Put The Office Out of Its Misery Already!

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As you may have heard, Steve Carell is leaving The Office at the end of next season. Why? Get this—he wants to spend more time with his family! What nerve!

I’m kidding, of course. In fact, I’m beyond relieved. Carell’s run has been brilliant, but he was right when he said it’s time to move on. Michael Scott is one of those characters who, bless his fictional heart, will never grow up. He was fun to watch for awhile, but we probably didn’t need six (let alone seven) seasons to figure out that he wasn’t going to change. Hopefully Carell willl get as much family face-time as he needs—and throw us a bone every now and then with a summer blockbuster.

But what irks me about this whole situation is how so many people—including Carell himself and Office star and writer Mindy Kaling—want to believe that the show can and should go on without him. Kaling said a few years ago that she wanted Amy Poehler to replace Carell once he left, which obviously isn’t possible now because she’s got the Parks and Recreation gig. Kaling has since been very open to the challenge of writing for another “boss” character. I don’t deny that she or the rest of the writing staff would be good at it. They’re all very talented people. But I was kind of hoping that Carell’s exit would also be the end of the show. Most fans (myself included) would agree that The Office has seen better days. I’ll watch it until the end, because I have to know what happens to the scrappy Scranton lot, but I’m probably not going to enjoy it that much. The banter between Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Jim (John Krasinski) isn’t as biting. Kelly (Kaling) and Ryan’s (B.J. Novak) relationship isn’t as petty. Meredith’s (Kate Flannery) drunken antics aren’t as shocking. The show just stopped being really funny, and the others in NBC’s Thursday night lineup started generating more laughs. (Parks and Rec, I’m lookin’ at you!)

NBC (and all Office fans) should really learn a lesson from the Jason Segel School of Thought and stop kidding themselves. Segel recently announced that he wouldn't be renewing his How I Met Your Mother contract after it's up in three years, basically because there wasn't much else for his character (or the show) to accomplish. He gets it. Shows die out. The Office began its decline somewhere in Season 5 and has been deteriorating ever since. And no replacement actor (save for Portia de Rossi, maybe) can revive it.

Follow TV.com writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom

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