When it was announced that Steve Carell was retiring his role as Michael Scott, my first thought was that “The Office” wouldn’t survive without his absurdity. After Thursday night’s premiere, I believe there is still hope.
Episode one of season eight, which was titled “The List,” answered many questions in the minds of viewers, as do most season debuts. The most pertinent: who will become the next regional manager? The show’s staff surprised fans by promoting Ed Helms’ character, Andy Bernard to succeed Scott. Although unsuspected, the reasons behind the promotion seem to fit. Bernard is, in many ways, very similar to Scott. Because of the characters’ comparability, the structure of the series won’t see much change, but Bernard is distinct enough that the stories won’t be repeats of past seasons.
With the addition of James Spader and his character Robert California continuing into season eight, the series’ premiere is largely about a list written by California containing the employee’s names separated into two columns. The office tirelessly tries to decipher the meaning of each column and in the process have some laugh-out-loud moments. They come to find out that the lists referred to the winners and losers of the office, bringing more laughs.
For the vast majority of “The Office” fans (including myself), the auxiliary characters are a main focus of what they want to see and what keeps them laughing. In the premiere, it is revealed that Jim and Pam Halpert are expecting a baby boy and Angela Kinsey’s character, Angela Martin, is expecting with her gay Senator husband as well. This is sure to make a hilarious rivalry between the two in coming episodes. Other amusing highlights include the office’s participation in the trend that is planking, Stanley Hudson ending his sentences with “…and shove it up your butt,” and Toby Flenderson leaving the winner’s lunch because of insecurities.
The premiere of “The Office” left me laughing and wanting more, which is the goal of any show. The series’ writers were aware of the loss fans felt with the departure of Steven Carell and the debut episode started the mending process. I have high hopes and spirits that one of America’s greatest prime time comedies will succeed even after the loss of such a beloved character.
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