‘The Office’ Review: “Andy’s Ancestry”
Last week on 'The Office,' we got a better sense of the new guys (one of who might be something of a date rapist), and the growing tension between Pam and Jim, as he covertly plans to get a new job.
"Roy's Wedding" was mostly a miss, so we're really hoping the show course-corrects and becomes awesome in the final stretch (this is the final season). So how does the latest episode stack up? Read on for our in-depth recap of "Andy's Ancestry."
The episode starts with an Asian man playing Jim just to mess with Dwight. Jim's at the dentist, so Jim and Pam's friend Steve plays Jim and it works like gangbusters. In the break room Erin and Darryl are both reading, so Erin names them study-buddies. Darryl's reading a book about becoming more efficient, while Erin's learning French. Darryl's doing it since he was recently promoted, while Erin's doing to impress Andy's family. When Dwight overhears Erin studying French, he disses the language, and suggests she learn Dothraki (he loves 'Game of Thrones'), which Erin agrees to.
Nellie stands around Pam and fidgets until she gets attention. She needs help getting her driver's license, and Pam says she'll help. This means Jim and Pam won't have lunch together. He says he has a thing, which leads to awkward glances to the camera. Nellie's called into Andy's office, and tells him that he's a distant relative of Michelle Obama. Andy's stoked, but Erin's nervous because she's intellectually intimidated by Andy's parents already, so this just makes it worse. Andy goes into the break room to tell the new guys about his relations, which they applaud, and the new guys reveal that enthusiasm is part of their strategy to get ahead, though they've lost their sense of when they're being ironic or not.
Oscar talks to Phyllis and Stanley about Andy's discovery, and brings up the slave issue (if they are related, it's likely because of rape), which Stanley agrees with. Erin learns to conjugate throat ripping with Dwight, while Nellie reveals during her driving lesson that she lied about the Obama thing. Back at the office, everyone is questioning how Andy's related to Michelle Obama, and Andy starts telling everyone to get back to work by making whipping noises. Oscar explains that Andy might be related through slavery. Uh oh.
Darryl presents his productivity presentations to Andy, but he's too distracted fearing that the staff will now revile him. Darryl says that only Andy can make it weird, which - of course - he does immediately. Pam shows Nellie her art, and the two seem to be bonding. Andy tries to be mellow at work out of guilt, but when Erin tries to show off her Dothraki knowledge, Andy tells her it comes from HBO and shuts her down. The staff then give Andy crap about his slave-owning ancestors, and change his ringtone to "I Wish I Was in Dixie." Back in the car, Nellie gets a text from Andy - who wants a family tree for everyone - and Pam suggests they work together on creating fake histories for everyone, but the car ride is somewhat awkward because Pam then mentions she thinks Jim is hiding something.
Andy presents everyone's family tree in a meeting, where he says Phillis' ancestors spread cholera, that Kevin is related to both John Wayne Gacy and John Bobbit, and that Jim is related to Richard Nixon. Dwight admits his grandfather was a Nazi, while Meredith is told she's related to Lizzie Borden (which makes her happy). Andy does this to feel better but Oscar points out that Andy family's money probably came from slavery, so it by default makes him worse. Andy then finds out that Bernards didn't own slaves, they just owned the boats that transported them.
Andy asks Darryl for advice about how to lie about having a terrible childhood, while all Darryl wants to talk about is productivity. Jim goes to talk to Darryl, who's ready to quit, but then Jim mentions he might have another job in Sports Marketing for him and then reveals Pam doesn't know about it. Darryl says it's not real until his wife is on board. Nellie asks Pam to paint the warehouse wall when Jim asks to have a conversation with Pam, which Nellie gets up in his face about, thinking he's having an affair. Darryl and Nellie have a conversation outside, where both think they know what Jim's saying (it turns out only Darryl does). Pam gives Jim a hug. Jim's stoked, but Pam is disappointed that Jim wasn't honest. As a capper, new guy Jake and Erin exchange Dothraki, while Andy wants to hook him up with Meredith.
It's hard to say after a couple of bad episodes, but this was really good. The stuff between Jim and Pam was dull, but the show had a number of great laughs, and the central conceit of Andy being worried about slavery introduced the sort of awkward but still palatable comedy that the show does best. This was a huge step up, on top of incorporating all of the supporting staff, with everyone at least getting a laugh or something to do. The only problem is that the Jim and Pam storyline is dull, and now the conflict isn't that interesting. We shall see how it plays out.
But what did you think? Leave your thoughts on "Andy's Ancestry" in the comment section bellow.