With “Tallahassee” James Spader’s Robert California is absent once again, but Catherine Tate joins the cast as Nellie Bertram, Sabre’s new president in charge of the new stores.

The Tallahassee crew, Jim, Dwight, Ryan, Kathy, Erin and Stanley, join Nellie for an introduction to the project, and Jim and Dwight are surprised to encounter Michael’s old (obnoxious) buddy Packer (David Koechner).

Nellie’s opening speech is naturally awkward (she points to her head and tells everyone to look at her penis rather than her breasts), and Tate brings almost as much awkwardness to her role as Steve Carell did in the early ‘Office’ days. Between her and Spader, there should be plenty of squirmy moments for the rest of the season. I’m curious to see them both in the same scenes together.

Dwight, meanwhile, wants the VP job and yearns to impress Nellie, but a little appendicitis gets in the way. No matter; Dwight spends a mere three hours in the hospital and returns, IV bag in tow. For his part, Jim sees the appeal of Stanley’s “I’m going to do what I want and I don’t care what anybody thinks” way of living, riding along with him in his rented convertible and drinking rum during office hours.

Back at the office, they appear to be in need of a receptionist (seriously, didn’t anyone think of this before Erin left?). Pam is naturally reluctant to get behind the reception desk, so Andy does, begrudgingly. He comes to love the job, answering phones, delivering mail with singing telegrams and nearly arranging writing utensils.

It looks like we’re in for another two or three weeks of the split teams. While half the gang parties it up, those left behind in Scranton will need to stay interesting somehow. We’ll see what next week has in store for them.

So, what do we think of Tate’s Nellie so far?