Out of all of the characters in The Office, the new cast member certainly did a record in entertainment history for leaving a sore mark.
I remember watching The Office for the first time knowing that Ed Helms’ character would eventually show up, not knowing from the beginning that he would appear for the first time in the second season. With this fact in mind, it made me see this character as an outsider of sorts because he wasn’t part of the cast from the beginning, which made me wonder how he would mix in with the rest of the guys. Especially when you see his first appearance in the show, it doesn’t make you think like he is a recurring character that you will watch for it’s entirety because he is part of Jim Halpert’s new group of co-workers. Andy just seemed to be a character that was meant to add to the humor around Jim’s life and be a part of his new venture; perhaps he was only meant for that sole purpose, adding the storyline of him, Karen, and the rest of the Stamford crew over to Scranton(don’t get your tongue twisted reading that last part). His term in the show was probably not meant to be long.
Until it was.
For whatever reason, this seemingly secondary character was going up the ranks in the show until he became a main cast member. Whenever those things happen in any property, it’s shocking to see this development and it’s surreal knowing how we saw a character that almost meant to not have a big purpose becoming a mainstay that runs the story. This was and is still the case whenever I rewatch The Office because it blows my mind seeing how this guy who probably(most definitely) was not suppose to have have a big role, ended up increasing his status to one of the most important main leads by the end of the show. The writers liked writing for Ed Helms so much, that despite the conclusion he was meant to receive, they wanted to find a way to bring him back. They did one of the biggest switches for a character I have ever seen.
Many people despise the early iteration of Andy Bernard, and for good reasons. He was a loud mouthed, angry, obnoxious, annoying guy with severe temper issues that the show also acknowledges. He’s egotistical, selfish, but none of the charms that Michael Scott has. But, somehow he didn’t break it for me; I found myself enjoying his idiocy in season 2, and while he screams a lot, for whatever reason I still found something endearing from that guy. I don’t remember if I already knew he was gonna be this guy at first and perhaps helped lower my expectations; I can’t recall, but I didn’t hate him despite some times were he hit a nerve. I recognized that he was not the strongest character in the show, but I certainly wasn’t in a position where I needed him to go, but the rest of the things with the original crew were just a lot better. When the writers found a way to bring him back, they did a complete turnaround of his personality into a controlled, sweet, kind, more likable guy. His turn made so much sense with the story detail of him going to rehab after him losing his proverbial s-h-i-t. But not only is he more mellow, he stopped his conniving, mischievous, backstabbing ways to just get what he wants. His new shift in character is when I find myself shocked to be enjoying and liking him so much.
From season 3 on out(because I believe the version that people love and recognize the most happens from that point) he becomes this mild mannered, sweet and caring, lovable goofball who’s not so bright but is not so dumb either. Fro his appearance, you see him wear these business casual, comfy suits and blazers that make him outshine the most out of everyone else because it expresses his loving and nice side. He’s a man that wants to have fun, enjoys performing music so much, is proud of his Cornell roots, and just wants to fit in with the rest of the guys, like wanting to be called “Nard Dog.” I get enjoyment from seeing him just become part of the crew now instead of “the new guy.” You just get a sense of glee anytime you see him just be sweet and say something dumb or silly, see him be passionate about something, or sometimes when he just wants to impress and be liked by his boss/peers. You even see remnants of his old self when he starts to get irritated but he tries to hold it off, which is sometimes funny. Maybe one part that reminded me of the old Nard Dog in a bad way was the episode where Dwight was messing with him about studying in Cornell, which Andy’s fervent feelings with his school can be quite annoying sometimes because he comes off as a pompous ass. But that’s not nearly as bad as his origins, which I reiterate that I did not hate; he even stops calling Jim “Tuna” for a long time except for the occasional callback. He’s so sweet that you feel for him so badly when Angela mistreats him aggressively in their relationship. He didn’t deserve to have such an abuse, but you see him try to love her and being delusional with this idea in his head of falling in love with her.
And then comes Erin. Man, I love that relationship so much!…In parts. You see, when she was first introduced to the show, you get to see the ball of sunshine that she is and you immediately love her. So did Andy apparently, and I remember still surprised to see this storyline initiate and I was completely in for this idea; it was a sure thing. Now, I sort of like the idea that not all relationships are perfect or as great without many issues like Jim and Pam’s, which I like the risks the writers took with Andy and Erin’s relationship, but in parts I hate what they did. Instead of giving low risk problems that would not affect the relationship and we can see them grow as a pair, the writers decide to first have them be a “Will they/Won’t they?” type of relationship, which can be annoying in different forms of entertainment, and while seeing them try to confess to their feelings to each other is endearing, it can also be frustrating. Frustrating because these are the initial steps to an Andy Bernard that I despise. Andy, sometimes mistakenly, becomes a jerk towards Erin, even in their relationship, that it hurts to see such a sweet relationship just not working out; you can comment that it’s demonstrating a reality instead of a perfect picture, but if Jim and Pam can have their picture perfect relationship, then why can’t they? Erin isn’t certainly pristine either but Andy comes off worse in comparison when he mistreats her occasionally, and before all the chaos in that relationship furthered on, I still enjoyed and still like various moments in their relationship.
You still see a lot of greatness and huge likable traits in Andy Bernard that make him an endearing and lovable character.
Until another sudden shift happened to him by season 8.
We can argue that the show ended when Michael Scott left, and it’s not easy to argue against that. But Greg Daniels and co.(probably more so NBC) decided to continue the show, and before Michael’s departure, we see the storyline of who will become his new replacement. Even before that, Will Ferrell in premise sounds like an amazing replacement that might not reach Michael’s level, but can be great on his own and resemble Michael in some form or fashion/ Thankfully he did not stay because his character was garbage(we can make another topic on just that). So if it’s not Funny Man Will, then who can? I remember the “New Boss”storyline was interesting but also nervewrecking because I’ve heard from fans that after Michael’s departure, that’s when the show falls apart and fails. In certain degrees I have to concur with such a motion, but I was hoping the show I was loving so much didn’t become a boring, painfully unfunny show for another season…I became surprised there was ANOTHER season in addition to that. The ideas swirling of having Darryl, maybe Will Arnett(I remember seeing him from seeing clips of this episode back when it came out), Robert California(I was hoping so much that he wasn’t), to even Andy as a boss. I really had no idea who would have taken the spot. Dwight might have made more sense, but I understand they wanted to hold it off until a perfect ending(but then a spin-off was gonna happen? Ugh). When they announced it would be Andy, I was so happy to see this character who started off as a secondary role like I mentioned, into a manager! The idea looked like it might be great…Until it the greatness didn’t last very long.
Seeing his initial developments as a manager was charming because you see a guy who’s struggling to be liked just like Michael, but what’s different is that he is nervous about fulfilling the role of Michael Scott, which just like how Him told him, he didn’t have to. Apparently the writers didn’t take heed to his worse because although in those initial steps he was starting to crumble as a likable character, they later massacred his entire character. They made him into a lovable goof with a heart of gold into a complete neurotic douchebag. The writers tried so hard to push him into becoming Michael Scott, that it was brutally unfunny and made him into a worse version of what Michael ever was. From being super selfish and emotionally abusive to Erin, breaking off what could have been a wonderful relationship for no reason, be dreadfully horrible and abusive to Nelly, turn into a complete moron out of nowhere, made his whole issue with his personal life into a mess of a storyline that detracted from the show, like him being worse with his glory days in Cornell, to daddy issues, to him sailing off on a damn boat, leaving Erin there to be stranded. They tried to make him Michael Scott so much that they literally gave hi his traits, his old jokes, be a moron, AND hate Toby for literally no explained reason; perhaps that was the point, he became Michael Scott, but it did not work at all. Whatever piece he had of that good old Andy we had is tarnished. Gone. It’s one of the most painful downgrades to a character I have ever witnessed, and painful because it’s from a character that I used to love so much. Whenever you see him not wear those colorful pants, you know that’s not an Andy you’re gonna love. It’s so excruciating and heartbreaking to see how they butchered him without an explanation or anything that will ever make sense to me. They put him on a downward spiral to failure to where he took his douchebag act to music and acting, that they ended his arc with being a little resentful and just working at Cornell. I consider that to be a really bad conclusion for him because I feel he had so much more to give. You can tell most of the writer left by season 9 but couldn’t those people know who Andrew Bernard is? It took only to the ending of the show where I felt the Andy that I loved was there, but sadly way too late to make an appearance.
Indeed, Andy. Indeed. The writers definitely knew what they did, or they wouldn’t give us this ending with his character. I saw somewhere that they argued that perhaps his downfall was suppose to serve to Dwight’s betterment as a character, but I believe it was too much of a risk that didn’t pay off. It’s tough to go through reruns with Good Andy because you know how his arc concludes and it’s so painful to know that it’s not good at all. But despite the end of his character, I still enjoy his character when he was in his prime and it’s something that won’t be completely taken away. But unfortunately, because of horrible handling, it casts a shadow to an otherwise great character.
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