While everyone was getting their Union Jack panties in a bunch over the pending Royal Nuptials, I had Milk Duds and Diet Pepsi (they calorically cancel each other out) at hand for the final appearance of the bumbling "Michael Scott" on The Office.
For those of you who live in caves and/or don't appreciate great writing and the power of hilarious ensemble comedy, The Office is an NBC sitcom based on a similar BBC series created by acerbic comedian Ricky Gervais (remember how he tore up the Golden Globes???) and Stephen Merchant. Now in its seventh season, The Office is a "mockumentary" that follows the employees and business dealings of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company branch in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
To simulate the look and feel of an actual documentary, The Office is filmed utilizing a single-camera set-up as well as harsher lighting, intricate editing, and even technical difficulties. The show does not employ a studio audience or laugh track. From the very first episode which aired March 24, 2005, employees of the paper-pushing company have been equipped with lavalier microphones and battery packs and been tirelessly pursued by a mostly-unseen film crew to capture every detail of their office interactions. Some employees take their role in the production more seriously than others. But no one at Dunder Mifflin sees his "acting duties" as more sacrosanct than "Michael Scott," regional manager of the Scranton branch for the past 19 years.
Michael is a buffoon on the highest order. He spends each work day playing practical jokes and attempting to befriend his subordinates while shying away from all major decisions. He constantly interjects his personal dilemmas into the day-to-day office routine (i.e. burning his foot on his George Foreman grill), yet he remains lovable as he offends employees and clients with equal vigor. Michael butchers the English language on a daily basis and inflicts great anguish on his co-workers via practical jokes, tasteless e-mails, and a stream of his famous "That's What She Said" asides. In today's economy, the employees of Dunder Mifflin are scrambling to sell paper and make ends meet, which isn't easy with Michael calling "emergency meetings" all the time in the conference room only to discuss the most trivial matters. As a manager, Dunder Mifflin employees look to Michael for guidance but usually end up incensed by his time-consuming antics which often involve his fondness of using costumes and fictional personas (i.e. "Prison Mike") to share his overblown business acumen. Michael Scott has dedicated his life to bringing fun into the workplace ... efficiency and productivity seldom make his list of concerns.
Some of Michael's most memorable exploits include hiss poor supervision of power-hungry salesman Dwight Schrute; his poorly-timed intrusions into the romance between sales associate Jim Halpert and receptionist Pam Beesly; his outing of homosexual accountant Oscar Martinez; his heart attack-inducing annoyance of salesman Stanley Hudson; his over-the-top macho posturing with outside sales specialist Todd Packer; his outlandish racial remarks to American-Indian customer service representative Kelly Kapoor; his overt and unreciprocated "bromance" with office temp Ryan Howard; his vehicular assault on alcoholic supply relations rep Meredith Palmer; and his unrelenting taunting and hatred of human resources specialist Toby Flenderson.
Michael is also a failure at love, and when his relationships go south the entire staff pay the price in his odd behavior and the ensuing emotional turmoil. For example, Michael drove his real estate agent Carol Stills away in a panic when he publicly proposed to her after only dating for a few short weeks. Then there was the time that Michael fell in love with a picture of a model in an office furniture catalog, only to become despondent when he discovered that the model had died in a bizarre accident. Michael broke a few corporate rules with his incredibly destructive, borderline S&M affair with his supervisor Jan Levenson-Gould. And he broke a few ethical rules when he embarked on disastrous relationships with Helene Beesly (Pam's mother) and Donna, a married woman who managed a bar frequented by Dunder Mifflin personnel.
Michael's most serious battle with cupid was when he fell hard for H.R. professional Holly Flax, but a long-distance transfer seemed to doom their deep romance. But over time and a few awkward meetings, Michael and Holly were reunited and Michael elected to leave Dunder Mifflin to begin a new life with Holly in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado.
The character of "Michael Scott" is portrayed by American comedic actor Steve Carell. Hailing from the Concord, Massachusetts area, Carell earned a degree in history from Denison University in Ohio (only about 35 minutes from where I'm sitting writing this post) with aspirations of becoming a radio broadcaster or even attending law school. After college, Carell wandered through a number of careers including a short stint as a postal carrier. Eventually bitten by the "performance bug," he embarked on the usual odd jobs of a struggling actor including work in TV and radio commercials, a member of a touring children's theatre company, and comedy training with the notorious "Second City" troupe in Chicago. Carell's big break came in 1996 when he became a cast member of "The Dana Carvey Show," a prime-time sketch comedy vehicle on ABC. From this, Carell progressed into reoccurring sitcom work and a prominent roll on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" from 1999 to 2005.
While Steve Carell will always be known to millions of fans as "Michael Scott," millions more acknowledge him as an accomplished motion picture star with such hits as "Curly Sue" (1991), "Bruce Almighty" (2003), "Anchorman" (2004), "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" (2005), "Bewitched" (2005), "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006), "Evan Almighty" (2007), "Get Smart" (2008), "Date Night" (2010), "Dinner for Schmucks" (2010), and the upcoming "Crazy, Stupid, Love." Carell has also showcased his unique voice talents in blockbuster animated films like "Over the Hedge" (2006), "Horton Hears a Who!" (2008), and "Despicable Me" (21010).
But it isn't only his fans that applaud the work of Steve Carell ... numerous critics and entertainment organizations have bestowed him with professional honors including a Golden Globe for "Best Actor in a Television Comedy Series;" five Emmy nominations for his work on "The Office;" a Television Critics Association award for "Individual Achievement in Comedy;" a Writers Guild of America award for an episode of "The Office" which he penned; and MTV Movie Award; and an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Likewise, in part due to Carell's talents, "The Office" has garnered critical acclaim in the form of an Emmy for "Outstanding Comedy Series;" a Screen Actors Guild award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series;" various honors for writing, editing, and direction; and even awards for "Best Television Website" and the spinoff "Webisodes" which aired on the Internet between several of the regular television seasons.
So as of March 28, 2011, Steve Carell and "Michael Scott" have left the Dunder Mifflin building ... so what happens now??! Well, in my opinion, the executives at NBC have been handling the departure beautifully. "The Office" has been picked up for an eighth season and the show has been building tension between possible internal candidates for the regional manager position and outside hires. In a recent story arc, Will Ferrell of film and SNL fame has joined the cast as a possibly-permanent supervisor named Deangelo Vickers. And media spots are leading viewers to believe that other television and film actors are being considered for the cast void including Will Arnett, James Spader, Ray Romano, Ricky Gervais, and even film megastar and funnyman Jim Carrey. NBC is keeping this announcement top secret and fans are loving it!! Only time will tell.
POINT OF RANT: No one ... NO ONE ... will ever fill the business wingtips of "Michael Scott." And That's What I Said!!