VIDEO: Will Farrell's 'Office' Debut Gets Mixed Reviews
When Steve Carell announced earlier this year that he would be leaving the NBC sitcom The Office, the sad news was only mitigated by word that comedy superstar Will Ferrell would appear in Carell's four final episodes. Last night was the premiere episode of Ferrell’s character Deangelo Vickers, who is set to replace Carell's character Michael Scott as the boss at Dunder Mifflin. Hype surrounding the episode was huge. Ferrell and Carell have previously teamed up together in the hit comedy Anchorman.
The episode, entitled “Training Day,” depicts Deangelo meeting the Dunder Mifflin staff, with the whole crew trying to impress him. Jim and Pam show him pictures of their baby CeCe. Andy, having been labeled the funny guy, tries to make Deangelo laugh continually. This, of course, leads to Michael getting a little jealous of his successor.
Reviews of the episode were decidedly mixed, however. Time magazine called Ferrell’s guest appearance “disappointing,” adding that the “problem was not so much with Ferrell himself as with Deangelo Vickers, whose name is by far the best thing about the character.”
Observes the AVClub.com: “Deangelo Vickers does not feel like a human being. Everything we learn about him becomes an excuse for a particular plot point.” The review goes further to say that “normally rational characters (like Jim and Pam) and normally passive characters (like Darryl) are turned into blubbering idiots for the sake of mostly cheap humor.”
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Despite these lukewarm reviews, ratings for this seventh season episode were up 15% over the last original episode (“Garage Sale” which aired on March 24). The Office was NBC’s top-rated program on Thursday night, beating 30 Rock, Community and the new Paul Reiser Show.
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Nobody thought anybody could play the Office boss as good as Ricky Gervais when Steve Carell first appeared on the American version of the show. At this point he is associated with the role possibly even more than Gervais is to David Brent. I think Farrell will be a fine replacement. It took Carell and the crew almost a year to be comfortable in their adaptation.