‘The Office’ Recap: Training Day

S7E20: This is really happening, isn’t it? Steve Carell is really leaving The Office and for the time being Will Ferrell is his replacement. It’s the beginning of an end of an era and much like graduation it’s something that has been building up but now that it’s here, we’re all going “This is it?” Only with fewer Vitamin C songs.

“I once tried to get an animal Olympics going.” – DeAngelo Vickers

We meet Deangelo Vickers in a hotel lobby where he and Michael wait patiently for their respective drinking partner. They bond over the wrong catch phrases and weird ideas before they realize they had been talking to each other the whole time. Although Kelly will learn this later in the episode, you can’t force a “meet-cute;” they happen on their own. Everything seemed peachy and it looked like Michael had found a new friend as well as a replacement. But Michael, as he’ll soon realize, isn’t that important any more. It’s the rest of the office that matters.

Sure enough, the Scranton gang starts sucking up majorly to the new boss. Some of it is flagrant and Vickers sees right through it (although what kind of monster would think Cece is anything but absolutely adorable?). Others are less subtle, like Daryl dressing up in cowboy attire to tap into Vicker’s strange fascination with the American southwest. As mentioned before, Kelly tried to stage a meet-cute but left her fallen papers on the floor. Stanley tried being congenial and Kevin, sensing an opportunity to really start over, brought back his toupee. Everyone was sucking at the teat of the new boss. Save for one.

“Did I want to be made manager? Sure. A great opportunity squander? Absolutely. A crushing blow? Yes. Will I get over it? Umm no. But life goes on. Not for me.” – Dwight

Dwight. It’s been hard to find sympathy for Dwight a lot of the times. Granted, I know he has a heart and has done some really sweet things over the years (strangely, mostly for Pam) but for the most part he’s just a mean person. However, numbers don’t lie and he’s been dutifully chugging along as a salesman for years all the while throwing up really great numbers. I know he’d make a horrible manager, but he really does deserve some sort of a promotion. And then to find out that Michael didn’t even recommend him? I actually felt bad for the guy. I’m really hoping this story is kept up through Michael’s farewell. After all, the rest of the main characters (those named in the opening theme) all have something going for them now: Jim and Pam got together, Andy will eventually get Erin, Ryan has been demoted enough. It’s about time Dwight got his due.

But how was Will Ferrell as Deangelo Vickers? Honestly, I saw him as an exact clone of Michael Scott and the perfect reason why they shouldn’t try to replace Michael with someone else. See, Vickers is almost exactly like Michael in every regard except for one crucial difference: Michael has this insatiable desire to be loved (stemming from his horrible childhood) but he also has this quirkiness about him. Vickers has the same quirkiness but it seems like he had a normal childhood so he’s actually able to lead an office. So if you’ve ever wondered what Michael would have been like had he been somewhat normal, you have your answer. It’s Deangelo Vickers. I’ll be pretty glad once he’s gone. He’s funny, but if you’re going to be quirky and weird, I’d rather have you be vulnerable.

“I guess this is my life now.” -Andy

One interesting theme from the episode popped out to me. By accident, Vickers dubbed Andy “the funny guy” and would routinely demand that Andy make him laugh. Now Andy isn’t that funny, especially when ASKED to be funny, so he tries his best. He goes for some topical humor, racist jokes, even some good old fashioned miming (you know, the usual stuff) but Vickers isn’t laughing. It’s only when Andy starts falling over and embarrassing himself that Vickers chuckles. Is this The Office commenting on the American perception of humor? Are they saying we as a society only laugh at the misfortune of others, like when Andy is forced to pour hot coffee on his crotch or drink soap? Are we, in essence, poking the bear in the cage screaming for it to dance? Is this really what we have come to? Is The Office saying that our culture can’t appreciate a finely worded joke and instead goes for the dumb, cheap humor? Eh, it could be. Or it could just be an excuse to watch Ed Helms throw a bunch of cheetos around.

This is only the beginning. Michael’s real last day is scheduled for the next two weeks in what I’m sure will be two tear-filled episodes. This was only the warm up and I’m sure it’s going to be great. Or it’ll be like graduation and forgotten the next day. But that was mostly because of the wine coolers.