The Office premiered on NBC seven years ago, and it didn’t take long for viewers to fall for Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam, and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin crew. However, as the series approaches the end of its eighth season, it seems increasingly likely that the gang won’t return for another.
First, there’s the problem of casting. James Spader, the actor who plays CEO Robert California, isn’t returning next year, while pivotal cast members John Krasinski (Jim), Ed Helms (Andy), Jenna Fischer (Pam) and B.J. Novak (Ryan) are reportedly “stalled” in their contact renegotiations with NBC. Mindy Kalig (Kelly) plans to write and star in her own Fox sitcom, while Paul Lieberstein (Toby Flenderson) is stepping down as executive producer to help out with an Office spinoff called The Farm, set at Dwight Schrute’s beet farm. If the spinoff is a go, one can only assume Rainn Wilson (Dwight) will step down from The Office as well. That’s a lot of obstacles.
The series’ storyline is also a problem. Steve Carell is gone, so there are no more wacky Michael antics. Pam and Jim are married with two kids. Dwight and Angela ended their torrid love affair (though it appears she bore his son). James Spader is leaving so there will be no more Robert California cameos. The series doesn’t have that many places to go unless it follows the romance between Andy and Erin and maybe Darrell and the warehouse girl. But really, how many tumultuous office romances can one take? Even if NBC can retain most of their actors should the series even go on? Or should they bow out gracefully before things get too stale and sad? What do you think?