The Office hires Catherine Tate: Good move?

After a brief cameo on last season's finale of the NBC sitcom, the British comedienne will reprise her role for the second half of this season

Catherine Tate
(Image credit: Chris Haston/NBC )

The Office has made another new hire. The long-running NBC sitcom has announced that British comedienne Catherine Tate will be joining the series as a cast member in the season's second half. She'll reprise her role as Nellie Bertram, who first appeared in last season's finale as an applicant to replace boss Michael Scott (the since-departed Steve Carell). During her unusual interview, Bertram suggested removing all the cubicle walls, making each employee someone else's boss, and creating a zen work environment in which no one wears shoes. When she returns, Tate's character will be put in charge of a special project, which will lead to a "far from professional" relationship with the character played by James Spader, who effectively replaced Carell. Given the lukewarm critical reception to the Carell-less Office, is this a smart hire?

Tate could rescue the show: The current season has been a real letdown, says Jessica Rae at Small Screen Scoop. Ellie Kemper's performance as secretary Erin is the series' most worthwhile aspect this year — which speaks volumes. But there may be a new contender soon. Tate is a brilliant, award-winning comedienne, and could really elevate the series. "With Tate around, there's no way we're going to skip any future episodes."

"Catherine Tate returns to The Office, so you can stop skipping episodes"

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At least, this could make Tate a star stateside: Catherine Tate is a household name in the U.K., and deservedly so, says Britscene. She's co-starred in the wildly popular Doctor Who series and headlined her own award-winning BBC comedy sketch series, The Catherine Tate Show. Her comedy chops won't just make her "a welcome addition to The Office" — they'll also give the "very funny Tate a little more exposure in the U.S." She might not save the "stuttering" Office, but she might just give her own career a big boost.

"Catherine Tate returns to The Office"

Actually, this is a bad idea all around: The Office appears to have "cut all ties with what its viewers call 'reality,'" says Erik Adams at The A.V. Club. Yet another new hire for a small-scale suburban paper company? In this economy, that's just not believable. And Tate is not a likely series savior. The undeniably skilled comedienne's finale appearance as "overzealous interviewee" underwhelmed, no doubt leaving many Doctor Who fans thinking, "Why were we excited about this?" Similarly, we're not excited about Nellie Bertram's return.

"Catherine Tate returns to The Office"

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