Steve Carell said in a new profile that his NBC comedy The Office would probably not “fly now” because of the “very high awareness of offensive things today.”
Carell starred for seven seasons on the show as Michael Scott, whose inappropriate antics as regional manager at a fictional paper company often drove the plot. He received six consecutive Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for the iconic role.
Speaking with Esquire in a remark flagged by The Federalist, Carell noted the point of the show was Scott wasn’t supposed to be admired—at times his character is so clueless, self-effacing and awkward he is pitiable—but he didn’t know if that sort of comedy “would fly now” in a more hypersensitive era.
“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. 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.”
“The climate’s different,” he went on. “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.”
In addition to playing Scott, Carell was best known earlier in his career for comedy movies like Anchorman, The Forty-Year-Old Virgin, and Crazy, Stupid, Love, but he’s moved more toward drama since leaving The Office. He will portray former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld this fall in the Dick Cheney biopic Vice.