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Old 06-28-2010, 05:50 PM  
Sure-Oz Sure-Oz is online now
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Steve Carrell leaving 'The Office' after next season.

http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/whats-al...e-steve-carell


'The Office': Who can replace Steve Carell?
By sepinwall
Monday, Jun 28, 2010

A couple of months back, Steve Carell briefly blew up the Internet when he told a BBC Radio reporter that he would leave "The Office" after his contract ended next season. Then everyone calmed down once we realized we'd have a year to wait, and that NBC would have a year to back several dump trucks full of money up to the Carell/Walls home to keep him.

But over the weekend, at the red carpet premiere of his new animated movie "Depiscable Me," Carell insisted that it's not about the money, that seven years is a long time to play any character, and that he wants to spend more time with his family. And while in Hollywood the default answer is always "It's about the money," Carell is one of the few actors in the business whom I might even slightly believe when he insists otherwise.

If he's leaving, he's not going to take "The Office" with him. It's NBC's only half-hour comedy that's an actual success on its own, and it's functioned as a life-support system for "30 Rock" for the last four years. During upfront week, NBC president Angela Bromstad suggested the show would continue with or without him.

Those of you who were unhappy with the creative direction of this season, and who therefore assume Carell's departure gives NBC a natural excuse to end the show, are just wasting your time. That's not the way the TV business works, except in rare cases like "Lost" (and there, ABC at least had other continuing hits like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives" to allow them to give Darlton an end date).

So if we figure that Carell's really leaving, and that the show will go on without him, what does that mean for the creative future of the series? I have some thoughts, after the jump...

When the initial BBC interview went viral back in April, I suggested that "The Office" might actually be better off without Carell at this point. He's a great comedian, and he made that show into a hit, but Michael Scott had become such a schizophrenic, all-things-to-all-writers character that he was getting in the way of the comedy at least as much as he was enabling it. The writers created many different flavors of Michael, and while everyone has their favorite, and some people might even like multiple flavors, it's hard to imagine that everyone loved them all.

Beyond that, there's the sense of ennui that crippled the sixth season. Much of last season was spent introducing, and then almost immediately abandoning, promising story ideas: Michael becoming part of the corporate culture at Dunder Mifflin, or Michael and Jim swapping jobs, or the sales staff becoming tyrants under the new Sabre corporate culture. Removing Michael would not only shake up the character dynamics, but I imagine it would force the writers out of their recent complacency and force them to follow ideas through to their logical conclusions.

But while I see advantages to a hypothetical ideal replacement, I'm really struggling to figure out who that might be.

I doubt the show would choose Michael's replacement from within. Not only would it undoubtedly cause strife among the current cast if, say, John Krasinski got promoted above one-time equal Rainn Wilson, but it would deprive NBC of the opportunity to promote the show with a new face at the center of it. Also, we've seen enough of Jim-as-boss to know it's not that funny as a long-term thing, and Dwight is already so far out there that giving him absolute power within the branch might make him (and the show) unwatchable. Andy becoming the new branch manager would at least allow the show to continue as it is, since Andy is just as socially tin-eared as Michael, albeit in subtly different ways.

I hope they don't go that route, either with Andy (with all due respect to Ed Helms) or with an outside person. Someone in a "Party Down" post last week, for instance, suggested that it would be simple to slide Ken Marino into that job without having to change much. I love Marino and agree that he can do many of the things Carell does (and has done them as Ron on "Party Down"), but again we'd run into the problem of the same-old, same-old on a series that badly needs a shakeup. It needs a character who can make Jim and Pam comedically relevant again, who can pull Dwight in from the edge of insanity, who can give the series the sense of direction it hasn't had since the Michael Scott Paper Company went out of business, etc.

Who is that person? Well, I'd like it to be someone not like Michael, but at the same time we saw briefly with Charles Minor (who was useful as a plot device but not a great engine for comedy) that bringing in his exact opposite won't automatically work. The show, as conceived by Gervais and Merchant and then adapted by Daniels, Carell and company, is about people stuck working in a job they hate for a boss they can't stand. If you put someone competent in charge - be it Jim or a new character - I don't know that there's enough juice there, or that it's still "The Office." So you have to find someone who's aggravating and/or weird, but in a way that doesn't just duplicate Michael so the replacement is constantly being compared to Carell. And that's not easy.

(For an example, look at Megan Mullally on "Party Down" this year. They replaced Jane Lynch with another very funny actress, made her ignorant and strange but in a different fashion from Lynch's character, and she only occasionally clicked.)

I'm not sure what kind of character it should be, or what actor or actress. Mainly I've spent a lot of time pondering pre-existing characters. Would it make any sense at all to bring in Amy Ryan full-time if she didn't have Carell to play off of? Probably not. Would transferring Karen back from Utica to take things over be interesting enough, or did her comic usefulness to the show end when both she and Pam had babies?

(Speaking of actors from "Parks and Recreation," Fienberg suggested that Daniels and Mik Schur loan Nick Offerman to their sister show for a four-episode arc in which Ron Effing Swanson briefly goes into the private sector, is hired to clean up Dunder-Mifflin from Michael's usual messes, and then moves back to Pawnee. That would certainly be fun - I can picture Dwight having a man-crush on Ron that would make his previous Michael idolatry seem like complete ambivalence (and I could also see Ryan, and Kelly, and the account department all digging the guy) - but of course what sitcom on television would not be improved by the temporary addition of Ron Effing Swanson? What part of life would not be improved, for that matter?)

Do I think "The Office" should continue on without Carell? Probably not. But unless NBC has such a massive ratings turnaround this year that it can afford to part with "The Office" - and probably not even then - that ship has sailed. Given that, who do you want to see sitting behind Michael's old desk? Someone old? Someone new? What kind of person?
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:16 PM   #286
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I swear to God if they break up Jim and Pam, I'm gonna.... well, I don't know what I'm gonna do. It's just a TV show. But I'll be pissed!
Yeah they're clearly throwing a monkey wrench in there with that boom mic guy. I think that's all it will be though. They just wanted to instill some obstacles for them. In all honesty, they were very stale and needed something to spice it up.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:21 PM   #287
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lcarus View Post
Yeah they're clearly throwing a monkey wrench in there with that boom mic guy. I think that's all it will be though. They just wanted to instill some obstacles for them. In all honesty, they were very stale and needed something to spice it up.
Bingo. Completely spot on.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:25 PM   #288
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lcarus View Post
Yeah they're clearly throwing a monkey wrench in there with that boom mic guy. I think that's all it will be though. They just wanted to instill some obstacles for them. In all honesty, they were very stale and needed something to spice it up.
Oh, that's exactly how I see it as well. Though Jim's company/Philly I think is a much bigger obstacle than Boom Mic Guy. He was red herring, for sure.

It's just so interesting (albeit infuriating) and strange to see Jim in Pam in such different spaces.

I don't really think they'll break them up. But (and this is a good thing) this is the first time in a long time that the show really has me guessing. I have no idea how they'll manage to find a satisfying way to resolve this conflict. Something that isn't a retcon/cop-out solution.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:40 PM   #289
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Brooklyn View Post
Oh, that's exactly how I see it as well. Though Jim's company/Philly I think is a much bigger obstacle than Boom Mic Guy. He was red herring, for sure.

It's just so interesting (albeit infuriating) and strange to see Jim in Pam in such different spaces.

I don't really think they'll break them up. But (and this is a good thing) this is the first time in a long time that the show really has me guessing. I have no idea how they'll manage to find a satisfying way to resolve this conflict. Something that isn't a retcon/cop-out solution.
Eh I'm guessing maybe they'll split up for a minute and Jim will realize he liked his life in Scranton with Pam more, and he'll leave the company and come back home. But who really knows. It has me guessing as well.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:14 PM   #290
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After tonight's episode, I'm really glad they cancelled "The Farm" spinoff. That was just...ugh.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:24 PM   #291
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Originally Posted by lcarus View Post
Agreed Joe. I was pleasantly surprised. Looking forward to the ending. I heard Carell was spotted at the studio when they were filming the finale. Which is entirely a rumor, or is true and he just popped in to hang out with the cast & crew. My bet is on Michael Gary Scott showing up in the finale though. I'd bet on it.
Do you have a source for that rumor?

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Old 03-14-2013, 10:28 PM   #292
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After tonight's episode, I'm really glad they cancelled "The Farm" spinoff. That was just...ugh.
Really irritating. You could tell that was the pilot, just split with some office footage. Sad too, because that was some of the most funny stuff ive seen on the office in a while when it was actually in the office.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:47 AM   #293
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This is it, the last of The Office. Its a little sad but this show has ran its course.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:51 AM   #294
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One more tonight. anyone think Michael makes a surprise appearance during the wedding? I know they have denied it but I could really see if happening
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:54 AM   #295
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One more tonight. anyone think Michael makes a surprise appearance during the wedding? I know they have denied it but I could really see if happening
I think he'll be in it. He was seen at the wrap party for the show, so he was definitely in the area when it was being filmed.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:19 AM   #296
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This is it, the last of The Office. Its a little sad but this show has ran its course.
True, but the last few episodes have been pretty damn good. With the exception being anything involving Andy. His character has become unbelievably stupid. The last half of this final season would have been much better if they just left him sailing on his boat.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:22 AM   #297
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I'm sick of Andy and sadly they have made me hate Pam too much to try to have that sweet moment last week. Everything else has been pretty great though. I think darrels exit was my favorite so far
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:26 AM   #298
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I'm sick of Andy
I just don't understand why they took a somewhat quirky guy and turned him into this complete dumbass mess. If they were trying to show what manic depression looks like, the only next logical step for Andy would be a hospital or suicide
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:29 AM   #299
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I just don't understand why they took a somewhat quirky guy and turned him into this complete dumbass mess. If they were trying to show what manic depression looks like, the only next logical step for Andy would be a hospital or suicide
They basically reverted him back to what he was when he first appeared on the show. just an over the top idiot
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:43 AM   #300
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True, but the last few episodes have been pretty damn good. With the exception being anything involving Andy. His character has become unbelievably stupid. The last half of this final season would have been much better if they just left him sailing on his boat.
Especially the Dwight Promotion episode, that is one of the best since Michael left, if not the best. Glad they got Andy out of there, should have done that sooner.
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