Maura Tierney

Jeers to The Office for squandering a valuable human resource: Maura Tierney.

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The ER veteran checked back into NBC's Thursday-night lineup as the wife of Robert California (James Spader). The inscrutable new Dunder Mifflin CEO instructed Andy (Ed Helms) not to hire her under any circumstances, then berated him for trying to follow orders. The situation was awkward and uncomfortable — like every episode of The Office — but without the comic relief that characterized the sitcom's early Steve Carell years.

Even worse, it left Tierney with nothing funny to do (a recurring theme this week — see also my Jeers for Last Man Standing and I Hate My Teenage Daughter). She proved her workplace-comedy skills on NBC's underrated NewsRadio; maybe if she returns (as implied in a bizarrely flirtatious coda with Andy), The Office will find her a better job.

What did you think of The Office's handling of Maura Tierney?

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