In no way does this change the fact that I am concerned The Office will not be able to make up for the loss of Steve Carrell in the future, but Will Ferrell's performance in "The Inner Circle" more than helped hold us over in the meantime.
In what I believe was Ferrell's last appearance of this arc on the show, he was at his best since the first scene in which his Deangelo hilariously riffed with Michael Scott.
Between acting mean while being nice in the cold open, wanting to be friends with Dwight to the point of screaming him into submission, performing the heck out of that fake juggling act, and almost killing himself on a Kevin assisted dunk, Deangelo was on fire throughout.
Yelling at Dwight was hilarious on so many levels.
First of all, the character was just so fed up with Dwight's attitude, but more so that he wouldn't be his friend. Dwight! He wants Dwight to be his friend!?! Also, in that moment, it was the closest Ferrell had gone to Mr. Tarkanian since joining the show.
Thirdly, it led to Dwight eagerly following orders and admitting that he responds to strong leadership. Great stuff.About that dunk... let's first take note of how awesome Deangelo looked in a dress shirt and vest combined with basketball shorts and sneakers. Not only was the dunk outrageous in and of itself, but it ended with the hoop landing on Deangelo, and for all intents and purposes sending him off of the show in an ambulence. That was definitely not the way many guessed he would have left us.
Fired... Quit... Not impaled by a basketball rim.
With the absence of Carrell, The Office made the correct move of giving plenty of material to two of their best supporting players. Kevin and Ryan both killed once again.
Kev being all about the inner circle and so easily turning on Pam, saying she's b*tchy, was fantastic. And Ryan, pretending to be Kelly's boss, and continuing to treat her like dirt, once again worked really well.
If there was one thing that held "The Inner Circle" back it was the happy Halperts. Now that the emotional material with Michael is long gone, Jim and Pam have returned to being the worst.
They were annoying throughout this episode, and I am worried that this may stick around. On the other hand, I have no problem hating these two for the next season or so.
With one more episode before the one hour finale, The Office has me on the edge of my seat about how they are going to go forward without Carrell.
With all of the big stars coming in at the end of this season, I am still not convinced that one of them is going to be a permanent replacement. However it goes down, I'm looking forward to contrasting it with the great The Office seasons of the past.
We leave you with some of our favorite quotes from "The Inner Circle." As always, don't forget to check out The Office quotes page for all the best one-liners.
Dwight: Once you see sausage being made, all you wanna do is make sausage cause it's so much fun. | permalink
Deangelo: No matter how many times I reach out to Dwight, he doesn't want anything to do with me. It reminds me of my relationship with my son, except there I'm the Dwight. | permalink
Andy: I think if he were sexist I'd be able to tell. I took a crap load of women's studies courses at Cornell. | permalink
Jim: Hey you got a second?
Deangelo: Yeah, I got tons of time. This job's a joke. | permalink
Dwight: What's the argument here? NBA, WNBA. One is a sport. One is a joke. I love sports. I love jokes. Room for all. | permalink
Kelly: No, he's just a big fraud Deangelo. He's like Rango. He doesn't work here basically, just like the way Rango didn't save those animals. It was just a big misunderstanding.
Deangelo: Is this true Ryan?
Ryan: I did not see Rango. | permalink
Dwight: If I wanted to see a pissing contest I'd lock Mose in the chicken coop. | permalink
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.