Where to from here?

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - DAR­REN DEV­LYN THE OF­FICE, Eleven, Tues­day, 8.30pm

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.’’

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