Livin' the Dream
|"Livin' the Dream"|
|The Office episode|
|Episode no.||Season 9
|Directed by||Jeffrey Blitz|
|Written by||Niki Schwartz-Wright|
|Original air date||May 2, 2013|
|Running time||41 minutes|
"Livin' the Dream" is the twenty-first episode of the ninth season of the American comedy television series The Office and the 197th episode overall. It originally aired on NBC on May 2, 2013. The episode guest stars Michael Imperioli as Sensei Billy, and was initially scheduled to air in its half-hour timeslot, before being expanded to a full hour.
The series—presented as if it were a real documentary—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) decides to pursue a career as a professional actor, and quits his job at Dunder Mifflin. Meanwhile, Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) finally receives his black belt in karate from his new sensei (Imperioli) and, on the recommendation of Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), is promoted to Regional Manager of the Scranton branch. Jim reconnects with Pam Halpert (Jenna Fischer), and makes it clear that he will choose her over Philadelphia.
The episode was viewed by an estimated and received a 1.8/5 percent share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49, ranking third in its first half-hour timeslot and fourth in its second, marking a slight increase in the ratings from the previous episode. "Livin' the Dream" received mostly positive reviews from television critics. Critical praise mainly went towards the dynamic between Jim, Pam and Dwight, particularly for the former two's reconciliation and the latter's promotion. Andy's subplot, meanwhile, received more mixed reviews.
CEO David Wallace (Andy Buckley) plans on firing Andy due to his increasing preoccupation with dreams of stardom. To Wallace's surprise and relief, though, Andy tells the CEO he is going to resign to pursue his dreams of stardom. However, because everyone in the office keeps telling him how he is going to fail, Andy decides to beg Wallace to keep him on, Wallace indeed offers him a sales position. Andy finally decides to push through his uncertainty, burns all his bridges by fondling Toby and defecating on Wallace's car, and makes his goodbye official. Towards the end of the episode, Andy warms the heart of his newly ex-coworkers with a rendition of Sarah McLachlan's song "I Will Remember You" and then heads out of the door for good.
Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) receives his black belt in karate from his new sensei (Michael Imperioli). Seeing Dwight's tenacity and devotion, David is inspired to promote Dwight to the regional manager, and is surprised when Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) who has returned to Scranton to spend more time with Pam (Jenna Fischer), sincerely says that Dwight deserves the job and will be a great manager. Dwight then appoints Jim the new assistant to the regional manager. Darryl Philbin (Craig Robinson) informs Jim that Athlead has found a buyer and they are set to travel around the country for three months, but Jim surprises Darryl by saying he will not do the tour because he cannot put Pam through that—which in turn surprises Pam, who unbeknownst to Jim was in the bathroom and heard what her husband said.
Meanwhile, Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey) is evicted from her horrible studio apartment after her cats were taken away by Animal Control, and that she is considering living in a tent in the woods, prompting Oscar Martinez (Oscar Nunez) to offer her a chance to stay with him that she finally accepts with gratitude. At the end of the episode, Angela breaks down into tears informing Oscar that she still loves Dwight.
"Livin' the Dream" was written by story editor Niki Schwartz-Wright, marking her second writing credit for the series, after the earlier season episode "Lice". It was directed by regular Office director Jeffrey Blitz, who last directed season eight's "Gettysburg". The episode was originally scheduled to air in its regular half-hour time slot, but NBC later announced it would be expanded to fill an hour time slot beginning a half hour early, although it still counts as one official episode, similar to the earlier season episode "Moving On". Rogers noted that "we knew the last two episodes would be hour-longs, and The Finale might even end up running longer, but we still had a lot of great storytelling to do leading up to them, and 'Livin' the Dream' was one that ultimately deserved to be an hour long episode as well!"
"Livin' the Dream" originally aired on May 2, 2013 on NBC. In its original American broadcast, "Livin' the Dream" was viewed by an estimated 3.51 million viewers and received a 1.8 rating/5% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49. This means that it was seen by 1.8 percent of all 18- to 49-year-olds, and 5 percent of all 18- to 49-year-olds watching television at the time of the broadcast. This marked a slight increase in the ratings from the previous episode, "Paper Airplane". The episode ranked third in its first half-hour timeslot, being beaten by an episode of the CBS comedy series Two and a Half Men which received a 3.2/10 rating and an entry of the Fox reality series American Idol which scored a 2.6/9 rating. The second half-hour ranked fourth in its timeslot, being beaten by an episode of the ABC series Grey's Anatomy which scored a 3.0/9 rating, an entry of the CBS series Person of Interest which garnered a 2.4/7 rating, and installment of the Fox series Glee which received a 1.9/5 rating.
"Livin' the Dream" received positive reviews from television critics. Roth Cornet of IGN wrote that "it pleases me greatly that at the conclusion of this super-sized episode I was left, once again, truly looking forward to seeing what these next few weeks, and that final hour of The Office, will bring." Cornet praised the full-use of the ensemble, particularly the "Phyllis and Stanley Lil' Romeo mini-debate" and Creed's confused mimicking of Dwight's deceleration. Cornet also called the Dwight storyline "perfectly executed", as well as the Jim-Pam-Dwight dynamic featured throughout the episode, calling their companionships to be "entirely earned". She also praised Kinsey's performance during her character's storyline, and thought her final scenes with Oscar to be heartwarming and "[tugged] at my heart-string". She ultimately gave the episode an 8.5 out of 10, calling it "Great". M. Giant of Television Without Pity awarded the episode an "A–" and wrote that "almost everybody is having their best day in a long time, in the best episode of The Office in an even longer time".
Nick Campbell of TV.com complimented the sentimental storylines in the episode, specifically between Jim, Pam and Dwight. He was positive towards Jim and Pam's reconciliation, but felt "something hollow about their reunion". He also noted that the Jim-Pam storyline caused the Dwight-Angela relationship to go "darker", despite the fact that "we all sort of know that Dwight and Angela are going to get it together by the end of the season". Alan Sepinwall of HitFix gave the episode a slightly more mixed review writing that "the non-Andy parts of "Livin' the Dream" were fairly interesting". He appreciated the drama coming from Angela's desperation, despite disagreeing with the logic in the situation. Sepinwall went on to praise the Jim-Dwight dynamic in the episode, considering it an enjoyable payoff, and also praised Jim and Pam's reconciliation, particularly them annoying their co-workers due to their flirting. Joshua Alton of The A.V. Club was more negative towards the episode, noting that it felt "padded-out" to fill out the full hour timeslot, and continued writing that "this episode might be the nadir for the show’s hour-long installments". He was complimentary towards the Jim-Pam storyline, but felt "there wasn’t much happening", beyond Pam overhearing Jim's final scene with Darryl. Despite this, Alton praised the Dwight storyline and his dynamic with Jim and Pam, calling it "the true fan service". Alton ultimately gave the episode a "C–".
- "Shows A-Z - office, the". The Futon Critic. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- Niki Schwartz-Wright (writer); Jeffrey Blitz (director) (May 2, 2013). "Livin' the Dream". The Office. Season 9. Episode 21. NBC.
- Niki Schwartz-Wright (writer); Rodman Flender (director) (January 10, 2013). "Lice". The Office. Season 9. Episode 10. NBC.
- "Gettysburg". The Office. Season 8. Episode 8. November 17, 2011. NBC.
- Tan, Jennie (April 19, 2013). "'Livin' the Dream' Now Extended to 1 Hour". OfficeTally. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
- Bibel, Sara (May 3, 2013). "Thursday Final Ratings: ‘The Big Bang Theory’, ‘American Idol’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’, ‘Two and a Half Men’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Glee’,'Parks and Recreation’ & ‘Hannibal’ Adjusted Up - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (April 26, 2013). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Vampire Diaries', 'The Big Bang Theory' & 'American Idol' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
- Cornet, Roth (May 3, 2013). "The Office: "Livin' The Dream" Review". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- Giant, M. "The Office TV Show". Television Without Pity. NBCUniversal. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- Campbell, Nick (May 3, 2013). "The Office "Livin' the Dream" Review: Good Riddance". TV.com. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- Sepinwall, Alan (May 3, 2013). "Review: The Office - Livin the Dream: Burn every bridge". HitFix. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
- Alston, Joshua (May 3, 2013). ""Livin' The Dream" | The Office | TV Club | TV". 'The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- "Livin' the Dream" at NBC.com
- "Livin' the Dream" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Livin' the Dream" at TV.com