S8:E8 “I am a leader. But you can only inspire people so much in a place like this.” – Andy
Andy notices the morale of the office is a little lower than he’d like it to be, and so he plans a field trip to Gettysburg to make everyone feel better. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks the adventure sounds very enjoyable and so Meredith, Kevin, Angela, Daryl, Pam, Kelly and Ryan all stay in the office. That means that when Robert California shows up, they are the ones who have to listen to his speech about “finding ways to change the game.” The rest of Dunder-Mifflin take their sugar-free bagged lunches and their customized hats and board the party bus. Once there, the group wanders towards the visitor’s center – but Andy stops them because it turns out, he’s going to be leading the tour. However, Dwight is quick to hijack it and question every aspect of the Battle of Gettysburg, while insisting that the entire thing never happened. But since Gettysburg is a battlefield, everyone is exhausted mid-tour and abandons Andy to sit down on the grass and take a break because they are bored and tired from walking everywhere. Dwight, however, wanders into an office where all the experts on Gettysburg are hiding and voices his belief that there was a battle on Schrute Farms that was much bigger than the one that took place in Gettysburg. The experts kindly reminded him by showing him a video that no, Schrute Farms was not a place of war because instead, it was a place where artists lived and elaborately expressed themselves (sometimes without any clothes on) through plays and songs. This information disturbs Dwight to no end and eventually, he rejoins the rest of the employees both on the battlefield and in the regret for joining Andy on the trip.
“I am so eager to hear your gamechangers.” – Robert California
Back at the office, Robert brings everyone into the conference room so he can hear about all the good ideas they’ve come up with that will revolutionize their business. Ryan holds up an origami crane and says they could be the people to bring origami to New York. Pam says something about putting a coupon in the blue books that students use when they’re taking tests, but then decides against finishing the idea because she realizes mid-sentence that it’s terrible. Stanley talks about a thought he had about making a special kind of paper for women, and even though his variation on the proper spelling of “paper” was compelling, Robert doesn’t like that idea either. Kevin turns out to be the one with the good idea, and he and Robert spend the rest of the day laughing and eating cookies.
“You don’t have to prove anything to us.” – Jim
After he realizes the group is disappointed in the trip, Andy wanders off by himself because he’s still happy to be on the battlefield. Jim and Daryl eventually catch up with him, and Andy tells them that the problem in the office is that everyone takes things that other people like and joke about them so much that people are embarrassed for liking what they like. He also says people are too disingenuous and sarcastic in the office, and the perfect example of how people can be nasty was when Andy tried to organize a nice trip for everyone, but instead of enjoying themselves, they just made fun of him for planning it out. Jim interjects and points out that the only reason Andy took everyone to Gettysburg was to win affection, which is silly because everyone already really likes him (as evidenced by the fact they all wore a bright pink hat that said “DM does GB” all day, without fail), which means he has nothing to prove. Then Andy gets that Andy smile on his face and realizes that Jim’s right – if they still liked him after wearing a hat all day that has a phrase printed on it that’s highly suggestive of some kind of sexual activity, then he really will have their affection forever.
This episode seemed like a joke to me. I really didn’t like it. There was no point to anyone going to Gettysburg, and the plot of Andy wanting to boost morale was way to similar to the plot of The Incentive (where Andy got a tattoo on his ass so his employees would know he’s dedicated to the branch’s success). I understand the idea behind the excursion was to help Andy conceive of the fact that his crew is happy that he’s the regional manager, but there’s no reason the office had to be separated in order to have a story arc take place. And that’s another thing -- what happened back at the office with Robert California was terrible. That was perhaps the worst storyline that has ever been on this show. And so aside from the exchange between Jim and Andy at the end, I’m going to pretend this episode never happened.