Andy sings "zombie" by the cranberries
Another spontaneous song by Andy
Andy punches hole in wall
Andy tears his scrotum in a dance off
Golfing with Andy
Cornell Alumni

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Andy "Nard-Dog" Bernard


Biography:
Andrew “Andy” Bernard was born in Simsbury, Connecticut (wiki). Originally named Walter Bernard Jr., his parents changed his name at age 6 because they felt his new baby brother demonstrated the traits and characteristics fitting to bear the name Walter Jr. (Dunderpedia, 2011). Born into a life of wealth and privilege, He attended Cornell University despite only achieving a 1220 on the SATs and was waitlisted. He was allowed in after his wealthy father donated Cornell University a brand new building (Dunderpedia, 2011). Andy is very fond of the theatrical arts and was a member of two acapella groups while attending Cornell; “Here comes treble“ and an all-girls group (despite being male) called “Nothing but treble”(Wiki).
Andy is a very personable guy and engages in rapport with many cast members on the show. Although it is not known how Cornell alumnus such as himself became a paper salesman, he sometimes comes off too strong and often boasts or even exaggerates to potential clients. When asked if he had ever been hunting before he replied by boasting how he had shot an 80 pound shark with a rifle near his father’s home in Montauk, New York (“Traveling Salesmen,” 2007). In an attempt to win a large client for Dunder Mifflin he brings the prospective client to a golf course but demonstrates little or no ability or understanding of the game. He repeatedly swings and misses at the golf ball while screaming “mulligan,” and drives the golf cart off of a large embankment (“Job Fair,” 2008). His fellow co-workers are often annoyed by his antics although in some episodes he is the life of the party. Back when he worked at the Stamford branch, he has to stay late to consolidate forms and brings a bottle of alcohol for himself and his co-workers to do shots (Wikipedia, 2011). At parties, he engages in dance offs which he showcases his extremely wild dancing style. On the night of his co-workers’ wedding he gets too enthusiastic during this dance off while trying to do a split and ends up tearing his scrotum (“Niagra,” 2009).
Like many other characters in “The Office,” Andy is searching for someone to love. His choices in women however are very poor and he is often left brokenhearted. His first romance is with a frozen yogurt stand employee, but he breaks that off when he goes on a sales call with co-worker Jim Halpert to a local high school and discovers that she is a student there. He then sets his eyes on co-worker Angela Martin. She repeatedly denies his advances but she eventually agrees to date him when he gives her a new pet cat (Dunderpedia, 2011). The two begin dating but Angela still engages in sexual intercourse with fellow co-worker Dwight Schrute. Andy eventually proposes to her and begins making extravagant wedding plans, but it all falls apart when Andy discovers the affair. The two challenge each other to a “duel” where the winner will be able to have Angela all to themselves. In this “duel” however, Andy sneaks up on Dwight in his silent-emission Prius and pins him against a row of bushes. The two begin yelling at each other but then realize that Angela had been toying with both of them. They end the duel and rid themselves of anything and everything that reminds them of their relationship with Angela. Andy begins a relationship with the new secretary in the beginning of season 5. The secretary, named Erin Hannon, grew up as an orphan and the writers have hinted that she was extremely underprivileged. When a limo comes to the office to pick up employees and bring them to a shareholder’s meeting, her immediate reply is “this is what kids take to prom in high school!” (“Shareholder’s meeting,” 2009). Although it seems that these two would eventually make it as a couple, Erin shoves cake in Andy’s face and they split when she discovers that Andy was once dating Angela (Wikipedia, 2011). In the current season, Andy is currently single, although he still has feelings for Erin. In the episode “Viewing Party,” Erin and current boyfriend Gabe invite the entire office over to watch the new episode of “Glee,” and Andy tries to discover if the two have been having sexual intercourse. Although primarily a comedy, The Office is also a love story at heart and it is my gut belief that we will see the two together again before the show ends.
Andy has anger issues in the early seasons and does not know how to control his outbursts. When Jim Halpert first enters the Stamford branch, he pulls a prank on Andy by encasing his calculator in Jell-o. Andy has a mini meltdown and screams “I need to know who put my calculator in Jell-o, or I’m going to lose my frickin’ mind!” (“Gay witch hunt,” 2006). This is just a taste of things to come however and when Jim tries to prank Andy again by putting his cell phone above a ceiling tile and repeatedly calling it he punches a hole in the wall and is sent to anger management counseling (“The Return,” 2007). After he returns from counseling however, he is much more calm and mellow, and has not shown an outburst since season 4.
Trait and Skill:
Contemporary research has culminated in a summarization of five common trait approaches that are referred to as “the big five.” The five traits listed in this approach are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness (textbook pg 267). Extroversion is defined by an abundance of energy, dominance, sociability, and being talkative. Andy Bernard would rank high in a test of extroversion. He frequently engages in conversations with many of the office staff and in the episode “Andy’s Play” he invites them all to come see him perform by having his entire acting troupe do a song from “Sweeney Todd” in full costume. When Andy first comes to the Stamford branch, he exhibits dominance when he finds out Dwight holds a superior position as Michael’s “assistant to the regional manager” (even though this position is completely fictional). He constantly butts heads with Dwight when competing for Michael’s attention and approval. Andy would rank high in agreeableness too. When he goes on a business trip to Canada with Michael and homosexual co-worker Oscar, he is dating Angela and offers to be his co-workers’ wingman. At the bar he gives Oscar advice and support and even buys drinks for two men that he believes are homosexual in hopes that one of them will hit it off with Oscar (“Business Trip,” 2008). Andy Bernard would be in the middle in terms of conscientiousness. He appears organized and dependable by consistently showing to work on time and even sleeping in the office one night when he is too intoxicated to drive home. However in the episode “The Christening,” Andy impulsively joins Michael Scott on a bus leaving for Mexico to build houses for underprivileged people. This however can also be accounted for by Andy’s constant need for Michael’s approval. Andy would rank extremely high on a scale of neuroticism as displayed by his anger issues. However his behavior in episodes prior to his anger management treatment has significantly improved and perhaps his therapy has decreased his neurotic tendencies. Andy would rank high on the openness scale because of his love of theatre and music. Andy loves breaking into song, especially extremely annoying acapella versions such as “Zombie” by the Cranberries. He loves to showcase his talents and even writes a song for Dunder Mifflin’s new owner in season six.

Trait and Skill:
Contemporary research has culminated in a summarization of five common trait approaches that are referred to as “the big five.” The five traits listed in this approach are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness (textbook pg 267). Extroversion is defined by an abundance of energy, dominance, sociability, and being talkative. Andy Bernard would rank high in a test of extroversion. He frequently engages in conversations with many of the office staff and in the episode “Andy’s Play” he invites them all to come see him perform by having his entire acting troupe do a song from “Sweeney Todd” in full costume. When Andy first comes to the Stamford branch, he exhibits dominance when he finds out Dwight holds a superior position as Michael’s “assistant to the regional manager” (even though this position is completely fictional). He constantly butts heads with Dwight when competing for Michael’s attention and approval. Andy would rank high in agreeableness too. When he goes on a business trip to Canada with Michael and homosexual co-worker Oscar, he is dating Angela and offers to be his co-workers’ wing man. At the bar he gives Oscar advice and support and even buys drinks for two men that he believes are homosexual in hopes that one of them will hit it off with Oscar (“Business Trip,” 2008). Andy Bernard would be in the middle in terms of conscientiousness. He appears organized and dependable by consistently showing to work on time and even sleeping in the office one night when he is too intoxicated to drive home. However in the episode “The Christening,” Andy impulsively joins Michael Scott on a bus leaving for Mexico to build houses for underprivileged people. This however can also be accounted for by Andy’s constant need for Michael’s approval. Andy would rank extremely high on a scale of neuroticism as displayed by his anger issues. However his behavior in episodes prior to his anger management treatment has significantly improved and perhaps his therapy has decreased his neurotic tendencies. Andy would rank high on the openness scale because of his love of theater and music. Andy loves breaking into song, especially extremely annoying acapella versions such as “Zombie” by the Cranberries. He loves to showcase his talents and even writes a song for Dunder Mifflin’s new owner in season six.

Behaviorist theory:

When we first meet Andy Bernard he says he will win the approval of his new boss Michael Scott by the use of his trademark tactics: “name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake” (“The merger,” 2006). Andy learned these tactics over the span of time, when his behavior was rewarded for behaving this way. This is consistent with the concept of operant conditioning, a process in which behavior that is rewarded will be reinforced and repeated in the future. His frequent and random bursts into song can be explained by his previous years in acapella groups. It is my belief that when spending time with these groups, one member would break into song and the others would follow even while not performing at concerts. One person would start the song, and the others would add their harmony and afterwards they would all laugh and discuss what they had just sang. Andy’s habit of sucking up to boss Michael Scott was probably reinforced at his old branch in Stamford where his old boss used him to perform menial tasks for him. When he transferred to the Scranton branch however, Michael Scott already had Dwight Schrute to do this and was undoubtedly annoyed with having two co-workers act like loyal golden retrievers.

Discussion:

Andy Bernard is a character that has been evolving and changing ever since the day we were introduced to him. At first he was portrayed as the annoying stuck up psychopath who would be Jim’s new source of entertainment at the Stamford branch. At this point, the trait and skill perspective would rank him high in neuroticism and lower in the other categories. However, as Andy’s character evolved and went through anger management, his neuroticism has decreased and he has been shown to exhibit personality traits higher in the other categories of the big five. His conditioning in regards to the behaviorist perspective can help to explain his conduct in the office and how he has turned into the lovable nard-dog we know today. Andy continues to evolve as the show progresses as we have seen in the newest episode, “training day.” The new boss, Deangelo Vickers (Will Ferell) believes he is the office funny man after he makes Deangelo laugh unintentionally by tripping. The operant conditioning here makes Andy feel he needs to do more slapstick humor to seek approval of his boss and he eventually pours hot coffee on his crotch in a desperate attempt to make Deangelo laugh.
I believe that the nard dog will find love with Erin, and eventually have those nard pups he speaks so often about. Despite his romantic setbacks, we have seen in the Office before that love will find a way. After all, the nard dog deserves it.

Sources:

Daniels, Greg & Kwapis, Ken. (2006). Gay Witch Hunt. Aust, Jake. The Office. New York, NY: Deedle-Dee Productions.

Daniels, Greg. (2007). Traveling Salesmen. Daniels, Greg. The Office. New York, NY: Deedle-Dee Productions.

Daniels, Greg & Gates, Tucker. (2008). Job fair. Carell, Steve. The Office. New York, NY: Deedle-Dee Productions.

Feig, Paul & Daniels, Greg. (2009). Niagara. Carell, Steve. The Office. New York, NY: Deedle-Dee Productions.

McDougall, Charles & Daniels, Greg. (2009). Shareholder’s Meeting. Carell, Steve. The Office. New York, NY: Deedle-Dee Productions.

Daniels, Greg. (2007). The Return. Daniels, Greg. The Office. New York, NY: Deedle-Dee Productions.

Daniels, Greg & Einhorn, Randall. (2008). Business Trip. Carell, Steve. The Office. New York. NY: Deedle-Dee Productions.

Whittingham, Ken & Daniels, Greg. (2006). The Merger. Carell, Steve. The Office. New York. NY: Deedle-Dee Productions.

Andy Bernard. (2010, May). FL: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved April 21, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Bernard

Andy Bernard. (2011, April). Dunderpedia. Retrieved April 21, 2011, from http://theoffice.wikia.com/wiki/Andy_Bernard