Steve Carell Admits His Office Finale Sin: 'I Lied'

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Steve Carell The Office FinaleMichael Scott’s involvement in The Office finale’s “best prank ever” was such a success because no one knew it was coming. And for that to happen, returning star Steve Carell says, he had to flat-out fib.

A lot.

“I lied,” Carell tells TVLine. “I lied for months to the press, to almost everyone, really. And I felt terribly for the cast and for [executive producer] Greg Daniels, because they all lied, too.”

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The actor, who can next be heard in the animated film Despicable Me 2, knew “several months” beforehand that the World’s Best Boss would make an appearance in the series’ swan song but kept mum “because we just figured it would be a fun surprise if people weren’t expecting it.”

In the weeks leading up to the NBC comedy’s goodbye, which aired in May, everyone connected to the show denied the existence of a Carell cameo. On a conference call with reporters, Daniels chose his words carefully as he said, “I think Steve felt, and I agree, that the ‘Goodbye, Michael’ episode was his goodbye and he didn’t want to overshadow the ending that all the other characters deserved.” (Nevertheless, we had an inkling Carell would be back.)

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Carell concurs that he did, indeed, want to avoid being the center of attention as the workplace sitcom rode into the sunset.

“I didn’t want it to be a big thing. I did it out of respect for the show and for the actors,” he says. “My only hope with it was I didn’t want it to be about Michael coming back. I didn’t want the story to be about him in any way. I wanted it to be more of a tip of the hat to the show.” (With reporting by Scott Huver)

Comments (35)

  • “Michael, I can’t believe you came!”
    “That’s what she said!”

    I knew it was coming, and I still cried like a baby. :)

    Comment by Aprilcot – June 18, 2013 08:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I did, too! I flat-out started bawling like a little girl. :p

      Comment by Lisa – June 18, 2013 08:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Best moment! Glad they kept it mum like this.

      Comment by Esaul – June 18, 2013 08:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Me too! I sobbed and sobbed!

      Comment by Archie – June 18, 2013 08:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • crying over that??? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Comment by Stinky Feet Lover – June 18, 2013 09:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • HAHAH I was just gonna say the same thing… Crying because Steve Carrell came back to The Office for five minutes?!? Everyone has their things, but yikes. #firstworldproblems x infinity.

        Comment by – June 18, 2013 05:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Good grief, let us enjoy our t.v. show. This IS our escape from real world problems! I pray for people like you. I hope you find a smile and stop taking yourself so seriously.

          Comment by geewhiz – February 21, 2014 03:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Me too it was the best moment in the whole finale

      Comment by newinkpop – June 18, 2013 10:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Agreed! It was so perfect-less than 5 minutes of dialogue but his cameo was funny, poignant, w/o taking the entire spotlight of Dwight’s big day. It was the perfect wrap-up for Michael Scott and the show.

        Comment by Elly – June 18, 2013 10:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I know

          Comment by newinkpop – June 19, 2013 10:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • This was a great ending to the best show.

          but about Not taking the spot light… I think it also shows that Micheal has grown up. He Doesn’t HAVE to have that attention anymore because he has all the attention he needs at home with holly and his kids. Wonderful to see him doing well.

          Comment by Chris – November 7, 2013 11:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I figured that he would have a small role in the finale. But I just lost it when they panned over to him. A great finale to the greatest show ever!

    Comment by alicia – June 18, 2013 08:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Steve Carell….always a
    Class act!

    Comment by Karen Buffone – June 18, 2013 08:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can’t say that I blame them for lying. These days you have to go on an all-out media blackout to avoid getting spoiled, so it’s nice when a show can give the fans a nice surprise. I remember years ago when Julianna Marguiles left ER and her final episode had that short shot of her reuniting with George Clooney in the closing scene. No one knew it was coming, and it was awesome!

    Comment by Carla – June 18, 2013 08:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That closing scene with Juliana Marguiles and George Clooney was the best! So unexepected and like you said, all the better because of that.

      Comment by GottaHaveEmAll – June 18, 2013 10:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • And it surely worked. We knew he was coming, but when exactly he did it sure was a surprise. And if people were complaining “WHY WASNT HE AT THE OFFICE PARTY/GET-TOGETHER AFTER??” The answer shouldve been obvious but it’s pointed out here (and justified in-story in that Michael had to get home)

    Comment by powerturtle90sdudemon – June 18, 2013 08:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Steve Carrell I knew I liked you! Thanks for making a cameo the best finale to great show!!

    Comment by Lilia – June 18, 2013 08:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was a perfect appearance. Not too much, just enough. It wouldn’t have been the same without him.

    Comment by Monica242 – June 18, 2013 10:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • When Michael casually mentioned his kids, I totally lost it. Possibly the only time a TV show has ever made me actually cry! (Michael always dreamed of kids and his dream came true!)

    Comment by hana – June 18, 2013 10:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Best lie ever.

    Comment by Josh – June 18, 2013 10:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • it was perfect!

    Comment by flutiefan – June 18, 2013 10:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Would have been better if TV Line didn’t spoil it! The headline said it all so even if one didn’t open the article. Yes I was kind of expecting him to appear but I wanted it to be a surprise. Steve Carell is classy. TV LIne is classless.

    Comment by King – June 18, 2013 11:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I mean I was hoping he would appear.

      Comment by King – June 18, 2013 11:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Honestly, I wish that TVLINE hadn’t spoiled it either. I think that moment would have been so much better if I didn’t know it was coming.

      Comment by ER – June 18, 2013 12:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

        Comment by JB Smooove – June 18, 2013 10:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well played Daniels & Carell! Keeping it a secret made that moment a true Michael moment! I admit I cried and screamed for joy when Michael appeared! Loved it!

    Comment by Tracey – June 18, 2013 12:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Now if only your site hadn’t spoiled it (in the headlined) and ruined the surprise. . .

    There is spoilers, and there is just ruining the fun.

    Comment by kim – June 18, 2013 02:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Never for one moment did I believe it when he and everyone denied his return. There was no way Michael Scott would not come back!

    Comment by sarah – June 18, 2013 02:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am so so happy they lied. I actually screamed and then started crying when he appeared. Perfect finale!

    Comment by Lauren – June 18, 2013 03:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How much I hated Michael Scott at the beginning of the show is how much I love Steve Carrell. He’s such a class act and so versatile. I hope he returns to TV sometime in the future.

    Comment by Ashly – June 18, 2013 03:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Same here! It’s like you read my mind. I’d love to see him back on tv, but I’m thinking it’s really films he wants to do now. I think he’s perfect for tv, if given the perfect show. Can it happen twice?

      Comment by april-ann – June 18, 2013 05:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They all played it perfectly, well done. Overall, one of the most satisfying show finales out there.

    Comment by tara17 – June 18, 2013 04:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m glad they lied! What a wonderful surprise. I feel like a bit of a hypocrite though, lol. I have to admit I tried hard to get spoiled about it, read every article here alluding to an appearance by him in the finale hoping to find out if it was going to happen. I love spoilers, they never ruin anything for me and yet I loved the surprise of it all. I guess in some cases not knowing ahead of time is a good thing. Can you imagine if fans of Newhart knew THAT ending beforehand? When Bob (not Dick) woke up with Emily (not Joanna) in Bob and Emily’s bed? And Bob told Emily about his dream: …I was married to this gorgeous blond who wore tight sweaters every day…. LOL. And “that’s what she said” is right up there as far as finale surprises go.

    Comment by april-ann – June 18, 2013 05:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Everyone said I was crazy because I was totally convinced he would be there. I screamed SO loud when he appeared. And it was perfect. Just enough of him but not overshadowing in any way. Oh and he has kids!!!!! YAY!!!

    Comment by Christy – June 18, 2013 05:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What I loved about the last few episodes of the Office is that I flashed back to the early seasons where i would love to watch certain episodes over and over enjoying the nuances of the story and characters and the outstanding acting. And I have now rewatched those last episodes several times and feel lucky to revisit that great feeling of being genuinely entertained and engaged. So I truly appreciate all the effort Steve, Gregg and team put in to make this experience so special for fans. It wasn’t lying…it was staging the finale for all of us!

    Comment by Pat – June 19, 2013 06:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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