“The Office” Episode Review: Andy’s Ancestry

Grade: A

“Angela insisted that all of the animals be fully clothed”-Pam

Despite the absence this season of some familiar faces and the addition of new ones, I’ve found it to be consistently solid overall. This week, however, was a step-up (in my opinion) with an episode that had the perfect mix of traditional ‘Office’ humor and heart.

The cold opening featured a new prank from the creative mastermind, Jim, and the help of Pam too. During his trip to the dentist, he asked his Asian friend who is an actor to pretend to be him in order to mess with Dwight. Naturally Dwight was a bit hesitant at first, until he found the photo on Jim’s desk of Asian Jim, Pam, and their Asian children. Now, most people wouldn’t be so gullible, but Dwight Schrute (as seen in all of Jim’s other pranks) is not most people. I always appreciate a good Jim/Dwight/Pam prank, and this was no exception.

One of the main plots of the episode involved (as seen in the title), the ancestry of Andy’s family. When he asked Nellie to retrieve information on his family tree, he was pleased to hear that she had discovered a distant relation to Michelle Obama. Of course, Andy took that as the opportunity to brag to all of his employees about the news, annoying both them and probably much of the audience. It wasn’t until a conversation between Phyllis, Oscar, and Stanley took place and they pointed out the likely reasoning behind this relation that I became more engaged. A prominent line for me was when Stanley said, ““Well somebody owned somebody and I don’t think anyone would buy an Andy.”

I was, however, disappointed with the way everyone began to treat their boss, particularly because the possibility of his ancestors owning slaves didn’t necessarily define him as a person. I understand that Andy was trying to prove a point by exposing what he believed to be “dirt” on everyone’s families (which Nellie actually made up), but it got way too out of hand. It was rather unexpected though that he was so convinced his ancestors were innocent and his mother revealed that they may not have owned slaves, but they made money transporting them. While this was a more unusual storyline, I found it to be surprisingly entertaining.

On a similar topic, Erin was attempting to teach herself to speak French in order to impress Andy’s bilingual family. Thanks to Dwight, however, she was convinced that it would be more useful to learn a different language that sounded like something a caveman would speak. (the Dothraki language from the show Game of Thrones) I couldn’t help but laugh at their rather unattractive grunts and facial expressions. Since Dwight didn’t bother to tell Erin that it was a fabricated language from a tv show, at least Andy was able to inform her and keep her from making more of a fool of herself than she already had.

Finally, the last storyline of the episode focused on the continuing arc between Jim and Pam, only bringing Nellie into the middle of the situation this time. After Pam offered to help Nellie practice for her driver’s test, the two found themselves talking about a wide variety of topics. The fact that Nellie was such an incompetent driver was amusing to watch, particularly when Pam was forced to yell commands at her to keep them from getting killed. During the drive, Nellie admitted to lying about Andy’s ancestry and then the two got on the subject of Jim. I knew Pam was feeling suspicious of his recent activity and naturally Nellie had to suggest the idea of an affair (though Jim had made it look that way). At least Pam knew Jim loved her too much to do that, and I loved Nellie’s response of,  “You’re a cocky little thing, aren’t you Pam?”

When they got back to Dunder Mifflin, I was pleased that Jim finally told Pam about his secret but there was certainly some foreshadowing of tension to come. As seen in a talking head interview, Jim was happy with her reaction to the news, while Pam stated “I still can’t believe he didn’t tell me.” I know it will work out between them, but Pam certainly is going to be hurt for a while.

Other notable moments:

-Nellie eating while driving and nearly crashing the car.

-Andy trying to silence Jim by saying, “Right now I need canned tuna. Okay?”

-Darryl pre-recording his interviews to save time and using generic statements that were actually fitting of later scenarios in the episode.

-Jim convincing Darryl to leave Dunder Mifflin and join his business.

-Nellie giving Pam the job of painting a mural in the warehouse.

Overall, a quite comical ‘Office’ episode that truly captured my attention from start to finish!

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