The Office: Ranking the Regional Manager Candidates

At times, last night’s Office season finale—which set about finding a replacement for the sorely missed Michael Scott—started to feel as drawn-out and uncomfortable as some actual job interviews I’ve been subjected to. Which isn’t to say it was a disaster! It just didn’t have the narrative oomph of the show's past season finales. But watching The Office's amazing group of comedic actors riff off of each other is mostly a joy, their amazingly honed chemistry often elevating the proceedings to a kind of free-form comedic jazz.

As for the cavalcade of celebrity guest stars, I actually enjoyed quite a few them—particularly James Spader’s mildly sociopathic (but highly effective) Robert California. Whoever wrote that guy’s dialogue deserves a shiny gold star, and Spader, twisted genius that he is, hit it out of the ballpark. This was the kind of specificity missing from Deangelo Vickers. Bonus points to the trio of search committee members—Jim, Gabe, and Toby—whose reaction shots were equally priceless, as well as Dwight, who mounted a cafe standoff that counts among the highlights of the season.

Now, let’s quickly run down the job candidates:

Creed Bratton
Pros: Enjoys communicating with clients.
Cons: Unaware all his clients are Pam.




Dwight Schrute
Pros: Feels passionately about paper.
Cons: Describes his managerial style as "fascist geek."




Robert California
Pros: Can sell you anything with his evil mind rays.
Cons: Might leave behind a trail of bodies.




Nellie Bertram
Pros: Willing to work with your needs.
Cons: Wants to hire a Thai masseuse.




Jacques Souvenir
Pros: Nearly gave his life for paper.
Cons: Might not be who he says he is.




Merv Bronte
Pros: Loves the folks at Dunder-Mifflin.
Cons: Requires a workplace-distancing fee.




Fred Henry
Pros: Has a three-part plan.
Cons: Doesn’t really have a three-part plan.




Kelly Kapoor
Pros: Knows good jewelry.
Cons: Not above sleeping her way into the corporate office.




Finger Lakes Guy
Pros: Likes the outdoors.
Cons: Creepy.




Warren Buffet
Pros: Good with money.
Cons: Why the f**k is Warren Buffett on The Office? Did he buy a cameo?




David Brent
Pros: Has done the same job overseas.
Cons: Takes jobs, then disses the people who hire him on the internet.




Darryl Philbin
Pro: Most competent guy in the office. And...blaaaaaack.
Cons: Tried to use his own child to guilt his way into the job. Can't write a resume without the help of Microsoft Word's cartoon paperclip, Clippy.


Andy Bernard
Pro: He’s a Bernard: born to at least try, then fail.
Con: Will likely instate Showtune Fridays.




Sock Puppet
Pro: Upbeat.
Con: Is a sock.







Well, as much as we’d all love to see Erin’s sock puppet become the Dunder-Mifflin manager, I think we can pretty much rule her out. So who does have a shot? As Rainn Wilson told us last week, not even the writers know who’s going to get the job, so it’s anybody’s game!

Round One: The Familiars
Of the the internal possibilities, Dwight, Darryl and Andy are the frontrunners. We shouldn’t rule out Jim entirely, but the last time he was manager, we learned that putting a competent person being that desk doesn’t exactly produce comedy gold. Based on last night’s episode, I’d give it to Dwight. Darryl and Andy just didn’t produce as many self-generated laughs. Think about it: Who would you like to see every character interacting with the most? The focal point of the series? (Okay, fine, Creed. But he’s too weird to take center stage.)

Round Two: The Unfamiliars
Of the external candidates, the two I would love to see become regulars were Catherine Tate’s Nellie (a brilliant British comedienne as big over there as Ricky Gervais is, and a rumored network favorite) and Spader’s Robert. Nellie was a little all over the place last night—though I loved how quickly she turned on a dime, offering MORE cubicles and meaningless titles when her suggestion of doing the opposite wasn’t winning her the job. Robert was, as I already mentioned, a comedic tour-de-force—but perhaps only in small doses?

Round Three: The Finals
Nellie vs. Dwight! I’m torn. If you’ve ever seen The Catherine Tate Show, you know what a hysterical and well-observed performer she is. Yet Dwight has earned it. He’s consistently, to me at least, the most fascinating and watchable character on the show.


Additional thoughts on the episode:

... What do you think about Gabe’s departure? (I’m really bummed about it. I really liked Gabe, but I know he wasn’t popular with many of you.)

... There were some fantastic lines last night. Which one made you laugh hardest? My favorite came from Dwight: "Bread is the paper of the food world. You write your sandwich on it."

... Were you relieved or disappointed to learn Erin and Phyllis aren’t related?

Comments (44)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
I didnt like Catherine Tate’s Nellie at all, it seemed like an SNL character by Kristen Wig, she even looks a bit like Kristen, character looked as volatile as creed.
The Job interview was taken, after all, in a serious way, so there is no chance they could consider Catherine, Raymond or Dwight.
I still see chances for Darryl (maybe taking a managing course) or Andy getting erin (and some self confidence with that)
Reply
Flag
catherine tate was amazing! hire her instantly! for anything over here.
Reply
Flag
@EliasDevs26 Community did have a cliffhanger.

I enjoyed the show and I think they are getting exactly what they want, people talking about the new manager all summer. I loved James Spader's character the best.
Reply
Flag
extra
Reply
Flag
Also, Carrey is totally the Scranton Strangler.
Reply
Flag
David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent, David Brent,
Reply
Flag
The reason I think it may be Andy is because the last couple episodes seemed to be trying to paint him in a more competent light (as well as developing his quirks more). He was seen saving that sale from Will Ferrell (ie. he is a competent salesman), he refused Erin (he's matured) and they went very extreme this episode with a lot of self-depreciating jokes and feelings of inadequacy (trying to develop more pronounced quirks for the job)
Reply
Flag
Who I THINK it will be (not necessarily the same as who I want)

Jim Carrey
Catherine Tate
Andy

Another possibility is Pam. I realize it is not very realistic (she has no qualifications) but the Office has been known to do that sort of thing (how is she still a salesman?) They showed her being really competent and caring about the company (ie. protecting it from Creed) I dunno, just an idea.

I feel like Jim Carrey is the most likely. His career has gone a little off the deep end and he hasn't done much in a while. It seems like something he would do to get back on track. Plus they kept talking about him but only gave him a couple of seconds at the end. We didn't really get an idea of what his character is like, so it's open for the writers to take the summer and write him some weird quirks. Plus, it's the most realistic because he was the least crazy of the interviewees.

I was really sad about Gabe leaving. I grew to like his craziness.
Reply
Flag
Stephen Merchant I think could do a great job as a new boss plus he has an in with Gervais.
Reply
Flag
Im pretty sure more people know "Nellie" from Doctor Who. She was good on Doctor Who and would be a horrible choice for The Office.
Reply
Flag
@Bengle288 & @CjTl2005: "SHUT UP ABOUT THE SUN!" was hilarious, couldn't agree more. (Jim's surprised face looking at Gabe was just as funny).

Several funny lines. "I'm blaaack..." The one about a well hung boss and "would a small penis do?" also cracked me up.
Reply
Flag
Leaving aside the fact that guys like Carrey, Romano, Arnett, and Gervais seem busy with other shows or movies, and that Buffett is an 80 year old billionaire who's never acted... logically, the next manager would be in-house. All the cameo candidates were just too stupid or boring -- none of them had a decent interview, and the only guy that seems normal or even fairly competent was Merv, and I think he was too boring (I like Romano and the character suited him, but the character just seems too boring). The in-house guys all have weaknesses too, but each have something going for them: Dwight showcased his (stupid) love and passion for the job -- plus, the company was actually very efficient during his brief stint as manager; Andy is smart (kind of) and would've seemingly had a great interview had Gabe not tried to sabotage him; everyone seems to like Darryl, including Jo -- he's not weird enough to really get under anyone's skin; and Jim, although not a direct candidate, is certainly the most qualified. Plus, Jim asserting himself as a managerial candidate to Jo would go well with Ryan's advice that Jim stop with the "Jim shtick" (referring to his whole "I don't care" persona).
More+
Reply
Flag
Catherine Tate was horrible not funny even a little bit, I loved Spader he was hilarious. I think Jim would be a great choice based on competency but Dwight would be the most hilarious.
Reply
Flag
I didn't like Nellie. Dwight is such an awesome character, but I just don't see him as manager. I mean it was fine for an episode or two. His rules would get old soon, especially for a whole season. To me, I like David Brent (Ricky Gervais) and Ray Romano's character for the manager. Jim Carrey's funny, but his character would be a little to creepy as manager. Darryl's fine, but he's only good in small doses. I'm fine with Gabe leaving. I think hiring somebody not already on the show would be a lot better.
Reply
Flag
i am so happy to hear that catherine tate has a REAL chance at. catherine tate is a goddess. from doctor who to the catherine tate show and her current shakespear works with the great david tennant go to show what a treasure she is for the show. i'm amazed they had the good idea to use her considering her low popularity ratings over here in the states. no one knows about her.. she's proven herself to be a brilliant comedian, and yet is a fresh face. she's the right choice!
Reply
Flag
Additional thoughts: 1.) Glad Gabe is gone, too many people (new administrative assistant, as well as Pam) who do no important work for Dunder Mifflin. 2.) Lines weren't that good, very unfunny episode, but Dwight's line about bread was solid. 3.) Erin and Phyllis being related would be too much. The show used to be realistic, but something like that is too improbable. As it is, everyone in the office is having relationships with everyone else.
Reply
Flag
Worst episode of the show except the clip show... This really marks the point in the series where everyone turns into a caricature. Think back to prior years. People in Scranton were goofy, but it was inclusive to them. Other business types (Jan at first, Josh, Charles, David, Alan, etc.) were all realistic, competent human characters. Every single manager to interview here, though, was a caricature. A joke. Darryl and Andy are the only ones that strike me as real people and the only chance to recapture the charm of the second and third seasons. To be fair, though he was terrible, Merv was somewhat realistic.
Reply
Flag
When Gabe said "SHUT UP ABOUT THE SUN!" I laughed harder than I ever have at anything since John Cleese's Hitler walk from Fawlty Towers. I had to pause the DVR and collect myself again.
Reply
Flag
Spader!Spader!Spader!
Reply
Flag
Creed as manager in the Cold Open was the FUNNIEST in a long while! I would love for him to stay boss! He didn't get a chance to shine all season, but damn if he didn't nail it then! And I was really hoping for some Scranton Strangler story :c
Reply
Flag
Dream choice would be Jim Carrey, but I doubt a actor like him would take on a series. Otherwise, Will Arnett. He mad an amazing (and funny) performance in Arrested Development and is a sure bet. The others weren't that funny. Ok Spader was funny, but he would grow boring fast if he became manager,
Reply
Flag
The Office completely ruined Jim Carrey's cameo. WTF were they thinking? You get Jim Carry on your show and you give him a handful of lines and two seconds of airtime at the every end of the show.
Reply
Flag
I felt a little "blah" about the finale, mainly because I didn't think most of it was actually funny. Sure, it made for some interesting cameos and it pushed the intrigue of who the next manager will be, but this is still a comedy, and I didn't find myself laughing. As for who the manager will be... if I'm asking who would actually be best at managing? I'd say Jim, although he wasn't an "actual" candidate. If I'm asking who would be funniest in the role? Maybe Dwight. The problem with all the cameo candidates is that they were all basically stupid -- none of them made any sense in their interviews. I really can't picture Jim talking with Jo and recommending any of them. What I can picture? Jim telling Jo that he really wants the job and that he'd be better at it than any of the other candidates. But Jo's a bit of a wildcard -- I can picture her telling Jim no and just going with whoever she felt like, maybe her good friend Nellie...
Reply
Flag
Robert California was my personal favourite! James Spader is brilliant. Goodbye Gabe, won't miss you much.
Reply
Flag
I loved Darryls whole storyline this episode. I'm black and I could definitely relate especially when he asked Jim how the other black candidate did, completely relevant. needing clippy to write his resume was gold! loved it! a con for me is that I wish the Erin Andy storyline was resolved. And lastly any thoughts on the new secretary Jordan?
Reply
Flag
We want Finger Lakes Guy! We want Finger Lakes Guy! Failing that Spader. Although I wouldn't be opposed to letting Creed keep the job. I was so excited when he got the interim post, and was subsequently upset when I realized he'd only be boss for one episode.
Reply
Flag
Loved the finale, and liked that the job is still up for grabs. The whole summer will be spent pondering who the next regional manager is. It should be very entertaining. Every guest star, yes including Catherine Tate, was used well to me. The funniest however was James Spader.
Reply
Flag
Best line of the night: "Shut up about the sun....SHUT UP ABOUT THE SUN!"
Reply
Flag
Give Ryan the job. It will be totally out of the blue like when he got Jan's job.
Reply
Flag
The episode bummed me out and reminded me that a good show, in its peak, doesn't need to have a cliffhanger if it isn't part of the shtick. Lost had it because that was the point. Take a show like Community that doesn't need it because of its awesomeness...The Office had a chance to be that last night. So pointless to leave the audience hanging. I'm close to leaving this show behind.
Reply
Flag
I liked James Spader a lot in this episode. His scene with Dwight in the lobby was hilarious. I fear the writers wouldn't want him though because his character would be such a pain to write.

Aside from him, I'd like it to be Gervais. I always felt that Steve Carell wasn't as funny as him. Unfortunately, his appearances on the US Office haven't been all that funny, so the average viewer may not respond to him the same way a fan of the UK version would.
Reply
Flag
NONE of these people should be manager, not even the candidates from the cast. Jim's the only one capable, and maybe Darryl. i've said it many times, but Rhys Darby should be the new manager. or Donna Noble :-p *doctor who style geek out*
Reply
Flag
Wow, I just thought of the perfect replacement Manager for this show. What about Rajiv Gidwani from Outsourced? The actor is free now, and the Office isn't above crossovers like with the recent David Brent episodes.

This would be absolutely perfect. If the writers don't even know themselves maybe it wouldn't be too late to get a movement going behind this.

Anyone else feel the same way?
Reply
Flag
I hope Will Arnett gets it, but I heard he has his own show coming out so...
Reply
Flag
Give Creed the job!!! I havent laughed at an Office episode that much all season. Him making up acroymns was hilarious. Or Jim Carrey as the Fingerlakes guy. The show wouldnt be taken seriously, but who cares? Its about being entertaining.
Reply
Flag
I was disappointed to see Gabe go too, hopefully they'll work him back in somehow, and I was really hoping that he'd turn into the Scranton Strangler.
Reply
Flag
I was thinking it will end up being Pam. Jo will find out Pam was pretty much running the office when Creed was in charge anyways and give her a shot.
Reply
Flag
I thought this was one of the absolute WORST episodes of the show. It was excruciatingly boring, the candidates were awful. This TV.com article made me laugh way more than the damn episode did. Oh, and am I the only one who was SUPER irritated with the James Spader character? If he gets the job, I won't watch this show anymore. There's no likability to the guy. You may think I'm pleading for someone exactly like Steve Carrell. I'm not, just someone who has a redeeming quality about him/her. Dwight would be perfect, although the safe choice. Gun to my head, Will Arnett would be the best outside hire. He thinks he applied at Vance Refrigeration! COME ON!! :)
Reply
Flag
Catherine Tate was pretty good but I don't think she's familiar enough in the US to actually carry the show and maintain the ratings they pull. If I had to choose I'd go with either James Spader or more Creed.
Reply
Flag
Great finale, shows it can go on without Carell who I didn't care for to begin with. It's obvious they didn't know who it was going to be so they went to a "we'll get back to you." kind of finale. Just like in a real interview.
Reply
Flag
Glad Gabe is gone. I'd like it if James Spader got it, man that guy is such a good actor. Although he might not bring the laughs like Will Arnett or Creed. So I'd go for either Will Arnett or Ricky Gervais. Creed is obviously on his way out, but he sure deserves more screen time. I thought Arnett was the funniest out of the bunch.
Reply
Flag
Its obviously Tate, unless she's a red herring. Just do a simple "which of these is not like the others". Jim Carey is a possibility since his character was mentioned a lot but wasnt shown until the final seconds, but that may just be false hope...
Reply
Flag
Catherine Tate, absolutely.
Reply
Flag
AWFUL finale. I almost fell asleep. There were no jokes and I didn't like ANY of the candidates. THis show should call it quits.
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook

  • 9:00 pm
    What Would You Do?
    NEW
    ABC
  • 10:00 pm
    Dateline NBC
    NEW
    NBC
  •  
    20/20
    NEW
    ABC