Through the first six episodes of The Office's eighth season, I have been right on board with the popular critique that the series has lost its focus.*
(*"Garden Party" is the exception to that rule.)
But "Pam's Replacement" helped sideline the show's recent problems with a multitude of laughs and an improvement to its most glaring problems lately: the misuse of Ed Helms and James Spader.
After being thrust into the lead of the show, with a similar role and similar character to that of Steve Carrell, it seemed as if the Andy as branch manager project had failed. By giving him a smaller piece of the pie here, though, and fortunately creating a tasty flavor of pie, both Helms and The Office were much more enjoyable.
And how tasty was that pie? Andy, Kevin, and Darryl were great in their showcase of the rise and fall of Kevin and the Zits. And while Robert California didn't do anything all that overtly funny, quietly bringing in new great musicians to slowly hijack Andy's band was some of the best stuff from the Sabre CEO since last year's finale.
On the other side of "Pam's Replacement" was the story dealing with the titular character, and mostly how attractive she was. Pam, being nine months pregnant, finds it hard to deal with the fact that her replacement is smoking hot, and has a bigger issue with the idea that Jim won't admit it.
Dwight offering to help Pam get to the bottom of it all created most of the hilarious highlights of the episode, which included him shooting Pam straight on the lifespan of her hot-ness, grabbing Jim's crotch, making fun of an old man at the blood pressure station, and thinking that Jim was lying about every question on his fake polygraph... including his name.
There was a lot of sweetness in that plot, too as Pam and Jim were as cute as ever together, ending in the all-too-serious realization that Jim might have high blood pressure. It made Pam's worries about the replacement moot as they left the store hand in hand.
This was a nice little episode for The Office, and here are some other highlights from "Pam's Replacement."
- Erin taking Andy's phone call plan WAY too far.
- Andy writes down his scatting like they are lyrics.
- Dwight calls the old man without a heart Tin Man.
- Andy playing the drums on his chest.
- Jim telling the camera that he had feelings for a co-worker today, only to follow that up with the reveal that he was talking about Dwight.
As always, here are some of our favorite quotes this week. Don't forget to visit The Office Quotes page for all the best one-liners.
Toby: You know what would be the hottest thing ever? A pregnant Helen Mirren. | permalink
Val: Not bad fellas. You're better than you look.
Kevin: Hey screw you! | permalink
Andy: When you're in a rock n roll band with somebody, you're bonded for life.
Darryl: Usually their life is short and tragic. | permalink
Jim: Stop shoving me.
Dwight: Aww, stop shoving me. Stop grabbing my penis. Grow up. | permalink
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.