‘The Office’ Recap: Garden Party

fall_back.jpgS8:E4 This episode of The Office was different than the other episodes we are used to, in that it had a lot more sentimentality to it. We learned a bit more of Andy’s back story and why he’s always been so eager to be a great singer, scholar, salesman (you name it, really), and it was almost heartbreaking to watch someone so harshly ridicule the qualities that make him so endearing. However, what we do recognize is that a pattern of the season seems to be developing, which is that Andy is exactly the same kind of boss – and person — that Michael was. We also realized we’ve grown incredibly protective over our new regional manager in a remarkably short amount of time.

“If the soil starts to look acidic, you’ve gone too far.” – Dwight

Andy decides to throw a party at Schrute farms because he wants to impress the CEO of Dunder Mifflin, Robert California, and he holds a meeting to explain to everyone the rules of the party – which are chewing thoroughly (with your mouth closed) and speaking in turn and dressing nicely. Andy even shows the office a video of the garden party his brother Walter Jr. threw for their parents, so the group could see how amazing garden parties really were. In the video, it is clear that Andy’s father has an impeccable relationship with Walter Jr. from the way they had their arms around each other while they were singing, and it is also obvious Andy’s relationship with his father isn’t so great from the way he is excluded from the performance. Since the party was going to take place at Shrute farms, Jim thought this would be a great opportunity to mess with Dwight and so he takes a book full of instructions on how to host a medieval gathering and puts a different jacket on it so that Dwight is inclined to follow its every detail so as to ensure the garden party’s success. And so Dwight obviously adheres to the book’s recommendations and he spends the whole party doing things like announcing people’s names as they arrived at various levels of loudness according to their degree of importance and performing intricate courting rituals/movements to music.

“I didn’t know you were going to be here!” – Andy

It turns out the party isn’t just for Robert California – in fact, Andy also threw it to impress his parents and proving to them that he is just as talented and successful as his brother, Walter Jr. But within moments of arriving, Andy’s parents tell him they have to be leaving soon to go see Moneyball, and so Andy speeds up the party. He tries to introduce his folks to his colleagues, but his father (played by Stephen Collins) makes it very clear he isn’t even the slightest bit proud that Andy is in charge of the Scranton branch. Then Andy tries to establish his authority by making a toast to thank everyone for coming, but Angela interrupts him (and announces she and her Senator husband planned on naming their son Phillip), as does Pam (who announces she and Jim were also naming their son Phillip), and Ryan (who toasts to the troops (both sides)). When it is finally Andy’s turn to speak, he grabs his guitar and invites his father up to sing with him (in hopes of recreating the moment his father had with Walter Jr. at Walter Jr.’s garden party), but his father tells him his pitch is off and that it would sound better if Andy gave him the guitar and if Walter Jr. sang Andy’s part. And so Walter Jr. (Josh Groban) takes the stage and Andy is booted off to the side of the tent. Eventually, Andy goes inside the farmhouse because he is so humiliated.

“I just thought if I could show you this great garden party, you’d see how respected I am and you’d approve of me.” – Andy

When Andy’s father goes into the farmhouse to say goodbye before going to see Moneyball, he asks why his son acted like such a fool in front of all of his subordinates. Andy explains the reason he put the party together was to show his dad that Walter Jr. wasn’t the only successful Bernard child. But rather than Andy’s father feeling bad for so blatantly favoring one of his sons over the other, he scolds Andy for expecting to get his father’s approval for being in charge of a “rinky dink” paper company. What neither Andy nor his father realizes is they are in a room with the baby monitor Pam and Jim use to hear what Cece is doing, and so Daryl, Pam, Jim and Oscar all hear Andy’s father tell him what a disappointing Bernard child he is. So after his parents left, Andy tries to take off early but Daryl makes him a cheeseburger and insists he stick around to watch Dwight and his farmhouse helpers perform the Closing Ceremonies dance.