‘The Office’: Steve Carell Has a Field Day

The Office

Survivor Man
Season 4 Episode 7

In a recent Rolling Stone, B.J. Novak (who plays Ryan), Paul Lieberstein (Toby) and Mindy Kaling (Kelly), all writers for the show as well as actors, talked about how careful they are about working on scenes for their own characters. (Novak said he goes out of his way to not write for Ryan.) Last night’s episode was written by Steve Carell — and he clearly has no such qualms. Michael was basically “alone” in the woods, with predictable results: He did dumb things and acted delusional. Carell mugged incessantly, which is inherently amusing but not quite as inspired as when he bounces off others. (In any case, we agree with Dwight: If we were a serial murderer, we’d like to be known as “The Overkill Killer.” We love the idea of detectives surveying a crime scene and saying, “You know, that’s a bit much.”)

Jim, meanwhile, filled in as boss for the day. This was intriguing: We’ve always wondered who will take over the lead role when Carell inevitably leaves. Last night, though, effectively disqualified Jim Krasinski — he basically played Michael. (Ed Helms, now he would be perfect.) As the show’s names make their way into movies — Krasinski co-stars with George Clooney in his new film — The Office enters uncertain times, writers strike or no. At least they dodged the agonizing “Green Is Universal” NBC pabulum infecting the rest of the network. In the end, though, the show still fell in the bottom “two-thirds easternly quadrant” of the series. —Will Leitch

‘The Office’: Steve Carell Has a Field Day