The Office and Steve Carell have done quite a lot for each other. Carell helped The Office survive its critically panned opening season, thanks to his movie star-making turn in The 40-Year-Old-Virgin in 2005. Now that the show had an even bigger star at the center, it was allowed to work out its kinks and develop beyond the original British version. As such, the show became the anchor of NBC’s Thursday night comedy revival – but will finally lose its own anchor after tonight’s long-awaited farewell.
Warning: Spoilers follow
For months, everyone has known that Carell would leave the show after having juggled it and his movie career for seven seasons. As such, the current year has been one long goodbye, although there’s a lot left to settle after he goes.
The last few weeks have seen Michael Scott preparing to leave for Colorado with his new fiancée in tow while training his supposed replacement. However, Will Ferrell’s equally bumbling new manager isn’t destined to hold the job for long, as he will have to leave in next week’s first episode without Carell.
After that episode airs, the rest of the season will focus on choosing a permanent replacement for Michael and a permanent new lead for The Office. To that end, major stars like Jim Carrey, Ray Romano, Ricky Gervais, James Spader and many more have shot cameos for the season finale May 19. Yet for all the A-list guest appearances, a series regular like Ed Helms’ Andy, Craig Robinson’s Darryl, or Rainn Wilson’s Dwight could get an in-house promotion.
But while the show continues to keep the final results a secret – even as the major stars keep coming in – the creators still have to officially send Carell out first. After all these months, the last goodbye in tonight’s episode is an extended 53-minute long farewell, as Michael hopes for “a day without drama” to say an individual farewell to everyone. Yet since this is The Office and Michael Scott, drama and some final cringes are inevitable.
Carell still has a long career to focus on afterward, as his next film, Crazy Stupid Love with Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone, comes out in the summer. But as for The Office,there remains doubt on whether it can or should go on – or if the show is still good enough to earn that chance. Despite Michael’s moving proposal weeks ago, the first two episodes with Ferrell haven’t reassured everyone so far.
But tonight is about saying goodbye to Carell before Dunder Mifflin begins its new regime in full. The final leg of the farewell tour begins at 9 p.m. ET on NBC and will extend to sometime after 9:50.
Office Tally- “The Office: Goodbye, Michael, 7.22”
Entertainment Weekly- “Jim Carrey to guest star in The Office season finale”