Are you a fan of the TV show “The Office”? It is pretty widely accepted that Steve Carell is going to leave after this next (the seventh) season.
If you follow this show, you will no doubt be interested in reading this blog article.
This show is still very popular, so there were many comments at the end of the blog. They seem to be divided into two schools of thought:
- Please don’t go Steve, the show will never be the same without you, and
- This show has ’jumped the shark’ and should end this season…
My thoughts are more in line with number two.
Originally, this show was riotously off-beat. Some scenes, especially those featuring Michael Scott (Carell’s character) were hilariously uncomfortable, making the viewer squirm and laugh out loud simultaneously.
Those same types of scenes more recently just make me squirm, without the ‘laughing’ part. Now I find I can watch 15 straight minutes (of a 23 minute episode) without laughing at all. (Hey NBC, this is supposed to be a comedy…)
Some of this is due to an intentional increase in ‘dramatic’ scenes, but those would be made more tolerable if the ‘funny’ scenes were actually funny. Frequently they are not (but I love what Kathy Bates brought).
A possible solution? Dump some of the cast. There are many good/disposable candidates, but, believe it or not, the show could start by eliminating Dwight. His character is two-dimensional, and lost its’ zip a few seasons back. (We get it, he likes beets…)
Fans of Carell, I am sorry, but if the show is to remain on the air, it needs to make this one big change: Michael must go. As the boss, he is the central character, and his responses have become too predictable. The office needs a new boss, a new dynamic. Regardless of what other changes are made, not enough will be ‘new’ if Michael stays.
To make viewers happy, he should leave to be with Holly (No promotion from Dunder Mifflin, and DEFINITELY no wedding scenes allowed).
On the positive side, if Michael goes, Dwight can stick around to antagonize the new boss… (assuming the new boss has some earnest jerk-like qualities that need to be counter-balanced).
MASH was a better show after each cast change. The Office can be too. If they take this route, they should NOT bring in big-name actors, just bring in funny new people who are different than the ones they replace.
How did MASH do it?
- The very ‘military’ Colonel Potter replaced decidedly ‘unmilitary’ Henry Blake.
- Family man BJ Honeycutt replaced party animal Trapper John.
- Klinger moved into Radars spot, and changed from a dress-wearing punch line to a man with a depth of emotion.
- Wealthy and intelligent Harvard-grad Winchester replaced the bumbling Frank Burns.
With each change, the show got more interesting, and more popular, and still remained funny.
This could have worked for The Office, but they should have started a few years back. You don’t want to suddenly slash half of the cast this year. The shock would kill your audience.
Truth be told, the door was open for a great transition in season five, when Michael resigned and started a competing firm, the Michael Scott Paper Company. They had hilarious start-up problems and a tiny office. The Scranton office of Dunder Mifflin had to deal with his sudden absence. The writers should have run with this, and continued to let the two companies compete. You would have had two ‘offices’ with more twists and turns. New bosses, new underlings, former friends/now enemies, fresh storylines….
Nope, the show took the easy route, and just finagled a plot that allowed Michael to get his old job back. Back to the same old plot lines, and the same old punch lines. Boring.
To me, THAT was when the show jumped the shark.
Then Pam got pregnant. Ugh. Sharks upon sharks…