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The Office probably should have ended after Steve Carell departed the show in season seven. But it lasted for two more seasons — and if NBC had its way, there would have been two more after that. The contracts for much of the cast were up, though, and there would have been a distracting turnover (writers Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak, among others, had already departed for other projects).
In their upcoming book, The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office From Two Best Friends Who Were There, co-stars (and podcast buddies) Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey discuss the decision that led to the show ending after season nine.
“I obviously can’t speak for [producer Greg Daniels], but I know… [there] was a very thoughtful decision of, well, what is the show without possibly the core cast?” Kinsey told Entertainment Weekly. Fischer added, “I think it really points to the collaborative bond and trust that we all had as a creative collective, that Greg even made us a part of this conversation the way he did. And that we had the kind of trust between us that we could all talk about this really openly and come to a decision that we all felt really good about.”
The idea of continuing The Office without, say, Jim or Dwight would have “felt sad and wrong,” Fischer said. (The final season could have used way less Andy and Nellie, however.) Kinsey agreed. “It felt wrong. It felt wrong and like it would just ruin [The Office] world to slowly make up excuses of why people are leaving. One of the things I loved and we all got excited about was being able to know what the end was.”
Fortunately, while seasons eight and nine aren’t up to the standard of previous The Office seasons, the finale is pretty good. Although if you want to stop watching after “Goodbye, Michael,” that works, too.