Where to from here?
WHERE to from here for US sitcom The Office?
Inspired by the acclaimed UK show starring Ricky Gervais, the US version headed by Steve Carell is in the small minority of spin- offs to achieve success.
But there are concerns for its viability following Carell’s decision to quit the role of Dunder Mifflin regional manager Michael Scott.
Can Dwight Schrute ( Rainn Wilson), a man of many hats, fill the void? What about Andy Bernard ( played by The Hangover ’ s Ed Helms)?
Carell once said: ‘‘ I don’t think of myself as funny. I don’t fill up a room with my humour.’’
His former Office co- stars, however, beg to differ. In the lead- up to Carell filming his final episode, which screened last Tuesday, they spoke of the challenges they face.
John Krasinski, who plays Jim Halpert, says: ‘‘ We’re losing a friend. He’s meant so much to this show because he’s 100 per cent our leader and the focal point.
‘‘ Right now we are focused on the transition of Steve leaving. I speak to a lot of people and I think audiences feel in love with everybody [ in the cast]. That’s not going to change. It [ drama possibilities resulting from Carell’s exit] can be heightened, probably.’’
It is Wilson, perhaps, who has the most to offer. His character, Dwight, resonates because everybody seems to know a Dwight. There was one in Wilson’s high school and he was teased mercilessly.
Wilson says he had ‘‘ Battlestar Galactica glasses and a terrible haircut. He took himself seriously, loved military re- enactments and medieval swordplay. He eventually went into the army as a fencer and a coronet player’’.
On losing Carell, Wilson says: ‘‘ I feel like I’ve been in total denial about Steve leaving the show. It’s real, it’s sad and it’s heartbreaking. We’ll miss not only one of the great comic actors, but we are missing a great human and friend.’’
Will Ferrell, who has been making guest appearances, puts his spin on the situation: ‘‘ You think it would be a sad time but I think the feeling is we are finally getting rid of the dead weight. Every time we cut to him, the show drags, so finally it’s out with the old and in with the new. It’s exciting, it’s not a sad time at all.’’