Michael Scott to end tenure at Dunder-Mifflin

Television will lose an iconic character on April 28, when Michael Scott (Steve Carell), the painfully awkward yet kind-hearted manager of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch clocks out for the last time.

Since it was announced last year that Carell would leave The Office (NBC, 2005), the entertainment world has been abuzz. How will his character would bow out and, more importantly, who would replace him?

Life without Michael Scott on The Office is hard to imagine, but his departure from the show is impending with only three weeks left.

The build-up has so far not disappointed, starting with the return of Michael’s love, Holly Flax (Amy Ryan), in the hour-long Christmas episode.

HR representative Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein) was taken away from the office so he could serve on the jury of the Scranton Strangler trial, a subplot since the early seasons, leaving room for Holly to come in as a temporary replacement.

The storyline moved quickly, yet poignantly reunited Michael and Holly, something The Office fandom has patiently waited years for.

In the latest episode, “The Garage Sale,” Michael proposed to Holly in an emotional and grandiose fashion before announcing to all of his coworkers that they were moving to Colorado to take care of Holly’s parents.

This Thursday, the hunt for Michael’s replacement will begin with Will Ferrell making his first appearance in a four-episode arc, as temporary manager Deangelo Vickers.

According to TV.com, next Thursday’s episode “Goodbye, Michael Part 1” will have Michael preparing Deangelo to host the annual “Dundie Awards,” a throwback to the greatness of the early Office, before Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) were a couple, while Andy (Ed Helms) was still selling paper in Stamford.

Part two, which premiers on April 28, will be a 50 minute extended episode, so Michael will have plenty of time say goodbye to his office family.

That leaves just three episodes left to answer what direction the show will go in for its eighth season. Ferrell’s run ends on May 5 and he is not slated to appear on the star studded hour-long season finale.

Executive Producer Mindy Kaling, who plays Customer Service Representative Kelly Kapoor, tweeted some of the actors and character names for the finale.

Will Arnett, James Spader, Ray Romano, and Catherine Tate (from the BBC show Dr. Who) will all appear as “Fred Henry,” “Robert California,” “Merv Bronte,” and “Nellie Bertrum” respectively.

Ricky Gervais, who appeared with Carell in the cold open of a recent episode, will reprise his role as David Brent from the original UK version of the show, but having him replace Carell would be a cop-out and doesn’t seem likely.

Kaling tweeted that Arnett will play the Scranton Strangler and Spader will play his public defender. Arnett is the perfect person to play a deranged killer and actually showing the Scranton Strangler would culminate years of carefully placed references.

While Kaling’s list provides an interesting pool of people to choose for Michael’s replacement, there is also the possibility that Dunder Mifflin could hire from within.

Jim and Dwight (Rainn Wilson) are possibilities, but they’ve already played prominent roles in the workplace and probably wouldn’t add anything new to the dynamic. Besides, Jim already turned down the manager position because he could make more money off sales commissions.

The best candidate would be the warehouse manager, Darryl Philbin (Craig Robinson), who has hinted that he has “big plans” at the company. The problem with Darryl as manager is he would actually do a good job, and might make things a little flat around the water cooler.

The most interesting twist would be to make Kelly, who recently took a corporate minority training course, regional manager. She would do an awful job, which would make things interesting.

The writers need to be careful with how they handle Carell’s departure because it could so easily go wrong. The best way to do it would be to have next season be the last. Hopefully NBC will be smart for once and not milk it until the show fades into obscurity.

If Kelly is the manager, she and on-again-off-again boyfriend Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak) would surely make amuck of things in the happy office family.

A hypothetical eight and final season should have all the power struggles and drama of the previous seven seasons come to a head and show the office fall apart without their fearless leader.

Nay-Sayers argue that the show will be dead without Michael Scott, but that is an insult to the incredible ensemble cast that has made the show great. The writers seem to know what they’re doing.

While Carell’s contract ended with season seven, the other major cast members have contracts through season eight, indicating that maybe this was all planned.

Many have found The Office stale in recent years, but Carell’s announcement and subsequent storyline this season has peaked interest in the show once again.

Michael Scott is undoubtedly the central character of the show. The plots have always revolved around his antics, and the coworkers have clearly grown closer of the years, often in their shared frustration with the “World’s Best Boss.”

Now it’s time to see what happens without him.