'The Office' premiere: The good, the bad and the Wuphf

rainn-wilson-office-nepotis.jpg "The Office" came back for the start of the end of Steve Carell's time on the show, and in a number of ways it felt like an old-school episode of the show. One thing in particular, though, bugged us.

The good

- The show eased into the season with a relatively simple A-story: Michael has hired his nephew Luke ("I love cinema -- my two favorite movies are 'Citizen Kane' and 'The Boondock Saints'"), who is horrible at his job and doesn't care because he fears no consequences. It led to some fine talking heads (Darryl: "I don't know how we're gonna get out of Afghanistan I hate the new assistant." Andy: "He calls me Nard-Man. I'm the Nard-Dog. Nard-Man is my father") and a climax that had Michael spanking Luke, the staff re-enacting it and Michael facing either A) six counseling sessions with Toby or B) getting fired. Please pick A, Michael. The comedy potential is too great.

- Nice little B-story too, with Pam trying to make up for blowing Jim's prank on Dwight by pulling a very involved one that led to her getting stuck in the elevator with building owner Dwight -- yes, that transaction went through -- who weirds out and starts using it as a urinal, mostly on account of the water-bladder backpack he's taken to wearing everywhere. That, my friends, is love.

- About 98 percent of the cold open, when Andy, Pam, Erin and everyone else do a lip dub to "Nobody But Me." Completely unrelated to the rest of the story, but just fun.

- Executive-trained Kelly is kind of like pre-executive-trained Kelly, except in a suit and saying things like "What Darryl said about the level playing field? That's a zoning issue. ... Thank you."

The bad

- The reason the lip-dub opening was only 98 percent good? Because Dwight is descending ever more into being a complete freak show, with the flower-biting and the knife-licking and everything. See also his attempt at re-enacting Michael's spanking of Luke. The show needs to dial him back at least two levels.

Wait ... what?

- Erin and Gabe are dating! Andy takes it surprisingly well thanks to his anger management training: "I'm sitting on Cape Cod. ... Look, it's a humpback whale ... eating Gabe." OK, maybe not "surprisingly well."

- If you were wondering what the heck Ryan's T-shirt in the opening was for Wuphf, the social-networking site that sets off all your communication devices at once. Mentioned last season, it is now officially launched. (Note: Please do not give the site all your real information.)

- Meredith's random Chumbawumba reference.

The full cold opening is below. What did you think of the premiere -- what worked, and what didn't?



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Photo credit: NBC