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4 ways Steve Carell’s time on The Office could have ended


Steve Carell has left The Office, and, by the looks of recent viewing figures, taken a substantial amount of viewers with him. However, did his swansong do him justice? Here, Shadowlocked contributor Jennifer Thomson offers four other exits which she thinks would have been better suited to his persona...

Steve Carrell has left The Office...but could it have been done better?

As someone who loved the original, appreciating and finding refuge in its familiar British humour, I had prepared myself not to like the US version of The Office. How could American TV – even with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant onboard – possibly do this brilliant show justice? Consequently, the initial episodes seemed to bear this out – they were hackneyed versions of the UK show that simply did not work.

But then, the decision was made to let lead actor Steve Carell be his own man, to mould the role so as to accommodate his unique and somewhat charming persona and all soon changed. His first significant change was in his appearance, removing the greased back hair style that is character was supporting (which many feel had been an unsuccessful attempt to replicate the David Brent look) before changing it – and himself – into someone completely different.  

Now like millions of fans worldwide, I’m sad that Carell’s days at Dunder Miflin are over and I genuinely wonder if the show can go on. If they keep it going and it stinks, they risk having people turn to one another, shaking their heads and saying, ‘This used to be good.’ More so concerning is the fact that, in just one week since his departure, NBC's viewing figures dropped 17%, a fall that represents a 'double digits' loss of viewers.

‘Insert Michael Scott and Holly.jpeg’

Although the end for Michael Scott was very feasible – Holly is the only person he’s ever loved more than his job – there were other ways for his time at the company to end.

4. Michael Scott sells the branch for some magic beans

Michael sells the branch for magic beans?

He's a shrewd guy that Jim Halpert and he predicted his boss could do something that crazy in Season 3, Episode 7 – the ‘Branch Closing.’ ‘I always knew that the branch would shut down someday. I just figured it would be because Michael would sell the building for some magic beans.’

3. Michael and Holly run away to join a travelling circus.

Could a life with the circus have better suited the two?

Ask any fan of the series, this would be much more 'Michael Scott' than simply moving to Colorado so that Holly can care for her elderly dad. But what of his act you say? Well how about a double act, with Michael performing a number of enchanting tricks while the gorgeous Holly assisted? Yeah, I'd be happy to say goodbye to Mr Scott that way.

Now, it may seem a bit farfetched but, throughout the series, Michael made a number of references to his love of magic and even had an off screen visit to magic camp. Furthermore, In Season 3, Episode 18 – 'Cocktails' – he tried getting out of a straitjacket, insisting that no one should help him. "I cannot tell you how I plan to escape, other than by using magic. That is the magician's code. Separately, on an unrelated note, if you happen to find a small, brass key..." – another reason why we love him.

In the same episode, he also talks about going to magic camp – "A lot of people think that magic camp is just for kids. And that's why so many other people in my class were kids. Self-fulfilling prophecy. It's um, it's really for anybody with a dream and a belief in magic and a little extra time after school." Don't believe me? Well, watch for yourself:

Additionally, In Season 4, Episode 4 – ‘Money’ – Michael shouts "I declare bankruptcy". Oscar then agrees to go through his accounts to see where all his money has gone. "This scary black bar is what you spend on things that no one ever, ever multiple magic sets?' – now try and tell me it wouldn't have been a sweet exit?

2. Toby gives Michael a rock

Toby gets a rock

In an episode called ‘The Atonement,’ Michael turns up at a job interview in Colorado for a job he really, really wants – only to find Toby Flenderson sitting across the table from him. It soon turns out that the person Michael hates more than anybody in the world is now head of the HR department, meaning that Toby gets the final say on who is or isn’t recruited.  Michael is forced to listen to the litany of abuse he’s doled out to poor Toby over the years.

Here's a list of my personal favourites:

1. Trying to frame Toby for drugs possession in Season 5, Episode 9, ‘Frame Toby.’  It’s Dwight who suggests it – "Yeah. It's illegal, but, everything they do on The Shield is illegal". However, the cannabis Michael buys from the two warehouse guys turns out to be Caprese salad.

2. Screaming "NO, GOD! NO, GOD, PLEASE, NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOO!" when he discovers that Toby has come back after Holly was moved to another branch. In fact, I think you should watch it again:

3. Making him stay in the office whilst the rest of the staff enjoy beach day in ‘Beach Games’ – Season 3, Episode 23.

4. Giving Toby a rock as a leaving present with a note saying ‘Suck on this’, ahead of his hated colleagues departure to Costa Rica.  This happens in Season 4, Episode 14 – fittingly called ‘Goodbye Toby’ – and even fawning Dwight admits he thought it was going too far.

5. Michael branded Toby ‘the worst human being ever’; a ‘convicted rapist' ; ‘Satan' ; and ‘the Antichrist.’

Just with this list alone, I think it's safe to say that Michael despises this guy. So, what could be better revenge for Toby than to hold the fate of his nemesis in his hands?

1. David Brent gets Michael's job

US meets UK - the irony would have been brilliant

While all the other ideas would have been great, my particular favourite would have been if Jo Bennett gave David Brent the job and we got to watch him shadow Michael during his last day. To further push this déjà vu, it would have been hilarious if, after his appointment, Brent decideed to bring in his old staff with Gareth, Tim and Dawn joining their US cohort in Scranton.

The highlight of such an event? Dwight meeting Gareth. What would they make of each other? Either way, you can be sure that it would have been very well received.

As a fan, I'm sad to see him go. Steve Carell took on the impossible – turning this wholly British comedy into one suitable for a US audience – and made it his own. However, did his finale do him justice? I'm not saying it didn't, but I personally would have opted for something a bit more farfetched; after all, wouldn't that have better suited his character?

See also:

10 memorable comedy movie scenes

7 things I hope Steven Moffat leaves out of Doctor Who

The ten most important characteristics of The Doctor

Top 10 Best Doctor Who Series 5 Moments

Top 10 Friends secondary characters

The top 100 things I love about TV

Lists at Shadowlocked


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