We have written at length about Steve Carell’s final days, weeks, and hours on The Office, about the real reason why he left, and about what Jenna Fischer — as Pam — said to Steve Carell as Michael Scott in their final scene together.
It was a hugely emotional final week for Steve Carell, who — in the final episode — arranged it so that Michael Scott had an opportunity to say goodbye individually to every character, which allowed Carell to say goodbye individually to all the cast members. While that took viewers only one episode to experience, it took Steve Carell an entire week of emotional torture, as he told Brian Baumgartner in this week’s episode of An Oral History of ‘The Office’.
“It was almost more than I bargained for…I had [goodbye] scenes with everyone in the cast and it was emotional torture… it was like just fraught with emotion and, and joy and sadness and nostalgia. But it was also really beautiful. I’d like treasure just doing that episode because it did allow me to kind of have a finality with everybody.”
One thing that An Oral History of ‘The Office touched on and that Andy Green expanded upon in The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History was the extraordinary honor bestowed upon Carell by the cast and crew after he left.
To understand the honor, however, it’s helpful to know that a “call sheet” is a document sent out to the cast and crew that outlines where they need to be for the following shoot day. Each actor is assigned a number on the call sheet that corresponds with their stature on the show, so Steve Carell was obviously #1 on the call sheet.
When he left, that did not change.
“We decided that we were not killing off Michael Scott,” line producer Randy Cordray said in Green’s book. “He was merely moving to Boulder with Holly, so we decided to retire the number one designation on the call sheet.
“Steve, we will never forget you,” Cordray told him during his farewell party. “And we’re hoping that you’ll never forget us. This is a small token of our affection toward you. We are retiring your number on the call sheet. It will never be used by anyone other than Steve Carell from this day forward on The Office.“
Cordray then revealed a hockey jersey the entire cast and crew had signed. “From now on until the day you return” Corday stated, “all of our call sheets will begin with the #2. And that had never been done, as far as I know, in the history of Hollywood.”
That was also the moment during the farewell party when Oscar Nunez had to sneak behind a wall to cry because he became so overwhelmed with emotion, as he said on The Oral History of ‘The Office.’
For those who are curious, Rainn Wilson — not John Krasinski or Jenna Fischer, surprisingly — was #2 on the call sheet.
Sources: The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s and An Oral History of ‘The Office’.