Feb 11 2011

The Office CAN Survive the Exodus of Michael Scott

Published by at 12:00 pm under Editorials,Television

If you watched yesterday’s Office, along with the rest of NBC’s comedy Thursday (66% of which is worthwhile), you can see how easily they’re setting up Michael’s exit from the show in a few weeks. For some reason he’s not even sticking around until the end of the season, and so they’re quickly pairing him off with Holly, and we can all see where this is going.

In about three weeks, Holly has gone from being ready to be engaged to a guy who she built a house to live in with, to being single, to kissing Michael. Now, since last week, the pair has already said they love each other, and by the end of the episode, they’re not moving in together. How many weeks do you give it until they’re engaged? Two? One? It’s nice to see Michael happy, and lord knows he deserves it after all this time, but this is sprinting full speed ahead past the bounds of plausibility.

But it’s clear what will happen. One of a few things will likely occur where Michael will move back with Holly and get a job either at the Nashua branch or somewhere nearby. Or they’ll both quit their jobs and open up a improv comedy club together or something.

But that leaves the big question. Who can replace Michael Scott, and more importantly, can the show survive without him? I’ve written about this before, but I’ve kind of changed my tune recently, hence this sequel post.

I used to be firmly in the camp of no, no way. They should end this show immediately lest they avoid jumping the shark for the millionth time. But recently, something’s happened with the show. It UN-jumped the shark, something I didn’t even know was possible.  And the reason why? It’s focused less on Michael recently.

The Office of the past few season had started to be the Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam comedy hour. Michael soared to levels of idiocy that would make Homer Simpson blush when he did things like drive his car into a lake. Dwight became two steps shy of an actual serial killer when he actually set the office on fire. Jim and Pam wandered around aimlessly until they went from the most likable to the least likable people on the show in the span of a season or two.

But things are different now. All these characters have scaled back their unwanted evolutions. Michael is dumb, but not full retard. Dwight is no longer the focal point of every episode. Jim and Pam are tolerable again, and on occasion, funny. The rest of the supporting cast has been brought back again, with new characters like Erin and Gabe welcome, hilarious additions. Andy has been a great rising star on the show as well, and it’s hard to believe he’s been here since season three, as he just now seems like he’s coming into his own.

All of this has suggested to me that with the right leadership, the Office CAN survive without Michael Scott. The show actually makes me laugh out loud again, something it hasn’t done in years. More often than not, Michael isn’t responsible. Yes, he’s a big part of the show, the kingpin even, but I do now believe that with adequate replacement, the show can still be worthwhile. Or at least better than 90% of the other shitty half hour comedies on right now.

My favorite suggestion I’ve heard so far comes directly from Ricky Gervais who has suggested Will Arnett for the role of the new boss. It’s hard not to leap at the idea of the return of a Gob Bluth like character, though he’d have to tone it down for The Office as it’s a different sort of comedy. He can play the douchebag boss well, but can he be at least a little sympathetic? That’s something Steve Carell did exceptionally well.

I really do hope the show continues its newfound second (third? fourth?) wind. It may not be perfect, and it’s certainly suffered it’s failures over the past few years, but The Office listened and turned things around, and I think it has the potential to stick around past the exit of its main star.





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12 responses so far

  • Nick

    Will Arnett for the win. I would watch the office with increased excitement for the first time in 5-6 years.

  • JB

    The office still seems hit or miss to me but when it hits it is incredibly funny. I almost died laughing last night when Dwight asks whats the office policy on mastubation in the PDA closet to which Michael says pro and you see Creed silently cheer yes in the background.

    A new boss might be the fresh start the show needs and I’m all in for Will Arnet. That could be pretty sweet.

  • Guy Incognito

    Will Arnett would be great, especially with a big ensemble cast again. I think the problem with that last show he did (I don’t even remember the name) is that there was too much Will Arnett.

    P.S. How amazing has Rob Lowe been on Parks! Too bad because he would make a great Office boss.

  • el_terrible

    Spoiler alert.. I haven’t even seen the season where Jim and Pam get married yet. -.- fml

  • Bert

    They could just let Creed run the show.

    But if they do go with Will Arnett, they’ll have to be careful they don’t blow the budget on his $4,000 suits.

  • joe

    People still watching this show?

  • chelsea

    this show has become almost unwatchable… the only characters that do not completely annoy me any more are creed, kevin, darryl, toby and andy (although he used to be way funnier)… it’s just filler to me now.

  • erica

    Pam got a point where she was just…mean. But I like her in her new job as office admin!

    Also, the photo of Dwight covered in beet juice eyeing the wizard? Amazing.

    As for who can replace Michael Scott…I’m open. I love Will Arnett, and he would be great. I just hope they bring someone new in, and not promote from the current cast. Jim as boss = failure.

  • MR

    Couldn’t agree more. While Will Arnett would be good, is it to Naive of me to think Gervais himself would step in? Michael did tell him he would let him know if there was any Job openings and having him randomly hire him to take his place sounds like his sort of exit. That and he was in the original one and all. I don’t really know, I am likely wrong, but time it seems will soon tell.

  • Adam Johnson

    Any show can survive as long as it has good writers. This show seems doomed to not survive with or without Micheal because it seems like the writers don’t even try anymore. Case in point, look at the summery of Holly’s character at the beginning of this article in such a short amount of time.

  • 8bithero

    …sigh.

    People have such a hardon for anything even closely related to Arrested Development.

    The show sucked and got cancelled.

    Arnett’s new show sucked and got cancelled.

    Blame whoever you want, but the reality is nobody was watching that crap.

    No ratings = No money = no show.

    Seriously, get over it.

  • Cheryl

    I hope Micheal gets his happy ending. I hope Holly finds out she’s pregnant and they both leave the company to start Shoe-La-La =)

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