Even though it dare not yet speak its name, we already know that NBC will try to spin-off former midseason replacement The Office, which aired the second new episode of its interrupted fourth season last night. What we don't know is who, if any, of the original cast members will be moving to the new venture. Executive producer Greg Daniels has already said that Dwight "I'm Not Going To Call Her" Schrute won't be coming along, and Steve Carrell seems sure to stay put as well. There is the possibility that they could create an entirely new group of characters since the show's comic formula is so solid, but why not take a chance with two co-workers whose journey seems to have reached an end? Letting two of the show's most popular figures leave the show would be a big risk, but stay with me here. What more can Jim and Pam accomplish in Scranton when even Michael has to ask, "Is that still going on?" Greg Daniels, if you really love Jim and Pam, set them free. If they come back, it's because the original show foundered without them. My reasoning after the jump.
A happy couple on The Office is an internationally groundbreaking development. The British show ended the moment that their Jim and Pam got together, and for good reason: a major point of their romance was that it would allow both of them to leave Slough for greener pastures. While Jim's admission that he bought an engagement ring for Beasley the week after they started dating creeped me out, what the show lost in romantic tension, it gained back in overt revulsion of their coworkers towards the new union. The show amazingly still works without the major storyline of the first three seasons.
To succeed, the new show is going to need a strong dose of star power. With rising profiles outside the show, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer could even expand the show's audience for a spin-off. Jim and Pam away from The Office would also mean that they can introduce the next important storyline for the couple without it appearing forced. I speak of a second love interest for Jim Halpert. After all, Pam already made a big leap. Wouldn't it be fascinating for Jim to, eventually, be forced to consider if he still wants what he's been pining for all along?
While we'd love to see Rashida Jones rescued from the pit of depravity that is her Fox sitcom Unhitched, this may be an opportunity to make a new star/evil villain out of a talented comic actress that can play foil to Fischer's Pam. 24's Mary-Lynn Rajskub? A slumming Claire Danes? In any case, this idea beats the vicious rumor that Amanda Peet may be the star of the new show. List your idea for the seminal spin-off below, and the best one will receive a laudatory e-mail commending you for being such a genius.