If this was the level of quality we can expect from episodes without Steve Carrell, then I am not all that excited for the future of The Office.
"Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager" had many elements of The Office that were a part of what made it such a great show in the early going of the series, but without that key leading man in Carrell, it just didn't come together as an excellent half hour of TV.
Dwight's whacked out behavior is what sucked many viewers into the show way back when. With a mandatory pledge of allegiance, a painting of himself on the wall, the honor system on the coffee maker, empty vending machines, piranhas, and guns in and out of holsters, Dwight was as eccentric as ever here.
Similarly, Jim was just as apathetic to life and antagonistic towards Dwight as he ever was in the glory years. There were a couple of seasons when Jim became too involved with the company and was too serious to screw with Dwight, but in "(Acting) Manager" he was up to his old tricks, as showcased by The Fist rebellion.
Still, it wasn't all that satisfying. I know everyone was dreading the departure of Michael Scott, but it was certainly obvious here that this show needs a new leading man to stay afloat. Will Ferrell filled that void last week, and a multitude of guest stars will get the job done in the finale, but a big decision still needs to be made. Who headlines this show next season could make or break whether or not The Office continues its success.
Although it didn't live up to how great the rest of this seventh season has been, "(Acting) Manager" definitely had its moments. Kevin not knowing the pledge of allegiance, Angela agree with Dwight's concern about Pam's "boobie shirts," and Creed eating the contents of an ice pack were some of the highlights, but surprisingly my favorite came from Toby Flenderson.
I've long been right with Michael in his hatred of Toby, but beginning with his line about Michael not like jams from a couple weeks ago, I've switched over to Team Toby. That love continued here, as there really wasn't anything better than Toby getting all excited to finally use the human resources booklets on guns and terrorism.
Thankfully, Gabe has taken over for Toby as the Office dart board. Even though I enjoy laughing at the awful situation he is in, like Erin, I cringe every time he speaks. All of the tension between him, Andy, and Erin has just been really difficult to watch, and I hope it ends soon.
So what did you all think of "Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager?" And do you think any of next week's high profile guest stars will win the job of manager? As always, we've left some of our favorite lines from the night below, and don't forget to check out The Office quotes page for all the rest.
Gabe: Andy do you like being alone with me right now?
Andy: No, this is horrifying.
Gabe: I don't like being alone with me either. | permalink
Dwight: I will never be happier than I am right now. I will also never be less happy. I will be at my current maximum happiness for the rest of my life, because I am manager of the Scranton Branch of Dunder Mifflin...acting manager. | permalink
Jim: Wow you've really embraced the whole Bond villain aesthetic. | permalink
Dwight: Managing you for this last week has been the greatest honor of my life, and if you ruin this I will burn this office to the ground. And I mean that figuratively, not literall, because you guys are so, so important to me. I love you guys, but don't cross me, but you're the best. | permalink
Angela: I want pet day back. No dogs. | permalink
Jo: Slow down there. Just like a man, wants to jump right into it while I still got my socks on. | permalink
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.