On Thursday's The Office, Will Ferrell began his run as Deangelo Vickers, a quirky potential replacement for Michael Scott who alternately impresses and alienates Dunder Mifflin's long-suffering staff. (Watch a video below.) Ferrell's guest spot is part of the show's long farewell to Steve Carell, who will bow out in a special episode on April 28. Ferrell's appearance certainly boosted ratings — the episode drew an impressive 7.7 million viewers. But did the critics buy it?
The character is so inconsistent: "God, I found Will Ferrell's guest spot disappointing," says James Poniewozik at TIME. The problem wasn't the actor himself but the character, whose name is "by far the best thing" about him. The Office's writers didn't make the character consistent enough; instead "his personality just seemed to change depending on the requirements of the scene." The episode establishes him as a "good-natured idiot," but then he turns cold and calculating.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Not to mention thinly drawn: "I have to say that I find the character entirely uninteresting," says Myles McNutt at The Onion's A.V. Club. Unlike previous guests, there seems to be no particular purpose for Vickers's existence, except to fuel a "particular string of jokes" that were built around him. That's not to say that those jokes were entirely unsuccessful. But the fact that we never really learn anything important about Vickers — even basic facts, like where he came from — make him feel like a nothing character.
Plus, his story arc feels overly familiar: It may take a little while longer for Vickers to come into his own, says Hillary Busis at Entertainment Weekly, and that's fine. What's more worrying "is that Deangelo's plotline is already starting to give me deja vu." He is too reminiscent of Charles Miner, a character from season five who, like Vickers, was a "cool" authority figure who turned out to be a "class-A jerk." Same old, same old.
Create an account with the same email registered to your subscription to unlock access.