The cold open on tonight’s episode is a perfect representation of the inconsiderate—excuse my French—bitch Pam has become. Apparently she’s been using her pregnancy to weasel her way out of unfavorable situations, such as discussing the shortcomings of True Blood with Ryan or sitting in on meetings being lead by Gabe.

Pam has become a loud, self-centered woman who tends to put herself first. Needless to say, me no likey. Me want nice, quiet Pam Beasley back. No Pam Halpert.

Excuse the baby talk, all this pregnancy jazz is going straight to my head.

Speaking of going to heads, Andy Bernardy is trying to send some inspirations towards those of his employees. Their heads [and hearts] that is. It’s a tactic that was utilized by Michael Scott many times in earlier seasons, such as when he slashed everyone’s tires (with the exception of his own) and told them they must unite as a group and rebel against whoever did such unspeakable acts.

In quite a similar manner, Andy takes whoever wants to go (and not be stuck in the office doing paperwork) on a corporate retreat to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He soon finds out things would go a lot differently than he had planned. Kind of like war, no?

For starters, instead of being energized and exciting on the bus, everyone is in a daze watching Limitless (that movie with the “sexiest man alive,” Bradley Cooper), compliments of Daryl’s iPad. In fact, they were so mesmerized by the film that even when they arrived in “Gettysburg” (more on why it’s in quotes later), they insisted on finishing it before getting off. Why couldn’t they watch it on the way back? Because they’re watching Source Code, of course!

Back at the office, all the party poopers/the people with enough common sense to not embark on yet another office field trip (it’s a glass half-empty/glass half-full sort of thing) are visited by Robert California. Instead of scrutinizing those who have taken the day off, he [figuratively] applauds those who have remained behind.

In fact, he sees it as an opportunity to think up some game changers: things that will change the game so much “the game can’t even be played anymore.” Oh Bobby Cali, you’re such an interesting person.

And so, Kevin, Pam, Ryan, Kelly, Angela, Meredith and Creed spend time thinking up game-changers. After a stapler-marker and ideas of opening sushi chains in New York fail, the office (by “the office” I mean Kevin) comes up with a winner: classifying cookies.

It doesn’t take long before Bobby C. realizes Kevin is an idiot and his entire game-changer actually created a handicap for anyone wanting to play the game, the opposite of what he had hoped it would do.

By the end of the episode, Andy realizes bring the workers with him was a terrible idea. Not only are the pink “DM does GB” hats embarrassing (did I forget to mention that Andy went out of his way to make those for everyone and anyone desperate enough to come on the trip?), nobody wants to look at a battle that took place almost 150 years ago as a metaphor for working in the paper industry. That and the fact that walking roughly two miles to visit different landmarks wasn’t listed in the job description for being a Dunder Mifflin employee.

And, because the writers focused so much time on this minor story arc, I feel like I should mention it: Gabe gets mistaken for Abe Lincoln and must put on a show. Apparently, it’s a much more common occurrence than you would think, him being mistaken for Honest Abe, that is.

Oh, and Dwight found out the hard way that the Battle of Gettysburg was, in fact, the northernmost battle fought in the Civil War and that Schrute farms, contrary to his belief, was not even a battle—let alone the one fought most north. In fact, it was a refuge for soldiers seeking a break from the war.

Just a few criticisms about the episode before I bash Whitney (the article will be posted in the near future):

  • First of all, the episode isn’t even set in Gettysburg. In fact, the cast and crew decided it would be better just to film the episode in a grassy part of California and assume everyone wouldn’t notice the difference. Come on, guys.
  • The writers are trying too hard to make us not notice Michael is gone. In fact, they’re trying so hard that they’re bringing all but too familiar story arcs and scenes back into the show. For example, the trip to “Gettysburg” mirrors that on the way to the beach in season three. Same bus, same grouchiness on the way there, same disinterest upon arrival, etc. etc.
  • KEVIN. He’s not as stupid as he was earlier in the season but still…it’s starting to get painful to watch. As is the altering of Ryan’s character to be a complete weirdo—some of the things he says don’t even make sense in a nonsensical way—and Erin being Erin.
    Erin is the most naïve person in the history of television (I’m sure if you told her that, she would believe it) and doesn’t have an inkling of her own thoughts. In tonight’s episode, she told Dwight and then Oscar to tell her what to think, supporting whoever was yelling the loudest. As GOB Bluth would say, come on!
  • I’ll admit, I did appreciate the metaphor that this episode was: there was a sort of “civil war” amongst the workers of the office, demonstrated by the willingness of some to blindly follow Andy to Gettysburg and those who would rather stick to what they know: doing work. Whether intentional or not, it was a nice touch…but (you knew that “but” was coming) this season has spent way too much time away from Dunder Mifflin. The writers know that, after almost 170 episodes, the only way to keep things “fresh” is by taking the workers on field trips or parties elsewhere—even though the greatest seasons of the show took place in the actual office (the show isn’t called The Field Trip, after all)—otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it so frequently. I’d like to see them try and step up the writing, bring in someone who could easily intergrate himself or herself with the current cast, and see where that goes.

This show is a “comedy” but I’ve only laughed a handful of times the entire season. Perhaps it truly was the dynamic characters had with Michael Scott that made this show worthwhile, even with terrible writing, and not the situations they get themselves into.

But hey, at least it’s better than Whitney!