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Vacation Robo-Post: The Office—NBC's Problem, And Yours

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I’ve said before that I think it would probably be best if this season of The Office were its last; the show may not be called The Boss, but it is Michael Scott’s story above all, and I’d hope that the show might get a liberating creative burst from not just sending off Steve Carell but going out in a blaze of glory.

I’ve also said before that it does not matter what I think. The Office, even a lower-rated Office, is one of the only good things NBC has going. (You wouldn’t know it from the attention critics like me give the shows, but according to TV by the Numbers, last week’s NBC Thursday night was its lowest-rated night of original programming among 18-49s ever. Yes, ever.) The Office is like someone who made a bad wish for immortality in a Twilight Zone episode: it will not be allowed to die.

Instead, The Office will get a new boss. It is also too late for us to make that decision, but we can have some fun with it here. If Michael Scott must be replaced as boss, who would you replace him with? Assume for the purposes of this exercise that you can choose either an existing character or a new actor. (Within reason; Will Ferrell is guesting, but he will not take a weekly role on the show.)

As long as we’re dreaming here, I’ll wish that The Office did what it started to do last year and backed away from: it should make Jim Halpert the manager of the Scranton branch, and thereby, make him confront the fact that what he had always seen as a job—and held himself smirkingly distanced from—is now his career. That has the potential to take the show in a dark direction, but The Office has always been best when it has been willing to risk that.

I don’t expect the show to do that, though, so: you be the Human Resources department. Who do you hire?