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

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)

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  1. Aprilcot says:

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

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

  2. alicia says:

    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!

  3. Karen Buffone says:

    Steve Carell….always a
    Class act!

  4. Carla says:

    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!

    • GottaHaveEmAll says:

      That closing scene with Juliana Marguiles and George Clooney was the best! So unexepected and like you said, all the better because of that.

  5. powerturtle90sdudemon says:

    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)

  6. Lilia says:

    Steve Carrell I knew I liked you! Thanks for making a cameo the best finale to great show!!

  7. Monica242 says:

    It was a perfect appearance. Not too much, just enough. It wouldn’t have been the same without him.

  8. hana says:

    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!)

  9. Josh says:

    Best lie ever.

  10. flutiefan says:

    it was perfect!

  11. King says:

    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.

  12. Tracey says:

    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!

  13. kim says:

    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.

  14. sarah says:

    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!

  15. Lauren says:

    I am so so happy they lied. I actually screamed and then started crying when he appeared. Perfect finale!

  16. Ashly says:

    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.

    • april-ann says:

      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?

  17. tara17 says:

    They all played it perfectly, well done. Overall, one of the most satisfying show finales out there.

  18. april-ann says:

    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.

  19. Christy says:

    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!!!

  20. Pat says:

    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!