While there have been rumblings for a while now about NBC rebooting beloved comedy “The Office,” nothing concrete has come from those rumors. And according to former star Steve Carell, that’s probably for the best.
In a wide-ranging interview with Esquire, Carell discussed some of his most famous roles, including that of dim-witted Dunder Mifflin boss Michael Scott. While the actor said that he and the show’s producers worked hard to make Michael have a heart behind some of his more boneheaded behavior, Carell doesn’t think that that kind of comedy would really connect with today’s audiences. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
” … [I]t might be impossible to do that show today and have people accept it the way it was accepted ten years ago,” the actor explained.
“The climate’s different. I mean, the whole idea of that character, Michael Scott, so much of it was predicated on inappropriate behavior. I mean, he’s certainly not a model boss. A lot of what is depicted on that show is completely wrong-minded. That’s the point, you know? But I just don’t know how that would fly now. There’s a very high awareness of offensive things today—which is good, for sure. But at the same time, when you take a character like that too literally, it doesn’t really work.”
Carell certainly has a point about Michael’s behavior not aging well. Even when viewed through a comedic lens, it’s still a bit shocking to watch some earlier episodes, in which Pam’s body is mentioned far more than you probably remember, or anti-LGBT terms are tossed around with abandon. They’re obviously jokes meant to make the person uttering them look bad, but they’re still unsettling, and that reaction is exactly what Carell says may not make the humor translate today.
Of course, the show is still wildly popular on Netflix — especially with younger viewers, who are just now discovering “The Office” for the first time — and that suggests that audiences can discern for themselves what’s truly offensive or not. And Carell aside, many original cast members — including both Jim and Pam, a.k.a. John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer — have said that they’d happily reprise their roles again, should NBC’s reboot ever get off the ground.
We don’t know if that will ever happen, but we have a feeling that fans will eagerly tune in if it does.
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