When we first met Andy Bernhard, he was a minor character—a blue-blood with an affinity for a capella music and a comically short fuse. He stole every scene he was in, and eventually he worked his way up to series regular and ultimately, after Michael Scott’s departure, all the way up to regional manager. Somewhere along the way, the writers decided to flesh him out, transforming him from one-dimensional tool to a goodhearted guy looking for love.
Then, all of a sudden, he’s reverted back to his old ways this season. Maybe the writers realized he was funnier when his character was a little more cartoonish. Maybe it’s only temporary. One thing’s for sure though: Andy’s been the opposite of fleshed-out in these first few episodes, stripped to the bone for the sake of comedy and intrigue. And this week, it kind of worked.
Andy was once again the butt of plenty of office jokes—a spot he shines in—after Nellie tricks everyone into thinking he’s related to Michelle Obama and his ancestors were slave owners. He gets completely distracted by the news, ignoring Darryl (who you’ll remember is now assistant regional manager) and his pleas to meet about some ideas to improve efficiency and snapping at Erin for “nerding out” when she tells him Dwight taught her Dothraki (a fictional Game of Thrones language).
Darryl and Erin’s reactions to Andy’s behavior are both really important to note, as they set up some major plot developments for future episodes. Darryl gets frustrated and steps out for a breather. Jim follows him and offers him a job at his new sports marketing firm, and Darryl heartily accepts before asking if Pam’s OK with the move. When Jim admits he hasn’t told her yet, Darryl deflates, saying “It’s not real until your wife is on board.” To prove to Darryl he’s serious, Jim tells Pam. He seems to think it went well, but we end with Pam staring incredulously into the camera and saying, “I still can’t believe he didn’t tell me.” It’s obvious this storyline is far from over.
Meanwhile, after being shot down earlier, Erin runs into Pete in the parking lot at the end of the day as she leaves with Andy. He smiles, waves and says goodbye to her in Dothraki. She grins, and we get the sense that Pete-Erin-Andy is the 2012 version of the Jim-Pam-Roy triangle—which is a little weird, given that Andy-Erin-Gabe seemed to fill that spot in earlier seasons. This new Andy is apparently pushing away both his girlfriend and his best friend, which is compelling, but will he come to his senses before season’s end? We know it’s October, but how long will he stay a skeleton?
-The Asian Jim cold open was one of the funniest in a long time.
-”French. It’s a great language if you’re a chain-smoking acrobat.”
-Ladysmith African-American Mambazo
-Pam’s crazy. Jim doesn’t look like Nixon at all.