Normally when a mega-comedy star decides to guest appear on a sitcom, it’s intended to boost their sinking profile or it’s because they’ve already sunk. Sometimes, though rare, they just like the show.
On April 14, when Will Ferrell joins NBC’s The Office for a four-episode story arc it’ll be for another reason altogether — to send off his good friend Steve Carell in as grand a fashion as possible.
It’s no secret that Ferrell would be stopping by Scranton, PA’s Dunder Mifflin — after all the news leaked last January. But last night, at the conclusion of a very moving episode — one that saw Carell’s character Michael Scott propose to his love interest Holly — viewers were treated to the briefest of previews for Ferrell’s guest-stint.
It’s easy to deduce that Michael is leaving Dunder Mifflin for Colorado, a realistic way to write him out of the show and give Carell a three-episode send-off. Will Ferrell is coming on for four episodes (three with Carell, one after his departure) as a transition until the new boss is revealed.
What’s interesting about the clip is not that Will Ferrell is doing his best Will Ferrell schtick, but that the characters on the sitcom seem to be as close to one another as Carell and Ferrell are in real life. There seems to be genuine emotion in the hug that Carell lays on the new guy and vice versa when Ferrell reaches behind to embrace the outgoing boss.
It’s surprisingly touching. And confusing, in the sense that the clip feels like the actors are just breaking the fourth wall and don’t really care about it. Perhaps after seven dutiful years anchoring a sitcom that quickly seemed beneath his talents, Carell is afforded the right to do whatever he darn pleases during his swan song.
Furthermore, according to Zap2It, “Ferrell’s character won’t be the permanent replacement for Michael on “The Office.” He’s doing his arc as a fan of the show and a tribute to his friend, and as far as anyone knows that will be that. He’ll be on the show for the three episodes leading up to Carell’s departure on April 28 and one more after that.”
Nobody outside the production offices of NBC knows who the knew boss will be, when it will probably be revealed on the season finale, but there’s a good chance it will be Will Arnett. Both he, and Ricky Gervais have been confirmed for the finale. Gervais will be reprising his beloved David Brent character, but word has been mum on who Will Arnett is playing. Will Will replace Will?