59° Good Afternoon
59° Good Afternoon

'The Office': Steve Carell's exit

As exits go, the departure of Michael Scott -- who also goes by the name of Steve Carell -- was sweet, dignified and just a little bland. The best moment was (indisputably) the clip below, or maybe the moment Pam hugs him just before closing credits; but otherwise it was an uncharacteristic Michael we saw: Someone who had apparently taken his meds.

For 50 minutes, he was an adult, a steady hand. He almost seemed like an actual boss -- for the first time in seven seasons. (What exquisite timing, on his very last day.)  In some respects, this was an episode for real fans too: Dozens, or certainly many, little touches or references throughout to earlier episodes and incidents.

The first 20 minutes felt like a full episode, and in fact, it was by far the best part of this goodbye cake. But as so often happens with super-size episodes of "The Office" -- and pretty much with any NBC sitcom -- it got a little padded by 9:30, and after that, the mind (at least mine) started to wander (when will Kate and William get married? 4 a.m. seems awfully early for a wedding ... couldn't they wait for prime-time?)

Then, by 9:45, it all started to feel out-of-body, as if Michael had been kidnapped and replaced by a very clever lookalike who nonetheless couldn't quite capture the true essence of Michaelness. 

But quibbles, quibbles, quibbles. All relatively minor. The episode was not a great one, nor -- for that matter -- has this season been of the higher caliber. Now, NBC and everyone else has to wonder how anyone in the world will be able to replace one of TV's great comic characters ...




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