Tag Archives: Stringer Bell

The Office – “New Boss”


“New Boss”

March 19th, 2009

When it was announced that Idris Elba was going to be joining The Office as the new Jan, or Ryan, I was (like most TV critics and fans who have watched The Wire) pretty ecstatic. Stringer Bell was a stunning character study in someone who didn’t have time for games, who was all business even while involved in the illicit drug trade, and had an appreciation for order and structure which would turn Michael Scott’s life upside down. We knew, as Greg Daniels and Co. are fans of the show, that this casting combined with Michael’s relationship with authority had a great deal of potential.

But I’ll admit up front that “New Boss” wasn’t working for me, maybe because I underestimated just how antithetical a Stringer Bell type (and Elba is not branching far from that role here) is to the fundamental purpose of this show. It’s not just that Charles Minor is an interruption of Michael Scott’s normal routine, but the entire office is thrown into a tailspin by his arrival. Rather than have Michael give a large awkward seminar and let Minor watch as it all tumbles to the ground, Minor interrupts him, stops him, and shuts down things before they can transcend to the level of real conflict. The problem he presents is not that he and Michael don’t agree, but rather that he is so unwilling to interact with Michael on the level Michael desires that he is there to keep things from happening as opposed to reacting to them.

And while I think that there is a lot of room to grow within this relationship, and I still remain convinced in its potential, “New Boss” is that introduction where these polar opposites remain too far apart for it to really come together, and where the dramatic elements are here but there isn’t the comedy to back them up.

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The Office – “Duel”



January 15th, 2009

There are a lot of things to like about “Duel,” most of them related less to the episode itself (solid but unspectacular) and more to what it does to bring up some great memories from the past and to put to rest a storyline that seemed as if it was going to tear the office dynamic asunder in its resolution.

I don’t necessarily think that the episode was amazingly funny, with some sharp gags in the A-story somewhat undermined by a really quite uninteresting B-story, but what it did was establish a great deal of continuity and a deft hand for the show’s overall trajectory. Letting the love triangle between Andy, Dwight and Angela explode seemed like a really big risk to take, but with a little bit of finesse it has reached its worthwhile, if perhaps a bit overdue, conclusion.

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