The Office Review: The Hard Dog

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There's something about an underdog that really inspires the unexceptional. | permalink

Robert California's words rang true as "The Incentive" may have proved that in his own backward way, Andy Bernard can get this group of misfits to work hard.

Unfortunately, allowing this Nard Dog to be the lead character of The Office is not off to a strong start. Other than Kevin screaming "Nooooooo!" when Dwight poured a bunch of walnuts into the brownie mix, the episode was hurting for laughs.

The New Manager

Andy works in bits and pieces, and even in that sense his comic stylings have waned over the past few years. To compound the problem, Dwight has seemingly taken more of backseat than normal over the first two episodes of the season.

Everyone loved the Jim/Dwight prank dynamic of the first three years or so. When they brought it back in full force last season, it was a shot in the arm for the series.  Why not allow those two to step up into bigger roles? Jim has seemingly remained in a similar standing in terms of camera time, but Dwight had maybe three or four lines of dialogue tonight? That's silly.

All of this is not to say that "The Incentive" didn't have its moments. It wasn't laugh out loud funny, but there was a good amount of tenderness from the point Jim got Andy to agree to his ass tattoo and onward. The entire group at the tattoo parlor, and then Andy revealing that it was actually a Nard Dog, definitely put a smile to my face.

Is The Office going to be as funny as it once was with Steve Carrell in tow?  Probably not, but watching Jim Halpert help his co-workers succeed is a nice silver medal. Now if they can only add in more Jim/Dwight ridiculous behavior, they might be able to keep this thing alive.

Sound off on what you thought of tonight's episode, and try to guess what Robert California's favorite ice cream flavor is. You'll never get it in a million billion years. As always, check out all of the best one-liners at our The Office quotes page.  

Dwight (to Oscar): Your friend Neil Patrick Harris really made me laugh the other night. | permalink
Andy: I guess you could say I'm in one of those ass tattoo incentive situations. | permalink
Andy: Let's ink my stink! | permalink
Andy: Ow, ow!
Tattoo Artist: That was just the cotton swab.
Andy: Invest in softer cotton, sir. | permalink


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (47 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Agreeing with the 3/5 reviewer score on this one, definitely not the 4/5 viewer score. The whole episode is farce; a trite, forced gag which isn't believable or really very funny. I liked Andy & Jim's conversation at the end, but that's about it. And note that that part was DRAMA and not comedy. This is the first time in the season when I was seriously concerned for the show, fearing the writers have lost the ability to write funny stories, or even understand the characters.


I am loving the new season. I think the writers have really stepped it up with the departure of Michael. Andy is great as the new boss. I'm looking forward to the next episode. I'll watch it with a cup of old cold coffee and a polar bear (if I can get 50 points).


I love the Nard Dog as office manager, am I the only one though who know thinks Jim is a bully? (apart from the scene outside the tattoo parlor)I
thought he picked on Andy in the boardroom, his pranks get a bit old. Still loving the whole show though!!


I thought this was a good episode, Andy has meshed quite seamlessly into the manager's chair. He has the perfect amount of awkwardness, and gullibility that make the Nard Dog lovable. I do hope that the writers give Andy slightly less screen time than MS, so that the rest of the cast can shine. Though I was sad to see MS leave last year, his absence allowed the other characters to deliver more than a line (I loved Creed as interim manager),which was an unexpected treat.


omg thank you gary. i completely agree. people need to get over themselves. michael is gone. i loved him dearly, but he's gone. and i still love all the other characters and so far i like the direction the show is taking. i was laughing the whole episode. i feel a lot of office fans are just holding a grudge and just refusing to give a michael-less office a real chance. i'm pretty sure the writers are going to have more jim/dwight action later this season. they can't just give us what we want up front tho. they know better than that. be patient. i'm sure the writers have it all worked out


My biggest laugh was when Erin kissed California and when she brought in the coffee overflowing in her hands. Erin was golden. Also "C-Span". Also Dwight playing lazy, with his glancing to the camera.


I enjoyed the season premiere, so I was hopeful for this season to deliver the same level of laughs and energy it had before. I could even see why they promoted Andy. He has some Michael Scott like qualities, and Ed Helms has proven himself to be a big screen star. But I found this episode to be somewhat dull. While I liked the tattoo incentive, and I laughed at a few funny moments, the show seemed lifeless and off kilter. I think the issue is that we don't need Michael Scott, we need a boss that still delivers the feeling a lot of people experience in the office--an out of touch boss. Whether it's Robert California or someone else, there needs to be the awkward distance (that only sometimes disappears) between manager and staff to make the Office work succinctly. Andy is perhaps too likable a guy to create this dynamic, and Robert California isn't offering enough screen time to create the necessary awkwardness. I'll try again next week, but I have to say, I may not continue tuning in... not because I miss Steve Carrell, but because I miss the energy and balance the show once had.


I laughed out loud at "I guess you could say I'm in one of those ass tattoo incentive situations", that was Michael Scott-funny


Haha Gary that is true so funny 3rd grade..


People need to get over the fact that Michael Scott has left. It's a different show now, but I think that's okay. I've been loving all of the post-MS episodes so far. IMHO, season 7 was a great shot in the arm to the series and so far the past two episodes have been off to a tremendous start. The interaction between Robert and Andy is wonderful to watch. The entire office seems to be impressed by Robert, whose genius so far has been getting the rest of the staff to believe in Andy. That's the genius of the past few episodes. Personally, I thought there were a ton of laugh out loud moments. Andy's Nard Dog tattoo seems like a huge culmination for a great character. I hope people can get over the "It will never be the same without Michael Scott" comparisons and just move on. It reminds me of when I moved in the 3rd grade. Yes, it was devastating. I thought things would never be the same again. But after a few short weeks I made new friends and moved on.

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The Office Season 8 Episode 2 Quotes

Andy: You think it has anything to do with the incentive program?
Jim: Oh absolutely. People wanna see you tattoo your ass.

Your friend Neil Patrick Harris really made me laugh the other night.

Dwight (to Oscar)