The Office Review: Liar Liar

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The Office continued its lackluster eighth season with an episode that was filled with a few good one-off jokes, but failed to come together as a funny half-hour.

"Mrs. California" introduced us to Robert's wife. Now that the CEO has turned out to be much less crazy than we originally thought, this could have been a perfect opportunity to bring in another insane character, but that, of course, did not happen.

Maura Tierney on The Office

Aside from wanting to date Andy, Susan was as normal as they come. More importantly, Maura Tierney's character was good for zero laughs.

The first of the two main stories this week was hilarious in theory, but was very bland for almost the entirety of its run. Robert going overboard with his plan to make his wife happy, while making sure she didn't work at the office, was a funny concept, sure.

James Spader just failed to make it actually humorous in any way for the first 15 minutes. The joke can work. In fact, it did work for The Office two episodes ago when Erin went overboard with Andy's fake phone call. The difference was that Ellie Kemper completely nailed it.

The bit went on along enough though that it finally made me laugh. Sometimes, the longer you run a joke, the funnier it gets. That theory turned out to be true in this case, got me when Andy told the truth to Susan and Robert replied with "You lying son of a bitch!"

While the main action of the story didn't succeed, there were a couple of one-offs that were brilliant: Kevin giving Susan the business, Jim climbing up the fire escape and Creed seeing and invisible man behind Jim on the roof.

The main idea in the "B" story didn't work all that well, either, probably because Darryl is never really funny. Again, the idea of Dwight being crazy about a gym in the office is great, but there was no execution.

Similarly to the main plot, there were a few one-offs to make up for the boring nature of the secondary plot. Oscar's gym drama, Gabe recognizing the quality of Dwight's pelvic bowl,and Dwight thinking Darryl was working out to look good for Val Kilmer definitely had me laughing.

That last part was pure gold at least: "I'm gonna make you the buffest dude Val Kilmer has ever seen" almost made up for the entire episode.

What did you all think? Was "Mrs. California" a step in the right direction? Or was this the same old The Office season eight has been giving us? Don't forget to check out all our favorite one-liners in The Office quotes page. 


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (54 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


I was bored with this episode. While there were a few funny moments, I didn't find it engaging or entertaining in the least. I agree with the reviewer that Tierney's role as Robert California's wife could have been a great opportunity to bring some humor and life back into the show, but her straight man routine fell flat. I really enjoyed the first few episodes of the season, but now the same routines are starting to get old. There is a dire need for some new blood to be added to the great ensemble cast. I don't need Michael Scott. I just need someone who can add some new life into this quickly deflating show.


Slightly disagree with the reviewer - I'd say it was one of the better episodes of the season (not that that's saying much.) It was weird to see Maura Tierney on The Office though, and I was disappointed in the writing for Mrs. California, compared with the interesting and neurotic Lisa Miller from Newsradio. Also - kinda funny (and telling) that "Pam's Replacement" has gotten zero lines since 'her' episode. Seems like one-liners and sight gags are all the writing staff can do right nowadays.


Since Robert California is separating from his wife and Mrs. California asking Andy in a date, could we possible see a replacement of James Spader´s character with Catherine Tate returns. Since many sites confirm that she would come back in a big role in the late season, could we have seen the last days of Robert California in The Office¿? I hope so, cause the character doesn´t bring too much enlighment during the last episodes and maybe Catherine can save it!!!!! Ohhh, Michael Scott how I miss your days in The Office!!!!!


I think Daniel is right. It's going to have a different vibe. If you're reviewing it as though it's the old show, you'll never like it because it isn't going to be that show. I thought it was a pretty good episode with some funny bits like the ones the reviewer and 47 pointed out.


I really enjoyed this episode. Andy's comment about wishing for a "room clearing fart from Phyllis" was great. Creed's remarks about a second person with Jim on the roof, and his office remark about cults - all priceless. Need we forget the opening with Dwight perched on the one-legged chair and Jim knocking him over (very silly). I would give that episode a solid B+.


yeah fortyseven, good call on that Dwight quote. i forgot about that one.


I agree with the review. Jim running away was the best part. I was hoping that Robert was testing Andy or that Jim confess to Susan. Dwight's "First you get the black people to do it, then the white people want to do it, then you get the black people to stop doing it" was funny.


I really liked this episode and completely disagree with you concerning Spader and the first half of the show. I LOL when he first told Andy that he was not to hire his wife; then he followed it up off camera by sweetly talking to her about the missed elevator ride with him. His expression of disgust after Andy caved and offered her a job was also priceless and funny. Lastly his phone call with Andy had me chuckling as well. Those were the more obvious humor moments, but I just am enjoying the dry humor that is now part of The Office along with the more overt, in your face humor that always has been part of the show.


I think you and a lot of people expect this to be the same show. It's going in a different angle since Michael has left and I think it's working. It's a dry humor, but it also feels more real because of it. This episode was the best one of the season.

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The Office Season 8 Episode 9 Quotes

Susan: You didn't say goodbye to your grandmother.
Andy: We promised we'd never say goodbye.

What I wouldn't give for one of Phyllis's classic room clearing farts right now.