Life without Michael seemed grim to a devoted "Office" fan like me. What would Dundler Mifflin (or is it Sabre?) be like without the "that's what she said" jokes and the "World's Best Boss" mug? Who would be there to squash Dwight's dreams and hate on Toby? No one could be as oblivious yet completely devoted to his job like Michael.
Rather than trying to replace him with a wannabe jokester, NBC decided to add
Bernard reveals that after Robert California drove down to Sabre-Dundler Mifflin's Florida headquarters and was questionably promoted to CEO, he became regional manager because he was "the first choice's first choice." I appreciate that Robert does not try to be Michael; some might even say that he's actually Michael's antithesis. As CEO, he takes residence in Scranton's conference room from where he occasionally slithers out and hones in on one office worker to have an intense chat with. He does not try Michael's entertainer/friend/boss approach; in fact, his presence seems to make everyone visibly uncomfortable.
Ditzy receptionist Erin Hannon (
This new season will take the Scranton office in a new direction. We no longer have Michael's blind optimism and naïve self-absorption for laughs, but Robert's weirdness sends a wave of discomfort through the office that forces you to cough out an awkward giggle. Andy can never be the manager that Michael was, but that's OK. No one expects anything from him anyway. Loyal fans should not fret — the jokes stay true to "Office" tradition (plenty of Jim eye-brow raises) and Robert, though strange and uncomfortable, adds a new dynamic that I, even as one of Michael's most loyal fans, look forward to seeing develop in upcoming episodes.