If you think back to the days of The Office, you know that Michael Scott is one of the biggest reasons for that show’s success. He was a bit of a dunderhead, to use a Dunder-Mifflin pun, and he had a tendency to put his foot in his mouth. Yet, he also tended to at times be very offensive — look at “Diversity Day,” “Gay Witch Hunt,” or his obsession with Ryan in general.
Ultimately, would it be possible for a character like Michael to really work on television in 2018? That is something that the man behind the role in Steve Carell wonders. Speaking in a new interview with Esquire (where he is promoting the film Beautiful Boy), Carell had the following to say about whether or not the show in its original form could even work anymore:
“Because The Office is on Netflix and replaying, a lot more people have seen it recently … And I think because of that there’s been a resurgence in interest in the show, and talk about bringing it back. But apart from the fact that I just don’t think that’s a good idea, it might be impossible to do that show today and have people accept it the way it was accepted ten years ago.
“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.”
So is Michael unsuitable for modern-day audiences? Much of it may be based on interpretation and whether or not his actions were based more on ignorance / foolishness or a desire to really hurt others. The character clearly had a lot to learn about diversity, sexism, and also boundaries, but also was known for his big heart and caring for other people. In the end, all he really wanted was for the other people around him at the office to love him — but in today’s climate, it’s hard to view everything through that same lens. All of this is interesting to think about, and we’re not sure there is a universal answer to the question.
What do you think: Could a show like The Office really exit in 2018? Be sure to share in the attached comments. (Photo: NBC.)