Steve Carell Called Leaving ‘The Office’ An “Emotional Torture”
There’s little doubt that Steve Carell’s Micheal Scott is one of the most iconic characters any sitcom ever made. He was the soul of the show and our perspective into Dunder Mifflin. And that is exactly what made his departure from the NBC original all the more sorrowful.
Michael Scott was at the center of everything at ‘The Office’. His jokes and humor often showed his vulnerability and loneliness. Even when he was being horrible to his subordinates, like being racist or sexist, there was some kind of ignorance or good intension at his heart. And Steve Carell deserves full credit for it.
Steve was majestic in portraying Michael and had great help from the well-written script. That’s why when Steve Carell and Michael Scott left ‘The Office’, no one could fill in his shoes. NBC tried to bring on James Spader and Catherine Tate, but it was never the same. But, leaving ‘The Office’ was just as hard, if not more, for Steve Carell himself.
Steve Carell recalls the “emotional torture” when he left ‘The Office’
In a recent episode of the An Oral History Of The Office podcast, Steve Carell talked about that heartwrenching moment. The host Brian Baumgartner discussed Michael Scott’s character arc and ending with Carell along with showrunner/writer Greg Daniels, and cast members Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, and more. They talked about how NBC couldn’t renew Carell’s contract due to different monetary reasons and a decline in ratings. But Carell believes that Michael Scott had run out of time on the show.
Steve Carell believed that Michael’s character arc was complete up to that point. And that is why he believes that even if NBC had offered him a new contract, there was no point in continuing. And his ending was heartbreaking because the character who was at the center of the show left ‘The Office’ without bringing it into anyone’s attention. Carell remembers that time as “emotional torture” on the podcast:
“It was … just fraught with emotion and joy and sadness and nostalgic…But it was also really beautiful.”
Moreover, Jenna Fischer recalls “sobbing” along with Carell as Pam said goodbye to Steve Carell’s Michael Scott at the airport. John Krasinski also talked about how difficult it was to shoot those scenes just because of their tears:
“17 takes of not even speaking, just … dribbling crying… (it was) the end of something more than even losing Steve or losing Michael. It felt like the end of our show in a way. It’s like when you graduate college, your life isn’t over. But that version of your life will never come back.”
Steve Carell may have left ‘The Office’, but the show could never outgrow him.