Steve Carell shocked fans of The Office on Thursday after telling the BBC that next season "will probably be" his last. The quirky NBC "mockumentary" attracts a loyal following largely thanks to Carell's role as Michael Scott, the ego-inflated boss of Dunder Mifflin. It's too early to say if Carell is actually leaving (this could just be a negotiating tactic) but entertainment critics have already begun surmising what The Office might be like without Carell. Brace yourselves, fans: these critics think Carell's exit is a godsend. Here's why:

  • The Office Could Be So Much Better, writes Darren Franich at Entertainment Weekly: "Carell's departure could be the best thing to happen to The Office. It could give next season an added emotional heft, not to mention the sure-to-be-hysterical turf war that could ensue over who gets to take over as head honcho of the Scranton branch. And most of this season has been spent on building up the minor characters (as in the Erin-Andy romance). It's always hard for a show to survive without its star, but talent runs deep in the Office bench."
  • Dwight Would Take Center Stage, writes Drew Magary at NBC Miami: "I could actually see a scenario where a Carell-free 'Office' actually gives the show a boost. Let's face it. The show, as it stands right now, centers on Michael Scott being unrealistically stupid and yet somehow keeping a job he would have never have been hired for to begin with. It gets a little old to see him make faux pas after faux pas. Getting rid of his character means we could make Dwight the show's main focus (he remains the funniest part of the show) and add new, fresh characters. It's an office. There's turnover. Or, at least, there should be."
  • The Show Needs a Plot Shakeup, writes Dan Hopper at Best Week Ever: "I would be intrigued to see where the plot would go without Michael Scott, and to see the plot leading up to him leaving. I've been calling for a major Office plot shakeup for a while (any time something major happens, it dissipates back to normal within a few episodes), and this would give the writers and producers that chance."