The Office – Season 9, Episode 21 “Livin’ the Dream” Review

Rating:  9.0

Oh my god.  The Office really has pulled out all the stops for these last few episodes and oddly enough, this upsets me. If the show had remained as iffy in quality as it has been at times the past couple of seasons, I would not be upset that there are only two episodes left. Instead, since it has been so wonderful, I’m left here to lament about its imminent end that will undoubtedly bring me to tears.

In the episode, Andy decides to quit his job to pursue a career as an actor, Dwight gets his black belt, Jim comes back to Scranton to spend time with Pam and Angela is faced with having her cats taken away and eviction. Gosh that’s a mouthful! Even with all the different events transpiring, the episode is executed in a skillful way reminiscent of earlier times in the show’s run.

I am so glad to see that Jim and Pam are back on track. They’ve always been the heart and soul of the show for me and I’m glad that the writers have a neatly tied-up ending in store for the couple. Despite the problems the characters have faced this season, Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski’s unbelievable chemistry still managed to draw some awws from me.

Actually, the entire episode was pretty aww-worthy. When Dwight received his black belt it was a very full-circle moment because it reminded me of the early Office episode entitled “The Fight,” in which Michael and Dwight fought at Dwight’s dojo. It’s amazing how things have changed in the seven seasons that have aired since that episode, I mean; Jim and Pam weren’t even together then! It also brought to my attention how far along the Jim/Pam/Dwight relationship has come. The three actually care deeply about each other now, as shown when Dwight defends Pam to Clark, and when Jim and Dwight embraced towards the end of the episode.

By the way, DWIGHT IS FINALLY REGIONAL MANAGER. His acceptance jump-on-the-desk was fantastic and it was nice to see that everyone else in the office was happy for him. It was especially heart wrenching for me when Dwight offered Jim the position of assistant regional manager, and Jim instead asked for the position of assistant-to-the-regional manager.

Andy’s plotline provided for a lot of laughs. In the course of the episode, Andy coincidentally quits his job right before he is going to be fired by David Wallace, returns to his job as a salesman (instead of manager) and, by the end, he “burns his boats” and quits… this time for real. The talking heads discussing the possibility of Andy becoming an actor were phenomenal and really highlighted the ensemble cast’s talent (particularly Phyllis, Stanley, Creed and Kevin). And, when Andy finally quits, I was dying watching him grope Toby and take a dump on David Wallace’s car. In addition, the final song he sang (a cover of Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You”) was sickeningly sweet and increased my love for the episode tenfold.

The last thing I want to touch on is Angela’s plotline. She was definitely the MVP of the episode. She had some great one-liners (where she basically said she loves her cats more than her son), and she really got the most emotions out of me. I feel so bad about her entire situation and I’m just praying her and Dwight end up together. Although, you know they will. I also enjoyed watching the mutual respect, one might even say friendship, that has developed between Angela and Oscar.

All in all, another great episode. Two more to go, and I cannot wait to see how everything ends.

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