Is it just me, or is ‘The Office’ losing steam this season? The shake-up with the addition of James Spader kept things interesting for a little while, but I fear the show is already sinking back into staleness, and I’m wondering how it can recover. More on that in a minute.

Phyllis SmithIt doesn’t take much to sum up this episode: Gettysburg. For some reason, Andy thinks it would be a fun idea to take the staff to Gettysburg for a field trip (umm, because selling paper is like war?). About half go with him, including Jim, Darryl, Dwight, Phyllis, Erin, Gabe and Oscar.

Everyone else, meanwhile, stays behind. When Robert California shows up looking for Andy, he challenges everyone left to create some big, game-changing ideas. Ryan pitches origami, while Pam gives up on the idea altogether. Kevin says something incoherent about cookies, which of course Robert thinks is a brilliant metaphor.

Robert takes Kevin aside in the hopes of seeing more shades of brilliance. Naturally, it doesn’t take too long until he realizes (after Kevin’s “Big Mac” idea) that he is possibly only a few IQ points above mentally challenged (as Holly once suspected).

Back on the battlefield, Gabe is mistaken for an Abraham Lincoln actor, while Andy is disappointed by everyone’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for Gettysburg. The most amusing moment belongs to Phyllis, who blames her exhaustion on her “small” breakfast.

Eventually, Jim and Darryl manage to persuade Andy that everyone does indeed like him. Why, they ask, would they all wear his stupid pink “DM does GB” hats?

That’s all, folks. But back to my worry: how is this show going to keep its blood pumping? In promising news, Catherine Tate is apparently joining the cast, at least for a while, later this season. If you’ll recall, she was in last season’s finale as one of the kooky candidates applying for the manager position. Maybe her offbeat humor will be just what the doctor ordered.

 

Brian Baumgartner

Photo Credits: NBC Universal Inc.


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