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'The Office:' Meet the new boss, Ed Helms

Andy Bernard, otherwise known in the big wide world as Ed Helms, is the new boss of Dunder Mifflin, picked last night by Robert California to run the branch and (now) run the show. There'd been speculation he would be the one, but now that it's official we can opine on the wisdom of this choice:

 Of course. Of course it had to be Andy. Couldn't bring in a new character -- that had been tried, and the results were less than ideal. Couldn't bring in Robert California -- James Spader. Too weird. Couldn't bring in Jim. He's been there. He's done that. And he wasn't good at that, plus Jim was ostensibly too sane. He's the sardonic observer, and for this role to work, the socially inept loner is far preferable. Dwight? Never in a million years; he owns the building. That's enough. Darryl? Not quite high enough profile on the show; plus, he was almost too anxious to take over. No women in this list? None in the constellation of "The Office," as it's currently configured, would make much sense really, and that would mean bringing in a newcomer, which could work or not work but -- again as late last season established -- was much easier to say than do. 

Last night's episode? An excellent start. My feeling is that the list -- the separation of "winners" and "losers" -- was California's first test for Andy, which of course he passed. Andy did precisely what Michael would have done: Defend his people. (Dwight, of course, would have happily sacrificed them; Jim would have deliberated, equivocated, and ultimately - I think -- failed. After all, California called his wife a loser, and he did nothing, except to text Pam that "this is getting weird." )

But Andy had the passion, the soul, to stand up for them. It was a great set up episode for fans -- who, of course, love the guy already -- because it instantly gave him a measure of cred. And into the future of "Office" we go. 


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