“Oh, this is going to feel so good, getting this off my chest … that’s what she said.”
Almost a decade has gone since Steve Carell shouted those churlish last words and went away from the small-screen position which made him a family name, hard as it might be to think. Michael Scott’s role was that of the charming-slash-infuriatingly tone-deaf man kid who served as Scranton’s Regional Manager, the Dunder Mifflin branch of Pennsylvania. The show was, of course, the groundbreaking mockumentary comedy.
The Office by NBC inspired by Ricky Gervais ‘ beloved British series of the same name. Though Carell spent seven mostly brilliant seasons on The Office. He shocked both fans and critics alike when he announced that after so many years — and 138 groaningly hilarious episodes. Of living inside the often cringe-inducing world of the wannabe “World’s Best Boss,” he was ready to move on from both the character and the series.
Carell offered his Dunder Mifflin family a fond, tear-filled adieux. One of the finest episodes of the series with a hearty final “that’s what she said,” and like Scott himself, the actor set out for proverbial greener pastures. While Carell would take over the position in a memorable cameo just a few years later for the Office’s own series finale, it’s lastly becoming apparent precisely why the actor chose to walk away from a show and personality that is now ranked among the best-loved in television history.
So why did Carell get out of the office? Like so many television breakouts before him, Carell decided to leave behind the tiny screen in great-screen glory hopes.
Carell’s big screen credits took a few late hits — with the soapy, dramatic Beautiful Boy that some people loved and others loved, and the unmitigated disaster that was Welcome To Marwen — but he still managed to carve out an impressive slate of comedy (Date Night, Crazy, Stupid, Love) and dramatic projects (The Big Short, Battle of the Sexes) since making the leap to movies. All the while, with the Despicable Me film series, he’s boasting a blockbuster animated franchise, lending his voice to the hilarious villain-turned-hero GruI If you’ve been monitoring the unlikely rise of Carell to bonafide film stardom in the years since he left The Office, you already understand it’s difficult to argue with the actor’s decision to concentrate on films. Hell, Carell even claimed an Oscar nomination for his wildly unsettling turn as John du Pont in 2014’s Foxcatcher.
It’s hardly surprising that Carell would find such career success on both big and small screens.The actor did not formally break into the mainstream when The Office hit the airwaves in 2005, but he had for years been plugging away in Hollywood with supporting and creative positions on TV fare such as The Dana Carvey Show and The Daily Show by Jon Stewart. As for Carell’s big-screen turns. He’d already stolen scenes from the likes of Jim Carrey (in Bruce Almighty) and Will Ferrell (in Anchorman). Before claiming the role of Michael Scott in 2005. A year that also happened to see Carell’s film breakout in Judd Apatow’s landmark comedy
The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Though he continued to book movies while appearing on The Office. The time restraints that come with episodic television eventually became too much, and Carell chose the path of a movie star.
It was indeed a sad goodbye for Carell. Even the staunchest fans of The Office would likely tell you Michael Scott’s presence on the show was more than wearing thin as time went on. By season 7, the character’s antics felt increasingly fueled by boorish idiocy rather than a near-childlike lack of self-awareness. That reality on an insightful actor like Carell was probably not lost.
Nevertheless, as many positions he has played in the years since he left The Office behind, Carell’s job as Michael Scott is now undeniably of the iconic kind. So much so that fans and reporters alike continue to hound. Carell about his time on the series and the possibility of returning to The Office for a possible reunion show. Of his seven seasons playing Michael Scott.
Carell appears to have nothing but fond memories, noting in a recent interview with Collider, “I love the show. It was the most exciting time, and all of those people are my friends. Before individuals believed it was a unique thing, it was a unique thing.”
Sadly, those fond memories are clearly not enough to make Carell want to appear on any sort of reunion show. An enticing prospect that the actor continues to shoot down at every turn, albeit with loving insight. “I don’t think we can recapture that same magic … I just wouldn’t want to make the mistake of making a less good version of it,” he told Collider.
As revivals and reunions continue to rage via networks and streaming platforms. We’ve all seemingly been subject to “less good versions” of once-great shows in recent years, so maybe Carell is on to something there. The excellent news is that for years and years to come we will be able to revisit the Dunder Mifflin gang, with The Office continuing to rack up the streams and supporters wherever it passes — well, at least “that’s what she said.”