Spoiler Alert: This blog contains information pertaining to the season premiere of The Office, including information on the new Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin. Take heed before reading on!
The Office has a surprise in store for everyone, and it is the greatest choice they could have made.
Some may have guessed it, I certainly didn’t. When the NBC website featured James Spader over The Office logo, I resigned myself to a new season with a new Regional Manager who – though he would probably make a satisfactory replacement –- wouldn’t be the substitute for Michael Scott that I hoped for.
Then the plot twisted and the figurative camera swerved to show us that Andy Bernard was the new Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch.
I have to ask myself, how did I not see this coming? Andy is an amazing character, one of my favorites on the show. He’s funny, endearing, and he’s become much more developed since leaving the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin.
Maybe he wasn’t the hands-down choice, at least in a non-fictional world. His sales records are reportedly terrible – nearing the bottom of the list of worst salesmen in “Koi Pond” (Season 6, Episode 8) and leading him to decide to host a small business seminar when he hits rock bottom in “The Seminar” (Season 7, Episode 14). And of course he’s had anger issues in the past. But when compared with Michael Scott, maybe these traits aren’t deal breakers.
Andy’s efforts in the role of Regional Manager in this season premiere were minimal, that is, until he’s confronted with an ethical battle with Robert California –- the new CEO of Sabre who appointed Andy to his position as manager.
When Robert makes a two-columned list with the Scranton employees names on either side, the whole office is in a tizzy until the new Sabre CEO admits that the left side of the list – including Jim, Dwight, Angela, Darryl, Kevin, Toby, Phyllis and Oscar –- are the group he proclaims “winners”, leaving the rest of the employees on the right-side “losers” list. Anger ensues and that’s when Andy proves that, like Michael Scott, he is more than just the silly, light-hearted leader that we might believe him to be.
Andy sings the praises of each of his employees, sharing anecdotes and testaments to the qualities that make them great workers. And that is when he gained the respect not only of Dunder Mifflin Scranton, but of the entire Office audience.
After all, when we lost Michael, we lost a friend and a leader. Michael may have made stupid decisions, insulted and hurt his employees – physically and emotionally –- but his intentions were always good and his love for those he worked with –- save Toby -– was palpable.
If a new Regional Manager had entered –- whether it be Catherine Tate, Will Arnett, Jim Carrey or whoever –- who knows what kind of dynamic would exist from then on. But Andy is a tried and true character, one that fits in the show and one that really connects with the rest of its characters.
So really, the choice was only natural. Andy was the new Michael Scott that we all kind of knew, but didn’t really notice.
Could this season premiere of The Office have been better? Somehow, I doubt it.