Yesterday, good news broke that the brilliant and SuperGenius actor James Spader will be taking a major role on The Office to help replace the “loss” of the awful Steve Carell. Carell played a bully role into a miasmatic “We’ll Miss You Forever, Michael!” character — destroying all the rotten goodness of the entire premise of the show. With Spader in tow, the show can finally revert to its original needles and pins premise of working for a slightly creepy wacko.
Spader’s Robert California, self-assured and sexually charged, made a brief appearance in the series’ May finale. Kathy Bates played the company’s CEO last season and had a small presence on the show, but Spader’s character will have a more full-time role.
The hire adds a new face to the mix following the departure of Steve Carell, who played everyone’s favorite boob of a boss Michael Scott for seven seasons.
When Spader made his appearance on the The Office, he was magical and whimsical. He was not of The Office world and that was incredibly refreshing. Spader, a talented actor stuck behind a pretty face for too many years, has now appropriately aged into his talent and we can all see the depth of his talent reservoir. Spader can drown us, and the entire Office cast, with his watershed ability.
What we now must hope for is that The Office producers are able to keep alive Spader’s creepy edge. Don’t allow the character to devolve into a Michael Scott “Love Me, Mommy!” caricature. Let Spader plumb his depths and continue to surprise us. Do not give us another, “Oh, what a great guy he turned out to be in the end” sort of character arc. We learned our lesson watching Steve Carell for seven years, and we don’t even want to lightly tread down that dark path again.