Stars: Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B.J. Novak, Ed Helms
Writer: Paul Lieberstein
Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Network: NBC, airs Thursday nights
Original Telecast: May 19. 2011
I can understand NBC’s need to hype the fact that big stars like Ray Romano, James Spader and Jim Carrey were going to drop by THE OFFICE to vie for the job of new Dunder-Mifflin manager after Steve Carell said his goodbyes a couple of weeks ago as Michael Scott.
However, it almost torpedoes this one-hour season finale “Search Committee” because we already know all the surprises. We even know that THE OFFICE creator Ricky Gervais was going to do a bit, we knew other office-mates like Andy (Ed Helms) and Darryl (Craig Robinson) would throw their hat in the ring, and we knew, secretly that no formal announcement of an actual replacement was going to be revealed.
The end result is an okay THE OFFICE hour with some funny (and not-so-funny) vignettes with Spader perhaps taking the cake as the most interesting (and intense) candidate of the bunch.
Other office politics include Dwight (Rainn Wilson) still hoping he has a shot to take over as manager, Creed (Creed Bratton) taking over an interim manager (and providing some of the episode’s funniest bits) and Angela (Angela Kinsey) getting engaged to her gay Senator (who she doesn’t realize is gay).
Gabe (Zach Woods) even has a meltdown due to his obsession with ex-girlfriend Erin (Ellie Kemper).
It’s a whole lot of nothing to stretch to an hour, and it would have been far more enjoyable if all the cameos weren’t revealed ahead of time, but that said, the show is not starting to find its footing without Steve Carell at the helm.
The office is populated with so many characters, and so many interesting characters, that a new rhythm is starting to emerge. Still, the show does need a captain and whether it’s someone internally taking over (like Andy or Dwight) or an outsider (which would make more sense), it’s refreshing that the producers are taking their own sweet time before they make a final decision.
Filling in Carell’s big shoes is going to be a big task. It may not be as critical as it was with TWO AND A HALF MEN, since that show was Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer. Here, you have a strong ensemble to carry the show forward and anyone new will only add to the already cracker jack mix, instead of coming in to take over the helm.
I still think the producers may try out more guest stars until they find the right person, but chances are this summer the official replacement will be announced.
In the meantime, “Search Committee” proves the show can survive with the loss of a major character, but if NBC were smart, they’d be a little more judicious in blowing all the surprises in the future because it does suck all the fun out of the room when they do that.
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