After a questionable start this season, I’m here tonight to officially declare The Office is back! “Garden Party” had everything you could want: field trips to Schrute Farms, Mose, a fantastic prank by Jim, dancing Dwight, and a great use of guest stars. Oh, and penis jokes!
Let’s start with those penis jokes. What better way to announce Dunder Mifflin’s new prices than with an ad campaign? The cold open explained that Andy took out some billboard ads around the Scranton area. Unfortunately, Andy’s over-the-top enthusiasm was too tempting a target for some miscreant kids (or, let’s be honest, Creed). As Jim explained: “If there’s an opportunity for the graffiti artist to work in a phallic shape interacting with the artwork, it’ll happen.” The quick shots of Defaced Billboard Andy were perfect, as was everyone’s reaction, from Stanley’s booming laugh to Meredith’s calm approval (naturally). And Dwight? Poor Dwight. It was funny when it was just Andy, but when it happened to Dwight, too? No, no, no. no. no. no, no, noooooooooo.
Andy decided to throw an elaborate garden party for the whole office at Schrute Farms to impress Robert California. Typically, Office parties don't go so well. See: Michael Scott's dinner party, Gabe's Glee viewing party, etc. With that track record, you have to admire Andy's optimism (or naïveté?)
Naturally, there was a conference room pre-party meeting where Dwight explained that Schrute farms is quite easy to get to -- it’s right in the middle of the root vegetable district. Andy talked everyone through the rest of the rules: The dress code for this picnic barbeque dignified garden party is Connecticut casual, which is not the same thing as Pennsylvania business. And please, "no burpin', no slurpin'."
Dwight agreed to throw this business party because he’d really like to break into more high-event entertaining. That, and it really hasn’t been a great beet season. Dwight is so serious in his quest to be a good host he even orders a book online -- he spent two dollars and got the only copy of Throwing A Garden Party in print. Well played, Jim Halpert.
With the prep work in place, it’s over the hills and through the woods, off to Schrute farms we go! Tonight we also got the special bonus return of Mose -- now he’s a valet, and also, apparently, a daredevil thrill junkie: just watch him ride, or rather, walk, over all those cars.
The funniest gag of the night was seeing all the clever rules Jim worked into that book, from "the tableau is not only welcomed, it's expected entertainment" to “One of the host's most important duties is as dancemaster.” Seeing Dwight announce everyone’s arrival (the louder the voice, the more important the guest) was great.
NEXT: We meet Andy's not-so-cheerful family