Just because The Office is one of the most beloved TV shows of the last 20 years that people still obsessively watch over and over again five years after it left the air doesn't mean people would feel the same about it today. At least that's what star Steve Carell thinks. In an interview with Esquire, Carell says that the way people relate to comedy has changed so much in the past few years that he just doesn't think his obliviously offensive character Michael Scott would be as well-received now.
"Because The Office is on Netflix and replaying, a lot more people have seen it recently," he said. "And I think because of that there's been a resurgence in interest in the show, and talk about bringing it back." There has in fact been talk of a revival, but no news in the past few months.
"But apart from the fact that I just don't think that's a good idea, it might be impossible to do that show today and have people accept it the way it was accepted ten years ago," Carell said. "The climate's different. I mean, the whole idea of that character, Michael Scott, so much of it was predicated on inappropriate behavior. I mean, he's certainly not a model boss. A lot of what is depicted on that show is completely wrong-minded. That's the point, you know? But I just don't know how that would fly now. There's a very high awareness of offensive things today — which is good, for sure. But at the same time, when you take a character like that too literally, it doesn't really work."
The way this quote presented, it sounds like Carell isn't saying the changes that have made comedy more moral and less tolerant of intolerance are all good or all bad, just that they're happening. He sees a pro in that audiences are more mindful of comedy's power to further harm marginalized people and are demanding different, more thoughtful voices as a result and a con in that audiences don't acknowledge nuance or irony. From a comedy standpoint, it just is what it is.
The Office is available to stream on Netflix.