If Steve Carell is a warm, caring mother monkey, Will Ferrell is the wire mother the scientist send in to test attachment theory; Phyllis and the gang are the little baby monkeys holding onto him for affection and sustenance. If Will Ferrell’s New York Times profile is accurate, the Anchorman star knows it, too. “I just really wanted to fit in, in that first-day-of-school feeling,” he said about his four-episode guest run on The Office. “When anyone would complain about something, I’d be like, ‘Yeah, what’s going on with that?’ And John Krasinski would be like, ‘No, too early. You don’t get to say that stuff.’” In addition to being the newbie behind Michael Scott’s desk, Ferrell’s career in general sounds to be in a state of uncertainty. After several projects didn’t pan out, Ferrell took some artistic chances, like with the dramedy Everything Must Go and the Spanish language Case de Mi Padre. “O.K., if those are all going to go away, it’s an exciting time for me to make some more artful choices,” Ferrell reasoned.
Despite his massive film success, Ferrell says of his career, “It’s very much a treading-water feeling. I don’t think there’s any amount of success that would ever make that go away.” While some cast members might be leery after the loss of Carrell, others like exec producer Paul Liberstein, or Toby, look at Ferrell’s run as a godsend. “I’ve been struggling for a plan of how we were going to transition out of the Steve Carell era, and it had been weighing on me,” Liberstein admitted. “Having Will Ferrell was the answer.”