Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Let's Talk About Steve Carell's Office Replacement

We're going to find out who's going to be the new lead on The Office relatively soon, within a couple of months. But there's still no solid leads as to what we can expect. Will they keep it within the office, promoting Andy, Dwight or Darryl to the head spot? Or will they bring in someone new? There have been a few tantalizing names thrown about, including Will Forte and Will Arnett, either of which would be pretty amazing.

I've got to think that they'll add someone new rather than promoting from within. All of this hype about finding a new replacement for Michael would lead fans to be disappointed if it's just a reshuffling of status among existing characters at the end of the day.

But beyond who it'll be is also the question of how it'll change the tenor of the show. For as many new characters the show has added and as much has happened over the course of its seven seasons, Steve Carell's Michael Scott is still the heart of the show. To replace him is to change it in a completely fundamental way. Will Arnett is amazing, but his energy and tone is completely different than Steve Carell's. Would he fit in that world? What would his character be like, and how would it interact with the rest of the cast? It's a tricky proposition!

There have been plenty of criticisms levied at The Office for going downhill over the past couple seasons, and I wouldn't disagree with them. That being said, this season has been a definite improvement over the last, with a refocus on formerly minor/new characters and the fading of formerly major characters to secondary roles. The writers seem to know that in order for the show to continue for an extended period of time, they need to almost treat this as a gradual transformation into a new show or spinoff. Otherwise, they run the risk of ending up like The Simpsons; with a set of characters that have been through every situation imaginable, leaving them almost nothing grounded left to do.

And it's tempting to see this entire process as NBC greedily extending a show past when it should be extended. Well, can you blame them? The Office is still the highest-rated show in its Thursday night lineup by a serious margin. Like Parks and Rec? Well then you should be rooting for The Office to keep existing at a high level of quality and popularity, otherwise it'll lose a lead-in that's responsible for a not-insignificant percentage of its ratings.

So this changing of the guard doesn't just have big ramifications for the future of The Office, but of NBC's entire Thursday night lineup as well. It's a huge risk they're taking, one that could blow up in their faces if it's not done well. But I've got to be optimistic that they'll bring on someone who, rather than replacing Steve Carell in order to keep the show chugging along as it has been, instead brings new life to the show. I like the idea of thinking of season eight as somewhat of a reboot of the series. If the trends of this season continue, the main characters in the show will almost all be completely different than they were in the first season.

What do you think? Who's going to replace Michael Scott, who do you want to replace him, and just what kind of show will The Office be next season? Let's talk about it, friends.

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  • http://monkeyshorts.tumblr.com adrian

    First of all, I stand and applaud Mr. Adam Frucci on putting my exact thoughts into words. And second, there has to be some way NBC could somehow cross shows over and bring Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec over to D. Mifflizzle. Her character almost mirrors Michael Scott's but only in the type of gullible person who just finds themselves in awkward positions, while just trying to be well liked. I mean this would even give the show new ideas for story arcs and such considering how her being almost an extreme feminist would maybe help bring out some of the secondary characters more into the main picture. It could even give Pam more empowerment like we wanted to see around season 3 & 4. I mean I'd love to see Will Forte's idea of a character for the show whether he would mimic the character Michael was or just a completely new one that could change around the overall feeling in the office between the coworkers. OR! Maybe bring in Chris Parnell out of left field and pretty much let him use his almost flawless genius we don't see enough of as Dr. Leo Spaceman, maybe even let him be free to do whatever he wants to bring in some new type humor we don't usually see on The Office. That is all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Serg-Vargas/47400782 Serg Vargas

      How about an episode where you dont fail Spanish class?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Scott/571282305 Christopher Scott

    In all honestly I would love to see a season of Creed in charge.

    • http://splitsider.com Adam Frucci

      I think that would be amazing for one episode, but I think a whole season of it would run his relatively thin character into the ground. I do love that Creed though.

  • jf3ig

    I love the Rhys Darby idea. That guy would be great.

  • http://greathouseofhumor.blogspot.com Greathouse of Humor

    All right, Frucci, I'll bite. I'm on the Will Arnett bandwagon; his comedic tendencies fit the show. Perfectly. It wouldn't matter who you brought in- if Gervais came on as David Brent and was the boss, even he would be different from the Michael Scott character. Mainly because he would talk differently. I don't know if that's what you were trying to say about the new boss, but that's what I'm saying you said. Don't worry about someone being different. You don't want someone to come on and try to be the "new" Michael Scott. Get someone who fits the show and can own a character (Arnett).

    Creed's brilliance is in random bits and cut-aways, too much of him would ruin the mystique. Gotta love Creed though. Now if you don't mind, I have to go snack on some nutritious mung bean sprouts.

  • JoshUng

    Well, the Office has done well in bringing in new characters to the show. Andy/Gabe/Erin weren't in the first season, and they get quite a bit of screentime lately, without any of the original characters being part of that storyline (like Holly gets a lot of screen time because of her relationship with Michael). But then again, they never had to replace the heart of the show before.

    No matter how well done, I think the Office will take a hit, as some people watch it because of Steve Carell, or will assume the "transition" didn't go well without watching it, because, well, it rarely ever does.

    I don't know how well it will go, but I feel the Office is the one sitcom out there today that could do it well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Pasbani/672085643 Robert Pasbani

    Arnett makes perfect sense. Bring him in pronto! COME ON

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Kurp/46301792 Josh Kurp

    Every time I think I have an answer, I think twice about it. For instance, Ed Helms' seemed like the right guy because he's the cast member most likely to leave for a film career–but then Adam posted that interview earlier today. Then I thought Craig Robinson, but he's too levelheaded to be the "Michael Scott/David Brent character," assuming that's the direction they're going (and Rhys Darby is TOO similar). Wouldn't want it to be Danny McBride, either, because he should focus on Eastbound & Down and getting more film gigs. AND it won't be a woman because Parks & Rec already has Amy Poehler in charge.

    Who's left? Um, Will Arnett, I guess (although what does that mean for the Arrested Development movie???). I'd actually like to see Jason Alexander in the role, but that's never going to happen. I think he's burned out on Thursday night NBC comedies.

    • Megh Wright
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Darin-Bulai/100001269810793 Darin Bulai

    i have to agree with the person that brought up will forte… that would have serious potential pathos and plain old laugh-out-loud funny…

  • Some Guy

    Let's see, who will become the new boss of a group of wacky misfits on a TV show entering it's eighth season…?
    *Smug stare into camera*
    Does anyone really care? How much longer could this show go on? Two seasons? It jumped the shark two years ago and is now a parade of misshapen cartoon characters.

  • Kim L

    I think it would be a shame if The Office went off the air before Dwight and Ron Swanson ever had the chance to interact. Other than that, though, I don't really care what happens. The Office just doesn't do it for me anymore.

  • http://philm.tumblr.com philm

    Creed for one episode as the boss. That idea just got me so excited. You know, I always thought about Mike Myers taking a swing at TV again, but I don't know. Dude's been so off when it comes to comedy lately. It's a whole new world since he was really on-point with SNL.

  • http://adriangires.com itsadrian

    Jessica Walter.

    Nobody else needs to be considered.

  • westie1984

    Kristen Wiig. Make her a douchette otherwise it'd be too similar to Parks&Rec and 30 Rock.