After several false starts this season, we finally get an episode focused on Andy Bernard, the bane of my The Office viewing experience. Luckily, like the previous four episodes, “Here Comes Treble” does a decent job of balancing its many secondary storylines, even if they do seem a tad rushed, and it also does not try making Andy sympathetic, except maybe at the end.
The main plot of this year’s Halloween episode (and the last of the series) involves the current class of Andy Bernard’s beloved college a cappella group, Here Comes Treble, coming to Scranton to perform a concert at the office. The regional manager soon realizes that these new students don’t understand his legend, never heard of the singer George Michael, and even worse, that Broccoli Rob has taken his nickname “Boner Champ.” The oft-heard of but never seen until tonight Broccoli Rob is played by Stephen Colbert via Skype, and he probably has less than three minutes of screen time in total. Colbert’s presence doesn’t have the “Hey Everyone! It’s Will Ferrell!” annoyance of two seasons ago, but it also doesn’t bring anything to the table. It could have been played by Colbert, could have been played by a day player, or could have not been included at all.
With the name Boner Champ co-opted, Andy finds himself in a crisis since he apparently placed a lot of importance on that remnant of his past. This leads to an argument between him and Rob over whose signature song was George Michael’s “Faith” (it’s Andy’s, who dressed as George Michael specifically for the chance to sing the ditty, but Rob claims it as his to his loyal Treble followers), and Rob throws down a The Sing Off-style, a cappella gauntlet to Andy. While Rob is obviously pathetic by returning to his fraternity a couple of times a week, the show thankfully keeps Andy as a loser too. At the end, one would expect Andy to grow up, pull the plug on Rob, and enjoy Here Comes Treble as an audience member and not as a participant. Rather, a frustrated Erin has to be the level-headed one who tries to get her boyfriend to forget about the singing ridiculousness and move on with his life. And she fails at it. After debating moving to Ithaca with Erin so that he can get more involved with his old school, Andy decides to get his family to send a big donation to the school to ensure his legacy. Another example of Andy’s tendency towards inaction and a nice touch in showing what a weak person he actually is.
Questionably, the show ends with Andy discovering that his parents are broke. I don’t know if we were supposed to feel bad for him at this revelation, but considering his unlikeability mixed with his parents’ position as bad guys and the fact that he’s in his mid-30s and somewhat living off of them, it’s hard to care either way. I would have been fine had Stephen Collins, Dee Wallace, and Josh Groban not been in financial trouble, but whatever. We’ve met them once. Maybe this will mean that Andy grows up because he can no longer rely on his rich folks, but then what was the point of Andy’s journey last season?
The B-plot involves Dwight and Nellie teaming up to discover the owner of a prescription anxiety medication. It’s Nellie’s, but Dwight is obsessed with finding the potentially dangerous, mentally unstable person on the floor so she pretends not to know whose it is because he once yelled at Phyllis for sneezing the wrong way. This segment provides a couple of gags- one involving Darryl convincing Dwight to put peanut butter all over his face and another involving Dwight butterfly netting Meredith who was just excited about seeing a free upper. I’m sure there were more bits like those cut for time, and maybe they would have been a greater fountain of humor or entertainment than the stuff with Here Comes Treble. At the end, Nellie fesses up and Dwight implies that he’s considering going on medication; I guess it’s meant to be sweet. As for Nellie and Dwight, I feel that the show has put them together enough times that there should be something more meaningful about their relationship. I’m not talking romance or even friendship, but more akin to giving the duo a personality of its own.
In the on-going saga of Jim Halpert: Sports Management Guy, Jim goes to an investors’ lunch where he nervously puts in $10,000, despite not knowing what anyone else contributed or if they even needed his money. This upsets Pam who, even though she agreed Jim could go as high as $10,000, didn’t expect him to do it without getting any additional information. This storyline has started to remind me of Parks and Recreation in that it seems genuinely human. Every episode it’s brought up in continues the storyline, and the characters are responding to their situation with actual emotions instead of with gags. Although The Office can probably never regain the goodwill held by fans of the gang from Pawnee, it’s still a positive thing.
• Oscar and Angela’s husband kiss in front of a hidden camera, which would have been more interesting if the show hadn’t telegraphed that they had a relationship since the first episode of this season
• The only Halloween costume of note (other than Andy as George Michael for plot purposes) was Nellie as Sexy Toby. Toby becomes attracted to the import, which leads to supreme awkwardness as he gets turned on by her, even though he may not entirely understand why.
• The shocked looks of Clark and Jake when Here Comes Treble walks in was a high point of the episode. With barely any dialogue, I’ve grown to like the new guys.
• Moment of the Night: A covered in a blood-looking substance Creed- “It’s Halloween. That is really, really good timing.”