“The Incentive” is about Andy learning how to be the boss and inspire his employees to double their sales. He introduces an incentive program that results in him getting a tattoo. The episode has its moments but overall is pretty stale.
I didn’t watch most of last season. It was not because I had become uninterested in the show or lost faith in it; as a consumer, whether it’s a television show, a movie, or a book, I stick things out until the end (save for the similarly Carell-helmed, Dinner For Schmucks, which to this day is the only movie I’ve walked out of). So it was not because of any dissatisfaction I possessed that I stopped watching the office. No, whatever aired in the fall I saw, but once the spring rolled around I had left the country and therefor could not keep up with the show. It was as simple as that: I no longer was physically able to view the program.
Despite this, I had indeed felt that the quality of the show had waned. I was still very much invested in the characters, and thought higher of the show than many viewers I talked to (two friends of mine), but it was evident that part of the spark of the beginning of the series had diminished as it settled into a comfort familiarity, as is unfortunately the case with many shows. Because of this, when Steve Carell announced that he was leaving I was fully prepared for the show to also announce that it would soon end, or otherwise for the quality to plummet.
As it turned out, neither of these things happened. The show is very much still in production and the quality of this new season thus far is about on par with what I saw of last season. The absence of Carell and the ridiculous, increasingly less-funny antics of Michael Scott gives way for other characters to play bigger roles and carry the comedic bits.
This is all very nice and good, and may in fact lead to the show’s reinvigoration, but as it stands now, I do not want to write recaps and reviews for The Office. Of course I will keep watching it, I’ll do that until the show goes off the air, as should you, if you want, but the level of comedy is currently not interesting enough for me to dissect and study it.
At the end of The Incentive James Spader’s character says something to the effect of “There’s something about an underdog that really inspires the unexceptional.” The Office was just that underdog, taking weird, deadpan humor and giving it to America on primetime television in a way people could understand, subsequently spawning a whole slew of new comedies. Now, however, with the eighth season getting underway, that strange, underdog show has withered away to the old, slow, tired great dane (or some other large dog) of primetime.