The Boat (The Office)
|The Office episode|
|Episode no.||Season 9
|Directed by||John Krasinski|
|Written by||Dan Sterling|
|Original air date||November 8, 2012|
|Running time||22 minutes|
"The Boat" is the sixth episode of the ninth season of the American comedy television series The Office and the 182nd episode overall. The episode originally aired on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) on November 8, 2012. It guest stars Josh Groban as Andy's brother Walter.
The series depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. In the episode, Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) must help his family when his dad loses all of their money. Meanwhile, Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) is a guest on a radio show, and his co-workers call in to bother him. Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner) learns a secret about Oscar Martinez (Oscar Nunez).
"The Boat" received positive reviews from television critics. The episode was also viewed by 4.83 million viewers and received a 2.4/6 percent rating among adults between the ages of 18 and 49, ranking third in its timeslot, making it the highest rated episode of the season at the time of its airing. The episode ultimately ranked as the second-highest rated NBC series of the night, after The Voice.
Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) learns that his father took all the family money and fled to Argentina with his mistress. Left to pick up the pieces, Andy begins to sell family heirlooms, but is torn about selling the family boat. He ultimately decides to sell after realizing his mother would not have any other means of supporting herself. Andy and Erin Hannon (Ellie Kemper) decide that before he sells the boat, they should take it out for one last sunset cruise, and spend the afternoon driving to Stamford, Connecticut, where the boat is docked. Andy starts to hoist the main sail, but is prevented from doing so by a broker who is to sail it to the Caribbean for the buyer. With Erin's encouragement, Andy decides to take the boat to the Caribbean himself. He then finds his drunken brother Walter (Josh Groban) passed out in the liquor closet. Walter comes to and tells Andy he wanted to get the first relapse out of the way before checking into rehab. Andy then invites him on the trip, saying they both need family time together and leaves, thanking Erin for her encouragement. Erin says to the camera that she would have loved to go with him if he asked. Back in the office that evening, Pete (Jake Lacy) asks Erin to join him for drinks, and she accepts.
A local radio show schedules an interview with Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) to discuss Dunder Mifflin, but unbeknownst to him, Pam Halpert (Jenna Fischer) reveals to the office that the interview has been canceled. Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) suggests they all use this to their advantage, and gets a group of people from the office to stage an interview. Dwight believes he is talking to the interviewer through the phone in the break room, but is actually talking to Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate) who is using an American accent. They convince him take off his shirt and pants, saying that anything metal or plastic is interfering with the signal, and make him believe that the information he is giving gets CEO David Wallace (Andy Buckley) tracked down by police. After calling Wallace, he believes that he smooths the situation over. He emerges from the break room and is greeted by a round of applause from his coworkers.
After Oscar Martinez (Oscar Nunez) confesses to the camera that he is having an affair with Angela's (Angela Kinsey) husband Robert Lipton (Jack Coleman), he realizes that Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner) overheard the entire conversation. Oscar tries to make Kevin promise not to reveal anything. During the day, Angela constantly insults Kevin, saying that nothing he does could surprise her. This makes Kevin almost reveal the secret, but does not. Nervous, Oscar decides to tell Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein) that Kevin has started gambling again, but later confesses to him that he lied. Later, Robert visits the office, and makes Oscar uncomfortable. Angela asks why Oscar is acting the way he is, and then Kevin interrupts and cheers Robert on about his upcoming election. Oscar later says to the camera that he is proud of how Kevin kept the secret, but Kevin then reveals that he forgot all about the secret, and begins to laugh over it.
"The Boat" was written by executive producer Dan Sterling, his first credit for the series. He was hired before production on the ninth season started as executive producer, to replace Mindy Kaling, who departed full-time involvement on the series following the eighth season. The episode was also directed by series cast member John Krasinski, his third directing credit for the series after the sixth season episode "Sabre" and the eighth season episode, "Lotto". The episode features the return of Andy's brother, Walter Jr., played by Josh Groban, who is now a drunk. He previously appeared in the eighth season episode, "Garden Party". The episode also guest stars Andy Buckley in voice only. Buckley portrayed David Wallace, the CFO of Dunder Mifflin from seasons two to six. He was recently brought back on board near the end of season eight. Following this episode, Ed Helms will be written out of several episodes, in order to film The Hangover Part III.
The official website of The Office included several cut scenes from "The Boat" within a week of the episode's release. In the first 57-second clip, Dwight gets mad when Jim is called a superior salesman and when Nellie claims beet farmers and Battlestar Galactica fans have low IQ levels, during the radio show prank. In the second 53-second clip, Erin goes through several attempts to cheer up Andy. In the third 37-second clip, more scenes from the false hostage situation are seen.
Dwight claims that the radio is using Gotcha journalism, but they will not be able to "gotch" [sic] him. In order to cover up for Oscar, Kevin starts chanting "U-S-A!", a reference to a popular Olympic chant. When Oscar admits that he lied to Toby, Toby goes on a tangential rant about the Scranton Strangler, a reference to a minor plot development that had occurred during the show's sixth and seventh seasons.
Broadcast and reception
"The Boat" was originally scheduled to air on NBC on November 1, 2012 but was replaced with a rerun of The Voice. NBC claimed it was for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, however the schedule change happened nationwide. It eventually aired a week later, on November 8, 2012. In its original broadcast, "The Boat" was viewed by an estimated 4.83 million viewers and received a 2.4 rating/6 percent share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49. This means that it was seen by 2.4 percent of all 18- to 49-year-olds, and 6 percent of all 18- to 49-year-olds watching television at the time of the broadcast. This marked an increase in the ratings from the previous episode, "Here Comes Treble", which had reached a series low in the ratings. The episode tied with the Fox series Glee for third in its timeslot, being beaten by an episode of the ABC series Grey's Anatomy which received a 3.3/8 percent rating and an entry of the CBS drama Person of Interest, which received a 2.9/8 percent rating. The Office was also the second highest-rated NBC television program of the night, after an episode of The Voice.
"The Boat" received mostly positive reviews from television critics. The A.V. Club reviewer Erik Adams called it "another solid late-period episode", praising Rainn Wilson's commitment to Dwight throughout the main plotline. He also complimented the Andy-Erin subplot, and considered it much superior then the previous episodes, for featuring more consistency in Andy's characterization. He also complimented Dan Sterling and John Krasinski's work on the episode, saying that the script made "good on previous hints that Andy and Erin’s story won’t end like Jim and Pam’s" and that Krasinski's direction for adding "just enough energy not to feel overwhelming". He ultimately gave the episode a "B+". IGN writer Cindy White called the episode a "pleasent surprise", for its use of the supporting characters and its development of the seasons plotlines. She complimented most of the subplots, and compared Pete and Erin's romance to Jim and Pam's from the early seasons of the series. Her only complaint was Andy's characterization throughout the episode and the ninth season, as a whole, for being "mopey and self-obsessed." Despite this, she ultimately gave the episode an 8.0/10, calling it "Great". WhatCulture! reviewer Joseph Kratzer gave the episode four starts out of five, praising the episode for making the Oscar-Senator storyline and the Andy's bankrupt family storyline entertaining, despite the fact that he found them less-than-entertaining in previous episodes. He also complimented the fact that Jim and Pam's bickering from the previous episode was not expanded upon, and praised their prank on Dwight, calling it a "great bit" and "an excellent comedic balance to the more serious story of Andy’s inner demons."
Michael Tedder of New York called the episode, "the single funniest episode of the show since Steve Carell left" and praised Brian Baumgartner's performance for hitting "notes of sweetness, frustration, and emotional confusion that normally get written for the topliners". He also praised the plotlines, writing that "what made this episode so great was that not only did every plot line work [...] but every moment positively sang". He ultimately gave the episode five stars, concluding that "The Office still has some surprises in it".
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