Andy-as-Santa promised to grant everyone's wish, minus a curveball from Erin
The Office
Credit: Chris Haston/NBC
Michael Scott, The Office (Steve Carell)
S8 E10
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The office was full of Christmas spirit last night (as well as alcoholic spirits), as the season of Santa is something the Dunder-Mifflin crew typically does quite well. Ed Helms, making his directorial debut, staged a Christmas party so impressively awkward, it would make anyone long for the days when the biggest holiday problem was Meredith drunkenly flashing the boss.

Andy-as-Santa was a little more cheerful than Michael Scott’s many go-rounds as the jolly fellow. He may not be the first office boss to don the red suit, but he was “the first office Santa ever to make holiday wishes come true.” He promised to grant Christmas wishes, and the gang had a whole host of demands. Meredith wanted Andy to be her designated driver. Safety first! Dwight no longer wanted to attend meetings that degrade his sense of adulthood. Dwight was still an employee of Dunder Mifflin Scranton, so that’s one wish that’s never going to happen. Andy did get Dwight a small piece of the moon — light side by sea of tranquility, natch — so he still left satisfied (that’s what she said.)

Stanley’s holiday wish was just some good ol’ plain baby Jesus lying in a manager Christmas. “I’ve been here 18 years and suffered through some weird thematic Christmases. A Honolulu Christmas, A Pulp Fiction Christmas, A Muslim Christmas, A Moroccan Christmas, a Mo Rocca Christmas (Sidenote to the writers: This next year, please) I don’t want it.” Jim is really regretting those Lewis Black tickets he got Stanley for his birthday right now.

But what about Santa himself? Andy’s Christmas wish was that everyone got along with Jessica, his super serious girlfriend who is super sexy. Was anyone else hoping “Jessica” was leading towards a “my girlfriend who lives in Canada and isn’t real” situation for Andy? Because I totally thought that was where this was heading. Too bad for Erin, Jessica is quite real — and quite sexy.

Erin may be my MVP this episode. Turns out, she really uses holiday parties (See also: Halloween) to put her emotional drama on the table — or on the dance floor, as the case may be. She totally pulled off the incredible awkwardness, as well as the real pain, of meeting Andy’s new girlfriend at a holiday work party. Lucky for her, she had Kelly (Subtle Sexuality sisterhood!) on her side, and Kelly would totally be mean to Jessica if Erin wanted her to be. Kelly is an invaluable resource when it comes to high school girl politics — as long as she’s not distracted downloading fraudulent Kardashian links online.

I want to watch a spin-off of The Office where Kelly Kapoor takes me through celebrity news of the day — you know she was devastated by the Kardashian divorce. Ryan could regularly inadvertently guest star. I would become addicted to that show. I really need this to happen. Kelly was a woman after my own heart tonight between her lack of knowledge about Hindu customs (if it’s not Diwali, she’s not interested, apparently) and at the end, when she is mean to Jessica — “Did you just fart?” (To camera) That’s how it’s done.” The best girlfriend Ryan’s ever had was in fine form all evening.

NEXT: No more pranks for Dwight and Jim?

But I digress, the Christmas party naturally ran into some problems. Robert showed up pretty drunk, and we learned his wife — third time isn’t a charm, apparently — left him, which led Kevin to instigate Operation: Bear Hug. Robert didn’t mind: “I actually appreciate the human intimacy. I feel like a kitten being cradled by a gorilla.” Robert cheered up when he dubbed himself bartender, making everyone (including — Jiminy Christmas! — Erin) take a shot.

This episode finally answered the question: I wonder what the most childlike member of the office would be like with lowered inhibitions. Turns out, she loses her shoes pretty fast. Beyond that, get ready for some seriously embarrassing revelations. Erin drunkenly confessed to Andy her Christmas wish that he had to grant was that Jessica was dead. Not just not there, but, “she was in a graveyard under the ground with worms coming out of her mouth.” Bru-tahl. This was so incredibly, painfully awkward I almost couldn’t stand it. I wonder how those two are going to be able to exist together at work now. Will it be like Karen and Jim, where eventually one had to leave?

In an inspired subplot, at the beginning of the episode Andy (in a hardass hat) told Dwight and Jim that Cathy someone complained that their constant pranks were distracting. It turns out if you aren’t currently in a relationship with one of the two men, having grown adults spend a majority of the day irritating each other right in front of you, it makes it kind of hard for concentration. Who’d of thunk? To get them to behave, Andy said they both have big Christmas bonuses coming their way. If one of them pranks the other, the prankee will get both bonuses. For a second, it seemed like an idea that was just crazy enough to work.

Alas, our favorite office drones found a loophole in the system, kicking off with Dwight putting a random porcupine in his own desk drawer, hoping that everyone would blame the obvious suspect, and Christmas bonus glory would be his. Jim figured out what was going on rather quickly and called animal control — which no one seemed to have a problem with. (Angela: “Porcupines don’t have souls, they’re like dogs.”) Jim decided to Elle Woods the situation and get Dwight to inadvertently confess: “’What’s its name?’ ‘Henrietta.’” Lawyered.

The stakes now obviously raised, Jim knew that during the Christmas party (which he now can’t drink at, because he gets really prank-y when he drinks) he had to go all-in with Dwight. And he did: He defaced a photo of CeCe to try and frame Dwight, but after everyone was super-disturbed (Andy: “this is a fireable offense”) Jim backed down and he and Dwight were back to a Christmas stalemate.

NEXT: Jim and Andy have a heart-to-heart

Of course, our favorite prankster won in the end. After the mess with Erin, a very sad Santa is sitting in the kitchen and asked Jim, “You know those movies where two friends who are sleeping together and it’s like, ‘Hey can they stay friends?’ Do you think two friends who are not sleeping together can stay friends?” Jim answered affirmatively, but Andy remained unconvinced. But then he told Jim he isn’t going to mess with their bonuses. Naturally, Jim got his final revenge by convincing Andy to let Jim tell Dwight himself the stalemate was over. I’m going to assume Andy was too broken up about Jessica and Erin, because otherwise there should be no reason he wouldn’t see right through that.

Jim gave us all a little Christmas present though: Because Dwight doesn’t know that they are now allowed to prank each other like normal, he was still busy attempting to frame Jim by writing “IDIOT” across his own forehead as well as spray painting “Jim Is Awesome” across his own car. Jim of course meant to tell him they were allowed to prank each other again, but he just couldn’t remember what to tell Dwight. I’d love to see a version of It’s A Wonderful Life with Dwight and Jim. Our favorite duo need each other.

After the party, Andy took Meredith home as promised, and learned that Robert would be giving a very drunk Erin a lift. But Andy still totally cares about her, and had to make sure she got home safely, so he followed her home (it’s not creepy when sweet guys do it, right ladies?)

I briefly shouted ‘NO!’ at the TV when Robert and Erin hugged goodnight — I did not want to go down that road — but it was totally platonic. Everyone, drunker and a little regretful, headed to their respective homes to sleep off yet another Dunder Mifflin Holiday Party. But for many, they’ve got some tough truths to figure out when they wake.

Speaking of truths, Robert may have been drunk tonight, but his head was still clear enough to share this Robert California Dark Truth gem, Music Edition. “I’m so tired of the Black Eyed Peas. It’s rock and roll for people who don’t like rock and roll, it’s rap for people who don’t like rap, it’s pop for people who don’t like pop.” Ryan, and music bloggers the world over, approve.

NEXT: Top lines!

Top Lines and Observations:

++Everything about Darryl and Val was sweet tonight. Darryl invited her to the party, she overdressed because Darryl told her it was fancy, but then in the end, Darryl changed into a tux so he was fancy too. Everyone together: ‘Awww.’

++ “I know Santa ain’t black. I could care less. Black Santa? Who’s that for?” –Stanley, mid Lewis Black-inspired rant

++ “Jessica is my super serious girlfriend who is super sexy. Only thing not serious? Our repartée.” –Andy, explaining his very real girlfriend to the office

++ “Mistletoe is not an excuse for sexual assault. And don’t go near Gam Gam.” –Andy, going over ground rules for the party

++ ” I was acting in self-defense. Occasionally, preemptive self-defense.” –Dwight

++ “It’s been 10 days since I had sexual intercourse.’ ‘You came to the right place.’ –Robert and Andy

++ “The weak always bully the strong, contrary to what you see in the media.” –Dwight, not exactly PSA worthy

++ “I love Jessica and I haven’t even met her. In fact, we don’t need to meet. I already love you. Stay home!” –Erin, speaking aloud the thoughts of every ex-girlfriend ever

++ “My ex is meeting my sex. Which is always scary, and not just because you think they might talk about your penis.” –Andy

++ “You had me at cookies. I can’t wait to find out what they are.” –Nate

++ “To take it [a shot] would mean you’re an adult woman with an adventurous spirit…to leave it would be fine too.” –Robert to Erin. Nothing like a little peer pressure

++ Toby was very into a new mystery series about a sex-crazed black detective.

++ “So there was talk of oatmeal…” –Kevin

++ “Meredith gave Jim a ‘Vasectomies and You’ pamphlet

++ “Can I have another alcohol?” –Erin, as well as college ladies the country over

++ “Shut your drunk hole.” –Andy to Meredith

++ Meredith’s car is evidence that she should be on Hoarders. Cross-promotion alert!

++ Dwight, Creed, Gabe and Nate rocking out in the conference room. Merry Christmas, everyone! That’s your present.

What did you all think? Were Erin’s drunken confessions too mean? What should Andy do about it now? Can you imagine a Dunder Mifflin where Jim and Dwight aren’t pranking each other? Any other fans of a Kelly Kapoor celebrity talk show (you know she would be into it!) What other top lines did you love? Discuss!

Episode Recaps

Michael Scott, The Office (Steve Carell)
The Office

The mockumentary-style sitcom chronicles a group of typical office employees working 9-5 at the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

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