Since the departure of star Steve Carell and his hilariously off-putting character Michael Scott, The Office has struggled to placate critics and retain viewers. Can the NBC sitcom stand to lose Rainn Wilson too? According to Deadline, NBC is planning to develop a spinoff centered on Wilson's character, Dwight Schrute, the quirky, egomaniacal assistant who is also a beet farmer, a fount of bear trivia, and a Battlestar Galactica aficionado. The series, proposed to debut mid-season in 2013, would reportedly focus on Dwight's gig as the proprietor of a bed-and-breakfast on his family's beet farm. "A terrible idea," says at least one critic. But fans are hopefully referencing Frasier, which successfully spun off Kelsey Grammer's Cheers character. Could this possibly work?
No way: Overbearing oddball Dwight is a spectacular supporting character, says James Poniewozik at TIME. "Emphasis on supporting." A Dwight-centric spinoff would have to rein in his cartoonishness dramatically. And if the Office storylines to date involving Schrute Farms and Dwight's family are any indication, that's not in the cards. I'll pass: "Just because ketchup is delicious on a hamburger does not mean I want to eat a bowl of it."
"For the love of beets: Are you ready for an Office spinoff about Dwight?"
Not so fast: There's no reason why this wouldn't work, says Kelly West at Cinema Blend. Not only is Dwight "still one of the best characters" on The Office, but, if you ask me, his shenanigans on the beet farm are reliably hilarious. Based on the anecdotes Dwight has shared about Schrute family life, the potential to build a quality sitcom around this curious clan is strong. One caveat: It may be too late. This spinoff "might have hit it big a couple of years back when The Office was in its prime."
"Is The Office's Dwight Schrute getting his own spinoff series?"
It's all in the execution: Yes, there's potential, says Aly Semigran at Entertainment Weekly. Weekly doses of Dwight might admittedly be hard to handle, but Schrute Farms is "home to the greatest, weirdest moments in the [The Office's] history." The episode in which Jim and Pam visit the bed-and-breakfast and are at once "amused and horrified" by the strange place and Dwight's bizarre behavior was a standout. "So perhaps it would be in a spinoff's best interest to present each episode from the perspective of the guests," and mine the comedy from their reactions instead of from the Schrute family's absurd behavior.
"The Office Dwight spinoff: Amish you were here?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
- In defense of Obama's golfing
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
Subscribe to the Week