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Why Did Steve Carell Leave ‘The Office’?

Ever wondered why Steve Carell left ‘The Office’ at the height of its fame? Wonder no longer, as we have the answer in today’s KnowMoreStuff.com post.

‘The Office’ was one of the most successful comedy shows that ever aired on TV. From the very first episode, viewers were hooked by the interesting and hilarious plot.

Michael Scott, the self styled ‘World’s Best Boss’, was one of the reasons why the show worked so well. That’s why viewers were shocked when actor Steve Carell revealed that he would be leaving the show after its seventh season. The news shocked and angered fans of the show and left the future looking a little murky.

So, why did Steve Carell decide to leave a show that was making him a massive $175,000 per episode?

Goodbye, Michael

Michael’s final episode, the show’s 148th overall episode, started off on Michael’s second last day. Michael was excited to start his new life with his fiancée, Holly.

The two were moving away to Colorado to get a fresh start. Not many people were happy about Michael leaving and there seemed to be a massive shift in the office’s dynamic. Michael started off by saying individual goodbyes to everyone, which left him feeling a little emotional. All throughout the episode, we see that Michael is struggling with something.

He appears to get cold feet one second and then swing back to feeling nervously excited. The rest of the office is busy planning his farewell party, but Pam seems to keep making excuses to avoid Michael.

Dwight, on the other hand, was outright antagonistic and snarky. It was clear that Michael leaving had affected him deeply and he was not handling it very well. Michael took the time to take him paintballing. This served the dual purpose of Dwight releasing some of his anger and bonding the two together. They spend some time saying goodbye, and the moment is one of the tear-jerking moments in the show’s history.

The show also involved several sub-plots. From the whole farewell cake debacle which did not end well, as well as Andy’s trouble with Michael’s clients.

As a farewell present, Michael gave Andy his client list, much to the dismay of the other salesmen. Unfortunately, Andy almost immediately lost a client and had to enlist the help of the less-than-helpful Vickers who was vastly under-qualified for his position. Thankfully, that was resolved before Michael could get a chance to change his mind and take his client list back. It also made Vickers more endearing to the audience, which would be important in later seasons.

Eventually, Jim deduces that Michael is leaving early to avoid saying goodbye to his employees. The two share a special moment, another one of the tear-jerking moments in the series. Jim finally admits that Michael was truly the best boss ever, and the two are reduced to tears.

As Michael goes to the airport, he regrets not being able to say goodbye to Pam. She arrives just in time to say goodbye at the gates, and Michael leans over to whisper something in her ear that the camera does not catch. The next day, the rest of the employees are sad to find out that Michael left without saying goodbye to everyone.

Why he left

Michael’s departure from the show was sudden and unexpected, and many viewers felt unprepared to deal with the aftermath, much like his employees. Steve Carrell took the time to explain his decision to leave the popular show despite public outcry.

Carell explained that he had only signed on for seven seasons of the show. When the time came to say goodbye, he decided that he would not renew his contract. Steve explained that he was getting too comfortable in the position and wanted to pursue new roles in his acting career. Steve said, “I just think it’s time… I want to fulfil my contract. When I first signed on I had a contract for seven seasons, and this coming year is my seventh. I just thought it was time for my character to go.” 

He had done the same thing when he left The Daily Show a few years prior, and it was time to say goodbye to one of his more iconic roles. In the years since he left the show, he has starred in many different acting roles. He portrayed Gru in the Despicable Me franchise and played the lead role in ‘The 40-year-old Virgin.’ In the time since he left the show, he has made many other roles his own and brought his own brand of comedic genius to other projects.

Unlike many shows, Steve did not leave because of rumored internal conflicts. The truth is that he had a very good relationship with everyone on the set. Many of the actors looked up to Steve and respected him as an actor. The cast of the show thought of each other as family, and still keep in contact.

The show continued after Steve left, and although it was never quite the same again (how could it be?) the ratings did not drop too badly. The remaining seasons were still entertaining, and we do have favorite moments after he left. He even came back for a brief reunion and it was a bittersweet moment seeing him in the iconic office again. But we knew he could not come back again. Like Steve said, it was time to move on to other projects. In a way, we are thankful that he knew when it was time to quit.

Wrapping up

The staff of the office was not ready to say goodbye to the ‘World’s Best Boss’, and Michael knew that. That is why he left early and without too much fuss, much like the actor decided to do. Steve Carell decided to quit while he was ahead. To be honest, this was a better decision than limping on long after the time to leave had come. He left during his prime, and that is how we will remember the iconic Michael Scott, even if we do wish we had more episodes of the iconic show.


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