September 21st, 2012
10:03 AM ET
Retirement isn't easy, and “The Office” is about to find out.
As executive producer Greg Daniels announced ahead of Thursday's premiere, this season of "The Office" will be the last. But as the series makes its exit, it's also bringing in new faces along for the ride.
When we last left our Dunder-Mifflinites, Andy had just staged a coup reclaiming his branch manager position, Jim and Pam continued to be adorable, and Dwight had the paternity of Angela’s baby, which he believed to be his, tested.
But now we also have the "new guys": Duke (a.k.a., Dwight Jr., a.k.a., “Fart,” as played by Clark Duke) and Pete (a.k.a. New Jim, a.k.a. “Plop," as played by Jake Lacy). They give “The Office” some much needed fresh balance (most likely caused by Duke’s “gigantic inner ears”) that was missing from last season’s aimless adjustment to new management. Unlike James Spader’s creepily manic Robert California, Duke and Lacy do a great job embracing the slow awkward burn that “The Office” was always known for.
Still, it was old Dwight and Jim that made the episode “New Guys” a potential blank page for the final season to build on.
For Dwight, it was a mixed summer of forays into the world of beet-based energy drinks and disappointing health news (cue Maury: “Dwight, you ARE NOT the father!”), yet he found solace in now having a new work son in Duke. However, the father-son bonding over root-farming and Slayer concerts was short-lived.
Once Duke tried to poach his sales, Dwight went into battle mode, refusing to learn new words like “paranoid” and attempting to bicycle across the parking lot on a tightrope strapped to a printer.
As for Jim, it was the standard boring summer of Pam art, being a good family man and the occasional partnership offer at a Philadelphia sports marketing company.
No big de—wait, what?!
Jim originally turned down the partnership because of family issues and because, well, he’s take-no-chances Jim. However, once he saw his past, present and maybe future in Pete’s naïve optimism, he went behind Pam’s back, took the new job and liberated himself from Dunder Mifflin in hopes of Philadelphia (sports marketing) freedom. This, of course, is completely unlike Jim, but more importantly it sets up an intriguing story arc for the final season by putting the heart of the show (and as we found out in the cold open, the documentary) on the line.
As for the rest of the office, Andy went to Outward Bound (as an adult), Kevin bedazzled a turtle that was dead, Angela gave her cat to Oscar, who is secretly seeing her husband, and Kelly took her talents to Miami ... of Ohio.
Other than that, “New Guys” was a great beginning of the end, and a fun kick off to the retirement party that is the final season of “The Office.”
So what’d you think? Do you like the new guys? How will Pam react to Jim taking the job in Philly? Will Darryl and Duke find a Hot Tub Time Machine in the warehouse?
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