NBC The Office

NBC's The Office

Ah, The Office.

I loved you once.

The anticipation of Pam and Jim (Pim? Jam?) getting together. The actually creative pranks that Jim would play on Dwight. The believable crazy of Dwight instead of the brain-damaged crazy of that last couple of seasons. Those were the days.

Ever since Michael Scott (Steve Carell) left Dunder Mifflin at the end of The Office‘s seventh season, the show’s comedic balance has been a bit off. Robert California (James Spader) had a great run in season 8 and added some much needed eccentric energy to the series that new regional manager Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) just couldn’t muster.

With both California and Scott gone for season 9 of the long-running comedy, The Office is once again without a core, leaving Andy, Jim, and Dwight searching for that ever-elusive comedy gold.

Season 9’s premiere episode, “New Guys,” which aired on Thursday, seemed to be self aware of the show’s slipping quality. Even Jim and Pam, as they do their documentary-style talk with the camera, admit that their lives have gotten boring and routine.

That being said, the premiere did at least lay some solid groundwork for what lies ahead for the final season. Jim’s thinking about moving to Philadelphia to start up a business with a friend. Dwight has a one-sided competition with new Office recruit Clark (played by up and comer Clark Duke). Andy’s back from leadership training with vengeance on the mind.

The comedy here was very hit or miss. Angela trying to get someone in the office to adopt her cat? Hit. Andy trying to exact revenge on Nellie? Miss. Jim and Pam talking to the off-camera documentarians? Hit. Dwight trying to prove he’s better than Clark by trying to ride a bike on a slack line? An eye-rolling miss.

Everything about the episode felt like set up, leaving the rest of the season to either build up or fall apart. It’s hard to say after 22 minutes which way it’ll go, but there’s definitely a lot of potential for The Office. Here’s hoping the show finds its El Dorado and goes out with a bang.

The Office airs on Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.

Did you catch The Office‘s season premiere? What did you think? Let us know in the comments section below!