Wednesday, May 18, 2011

'The Office' Continues to Search for a New Boss

By HAWKE FRACASSA for TVStoreOnline.com
The melodrama continues unabated on "The Office" heading into the season's final episode, with Michael Scott's short-lived successors all stumbling badly as replacement bosses. Will Ferrell at Walk Hard premiereImage via Wikipedia


Deangelo (Will Ferrell) Vickers was in and out as regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Sabre's branch in Scranton, Pa., in the blink of an eye. He was as good-ole-boys old school as they come. And as an actor, Ferrell had pedigree but was a bad fit for this cast. His humor was just too lowbrow for a show this traditionally funny.


Jim Halpert was next up, lasting a whole one-minute phone call in which he feigned to be flattered, then declined the job because he felt the office was running best without a boss. How naive. It wasn't his call to make. That poor decision made his life miserable.


Dwight K. Schrute came next, and he was in power for three months as acting manager before his Machiavellian self-destruction choked the life out of his opportunity. Dwight made his obedient but plotting minions jump through hoops and was so desperate to keep the job that he was blackmailed into kneading Kevin's fat bare back to keep him from finking on him for accidentally firing a gun at work.


Now Creed has moved into the big chair, by virtue of being with the company the longest. It made me laugh to see him promoted, for a few reasons. Creed is resourceful but phony. Very Eddie Haskell, meaning he is good at being two-faced. Creed lacks scruples. He collects money from co-workers for a worthy cause, then keeps it and throws away the card. When he screws up, instead of owning the mistake he finds a scapegoat and gets away with it. When it looked like the company was weeding out older employees, Creed dyed his hair jet black to portray himself as a cool twentysomething.


Creed also has no boundaries. When children come to the office, he shows them his "four toes." He consistently objectifies women. And Creed admits to the camera that he will do "anything to survive" at work, "just like I did when I was a homeless person."


Creed is supposed to be just an interim appointment as a search committee of Gabe, Jim and Toby sort through boss candidates who will include spastic Jim Carrey and the ever-droll James Spader --- two of the few actors who could actually come in and pull this off. Celebrity Web sites speculate that Ricky Gervais, boss of the far-less-funny Brit version of "The Office," also is a candidate to be boss in Scranton, but that sad ship ought to sail.


Darryl could step up, especially since the company is investing in him by paying for college since his promotion from the warehouse. He has the stuff, but does he have the seasoning?


The most compelling choice from where I sit would be to bring back Charles, who took over day-to-day operations of "The Office" when Michael left in a huff to start the Michael Scott Paper Co.


If you recall, when sales plummeted under Charles due to Michael's aggressive price points, Michael was brought back in triumph, clapping and screaming, to replace Charles, along with Ryan and Pam.


Storylines with Charles learning how to be a better boss now that he has been deposed and brought back would make for some interesting episodes. It also would be interesting to promote Darryl to assistant manager so he can have a capable African-American role model to learn from in Charles. This would give Darryl time to develop as a manager under Charles' tutelage.


It was smart to write Will Ferrell out of the show. Deangelo, had he lasted longer than a few episodes, would have been like the replacement Darrin on "Bewitched": Unaccepted.


I don't see Andy, Oscar, Stanley, Ryan or Kevin becoming the boss.


Andy is too unsure of himself. Oscar is smart but lacks cunning and thinks it's more important to have a job than a career. He won't say risky things to corporate. Stanley just wants to do his crossword puzzle, not take on the headaches that the challenges of leadership bring.


Ryan had his shot when he worked for corporate and messed up. He's only got a job at all because Michael made them take him back.


Kevin doesn't stand up for himself enough. How can he expect to be taken seriously?


What the producers have overlooked, at least so far, is what "The Office" would look like with a woman in charge.


Kelly Kapoor is a solid candidate. She is already in the company's management program and has the enthusiasm and acumen to be successful. She has shown eagerness to grow and has the best attitude of anybody on the staff. Her only liability is her devotion to Ryan, who has her wrapped around his little finger.


Does Pam have the stuff to make things happen? Kinda. She is a person who is intelligent and grounded. But her inability to sell and her marriage to Jim make her a liability because fairness issues are often brought into play because of that and she handles the challenges poorly. Pam might walk over hot coals to help the company and can be as glib as Jim, but her lack of confidence makes her a bad candidate to manage at this time.


Meredith, the female version of Creed, would be hilarious but at the same time, a joke as the boss, based on her track record. She gave discounts to a client she was having sex with, came to work not wearing panties on a casual Friday and got her hair caught on fire while dancing drunk at a company function. Other than those indiscretions, she's fantastic.


A darkhorse candidate to be the boss is Phyllis, a gossipy conservative newlywed (married to the obnoxious Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration) with a biting and sometimes vicious personality.


Don't let Phyllis' soft, grandmotherly demeanor lull you. She is so eager to make a client happy she will redo her hairstyle before she goes to a meeting. She can be snarky and rude to co-workers who cross her. Her willingness to say what needs to be said, regardless of the consequences, gives Phyllis potential to be a boss.


Angela would be successful as a boss because she is deceptive and manipulative. She likes men to fight to be with her. She is a calculating, no-nonsense bean counter for the branch and makes the trains run on time. Her only Achilles heel is Dwight, who can manipulate her. Storylines that could develop if she became the new boss could center around Dwight trying to get her to do his bidding.


If I were emperor of "The Office," I would write the script to make Erin Hannon the boss. She is the bubbly receptionist. I just love her!!! Doesn't everybody? She's sweet, she's nice, she's fun. What's not to like?


People will go through a wall for a good person like Erin. Right? The biggest surprise to me is that the actress, Ellie Kemper, is 31. She looks 22 and has a friendly face with a smile planted on it that is a mile wide. As a result, people want to do things for her.


That said, It's time to promote from within. If Erin doesn't get the job, corporate will be making a big mistake.


Unless ... they want to bring back Steve Carell as Michael Scott.


We miss him already.


Doesn't everybody?