TV RECAP: ‘The Office: Andy’s Play’

TV RECAP: ‘The Office: Andy’s Play’

Ed Helms has kind of gone back and forth on the show, trying to find where he fits in. He’s gone from the angry guy, to the preppy guy, to Dwight’s romantic rival, and nothing’s ever quite stuck, save for his singing, which has been the basis for some good jokes (his a cappella group Here Comes Treble is a personal favorite), but it’s a trait, not a character.

But it’s still his most defining characteristic, and “Andy’s Play” runs with it by casting him in a local production of Sweeney Todd to flaunt his vocal chords and impress Erin, who’s moved on from him to office drone Gabe. (I hope wherever Andy ends up it’s not as the new pre-Jam Jim.)

Andy invites the rest of the office to the production with a showstopper featuring him and several other players (in a surprisingly plot-relevant cold open), but each of them stumbles to think of an excuse not to attend—Jim and Pam because they can’t find a sitter and Michael because he also tried out for the production and just now realized that’s he’s not the lead (or even in the play).

But the rest of the gang just up and decides to go anyway (not sure where that came from). However, Andy’s original plans are dashed when Jim and Pam explain that their last-minute babysitter was, in fact, Erin.

Meanwhile, Dwight and Angela are going over their five-time copulation/child-bearing contract, which Dwight’s beginning to reconsider, seeing as how he no longer finds Angela attractive. But she forces him to attend the play with her by refusing to punch his card for their latest “session” unless he goes.

And Michael’s pride is further wounded when Darryl discovers that the lead is, in fact, his plumber. So he does what any sensible person would do in that situation: Steal a bottle of booze, drink it during the show, and be the only one to boo the lead.

Andy’s performance is quite good, despite his cell phone going off during his big scene, Michael’s empty bottle rolling down the aisles, and the audience balloons popping and causing Cece to start crying (as Erin decided to attend the show after all, neglecting her babysitter duties). And his plan comes together, as, after the show, he and Erin spend some quality time cutting each other’s throats and whatever things Erin and Andy do…until Erin gets a call from Gabe and his hopes at rekindling the relationship are dashed.

But the office cheers Andy up by asking for an encore, Michael’s called out by the lead actor, and Dwight’s interest in Angela perks up when he sees her in her gardening outfit (“You look like a seed-catalog model).

Not a bad episode, but the whole idea of Andy being in a play isn’t particularly funny (though Ed Helms does a fine job), and Michael and Dwight and Angela’s stories don’t amount to much. The best bits are the little ones: Creed’s phone-in review (who’s he talking to?); Stanley sleeping; “Seed-catalog model,” and it works in a sweet kind of way. Not a great episode, but nice.