Big screen funnyman (and erstwhile Anchorman) Will Ferrell showed up for work at The Office Thursday night, and from where I sit, at least, the sometimes cartoonishly exuberant or overblown personality got it just right.
As Michael introduced his would-be replacement, Deangelo Vickers, to the staff — and the gents had some back-and-forth over their “meet cute” (to steal a trope from Kelly) — I fretted for a moment that the new guy had been lazily cut from precisely the same cloth as the Dunder Mifflin boss we’ve known for years.
But as the episode unspooled, and Deangelo shed some of his affable sheen, I appreciated that Ferrell was playing a more grounded character than Steve Carell’s, that Deangelo is someone who could actually exist in the real corporate world without being called into HR on a daily basis.
That said, it did sadden me some to see that Deangelo cannot be won over with cute baby/poop anecdotes or a faux appreciation for Arizona deserts. But man, does he like a calculated pratfall or mouthful of SoftSoap.
The episode as a whole was as enjoyable as this Ferrell fan expected, though not without its narrative problems. For example, I believe we (as well as Dwight) need some honesty from Michael about why his No. 2 didn’t merit so much as a reco letter for the No. 1 job. But that Debbie Downer plot point was offset by amusing sequences such as Erin’s anxiety over how to answer the reception phone, or Michael’s impromptu shave at her rather unsure hand.
Other smiles came from Kevin’s distaste for bald people, Darryl being slipped cowboy boots, and Kelly’s flirty, movie-style come-on to Deangelo, complete with hair flips and nibbled sunglasses stems.
What did you think of Will Ferrell’s first day at Dunder Mifflin? Did he meet, exceed or fall below expectations?