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'The Office' Recap: 'The Incentive'

Jonathan Teigland Jonathan Teigland
September 30th, 2011 7:37pm EDT

To all of us who thought Andy Bernard would not last another week as the Office boss, we have been proven wrong.  Andy, in his own way, redeems himself a little bit in this week’s episode.  Maybe this arrangement will actually last a while.

Brian BaumgartnerIt all starts when Robert gives an inspirational speech about upping everyone’s numbers, after which Andy promises to double sales growth.  Everyone seems keen on the idea until it comes time to do it. “What do you expect me to do, hit a magic button?” Phyllis asks.  Clearly, Andy is not so inspirational.

But that doesn’t matter.  When he presents the rather dumb idea of incentives, which look cheaper than prizes coughed up at an old arcade (well, except maybe for the vibrator), there are many eye rolls.  Until, that is, Andy suggests pooling points to go toward a bigger prize, such as making him run naked through the parking lot with a donut around his ding dong.

No, what really entices the crowd is Andy’s promise to get a tattoo of everyone’s choosing on his derriere.  That’s all it takes.  Pretty soon the office is buzzing with productivity never seen before.  Stanley, who would normally be napping, is bug-eyed with enthusiasm to sells Dwight’s brainchild, the Pyramid.

After a hard day’s work, everyone hits the 5,000-point quota of Andy’s humiliation.  They want that man’s ass tattooed.  (The scenario kind of reminded me of certain episodes of ‘M*A*S*H’ when characters were particularly desperate for entertainment.)

Andy, good sport that he is, goes through with it, ever-fearful of what will be permanently engraved on his tukhus. (I would like it known to all… to correctly spell that word, I just googled “Yiddish buttocks.”)

The episode ends on a sweet note – a little reassurance from Jim, a little bravery from Andy, and – viola! – he’s got a Nard Dog on his butt.  And he seems happy about it.  And everyone else does too.  Who would’ve thought it?

The subplots in this episode fall a little flat.  (How is Kevin sounding dumb when he talks anything but stale?) I am a little curious to see if Pam and Angela’s pregnancies bring them together in strange and unexpected ways.

Overall, the dynamic with Andy at the helm (get it?  Ed Helms?) is interesting, and while I miss Michael Scott, I’m curious to see how this season goes, particularly with James Spader’s odd as hell Robert California.

What do you think?

 

Ed Helms

Photo Credits: NBC Universal Inc.