At the end of season 7 it was a bit heartbreaking for a lot of fans of The Office when they had to endure the departure of Steve Carell, one of the guys that had basically kept the show together once it was presented to an American audience. A lot of people might have thought that it was simply time for him to move on, that he was trying to expand his career a little more and find new venues to travel that would grant him new opportunities. But apparently that was’t the case. In fact it sounds as though Carell wasn’t too keen on moving on since he happened to like his place on the show just as much as people liked seeing him there. It’s not too often that a person just up and leaves a show when they’re having a good time and feel secure in their position, but for one reason or another the higher-ups thought it was time to take Michael out of the equation and they did so. According to Herb Scribner of Deseret, this is what a sound mixer for the show by the name of Brian Wittle had to say:
“I sat with him one time and he told me the story. He was doing a radio interview and he haphazardly mentioned, almost unconsciously, that it might be his last season. He didn’t plan on saying it out loud and he hadn’t decided anything. He was kind of thinking out loud, but he did it in an interview in public and it created news. Then what he said was the people connected to the show had no reaction to it. They didn’t call and say, ‘What? You wanna leave?’ He said he didn’t get any kind of response from them. When he realized he didn’t get any kind of response from them, he thought, ‘Oh, maybe they don’t really care if I leave. Maybe I should go do other things.’ So I think that made it easier, because when the news broke that he was considering it, the people that are in charge of keeping him there didn’t make a big effort to do so until afterward.”
It sounds as though complications between Carell and NBC, though why said complications came around has largely to do with the network failing to offer to renew his contract. Will Richards of NME has more on this subject. Why they would do this is hard to say since there was no logical reason to let Carell go considering how successful the show was and how well-liked his character was. As Michael Scott he was one of the most interesting and respected figures on the show, largely because he was a very personable character and someone that wasn’t perfect but had many quirks that made him a much more well-rounded character than some. Getting rid of him didn’t make a lot of sense to a lot of people for a number of reasons, but it was also a move that many people couldn’t make heads or tails of when it happened. The natural progression for any sitcom of course is that it needs to continually be given new ideas to work with or watch as it begins to tank thanks to a lack of current and gripping story lines that might propel it forward. But The Office didn’t have this problem really, and Carell’s character had been growing right along with the rest of the cast.
That’s how things go when it comes to sitcoms unfortunately given that what the fans want is rarely what they get, and that stars are often put on notice as to how important they really are in any given situation. It’s very obvious that network execs make huge mistakes now and again when it comes to the shows and what is allowed to happen in regards to how they progress and how they change, but when a person looks at the bottom line as well as the long-term it’s hard to say just who is going to see potential and who is going to see cutting one of the most popular characters as the best move. Sometimes it’s a matter of trying to predict the best move based on the ratings and statistics and sometimes it’s a matter of giving in to what might appear to be a good idea but later on makes a giant mess of the same show that those in charge are trying to sustain. Would keeping Carell have kept the show on course or would it have continued to promote a downward spiral? Christopher Fiduccia of Screenrant has something else to say about this matter. It’s hard to say really but the fact that Carell was let go is still hard for a lot of people to bring up. With any sitcom, losing even one character that helped to build the show up is painful enough, but realizing that they weren’t ready to leave is kind of worse.