How The Office Almost Turned Michael Scott Into A Murderer

The Office showrunner Greg Daniels revealed in a recent interview he had to put his foot down when writers wanted to make Steve Carell’s character, Michael Scott, a killer. Based on the original 2001 British sitcom of the same name, the mockumentary-style series premiered on NBC in 2005 and went on to redefine American sitcoms. The Office takes place in Scranton, Pennsylvania, at the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. To heighten the show’s documentary-feel, it did not film in front of a studio audience and featured no laugh track. After nine seasons, The Office ended in May 2013 with 201 episodes.

The Office featured a large ensemble cast including Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, and Jenna Fischer. However, Carell’s performance as Michael was undoubtedly the show’s standout. Surprisingly, the character wasn’t initially well-received after season one’s six-episode run. Integral to the show’s success was the release of The 40-Year-Old Virgin in 2005, which made Carell a household name and inspired some Michael Scott character adjustments.

Daniels, the show’s creator, showrunner, and an alum of the Saturday Night Live writing room, spoke with The Guardian about The Office. The interview also featured producer Mike Schur, alongside stars Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor) and B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard), who also all wrote for the hit comedy series. Daniels revealed one dark plot point that bounced around the writers’ room before he stepped in and reigned things in:

There were times where [the writers] would become enamored with a joke, and I’d have to put my foot down. For instance, they really wanted Michael to kill Meredith with his car. That was an early pitch, where he runs her over in the parking lot and then comes back, gets a tire iron and finishes the job. I was like “You can’t do that, that’s crazy!”

Michael does hit Meredith with his car in the season four opener, which sows the seeds of gags for the rest of the season and those that follow. However, turning Michael into a killer would have ruined the shows pacing and thematic arc. The branch manager became the show’s North star, continually moving the line between caring boss and concocting crazy schemes. While the writers’ idea of the tire iron brings to mind a provocative image, it doesn’t align with the character.

The scene would have offered a memorable season opener, but impacted the character’s arc and painted the writers into a corner. Michael is sometimes obnoxious and oblivious, but not pointedly cruel unless Toby is in the mix. While Michael’s hair-plugs of the early seasons certainly give off the murderer vibe, the show was probably right in deciding not to go there. Fans should be thankful for the decision, which led to five more glorious seasons of The Office.

Source: The Guardian

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