As the name suggests, tonight’s episode Angry Andy brings back a characteristic from Andy Bernard that I thought the show had forgotten- his anger management issue. (Though, I never really thought he had an anger management issue in the first place. I know he expressed frustration on a couple of occasions, but I never saw him as a particularly rage-filled guy. When he punched the hole in the wall in The Return, I thought he accepted anger management in the same way that someone would accept an unjust ticket rather than fighting it in court or because of some zero tolerance policy in the office. But I haven’t seen those episodes in many, many years.)
While it was nice to see the trait return, and hopefully it will lead to a more proactive Andy, the moments before he exploded seemed like the show twiddling its thumbs. Which isn’t to say those scenes were unnecessary, just not particularly well-crafted.
As the episode proper begins, Andy and Erin return from their trip to and from Florida. I wonder how long they’ve spent away. Unless I missed something, the show doesn’t make clear the passage of time. Were they gone for a week? Two weeks? I thought Andy’s hair was noticeably longer.
Expectedly, Andy is surprised to see Nellie in his office. Though if he disappeared for a few days, what did he expect would happen, especially considering the company’s CEO hangs around just to be a wild card/mad social scientist. Robert refuses to make a decision on who has right to the throne, and Nellie mentally overpowers Andy, who returns to his old desk. However, at home, he can’t perform (sexually) with Erin. She reveals this to Dwight, and he reveals this to Nellie like the good spy he is. Nellie is shocked by this turn of events, since she only wanted to take his job but never wanted to take his manhood.
This leads to a conference room scene where the crew discusses impotence. I don’t know if the writers were trying to mimic an early days conference room scene, because the entire concept seemed like a Michael Scott-era affair, but it fell flat. The entire impotence storyline didn’t work. It’s not so much that it wasn’t funny (though it wasn’t funny), but it seemed like the writers were struggling for a way to fill time before the Andy freak out. They never figured out a hook behind the impotence, but for laziness/lack of time, they just went with it. After all, all that mattered was the money shot.
As Nellie consolidates her power, Erin ends up being the one who screams at her, which leads to Andy revealing his true self- a domestic abuser. No, that didn’t happen. But he did get angry again. He screamed at Nellie, he screamed at his father who was on the phone, he screamed at Erin due to misplaced anger, he screamed at the office, and he punched through the same wall again. It was nice seeing energy from someone in the cast, but seeing Andy hulk out didn’t feel particularly cathartic, entertaining, or humorous. It lacked the necessary impact for me. (Not to mention the far superior hulk out from Jeff on Community a couple weeks back.)
Eventually, Robert chooses Nellie for the position, and Andy forces Robert to fire him by refusing to accept the demotion to the sales desk. It was nice seeing Andy finally sticking up to Robert … after being his lapdog for 21 episodes. Then again, when was the last time the two of them had a major scene together? Pool Party, where Jim was more his plaything? Christmas Wishes? Mrs. California? So, again, the impact of Andy regaining his masculinity lacked some of its power. As for Andy’s unemployment? It’s hard to believe that he’ll remain a non-Dunder Mifflin-ite for any period of time. And if they “follow” him as he remains unemployed/looks for a new job, it will seem like a retread of Michael Scott Paper Company. Not that this show is above repeating itself.
In a B-plot, Jim and Pam (who really, really, really hates Ryan) hook Kelly up with their pediatrician played by Sendhil Ramamurthy from Heroes. Kelly is forced to choose between Ryan and the doctor, and she chooses the doctor. Though her pondering if she prefers “drama or feeling good,” makes it clear that she’ll eventually go back to Ryan. (Despite the kiss at the end, I presumed she chose the doctor because they found Ryan’s poem in the trash at the end.) I did like Ryan’s speech at the end, though I’ve always felt that Ryan was one of the show’s most underused yet constantly reliable characters.
• The show has had a relatively strong string of cold opens. This week, the office takes bets on how many clichés about rain Phyllis will say.
• Can that warehouse guy who called out Ryan come back?
• Why would Andy call his father after being demoted? Maybe to ask for money, but that seems more like a thing he’d do in private.
• Moment of the Night: Robert’s talking head about sex. Crash (the good Crash, the one from 1996) never leaves you.
• Now that two of the female Officers have connected with former stars of Heroes, how many more Dunder Mifflin-ites can get together with people from the failed superhero show? It’s about time for Rena Sofer to finally make an appearance in Scranton.