This may not be the last episode of The Office, but it really is the last episode. Looking back, after the show finally retires after next season, people will only remember Steve Carell’s departure as the defining last moment for the show. Carell hitting his stride a little later in life has made him more likeable, and probably a little smarter. He knows the time is right to leave the show. In fact, there has been a considerable drop off of viewers that think the show has gone on too long already. The last few episodes have big audiences because of his departure, but that will dissipate when the show officially ‘jumps the shark’ without Carell.
What The Office is doing with Michael Scott is what we all wish The Simpsons would have done, which is to say goodbye. Homer Simpson was at one point the funniest character ever created for sitcom television, and this includes Archie Bunker, George Jefferson, and Hawkeye Peirce. Homer Simpson was the entire show, until the show’s creators made him so unrealistically silly that The Simpsons’ smarter viewers left for funnier pastures like Family Guy, eventually making Seth MacFarlane a rich man.
Steve Carell may or may not become a success in comedy films, but he knows The Office is over…and soon so will the show’s producers. Carell avoided turning his Michael Scott into Homer Simpson, and that is what makes him the mature entertainer that he is. Those first six seasons of The Simpsons are still some of the cleverest television ever produced, but the last 14 years were invisible.
The Michael Scott’s character was getting a little hard to believe after the season when he refuses to move to New Hampshire with the love of his life, Holly Flax. It made no sense that he would not make the move, but the show still had a couple of years left with Carell and tonight is when he departs.
The Office was a great show, and I proudly take the unpopular stance and say that the American version was funnier than the British version. Thanks for the memories, Michael Scott…(that's what she said.)