The Office: The Seminar

Posted by: Lawrence Lee  //  January 27, 2011 @ 9:56pm

Filed under: TV Recaps/Reviews 

Michael was waiting for the elevator. The door opened. David Brent, the former general manager of the Wernam-Hogg Slough branch greeted Michael as he walked into the hallway. Michael picked up on the accent, and asked David if he is British. David's defensiveness came up, as he asked Michael if he was picking on him. Michael explained that he was just asking because he was working on a character for comedy.

At that moment, they realized they had something in common. In the BBC series, David was notorious for explaining his mastery of comedy in the talking head segments, a trait that Michael also shares. In talking about creating characters based on race, David was quick to acknowledge the camera, and use a word that got censored, keeping him consistent with his BBC self. The only difference was, NBC would never tolerate the language, whereas the foulness was always shown in the British counterpart.

It was never explained where Michael and David were. It is safe to say that they were not in Britain, as it was implied when Michael asked about the accent. The other hint was that David was no longer using his catchphrase, "Said the actress to the bishop," as he favoured using the more Americanized, "That's what she said." The next few lines was a nice teaser, as David asked Michael about job openings at Dunder Mifflin. David loved his job at Wernham-Hogg, and even desperately grovelled to keep it as he was made redundant. In the Christmas special, it was revealed that David had fallen all the way into being a travelling salesman, working for a cleaning supply company, which explained why he was looking for work. With Steve Carell leaving at the end of this season, David would make a great replacement.

Not since the third season, had the BBC elements been as strong as in The Seminar. This episode, like Business School and Lecture Circuit, is meant to be an homage to the BBC version's Series 2 Episode 4 (Motivation), wherein David made himself look like a complete fool in front of a paying audience. The Seminar was quite conscious in not making itself a rehash of Business School, and Lecture Circuit as it removed Michael, Ryan, Pam, and the chainsaw from the presentation. Instead, it wisely focused on the other characters. The first speaker was Kevin. As opposed to playing Tina Turner's "Simply The Best," he cranked up Ozzy Osborne's "Crazy Train." After Kevin ran around the conference room a few times, he collapsed into exhaustion and vomited. Still, this was not anywhere as bad as David bursting out laughing obnoxiously, and trying to get everybody to laugh along with him as a motivational exercise.

While Andy was attempting to hold his seminar together, Michael had changed a hundred eighty degrees from what he was like last episode. Holly indicating that she had broken up with Ajay probably helped a great deal. Michael and Holly were back to doing dumb voices with each other, even while placing an order with the security guard. At the end of the episode, they found their way together into Andy's seminar, and acted as plants that wanted to purchase Andy's material. Michael, being a good boss, salvaged Andy's seminar by helping him out with a pointer as to what not to say. After all these years, Michael has not only finally learned the art of verbal restraint, but is also passing it onto his employees.

Tags: Ricky Gervais, BBC, Business School, Lecture Circuit, Ultimatum, Ozzy Osborne, Tina Turner, Steve Carell, The Seminar, The Office

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