Why I Don’t Miss Michael ScottPosted: October 17, 2011
Handing over The Office to Andy Bernard.
By Bryan Blatt
It’s always interesting when a show continues after losing a key character. And this season, we have two shows carrying on missing more than just cogs. Two And A Half Men and The Office both lost their main character. Their engine to the show. Charlie Harper and Michael Scott drove their shows to millions of viewers. Sure, Dunder Mifflin has an ensemble in that office, but Scott was a never-ending source of humor that kept you on your toes at all times. You never knew what he was going to do, but knew you’d be sitting down to see it.
While Ashton Kutcher will take the wheel to Men, Office handed the regional manger job to Andy. Then they added a dash, or rather a fist-full, of Robert California. But as much as I love James Spader – and you can guarantee he’s going to have two laughable lines each episode – I’m more excited to see the Nard-dog’s antics.
Andy was the obvious choice for both jobs all along. He had the Cornell business degree, so Robert California had reason to hire him. It really came down to Andy or Jim (I discount Darrell because he didn’t have the business experience of Jim or Andy), and Jim is a slacker at first glance. He’s a good salesman, but California had no reason to give him the reigns to his top-grossing branch.
But Andy is also the deeper character. We’re learning a lot about Andy this season. Yes, his relationship with his family. But it’s more than that. We’ve seen him be a leader, stand up for himself, and, most importantly, surprise us. Dunder Mifflin’s manager has to be someone people doubt at first glance. That’s what makes the show funny. That’s why Michael worked. But he also had moments where he made you feel guilty for not believing in him. It adds a layer to the characters that makes you care about them. You remember that beneath all the tomfoolery, idiocy, and ignorance, these characters are people with flaws, but they have good hearts and talents to offer.
Andy surprises you, the same way Michael Scott used to surprise us with his sales techniques when he was focused and on his game. But there’s a distinct difference between Michael and Andy: Andy is a motivator. The Dunder Mifflin staff is binding together behind Andy. They are more efficient, and morale is up. Think about it- who’s not getting along at work right now? Pam and Angela? Way too many hormones involved to stop that fight from happening. The staff likes working again. Or at least it looks like it.
When Robert California gave Andy Bernard the regional manager position, he also handed the keys to The Office audience. This really is Andy’s show now. Sure, there are lots of familiar faces, but if audiences don’t want to root for Andy the way they routed for Michael, then The Office will phase out faster than you can say Robert California. (which I can now say in .12 seconds. I dare someone to beat me. Post your times!) But for now, I’m sitting down to watch the Nard-dog. NBC is just happy I’m not the only one.