The New “Office” Boss: The Contenders + Odds

Well, the battle for Steve Carrell’s replacement seems to be heating up, well at least in viewers’ minds. You would think that the writers have it all mapped out. Assuming this, let’s have a look at who it could be exactly.

At first, I was of the mind that the replacement would come from inside the office, as were a few others, and as such, these suggestions were proffered.

It’s easy to think that the new boss will come in the form of a big name actor from outside, however, could it all just be smoke-and-mirrors? Let’s find out…

Note: Odds are completely and utterly unscientific and unofficial… in every possible way.

Gabe Lewis (Zach Woods) ODDS: 5-1

Why he will be boss: Logical antithesis, change of dynamic, established/proven character, somewhat unexpected

Why he won’t be boss: Not a big-name star, anticlimactic replacement

Introduced at the end of Season 6 in the Sabre story arc, he has been presented as “that” guy that everybody loves to hate, a bit like the Toby character, however, at least Toby has shown that he is at least a fairly normal guy at heart, but has been worn down to a miserable mess by various instances which haven’t gone his way. He has also shown that he can participate in groups such as The Finer Things Club with the only “normal” people in the office, Pam, Oscar and later, Jim.

Gabe is in many ways the antithesis to Steve Carrell’s departing character of Michael Scott.

Gabe is introverted and when he needs to exert himself the situation becomes excruciatingly awkward.

Michael is extroverted and when he needs to restrain himself, the tension is raised accordingly.

Gabe is the guy everyone should like (he goes about his own job, being overly careful not to tread on toes), but everyone can’t help but hate.

Michael is the guy everyone should hate (he “jokes” about people based on their race, weight, size, etc.) but everyone can’t help but love… or at least learn to live with. [If you don’t believe me, why are so many people sad to see him go?]

Michael is the kid causing trouble while Gabe is the parent trying to quell it.

You get the picture. This demonstrates why many thought Gabe would be the logical choice for new boss given his stark differences to Michael. It would also allow more room for the rest of the cast to shine, given Gabe’s ability to slink introverted nature. Some may also argue that the writers have been preparing for a Gabe takeover all along, with his current position of authority being a mechanism to test the waters for the future.

It would certainly add a new dynamic, that’s for sure, with instead of the boss being the one instigating all of the mayhem, it could be instead the boss trying to stop it- but failing, of course. Another possibility could be that the following contenders could be the one’s to assume a Michael Scott-type character, but instead it will be Gabe in the higher position of authority… much in the same way that 30 Rock works, with Liz Lemon trying to apply order to all of the chaos beneath her.

Rule out most of the supporting cast, ie. Oscar, Stanley, Creed, Phyllis, Kevin, Angela, Merideth, Ryan

Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) ODDS: 30-1

Why he will be: Now a well known star

Why he won’t be: Better in small doses

A suggestion that no one has really thrown up all that much. It would definitely be a shock to throw him into that position, for the viewers and for the character himself. It seems logical in terms of Helms’ progression as a star, as since he has joined the Office in Season 3, he was a welcome addition to the show. Since then, he has starred in the Hangover- a smash hit film, and Cedar Rapids- not so much, and the soon to be released Hangover 2. As a result of this, he was promoted to appearing in the main-credits.

It would certainly give more for his character to do, given his top-billing status. So far this season, he has been forced to watch as Erin got together with Gabe, despite his repeated efforts.

He also wouldn’t represent much of a departure from the Michael Scott character, which might or might not be a bad thing, as he isn’t prone to outrageous behaviour. He also isn’t good under pressure- which is a good thing.

However, too much of Andy tends to grate a touch- a bit like the rest of the cast- as viewers likely wouldn’t abide The Office every week if it consisted of an a cappella solo, a funny accent impression, Andy having another crack at Erin, a freak-out and a subsequent wall-punch.

Darryl (Craig Robinson) ODDS: 15-1

When he sauntered up to the Office floor at the end of Season 6, people immediately pegged him as a potential candidate. His cool and calm demeanor , as well as his intense likability would make him a popular, and therefore safe choice for Office boss. However, though it would be somewhat anticlimactic, it would be interesting to see Darryl under pressure, and also at odds with the rest of the Office, as we all know that despite his calm exterior, he harbors strong opinions, and can wither someone with one of his stares. He also possesses an emotional side, and is not afraid to show it.

Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) ODDS: 90-1

Why she will be: Jim-Pam dynamic change

Why she won’t be: Would make the character unlikeable

Also not mentioned as much, but if I were the writers, I would seriously consider it. Think about the dynamic shift it would cause. Most people are sick of Jim and Pam staring at each other across the desk for almost 2 seasons. The dynamic was changed when Jim became boss, as it shifted him off the lovebird desk and into his own Office. Yes, it wasn’t a success in terms of his character, as it made people dislike Jim, but at least viewers were spared excessive Jim-Pam storylines.

For example, most storylines with Jim and Pam involve a minor fight, or at least disagreement, only to have it resolved too neatly by the end of the episode. For example, when Pam’s ex-boyfriend Danny Cordray (Timothy Olyphant) visited, he was shown as a more handsome, smoother version of Jim. However by the end of the episode, it became known that he dumped Pam because she was too dorky. Hence Jim feels sorry for Pam while loving her even more. Eurgh.

Anyway, I think I’ve shown that moving Pam off the desk would be a good thing. Whether she would make a good boss still remains to be seen, and the writers certainly wouldn’t want to make Pam an unlikable character.

Definitely rule out Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) because she is leaving the show

Also put a line through Jim’s name (John Krasinski), as he was already co-manager in season 6… and the experiment failed, on-screen and off-screen (ie. critically).

Also draw a tentative line in pencil through Dwight Schrute’s (Rainn Wilson) name, he has already been the boss, if only for a couple of hours, and while it was funny, life under the Schrute regime would become too much to handle for both the characters and the viewers.

Now for the big-names:

Will Ferrell ODDS: 60-1


Why he will be: Has hinted at it (jokingly?)

Why he won’t be: He’s Will Ferrell, FFS; Would inhibit time to make movies (less $$$, obviously)

Now obviously Will Ferrell, who will play D’Angelo Vickers in the show would be the writers dream choice for the role. He would bring bucket-loads of publicity to the show, not to mention his proven comic ability, improvisational skill, similar but different style to Carrell… but then there are the logistical problems…

In case you don’t know Ferrell is making bucket-loads from making movies. Some he has had the chance to write. Basically, the very same thing that Carrell wants to quit the Office for. There would be no striking reason as to why Ferrell would want to give this up to star in 10-15 minutes (?) of a show on a Thursday night to a just above average audience.

It would be about the money, and to a lesser extent, the integrity, and on both counts, a gig on The Office doesn’t stack up at all.

David Brent (Ricky Gervais) ODDS: 500-1

Why he will be: An exorbitant amount of money has been thrown at him (?)

Why he won’t be: Doesn’t need more money, especially not to compromise his integrity

The God of all things comedy (though he might object to me using that word- God, not comedy… and not because he’s modest) has also been floated as a possible replacement.

Obviously his character in the UK version of the Office, David Brent, has surfaced in one episode of the seventh season of the US Office to great critical acclaim. He has since announced that he would film a spot in the season final, in which the boss will likely be decided on-screen. This has set tongues wagging, and the fact that Brent teased audiences by asking Scott “any jobs going” have only intensified it.

But if I know Gervais (and I mean “know” in the most disconnected way possible that someone can “know” a celebrity), he won’t compromise his integrity by taking up a regular role on the show- despite any amount of money that has likely been thrown at him.

On his blog, there has also been an article linked to which has been titled “Ricky’s last day at The Office”. Can’t get much clearer than that.

He has also said on Letterman, he gets “half their wages anyway” (due to his executive producer role, royalties, etc.), so why would he want to get up at “6AM” every morning?

Fred Henry (Will Arnett) ODDS: 30-1

Why he will be: Proven sitcom star, similar shooting schedule to wife (Amy Poehler), Gervais endorsement

Why he won’t be: Acquired taste (?), better in smaller, more eccentric roles (Gob Bluth, Devon Banks, etc), may only be playing the Scranton Strangler, linked to another NBC pilot

Will also guest star in the finale. And has received a glowing endorsement from Gervais himself. Read more about that here.

Merv Bronte (Ray Romano) ODDS: 50-1

Why he will be: Familiar face, popular with viewers

Why he won’t be: Currently starring in Men of a Certain Age (too busy)

Nellie Bertrum (Catherine Tate) ODDS: 3-1

Why she will be: Fantastic comedic actress, relatively unknown (opportunity to start fresh), willing to do anything for the sake a laugh

Why she won’t be: Big risk; unknown factor- no instant connection with viewers

The Office has copped a fair bit of criticism over the past two seasons. Not in terms of it becoming a bad show, just in terms of it being a shadow of its former self, occasional over-focus on Michael Scott, outlandish behaviour by Scott, unsuccessful story-lines (Jim as co-manager)… this could all be alleviated by the addition of a fresh face (for US audiences). And one which is a proven comic performer at that.

In many ways, it is similar to Carrell himself, as he was relatively unknown when the Office premiered.

There is still a chance that if she didn’t join as boss that she would join in a smaller capacity (after all, there will be holes to fill in terms of Kelly’s departure, as well as BJ Novak, who plays Ryan… possibly).

The star of the Catherine Tate Show would certainly maintain the outrageous aspect of the Michael Scott character, yet the fact that she is a woman would definitely change the dynamic.

Robert California (James Spader) ODDS: 8-1 [Shortened from 15-1]

Why he will be: Popular TV actor, little other work on the big screen, can do outrageous/eccentric

Why he won’t be: Possibly may only be playing the role of a lawyer in the Scranton Strangler case- would make sense given his legal TV show background

His odds have recently shortened, with the mail being that Will Arnett is strongly linked with his other mysterious NBC pilot.

However, with a name like Robert California, he surely cannot be in serious contention- that’s a name of a one-off character if I ever saw one.

Note: The name Rhys Darby (Murray from Flight of the Concords) was also mentioned a while back as a possible replacement. Yet things seem to have gone quiet on that front. So unless he will be a real rabbit out of the hat, it is unlikely… unfortunately.


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Posted on April 11, 2011, in US TV Shows and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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