Ed Helms, James Spader not bringing enough laughs to the comedy's new incarnation
When Steve Carell announced that last season would be his last with "The Office," he presented that show's producers with both a horrible dilemma and a tremendous opportunity.
For so many years, Carell was "The Office," and it was easy to understand the sentiment from those who insisted the show should end when he left, even as it was clear that struggling NBC wouldn't cancel one of its few remaining hits.
At the same time, here was an aging sitcom, which like so many before it had begun repeating itself, which had arguably exhausted most of the comic potential of the Michael Scott character. There was no rule that said the office couldn't have a new boss, someone very different from Michael, who might give this great comedy a chance to reinvent itself in the way that "Cheers" did when Kirstie Alley succeeded Shelley Long, or that "M*A*S*H" managed to do with each of its cast changes.
We've now seen six episodes of the first post-Carell season (plus a handful of episodes last spring where the producers and characters were trying to figure out who would run the branch without Michael), and unfortunately it's hard to argue so far with the people who wanted the show to end with Michael's departure.