John Hudson at The Altantic
Lane Brown at New York Magazine:
Just how much is Steve Carell leaving The Office when his contract expires at the end of next season? So much!
From his profile by Tad Friend in today’s New Yorker (not online, sadly):
[Carell] plans to leave The Office when his contract expires, next year, at the end of his seventh season; most of the actors and writers believe that without him there wouldn’t be a show, but he insists that they could make it work.
Still don’t believe him?
He told EW‘s Michael Ausiello last night:
“I think [season] 7 will be my last year,” he told us over the weekend at the premiere of his new animated flick, Despicable Me. “I want to fulfill my contract. I think it’s a good time to move on.” Asked if there’s anything that could change his mind, Carell said, “No. I just want to spend more time with my family.”
“I just think it’s time,” Steve told our Kristina Guerrero. “I want to fulfill my contract. When I first signed on I had a contract for seven seasons, and this coming year is my seventh. I just thought it was time for my character to go.”
Probably nothing to worry about until we get a fourth opinion.
Brian Moylan at Gawker:
Knowing NBC, the network will greenlight one more disastrous year without him before ultimately canceling the show.
Jim Windolf at Vanity Fair:
The last sitcom to survive the loss of a major character was probably Cheers, which traded Shelly Long for Kirstie Alley and came out fine. Long-running dramas with big ensembles, such as E.R., have also been able to work around cast changes without losing their audiences or their identities.
Mindy Kaling, who has written roughly 20 episodes of The Office while also playing the charmingly vapid Kelly Kapoor, hinted in an interview a few years back that the show’s writers were ready for the challenge of writing an Office sans Michael Scott.
This interview took place before the show Parks and Recreation was on the air, so the stuff she said about Amy Poehler no longer carries much weight. Otherwise, though, Kaling’s comments suggest the show’s writers feel like they can handle the departure of any cast member. Here is what Kaling said in an interview with The Onion‘s A.V. Club:
I haven’t seen ER in about 10 years, but there’s something about ER that I like, which I kind of hope happens with The Office, which is the way that the characters are recycled out and new characters came on. At the beginning, no one cared about the Noah Wyle character, but by season eight, he was a huge star on the show. I feel like that’s what we can do with The Office. As John Krasinski goes on to do Ocean’s 15 or whatever he’s going to star in, we can cycle in some interesting new young actors, and a new boss. My dream is that when Steve leaves the show, we could have Amy Poehler come on as the boss. I think Amy’s flawless. I have this fantasy that we’ll get this female boss, and at the beginning, she’ll seem totally normal and what a relief, and then we’ll find out that there’s lots of different horrible, crazy kinds of bosses. Or Kathy Bates or something. How funny would that be?
The story arc for next season seems like it could write itself. Michael Scott’s main love interest, Holly Flax (played by the hilarious Amy Ryan), is all set to return to the Scranton office of Dunder-Mifflin—this was something that came up in the closing minute of last season’s final episode—so it’s easy to envision that Michael Scott will woo her, win her back, lose her through some idiotic move, and get her back once again in time for a big fat double episode for May sweeps, in which they will marry and say farewell to Scranton. I’m looking forward to it, partly because there hasn’t been such a well-matched TV couple since Ross and Rachel. After that? I agree with Kaling’s suggestion that the show’s writers will be able to make up for the loss of Carell.
Jamie Kapalko at Salon:
Er, what? Can anyone envision a scenario in which Michael Scott riding off into the sunset in his Sebring convertible is a good thing for “The Office?” Michael puts the cringe in the show’s cringe comedy with his desperate yearning for a family, strange combination of selfishness and loyalty, and utter lack of any sense of boundary. He’s the show’s vulnerable, pathetic-yet-sympathetic heart.
The series isn’t what it used to be, but without him, it won’t be anything at all. His departure will leave a hole in “The Office” that can’t be satisfactorily filled by anyone else.
That’s what she said.
Caroline Stanley at Flavorwire:
Michael Scott (“It doesn’t certainly mean the end of the show. I think it’s just a dynamic change to the show, which could be a good thing, actually. Add some new life and some new energy…I see it as a positive in general for the show.”), we’ve considered the TV comedy past its expiration date for a few years now. After the jump we’ve got a few suggestions on how we think things should wrap up inspired by some other famous series endings that you might recognize. Feel free to add to it in the comments.
– Michael reveals that most of the people from the series weren’t actually real, but characters that he dreamed up to help him deal with the boring life of a middle manager at a paper company.
– Cece Halpert, Jim and Pam’s baby daughter, is now a grown woman, and making a documentary about the documentary that first brought her parents together.
– After several deaths involving the Sabre printers, the entire office is put on trial, and characters ranging from Jan to David Wallace are brought in to testify. They are all sentenced to a year in jail together.
– Michael discovers that Sabre Corp was a tax write-off and designed to fail. He convinces Jo to let the company try to succeed, and in exchange for his silence is promoted to Vice President and relocated to Florida.
– The romance between Michael and Holly Flax is rekindled and they decide to marry. As the two of them are boarding a plane bound for Nashua, New Hampshire, Michael gets off, realizing that he’s happier working at the office.
– After losing control of the Scranton office to Jim, his Co-Regional Manager, Michael contemplates suicide. Darryl reveals to Michael what everyone’s lives would have been like if he’d never existed. The last scene shows Jim walking into Michael’s office, and we hear a gunshot off-screen.
– The news that Michael has been fired causes waves of celebration to spread throughout the office. When the news turns out to be false, Stanley drops dead of a heart attack.
– A light turns on, and David Brent wakes up alone in his bedroom. As it turns out, the entire series was just a recurring nightmare that he had about being an annoying middle-manager in America named Michael Scott.
UPDATE: Erik Hayden at The Atlantic
UPDATE #2: John Hudson at The Atlantic