- Associated Press - Thursday, April 28, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Scranton regional manager Michael Scott has left “The Office,” as long promised, in a fond farewell for the actor who played him, series star Steve Carell.

Carell is leaving the NBC comedy after seven seasons to concentrate on films. But his character left Dunder Mifflin paper supply company after 19 rollicking, unbusiness-like years, bound for Colorado to start a new life with his fiancee, Holly.

On the episode airing Thursday night, the show’s full cast of office workers was properly emotional at Michael’s departure. This even included Michael’s problematic successor, played by guest star Will Ferrell in the third of a four-episode story arc.

NBC has not announced who will permanently fill the large void Carell leaves in the series, which has been renewed for next season. The guessing game has been fueled by news that guest stars in this season’s remaining episodes include Jim Carrey, James Spader, Will Arnett and Ray Romano, as well as Ricky Gervais, a creator and star of the original British version.

The extended farewell episode depicted Michael’s final workday, which he spent in a bittersweet, often bumbling separation process. Michael _ who is inept, inappropriate and forever seeking love and laughs from his employees _ wrestled with the gravity of his decision to leave.

He was caught short by a bookkeeping question: Where did he want his last paycheck to be mailed?

“Last paycheck,” he murmured, as if the very idea were foreign to him.

In the break room, he drank in the mundane conversation between his soon-to-be-former colleagues.

“I’m going to Carbondale this afternoon to get a new bulk shredder,” said Pam (Jenna Fischer).

“Finally!” said Kevin (Brian Baumgartner). “That old shredder sucked.”

“It’s a good shredder,” Pam said. “It just kept breaking.”

In a full demonstration of Carell’s skill at bringing humanity to this quirky role, Michael’s eyes reddened as he listened.

“I can’t do this,” Michael said a moment later, addressing the camera that captures the action on the series, which is filmed in a make-believe documentary style.

“All the channels are going to be different there,” he said, choking up at the monumental challenges awaiting him in Colorado. “I’m not going to be able to find my shows.”

But Michael wasn’t about to give in to his fears _ or let anybody else give in to theirs.

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