I was not nearly as sour on the previous season of The Office as many other critics, but it did shy away from some of the stuff that made seasons two through four so amazing.
Having said that, with Michael Scott at the center of nearly every episode, it's usually going to be a funny half hour. This week's season seven premiere, "Nepotism," brought back a couple key features of classic The Office, and, therefore, started the year off on the right, humorous foot.
The art of the cold open: The Office has done it so well so many times before that the greatness of Dunder Mifflin's lip dub of "Nobody But Me" shouldn't have surprised me...but it did. It was a great start to the ep.
If you were to take a poll of Office fans on what their favorite aspect of the show was, I'm sure Jim pulling pranks on Dwight would be right up there at the top. There wasn't nearly enough of that in the recent past. This week, we got a heck of a lot of it at the beginning, as Jim heckled Dwight about his water back pack and tried to add multiple keys to his ginormous key ring.So after we learn what everyone was up to this summer (Dwight buying the building, Michael getting West Nile Virus, Kelly thinking she's smart), most of the story turns to the new assistant. At first I enjoyed this kid's presence. Both the kid himself, giving out nicknames and not caring, and the entire office hating on him, were nice touches. But the whole thing started to drag in the middle, and the guy got plain annoying.
Once the mediocrity of Michael deciding what to do about the nephew and Pam pulling what she thought was a good prank was over, the episode concluded well. Both Michael getting angry and spanking Luke, and the rest of the office imitating him, were great. Other than Brennan Huff learning that there will be consequence for his actions in the movie Step Brothers, this was the best spanking scene I've ever witnessed.
While I don't think the show will ever return to its incredible level of a couple seasons ago, things could be turning around at The Office this year. Other Thoughts:
- Michael remembers when he last spoke to his sister because he remembers when Ace Ventura 2 opened!
- Michael didn't keep the secret that Luke was his nephew because he knew it was wrong. He did it so that he could say “It's in the genes” while wearing jeans!
- Whenever you are in trouble, always establish a pee corner!
- I'm glad I'm not the only one who has become resentful toward Betty White for all of the praise she's received recently. You and me both, Creed. You and me both.
We now present the best The Office quotes from the premiere:
Creed: Everywhere I look it's Betty White this and Betty White that. Finally a kid who's not talking about Betty White. Of course I follow him. | permalink
Dwight: The elevator's disobeying us! | permalink
Creed: He's been trashing us relentlessly on Twitter. Now it's funny stuff, but mean. | permalink
Oscar: If there's nothing wrong with this Michael, why have you been keeping it a secret?
Michael: Because I wanted you to come to me and say "Wow, he is so great" and I was gonna say "Well it's in the genes." And I was actually gonna be wearing jeans...and I'd point to them. | permalink
Michael: You don't have all the facts.
Jo: Which are?
Michael: I love him.
Jo: How far has it gone? | permalink
Michael: The last time I saw Luke was the opening day of Ace Ventura 2, and that was '95, so yes...15 years on the dot. | permalink
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.