While the dumpster fires of random speculation continue to rage over the possibility of a reunion of The Office cast and creative team, Spotify's An Oral History of The Office podcast (with cast member Brian Baumgartner as host) has been doing an amazing job of looking back on the series and speaking with those who would be in-the-know. This week's episode brought listeners to the biggest change in the series' run: Season 7 episode "Goodbye, Michael" and the departure of Steve Carell's (Space Force) Michael Scott.
During the episode, Carell discussed what it was like leaving the series that he loved and saying goodbye to the cast that had become close friends and family (made more painful by Carell revealing recently that he was open to returning, seemingly putting the "blame ball" in the network's court: "It was almost more than I bargained for… I had [goodbye] scenes with everyone in the cast and it was emotional torture… it was like just fraught with emotion and… and joy and sadness and nostalgia," Carell explained about his finale episode. "But it was also really beautiful. I'd like treasure just doing that episode because it did allow me to kind of have a finality with everybody." In fact, Carell sees Michael's departure as being true to the core of who he truly was: "You think that's all he wants. He wants to be the center of attention… And he… he wants pats on the back. He wants people to think he's funny and charming and all of those things," the actor revealed. "But the fact that he'd walk away from his big tribute, his big sendoff, and be able to in a very personal way, say goodbye to each character. That to me, felt like it would resonate."
For cast member John Krasinski (Jim Halpert), Carell's leaving was the signal that the series would have to move onto its next stage. "It felt like the end of something more than even losing Steve or losing Michael, it felt like the end of our show in a way, or that evolution of our show. It's like when you graduate college, your life isn't over. But that version of your life will never come back." As for their final scene together, Krasinski readily admits that he cried "so hard" while also revealing what surprised him the most about that moment: "I also remember him crying, and I was not expecting that…the energy in that room was so thick and palpable that when they called action or go ahead, I remember Steve teared up right away. And that was so unlike him, not that he was emotionless, but it was like, it was so unlike him to let real life bleed into the moment… I think I actually remember the actual number was 17 takes of not even speaking, just, just dribbling crying."