Thursday, April 28, 2011

OUR BALLS ARE IN YOUR COURT:  Obviously we need to talk about Michael Scott today, and Alan has a nice piece on his evolution "from barely-tolerated nuisance to the kind of guy whom everyone in that office will speak of fondly for years to come as they recall all the good, bad and ridiculous things he did." His timeline places well the key moments of that transformation as Scott went from screaming, pouty five-year-old desperate for attention to somewhere around 8-10, where at least he's got some concept of the needs of others and can take advice on occasion.

And, okay, maybe we can counter his list of Growth Moments with Michael At His Worst (Phyllis's wedding, Scott's Tots), where the comedy of discomfort was truly squirm-inducing (the dinner party) ... but, hell, Steve Carell invested so much awesome into this character that I just want to remember the good stuff today  (Also, I have strong confidence that they'll hit the right notes tonight.)

Below the fold, two clips which y'all know are favorites of mine:

More: Michael Scott's worst impressions, compiled:


  1. They completely did the right thing for the long-term running of the show and for Carell's comic persona vs. Gervais' in changing Michael from the pure jerkiness of David Brent to "yes, he's a jerk, but he's OUR jerk."  Had they kept the personality pitched at David Brent levels, the show couldn't have lasted as long as it did.

    I remain worried about the end of the season--I haven't minded the Will Ferrell arc as much as others have (though if the rumors about how he's departing are true, not sure if I like the show going there), but the excess of Big Name Guests in the final few episodes seems to me an awful idea--this show has an incredible ensemble which should be allowed to shine rather than bringing in big name after big name.  (Though Catherine Tate would be an interesting choice as a new boss.)

  2. Joseph J. Finn9:16 AM

    There's also something to be said in praise of the women Michael's been involved with on the show and the respective actresses; Jan, Carol and Holly all brought out interesting sides of Michael's personality, and not enough can be said at how right Amy Ryan was as an addition to the cast.

  3. I haven't heard the rumors, and don't want to know. I haven't been a fan of the Ferrell character; just seems like an indulgent way to let Carell do improv with a friend on the way out.

  4. Maggie9:40 AM

    Aside from the Injury clip above, I think my favorite Michael moment may be him shouting "I declare bankruptcy" in Season 4 Episode "Money"

  5. Tosy and Cosh10:23 AM

    Fresh in my memory from my Season 3 rewatch, currently ongoing, but Michael marking the waitress with a marker to ID her is a favorite. Even better is his scene with Jim later where he realizes how ridiculous he is being. Season 3 had some nice moments of dawning self-awareness like that. Toby explaining to Michael that the office was teasing him in the Prison Mike ep, that they really didn't wish they were in jail, is another example.

  6. Jordan11:45 AM

    Jim and Michael's talk on the deck in Booze Cruise.  It's been a long time since I've seen that episode, but that seemed to me (at least at the time) to be the turning point for how we viewed Michael.

  7. Paul Tabachneck11:59 AM

    Great piece by Alan, there -- I love Michael Scott, but I'm happy to see that the show is going to stay on.  I'm looking forward to seeing how they meet the challenge posed by taking such a central character out of the mix entirely, because that's the kind of show that Greg Daniels seems to have wanted from the start -- one that didn't rely purely on one character to get the work done.  

  8. Aimee3:00 PM

    Some of my favorite moments have already been mentioned here, but I also really love the scene where Michael's on the roof in "Safety Training" and they're all trying to convince him not to jump.  Steve Carell does a really great job of walking that line between tragedy and comedy.  That's a scene that was skewed more toward tragedy, but I still love it.  I also love the episode where he takes all of the women in the office to the mall and confides in them re: his problems with jan.

  9. Meghan3:17 PM

    Michael's ending lines in Gay Witch Hunt, when he says, "That's what she--or he--said," and, "Oh, there's Gil, Oscar's roommate.  I wonder if he knows."

  10. In terms of seeing Michael at his best and worst, I liked the episode where he goes to speak to Ryan's business school class, throwing candy and generally making an ass of himself, and then winds up being the only one to show up at Pam's art show and praises her work.  Pam hugs him tearfully but the scene is saved from excessive schmaltziness by Pam recoiling from the hug in horror and Michael pulling the Chunky bar out of his pocket.  So well done.

  11. kd bart5:35 PM

    I always loved Prison Mike.

  12. Genevieve6:26 PM

    I don't know the rumors, but if Catherine Tate is a possibility, huzzah!