The Office—Season 8

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7.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Still a good cast and well made show

Plotlines are quite weak for the season

 
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Take a day off from The Office

Change has come to Dunder Mifflin.  Robert California (James Spader) is now running the company, and Andy (Ed Helms) is now running the office.  An attempt to open a chain of Sabre stores in Florida brings Nellie (Catherine Tate) to the office and once again brings about a big change.

The Office—Season 8 aired from September 22, 2011 to May 10, 2012.  The season showed a noticeable slump in ratings, and the season was critically panned for its change in tone.

I was a lifelong Office watcher.  I started with the British series and moved on to the U.S. series which grew on me after a dismal first season.  While I still feel that this season is better than most of the first season that was trying to differentiate itself from its UK counterpart, the loss of Steve Carell was further hurt by a poorly written season.

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The Office…will it get better?

This season of The Office struggles with too many outlandish plots and the characters have become extreme versions of themselves.  I do like that that more of the supporting characters get their own stories, but the main characters you love flounder for storylines.  You get a rehash of the Dwight-Angela relationship (plus a baby) and a threat to Pam and Jim’s relationship.  With movie success for their corresponding actors, the plots of Andy, Erin, and Darryl also increased.

What also kills this season is a long storyline involving a trip to Florida.  The office is essentially split for half the season as Sabre tries to open a store.  This storyline reintroduces the Nellie character (who appeared in the season finale of the last season) and makes Catherine Tate one of the regular cast mates.  The story went on way too long and though I loved Catherine Tate on Doctor Who, she never really jells with the cast here.

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Pop in Season 8 & camp out!

The one big stand out for the season is James Spader as Robert California.  Though his character does add to the unrealistic extreme nature of the show, he does steal ever scene he’s in.  The weird wandering language of the character plays to his style of acting, and he is fun to watch…fortunately how the show is structured, this season is rise and his swan song (once again, I get what they are doing with his exit, but it is less than satisfying).

The Office is definitely winding down at this point and probably should have ended with the departure of Michael Scott in Season 7.  This is the first season that I didn’t watch while it aired, and the season feels like a big letdown to loyal viewers.  I tried to keep an objective view of this season, and I still think it is probably better than a lot of stuff on television, but it is just my type of humor.  I hope the last season shows some improvement and stability.

The Office—Season 8 Complete Episode Guide:

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“The List”

8.1       The List Airdate:  09/22/11

Robert California (James Spader) has become the new office manager…and overtaken the CEO job from Jo.  Now, Andy (Ed Helms) is in charge of the office despite attempts by Dwight (Rainn Wilson).  Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski) are expecting a baby boy, and they are joined by Angela (Angela Kinsey) who is expecting a child with “the Senator” (Jack Coleman).  When Erin (Ellie Kemper) discovers a list in Robert California’s list of names in the office…and question what the lists mean.

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“The Incentive”

8.2       The Incentive Airdate:  09/29/11

The Sabre Triangle is being released…and Dwight and the others are trying to sell it.  Darryl (Craig Robinson) hooks up with his ex-wife and thinks he’s getting back together with her.  Robert orders Andy to increase sales profits and Andy questions how to do it…leading to an incentive program with a big prize that he might regret.

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“Lotto”

8.3       Lotto Airdate:  10/06/11

The warehouse crew wins the lottery and quits…leaving Darryl realizing he could have won.  Andy finds he can’t motivate the office to work and makes Jim, Erin, Dwight, and Kevin fill-in in the warehouse.  Andy’s attempt to hire a new crew of the warehouse is compromised by Darryl who wants to quit.

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“Garden Party”

8.4       Garden Party Airdate:  10/13/11

Andy is planning a garden party at Dwight’s farm to impress Robert California and his family…including his father (Stephen Collins), his mother (Dee Wallace), and his perfect brother Walter (Josh Groban).  Angela and Pam find they both want the name Phillip for their child.

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“Spooked”

8.5       Spooked Airdate:  10/27/11

It is Halloween and the office is celebrating…and Andy hopes it will live up to Robert California’s standards.  Jim learns that Pam believes in ghosts and doesn’t know if he can handle it.  Erin finds Andy is treating her different since their break-up and tries to take control of the Halloween party to make it scarier…picking Gabe (Zach Woods) to help her.

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“Doomsday”

8.6       Doomsday Airdate:  11/03/11

Andy is ordered to cut down mistakes and puts Dwight in charge of a system to checks-and-balances that he’s developed:  the accountability booster!  Unfortunately, the accountability booster will send a doomsday e-mail to Robert California that could end all their careers.  Gabe and Darryl find themselves competing for the affection of the new warehouse worker Val (Ameenah Kaplan).

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“Pam’s Replacement”

8.7       Pam’s Replacement Airdate:  11/10/11

Pam worries that Jim is attracted to her replacement Cathy (Lindsey Broad) that she’s training and enlists Dwight to see if he’s telling the truth about not finding her attractive.  Kevin (Brian Baumgartner), Andy, and Darryl’s jam session in the warehouse gets overtaken by Robert California and their band.

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“Gettysburg”

8.8       Gettysburg Airdate:  11/17/11

Andy decides to take half the office to Gettysburg to teach them how paper selling is like the art of war while Robert California looks for answers to paper selling innovations…from Kevin.

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“Mrs. California”

8.9       Mrs. California Airdate: 12/01/11

Robert California orders Andy to not hire Mrs. California (Maura Tierney)…something Andy finds it difficult to do and puts him in the middle of a spousal dispute.  Dwight opens a gym in the building only to find that Darryl is his only client.

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“Christmas Wishes”

8.10     Christmas Wishes Airdate:  12/08/11

It is Christmas, and Andy is granting wishes to people in the office.  With another office Christmas party in the mix, Erin finds herself drinking to deal with Any’s invitation of his new girlfriend Jessica (Eleanor Seigler).  Dwight and Jim are ordered to call off the pranks and learn that they could forfeit their bonuses if they do.  Darryl’s invitation to Val to come to the party leads to a misunderstanding.

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“Trivia”

8.11     Trivia Airdate:  01/12/12

Andy is trying to make up his sales difference and finds the office challenging Oscar (Oscar Nuñez) and his team in a trivia challenge in a Philadelphia gay bar.  Dwight heads to Sabre headquarters in Florida to try to get a job from Robert California.

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“Pool Party”

8.12     Pool Party Airdate:  01/19/12

Robert California is having to sell his house for his divorce…and throwing a massive pool party.  As Jim tries to quietly exit, Erin works on making Andy jealous by teaming with Dwight, and Robert, Oscar, Gabe, and Toby (Paul Lieberstein) get the full tour from Robert.

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“Jury Duty”

8.13     Jury Duty Airdate:  02/02/12

Jim gets jury duty but forgets to mention that he got dismissed…leading Dwight to investigate his story of the hit-and-run.  Angela has her baby, but when Oscar realizes that the baby was conceived out of wedlock, Dwight realizes that the child could be his.

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“Special Project”

8.14     Special Project Airdate:  02/09/12

Dwight is assigned a special assignment in Tallahassee and must assemble a team.  When Andy rejects Dwight’s team, Dwight tries to turn the office against him.

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“Tallahassee”

8.15     Tallahassee Airdate:  02/16/12

Stanley (Leslie David Baker), Erin, Cathy, Ryan, Jim, and Dwight are in Florida for Dwight’s assignment, and Cathy is gunning for Jim.  Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate) introduces herself to the group and Jim and Dwight find Todd Packer (David Koechner) is back.  Dwight finds himself suffering from appendicitis but decides to forgo treatment to impress Nellie.  With Erin gone, the office finds they need a receptionist…leading Andy to step in.

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“After Hours”

8.16     After Hours Airdate:  02/23/12

The Tallahassee group is heading out for the night and the office is catching up on the accounts.  Dwight continues to vie for the VP position against Packard.  Erin reveals her plans to move to Ryan, and Ryan takes it as a sign that she wants to head out for a night with him.  Cathy makes her move on Jim, and Darryl meets Val’s boyfriend Brandon (Jerry Minor) who suspects he is sleeping with Darryl.

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“Test the Store”

8.17     Test the Store Airdate:  03/01/12

The Sabre big store is opening and Dwight must prove himself to Nellie if he hopes to become vice-president.  Ryan finds himself cracking under the pressure, and Jim must step in if he hopes to salvage the day.  Andy finds himself attacked in the parking lot in by a girl while defending Pam and gets Toby (Paul Lieberstein) to teach self-defense.

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“Last Day in Florida”

8.18     Last Day in Florida Airdate:  03/08/12

Dwight is vice-president, and Jim gets the inside from Robert California that he plans to veto the store plans…leaving Jim to decide if he has to warn Dwight.  It is cookie time, but now Toby and Darryl must sell to Kevin.  Andy learns about Erin’s plans to stay in Florida as a caregiver to a woman named Irene (Georgia Engel) and makes a rash decision.

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“Get the Girl”

8.19     Get the Girl Airdate:  03/15/12

Andy leaves for Florida to get Erin…without telling anyone including Robert California.  When Nellie moves to Scranton, Nellie sets up in Andy’s office and tries to take his job.

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“Welcome Party”

8.20     Welcome Party Airdate:  04/12/12

Robert California orders the office to throw a party for Nellie, and Dwight and Jim are forced to unpack for her…leading a discovery of Nellie’s hatred of magicians.  Andy and Erin head back to Scranton but decides to stop off to break up with Jessica leading up to an uncomfortable bachelorette party.

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“Angry Andy”

8.21     Angry Andy Airdate:  04/19/12

Andy is back, and Andy can’t get Nellie out of his office.  Pam’s attempts to match-up Kelly (Mindy Kaling) with a doctor, and Ryan decides he must have her.  When Andy suffers in the bedroom, Erin’s decision to tell Dwight might be a mistake.

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“Fundraiser”

8.22     Fundraiser Airdate:  04/26/12

Angela’s husband is doing a fundraiser and the whole office is invited.  Andy is fired from the office but finds himself in conflict with Robert California…and runs into David Wallace (Andy Buckley).  Dwight finds he doesn’t quite know how silent auctions work.  Oscar contents that Angel’s husband is hitting on him, and Jim sets out to prove him wrong.  Nellie decides to get closer to Darryl.

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“Turf War”

8.23     Turf War Airdate:  05/03/12

Robert closes the Binghamton branch unexpectedly after a binge night, and Scranton finds itself at war with Buffalo…leaving Andy with an opening.  Robert recruits Pam and Angela to find out what message he left to Nellie.

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“Free Family Portrait Studio”

8.24     Free Family Portrait Studio Airdate:  05/10/12

Andy and David Wallace plan a take-over of Sabre.  Dwight plots a family portrait to try to get a DNA of Angela’s baby.  Darryl finds two of the lottery winners from the warehouse are back for their jobs.

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Related Links:

The Office—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Office—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Office—Season 7 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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