If Steve Carell Leaves, Should NBC Kill 'The Office'?

TV critics tussle over the show's future

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Steve Carell says the next season of The Office will be his last and nothing can change his mind.  If that's the case, NBC execs have a big decision to make. If Dunder Mifflin loses its famed regional manager, should they axe the series?

While the temptation to "go out on top" is appealing, times are tough at NBC and The Office is its most successful half-hour comedy. TV critics debate the future of The Office:

  • Save the Series: The Office Will Still Be Great, says Steve Carell to E! News: "The show is great, and the ensemble is so strong, and the writers are great, so it's just one part of that ensemble drifting off. They've incorporated so many new characters and so many new, great storylines that I have no doubt it'll continue as strong if not stronger than ever."
  • Keep It: Carrell's Exit Will Save the Series, writes Alan Sepinwall at Hit Fix: "'The Office' might actually be better off without Carell at this point. He's a great comedian, and he made that show into a hit, but Michael Scott had become such a schizophrenic, all-things-to-all-writers character that he was getting in the way of the comedy at least as much as he was enabling it. The writers created many different flavors of Michael, and while everyone has their favorite, and some people might even like multiple flavors, it's hard to imagine that everyone loved them all."
  • Kill It: The Office Kind of Sucked This Season Anyway, writes Julie Hammerle at Chicago Now: "I'm not exactly sure what it was about this season that so bored me (Jim and Pam in new job positions and acting smug and above it all around the office?  The manufactured sexual tension between Andy and Erin?  The utter clownishness of Michael?  The lack of Idris Elba hotness?), but I feel that the show is either past its prime or very close to passing it.  And when upstart comedies Parks and Recreation and Community are eliciting more laughs per half hour, then maybe it's time to cut your losses and move on."
  • End the Series, Here's How, writes Caroline Stanley at Flavor Wire: "We’ve considered the TV comedy past its expiration date for a few years now... We’ve got a few suggestions on how we think things should wrap up inspired by some other famous series endings that you might recognize."
- Michael reveals that most of the people from the series weren’t actually real, but characters that he dreamed up to help him deal with the boring life of a middle manager at a paper company.

- After losing control of the Scranton office to Jim, his Co-Regional Manager, Michael contemplates suicide. Darryl reveals to Michael what everyone’s lives would have been like if he’d never existed. The last scene shows Jim walking into Michael’s office, and we hear a gunshot off-screen.

- A light turns on, and David Brent wakes up alone in his bedroom. As it turns out, the entire series was just a recurring nightmare that he had about being an annoying middle-manager in America named Michael Scott.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.