about the ways we perform for each other — wearing certain outfits, say, or using ostentatious gadgetry — it was Andy’s sincerity that stood out. Well, that and his delightful rendition of “I Try.”
Andy and his castmates from a local production of Sweeney Todd serenaded the Dunder Mifflinites, much to Erin’s wide-eyed delight. “Did you write this?!” she squealed. I love Erin, but the show is really toeing the line of just how dumb she can be and still be credible. “My plan is to make Erin fall back in love with me tonight,” Andy confessionalized. “Women cannot resist a man singing show tunes. It’s so powerful, a lot of men can’t resist a man singing show tunes.” It almost worked, too: Even though Erin babysat for most of the show, she was totally enthralled with the bits she saw, and she and Andy rekindled their goofy friendship. Sadly for Andy, that was all they rekindled, and she left their bonding session to go take care of her new beau Gabe.
I get that we’ve already seen an office romance from its banter-y inception up through its less-bantery marriage, but Erin and Andy are pretty different from Jim and Pam. Skipping their whole relationship feels like we got cheated out of a fun, genuine story — if we weren’t going to get the payoff of the two of them honestly together, the full season of build-up to it is kind of a drag.
Elsewhere, another Office couple was recoupling: Dwight and Angela still had their contract in place, and Dwight was looking to get his card punched. “Disrobe!” he commanded a heartsick Angela, who had other plans. Her scheme to make Dwight fall back in love with her — who can resist a seed-catalog model, after all — brought out the mischievous side of the character that we haven’t seen in a while. I miss Angela.
The best part of the episode? The fact that everyone did go to see Andy’s play, and they all seemed to honestly like it. (Well, except for Creed.) Even the rejected Michael couldn’t filter himself: Andy was awesome in the show. Dwight bragged to another audience member that Andy was his coworker; Michael, Kevin, Darryl, and Meredith jovially shared a bottle of wine; and everyone came backstage to congratulate Andy on his performance and cheer him up a little. It was so charming and lovely and warm — maybe not hilarious, maybe not hugely original, but comforting in its way.
Actually, I lied. the best part of the episode was definitely Michael performing his one-man Law and Order. Holy moly, I’d give anything to see more of that performance.
NEXT: Other great moments from “Andy’s Play”
++ This was the smile-iest episode of The Office maybe ever. Andy’s huge grin, Erin’s childlike enthusiasm, Pam admitting the show was great, Angela driving home with a little bit of smug satisfaction — it was pretty much Grintown, USA.
++ “It’s almost like a babysitters’ club!”
++ Darryl shushing Michael so he could hear the overture, and then Darryl accompanying Andy on the piano at the end of the episode. We’re due for a more Darryl-centric episode one of these days.
++ Oscar nitpicking that “it was an amateur production, so technically…”
++ Pam and Jim’s baby is actually cute! Phew!
++ When everyone was pep-talking Andy towards the end, Ryan was just staring at the camera making this ice-cold face. Bizarre and awesome.
Okay, Office fans, your turn. Did you find the phone ringing/wine bottle thing too painful to watch, or did it balance out an otherwise saccharine episode? Are you Team Andy or Team Gabe? And be honest: Didn’t you kind of love Andy’s take on Macy Gray?
TV ADDICTS, STOP WHERE YOU ARE! Embedded below, listen to the second edition of EW.com’s TV Insiders podcast. Dalton Ross, Michael Slezak, Michael Ausiello, Tim Stack (EW’s resident Gleek), and yours truly break down the week in television—specifically Glee, Dancing With the Stars, and Survivor—and present it to you in an easily digestible audio format. Or click here to download TV Insiders to your MP3 player!
The mockumentary-style sitcom chronicles a group of typical office employees working 9-5 at the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.