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The Office tries 'Livin the Dream'

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Written by : published Sunday 5th May 2013

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Dwight (Rainn Wilson) gets a black belt, Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) being out of the relationship problem woods and Andy (Ed Helms) chasing his dream of stardom: yet another day in The Office with their latest episode "Livin The Dream".

We learn right out of the gate that Jim has taken time from his other job in Philly to spend more time with Pam. And the time is quality.  Pam's addition: A quality morning too. Things are going well for The Office's favorite couple.

Dwight meanwhile continues to have a good day. He exclaims proudly in an odd but funny moment there are four new weapons in the Scranton Dunder-Mifflin branch: Basher, Crasher, thrasher, and fireball; all body parts (arm and legs, etc).  And better yet, his master Billy (guest star Michael Imperioli) will be doing the ceremony "in the place he loves the most" which is naturally the Scranton office of Dunder Mifflin.

David Wallace (Andy Buckley) meanwhile visits the branch and not for anything necessarily good.  Wallace's surprise visit is spurred by a conference call discussing new cheek bone implants and a new color printer bought at the branch for 'good quality headshots'. These are all done by you guessed it, Andy.  Andy though, is going to be fired but after a discussion with Jim about being spread too thin, Andy applied this twisted logic for himself and before Wallace can fire him, Andy quits to pursue acting.

Everyone has thoughts on this in their one on one interviews: Stanley (Leslie David Baker), Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) and Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) all have poor things to say.

Jim though sits in the annex to help Clark (Clark Duke) put on a good face while Wallace is here. Jim uses romance to win his desk back "Im here to be with my wife" but Clark offers valid thought: "I'm here to sell paper."  With Halbert defeated with actual work-logic, down he goes to the annex to try not to get lost in Pete's deep blue eyes in the Annex.

This episode which marches towards the end of the series all together, as "Livin the Dream" advises that the documentary airs in two weeks. and has a lot of balls in the air coming to a close. Like Wallace hearing from Billy about Dwight's oddball determination and dedication to whatever he sets his mind and heart to. Angela realizing she chose poorly in not choosing Dwight. Speaking of not choosing Dwight, Jim even goes to bat for Dwight.

To showcase a real sense of how great a day Dwight was having, it goes for us viewers as well. Dwight as a character has been, besides Jim and Pam, one of the most interesting and diverse characters when it comes to story, and to see Dwight get bantered up and considered by Wallace, to show real heart and emotion, (more mercy than anything) to Andy advising him to please not quit his day job even saying "I have nothing to gain in telling you this and have something to lose" was key.  

Wallace is without mercy to give too, as Andy realizing his folly, is given his old sales job back. There is a bit of defeat in Wallace's eyes, but as someone who was fired or laid off back during the ownership change a few seasons ago, perhaps mercy is his to give. Everyone deserves a second chance, right? And besides who understands second chances more than Wallace? 

Dwight's first major item of business is to not only get Jim's seat back but to give Jim a raise to Assistant to the Regional Manager.  

More than anything though, is that while you could say they were setting it up to end the show, it felt genuinely earned.  Sometimes endings (such as between Pam and Michael's goodbye) did not feel earned, this payoff feels really right for the show.  There is respect between Jim and Dwight, even if it is begrudging. And Jim's delight in the role not only because he can be close to Pam but also perhaps have fun with Dwight, which I'm sure on some level Dwight even enjoys.

Andy though still feels bad that he fell back on his falback so he literally shits on David Wallace's car in an effort to burn his bridge with Dunder Mifflin, his fallback. It is a bold move (and stupid one) but alas, we will see how it pays off.  If they are going for treating Andy like the Ricky Gervais David Brent character from the U.K. The Office, it feels awkward and jilted. 

Andy has gone from one of the best-loved and interesting characters to the most depressing. 

It is like the writers realized they fumbled so badly with Andy, they realized it was time to just go big and go home. If you didn't hate the character yet, they were gonna throw so much out there to continue to drive it home that Andy doesn't deserve to be liked by audience members.  Heck, Angela has been given sympathy this episode in something that feels right and justified.  Yet, even as Andy plays "I Will Remember You", while Helms does a beautiful job performing it, it doesn't make up for how horrible the character has matured and 'grown'.  So his 'goodbye' rang me with a big old who cares from this viewer.

Overall, The Office continues it’s march towards the finish line and while there are signs of improvement of having a satisfying ending, the real question still will be: should have the show ended with Michael? Until May 16th, that remains to be seen.

About the author goodbadgeeky


Nick ‘Nitro’ Arganbright has an extreme love for a good story, whether it be in film, tv, video games, comic books, music or more and it shows in each article and podcast he produced. The titular podcast he produces is called The Good The Bad & The Geeky with co-hosts Jon Bettin and Nathan ‘DJ Meat’ Haley. The podcast has helped him make a few contacts within in the industry which he hopes to use to entertain and inform readers of his reviews on Examiner.com and The TV King, offering an average joe opinion that is often overlooked in major print and online publications. If you’d like to e-mail him, please do so at [email protected] or you can tweet him on twitter at @goodbadgeeky.

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