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Michael Scott is moving on…

Mary Claire O'Donnell | Thursday, April 28, 2011

It’s true. Love really does conquer all. It is taking Michael Scott (Steve Carell), Scranton regional manager of Dunder Mifflin, Inc. Paper Company, a Division of Sabre, and self-proclaimed “World’s Best Boss,” away from the employees he loves to Colorado. To his match made in twerp heaven.

Though unexpected, Holly Flax (Amy Ryan) completes Michael in ways no one expected. Michael’s childish — and at times annoying — humor has captivated audiences and kept them in stitches. But it has also hindered Michael’s search for love. That is, until Holly came along. And despite our joy at seeing him finally head over heels in love, his departure leaves a question burning in our hearts — how will this change “The Office?”

Honestly, I am not sure if the beloved TV show can stay afloat or remain as popular after Michael departs. While Steve Carell did not carry the show alone by any means, he characterized it. Other cast members depended on him for many of their laughs or defined their character based on their role in Michael’s life. While Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) can suck up to anyone, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) is Michael’s perfect puppy dog. His personality would clash with many others.

Also, though I hate to admit it, Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) just aren’t as funny and cute married as they were when they were dancing around each other. It’s almost as if the show lost something at their wedding, though it was the right move for their relationship. It was downright adorable, no question. But a dynamic has changed.

I guess that is my biggest fear with Michael leaving. I am terrified that more dynamics are going to change. I was ecstatic when Andy and Angela (Angela Kinsey) broke up — Andy could do so much better. I weathered the buyout by Sabre — Gabe (Zach Woods) holds a special place in my heart now. I cheered when Darryl (Craig Robinson) moved out of the warehouse — though I still am not really sure what exactly he does. But I can’t see Will Ferrell entering the cast. And I can’t see anyone replacing Michael. Not without “The Office” changing drastically.

I have devoted the past seven years to falling in love — and sometimes out of love — with “The Office” and its quirky characters. I tuned in every Thursday to see what new adventures they got themselves into. And I will probably continue to watch after Michael leaves, if only because it is such a large part of my life. But, after tonight, “The Office” won’t be the show I care so much about. It will be different — almost a spin-off, but under the same name.

So when I tune in tonight for the special 50-minute goodbye episode, I’ll be saying goodbye to more than just Michael and Holly. I’ll be saying goodbye to Thursday night between 9 and 9:30 p.m. as I have known it. Maybe “The Office” post-Michael will be better. Maybe it will be worse. But it definitely will not be the same.

And my vote for Michael’s replacement? Darryl, hands down. I may not know what he does in his office, but then again I never fully understood what Michael did, other than pull pranks and plan parties. Darryl would be a great fit and he brings a big enough personality to the table that he could challenge his employees in a humorous way. If only NBC had asked me.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Mary Claire O’Donnell at modonne5@nd.edu