Stars: Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms, Catherine Tate, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Kate Flannery, Angela Kinsey, Oscar Nuñez, Phyllis Smith, Paul Lieberstein, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson, Ellie Kemper, Clark Duke, and Jake Lacy
Writer: Greg Daniels
Director: Greg Daniels
Network: NBC, airs Thursday nights
Original Telecast: September 20, 2012

THE OFFICE enters its ninth and final season desperately trying to find its old balance of quirkiness and deadpan comedy.

After last season’s up and down ride (the Florida arc was amazing, everything else just so-so), things appear to be getting back to basics as the series does some housecleaning while also adding some new faces.

Gone are Mindy Kaling as Kelly and B.J. Novak as Ryan, in are Clark Duke as Clark (or the Dwight Jr.) and Jake Lacy as Pete (or the new Jim).

Also returning from last year is Catherine Tate as Nellie Bertram and thankfully her character has been toned down considerably.

“New Guys” sets up some interesting things for the new season. For the first time, we hear the documentary crew talking to the characters. This is after a Jim and Pam (John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer) confessional. Pam asks why they’re still filming and they say because they want to see how they turn out.

Then the kicker – we sense Jim is not happy or there’s something else going on. His friend is starting a company based on an idea he came up with. He wanted to be partners but doesn’t want to leave Scranton. As Pete is constantly called the “New Jim”, he starts to see himself in Pete’s wide-eyed and bemused innocence and how nine years later he has went nowhere as he’s tried to figure out what he wants to do. By episode’s end, he’s secretly agreed to partner up with his friend without Pam knowing.

Trouble in paradise? We’ll see.

Andy (Ed Helms) went to training camp to learn to be more assertive and a better boss – and now he’s made it his mission to make Nellie’s life a living hell for what he did to her last year.

Other than that, the premiere features a lot of isolated silliness which is par for the course for this show.

The big problem with THE OFFICE is the fact it is still having a difficult time rebounding after the loss of Steve Carell. Even after a season and a half without Carell, the series continues to struggle to find its footing. However, it does have a wonderful ensemble and when the show clicks – it clicks.

“New Guys” is a step in the right direction. Not laugh aloud funny, it’s still trying to evolve the series and now, find a way to successfully wrap up eight seasons of silliness into a farewell season. I can’t wait to see what executive producer Greg Daniels and his team have in store, and knowing them, the ticking clock will be the fire underneath that will send THE OFFICE off right.

AGREE? DISAGREE? LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK – COMMENT BELOW!

Related: Exclusive Interview with John Krasinski on the end of THE OFFICE

Related: TV Review – THE OFFICE – Season 8  – “Free Family Portrait Studio” – Season Finale

Related Link: TV Review – THE OFFICE – Season 8  – “The Incentive”

Related Link: TV Review – THE OFFICE – Season 8 premiere – “The List”

Related Link: TV Review – THE OFFICE – Season 7 – “Search Committee”

Related Link: TV Review – PARKS AND RECREATION – Season 4 premiere – “I’m Leslie Knope”

Related Link: TV Review – COMMUNITY – Season 3 premiere – “Biology 101″

Related Link: TV Review – WHITNEY – Series Premiere

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Article: TV Review – THE OFFICE – Season 9  – “New Guys” – Season Premiere

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