The Office 7.13 “The Seminar” Review

“The Seminar” gave the supporting staff of The Office a chance to shine. So did they?

The Ricky Gervais cameo aside, 7.13 should have been funnier than it was. Leading into the break when we discovered who would be helping Andy (Ed Helms) with his small business seminar, everything was lining up to be one of the funniest episodes of the season. And while it had its moments, there were no incredible moments here, just some fairly solid ones.

Kevin’s (Brian Baumgartner) “Crazy Train” entrance and subsequent collapse was probably the night’s funniest moment, with Kevin also delivering the best line of the night regarding Jim’s unlived future. But I expected to have tears coming out of my eyes with Creed’s (Creed Bratton) speech and found it more clever than funny.

Is anyone else getting tired of the Michael (Steve Carell) and Holly (Amy Ryan) silly voices? It’s a running gag that has certainly delivered in the past, and as a source of subtext and connection between the two it’s been a solid device, but enough is enough. Or maybe just doing it for an entire episode is just too annoying. Either way, we need to see another way for these two to reach out to each other that doesn’t end up sounding like Kermit the Frog.

It was great to see Michael actually be a leader, if only for a moment, and give Andy the pep talk that he needed. We also saw the cracks starting to appear in Erin’s (Ellie Kemper) relationship (if you can call it that) with Gabe (Zach Woods), leading to a really sweet Shrek moment with the Gnardog. Jim’s (John Krasinski) run in with his childhood friend had the longest delayed set up ever, but the payoff delivered the best moment of the night (“Where’s your jetpack, Zuckerberg?”).

The Gervais cameo was entertaining, but there was so much build up leading up to it that it left us wanting a great deal more. Perhaps there will be as the season progresses?

Painfully awkward moments are this show’s bread and butter, but lately we’ve seen less and less of them, replaced instead with just…awkward. Less funny voices, more discomfort please.

Grade: B-

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