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The Transformation Of Steve Carell From The Office To Now

Between 2005 and 2011, few characters conjured up as much love (or as much annoyance) as Michael Scott, the chronically socially-unaware boss from NBC's genre-defining office sitcom, "The Office." The series was an unprecedented success and Scott's character, played by Steve Carell, played a major role in its now-iconic status. Prior to the show's debut in 2005, Carell had made a name for himself as a frequent correspondent on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and in films like "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" (via IMDb). As "The Office" grew in popularity, however, so too did Carell.

Carell would eventually leave "The Office" in 2011, continuing his career in film and TV comedy to this day. Over those years, Carell's career has undergone some major transformations. He has starred in, written for, and created entire shows, and his popularity in films gives no indication of waning. If anything, one could argue that Carell has become more successful with time.

The Office years were filled with success for Carell

You probably don't need us to tell you this, but the years covering Steve Carell's time as Michael Scott in "The Office" were punctuated with success after success. Aside from "The Office" itself, Carell appeared in a slew of films successful enough to swiftly make him a household name. The same year that "The Office" debuted, he co-wrote and played the lead role in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," elevating his film career from one of the side characters such as his roles in "Anchorman" and "Bruce Almighty," to that of a leading man (via IMDb).

Over the next few years, Carell followed up "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" with multiple other hits. He began lending his voice to animated films, most notably as Gru, the anti-hero of the now-titanic "Despicable Me" franchise. You can also catch Carell's voice in films like "Over the Hedge" and the 2008 version of "Horton Hears a Who."

However, Carell never fully abandoned the limelight of live action. The late 2000s and early 2010s saw Carell firing a fully-automatic hail of live-action comedies like "Evan Almighty," "Get Smart," "Dinner for Schmucks, and "Crazy, Stupid, Love." In these few short years, Carell had become one of the biggest comedy actors in the world, and he wasn't slowing down anytime soon (via The Numbers).

Carell's Hollywood hot streak continued

It goes without saying that nobody expected Steve Carell's career to fall off just because he left "The Office." Like many of his "Office" cohorts, Carell was big, and he was going to continue being big for a long time. That being said, departing the series was still tough for Carell and his co-stars. In the podcast "An Oral History of The Office," Carell described the week-long process of filming his final episode as "fraught with emotion and joy and sadness and nostalgia. But it was also really beautiful because it did allow me to have a kind of finality with everybody."

But the prospect of leaving one of his greatest accomplishments behind didn't deter Carell from killing it in theaters. He, of course, continued to crush out comedies left and right, continuing the "Despicable Me" franchise and returning to one of his most beloved roles as Brick Tamland in "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues." However, Carell also began venturing into more dramatic roles with films like "The Way, Way Back" and "The Big Short." In 2015, he received an Oscar nomination for his role as John du Pont in the sports drama film, "Foxcatcher" (via IMDb).

Carell made a fake police procedural with his wife

Steve Carell's post-"Office" career delivered no shortage of box office bangers. That being said, for many years his resumé was woefully light on television series. Aside from some occasional cameos — most notably in "Saturday Night Live," "The Simpsons," and "Pawn Stars" — Carell made no moves in the TV industry until 2016, when he co-created the comedy crime procedural "Angie Tribeca" with his wife, Nancy Walls Carell (via IMDb).

"Angie Tribeca" saw the titular straight-laced detective (Rashida Jones) come face-to-face with all manner of absurd rabble while attempting to solve cases. "The fewer people who find this show funny, the better," Steve Carell joked about the series in an interview with Access Hollywood. He noted that he and Nancy inadvertently devised the show based on a personal in-joke surrounding the name Tribeca. "We weren't pitching an idea, we were just making each other laugh with the name," he continued. "And then we started building her hobbies, and her world, and who she is. And then we thought 'maybe we should just write some of this stuff down.'"

From its innocuous beginnings, "Angie Tribeca" ran for a full four seasons before TBS eventually canceled it in 2019 (via Deadline). However, there wasn't too much time to mourn the loss of Steve and Nancy Carell's pet project, because the former of the comedic couple would soon have his plate full with more successful television series.

He earned an Emmy nomination for The Morning Show

Steve Carell's next big TV show came in 2019 with "The Morning Show." Reaching back into his roots with "The Daily Show" and "Evan Almighty," Carell once again portrayed a TV talk show personality. In this case, he was Mitch Kessler, the ex-co-host of the titular fictional morning talk show, "The Morning Show." He is unceremoniously fired after being at the center of a sexual misconduct scandal.

Mitch goes through quite the character arc across the show's current two seasons, suffering a complete personal and professional breakdown. Much of the series centers around the moral conundrums of his situation, what kind of punishment he deserves, and whether or not his actions are doomed to define him. It was a compelling question that will, at least for the time being, go unanswered thanks to Mitch's sudden death in the finale of Season 2 (via Variety).

Unresolved character arcs aside, Carell had a standout role in Mitch. It's no easy task making a workplace sex offender have a sympathetic side, and his relative success in this area earned him an Emmy nomination in 2020 (via IMDb). Aside from "The Office," "The Morning Show" is the only series for which Carell has received an Emmy nomination.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Steve Carell was the shining star of Space Force

Steve Carell's next, and most recent, major character is decidedly less hateable than Mitch Kessler. Unfortunately for him, though, General Mark Naird — the protagonist of Carell's political parody series "Space Force" — is no less hated by his superiors at the Pentagon. The beginning of Season 2 of the series saw Naird get put on trial for disobeying orders, though Carell's character eventually manages to win back his position, and he spends the rest of Season 2 just trying to get the military branch off the ground.

That being said, the end of Season 2 spells excitement for "Space Force," and by extension Carell's future. With multiple projects on the horizon including two forthcoming "Despicable Me" movies (via IMDb), Carell's fans have plenty more in store. Now, over 15 years since his time on "The Office," Carell shows no signs of slowing down.