He exits NBC's The Office April 28 in a special 50-minute farewell
I was afraid The Office would be a disaster when it premiered in 2005. What American could match Ricky Gervais' brilliant performance in the British original? And yet Steve Carell, as paper-company manager Michael Scott, created a different kind of jerk from Gervais' wormy David Brent. Carell's joke-addicted man-child kept getting tripped up by his own thoughtlessness-he started a college fund for local students without putting money in it-but there was a basic, blinking innocence. He looked like a penguin hoping to be invited to a black-tie event. What was appealing was the sense he might even grow up (a little). And he did, falling for his equal in twerpdom, colleague Holly (Amy Ryan). Michael Scott, redeemed by love. Who'd have imagined it?
FOX, Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT
This sitcom has the high-tech antics of Chuck and the misfit camaraderie of Community-not bad, but no breakthrough. Reaper's Bret Harrison is the newbie hacker at a firm that specializes in testing clients' elaborate security systems. He's a good comic actor, suggesting both gray matter and naive stupidity. Christian Slater, as his boss, is the problem: You can imagine the guy played as a sleaze, an eccentric or a terror. But a benign Ari Gold just doesn't work.
PHYLLIS' WEDDING, SEASON 3
Michael at his worst, freaking after being upstaged by an old man in a wheelchair.
MICHAEL SCOTT PAPER COMPANY, SEASON 5
Michael quits and sets up shop in his own pathetic little office.
GARAGE SALE, SEASON 7
Michael sweetly proposes to Holly amid candles-and sets off fire-alarm sprinklers.
1 BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD
SUN. APRIL 24 9 P.M.
Emily VanCamp plays a young teacher of homeless kids.
SUN. APRIL 24 10 P.M.
Wendell Pierce is back as a trombonist in post-Katrina New Orleans. Season debut.
TUES. APRIL 26 8 P.M.
Dianna Agron has prom ambitions and Lady Gaga provides the hits. I'm screaming.
4 THE VOICE
TUES. APRIL 26 9 P.M.
is a coach (so's Cee Lo Green!) in a new singing competition.
5 THE ROYAL WEDDING
FRI. APRIL 29
CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS
Coverage will gear up early for the formal event at 6 a.m. ET.
MEANEST. MOM. EVER.
YOU POISONED A MAN AND BROKE YOUR SON'S HAND WITH A HAMMER. HOW ARE YOU SO MEAN ONSCREEN?
It comes very easily to me, even though I don't think I'm mean at all. My second-grade teacher told my mother I was the sweetest child she'd ever had.
IS YOUR FAMILY SCARED OF YOU NOW?
My husband, Bill, thinks I'm hilarious in this part. After the hammer scene, he called me and said, "I can't stop laughing. That's the funniest thing I've ever seen!"
NERVOUS ABOUT TURNING 60 THIS JULY?
No, I'm excited. I've been playing 60 all my life-and now I really get to do it!