John Krasinski and Rainn Wilson
The Office opened back up for business Thursday, and it looks like business is, once again, good. With series creator and executive producer Greg Daniels at the helm as both the episode's writer and director, the season premiere put a lid on some frustrating plot points from last season and set up several interesting new developments that gave nods to the show's golden years. Who got shocking personal news? Who are the new guys? And who is leaving Dunder Mifflin? Our most promising moments from the Season 9 premiere:
1. Dwight, you are NOT the father: That revelation couldn't have been more delicious if the words had come from Maury Povich himself. (OK, maybe no blue liquid puke?) After the overdramatic back-and-forth at the end of last season concerning the paternity of Angela's baby, it was nice to see the door close on that story line once and for all. Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Angela (Angela Kinsey) have always been one of The Office's most dynamic romantic pairings, but the baby question managed to suck the fun out of their weird connection.
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2. Candid camera: Daniels promised that more would be revealed about the documentary crew that's been following Dunder Mifflin's every business blunder and romantic overture, and he delivered swiftly. In Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam's summer catch-up session, the camera showed Jim and Pam (Jenna Fischer) taking their mic packs off. "Don't you guys have everything?," Pam asked. "I mean, it's just a paper company." All viewers heard was a mysterious, muffled voice, but someone did respond to Pam nonetheless. So when will they show their faces?
3. Dwight vs. the new guy: With the paternity question put to bed, Dwight had plenty of time to focus all his energy on the pudgy 22-year-old trying to steal his job, aka "New Dwight" or "Dwight Jr." Initially, Dwight was trying to impress the new kid with Slayer concert tickets and farming — "Are you more of a fruit man or a root man?" But once Clark (Clark Duke) uttered the word "client," Dwight's survival instincts came out in full force and Dwight Jr. went from buddy list to hit list. Their dynamic is very reminiscent of Season 2, when Dwight went to embarrassing, but hilarious lengths, to compete with then-new guy Ryan (B.J. Novak) for Michael's attention. But does Dwight also have huge inner ears?
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4. The new Andy? Anyone who complained about Andy (Ed Helms) following too closely in Michael Scott's footsteps last season was likely relieved to see a slightly more take-charge Andy return from camp. First, he slammed Toby (Paul Lieberstein): "Now I know why Michael hated you so much." But Andy was harshest with Nellie (Catherine Tate), when he informed her that their working relationship would be "terrible" and promised to "be a huge b---" to her before pushing and humiliating her in front of everyone. Since Michael was so concerned with making everyone think he was the world's best boss, Andy's more aggressive attitude was a nice change of tune. And that shot of Nellie getting hit in the head with trash in the end? Classic.
5. Jim's big move: Apparently the writers got the memo that Jim and Pam have become a little too comfortable in their daily routine, so they shook things up for the couple in major ways. After Pam first warned the camera crew that "nothing interesting is going to happen to us for a long, long time," she again reiterated just how much she loves her boring life when Dwight tried to recruit her for his crazy stunt. Too bad Jim doesn't seem to love his boring life quite as much. At the end of the episode, he changed his mind and called his friend to take the sports marketing partnership. "I'm in, he said. "I'm all in." It will obviously cause some (hopefully temporary) bumps in the road for the married couple, but it was great to see Jim be passionate about something for the first time since he was pursuing Pam back in the day.
The Office airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC. What did you think of season premiere?