Though Michael Scott may come across as having no filter or self-awareness, apparently there are some things “The Office” boss won’t do.
A page from the style guide for “The Simpsons” went viral recently, featuring certain things you would never see on the show. So in a recent interview with former “Simpsons” writer and award-winning TV showrunner Greg Daniels, HuffPost asked what things we wouldn’t see on his other shows.
On his new Amazon series “Upload,” a comedy about uploading to a digital afterlife ruled by capitalism, Daniels said you can’t enter the afterlife post-mortem. It’s got to be preemptive. On his other new show “Space Force,” a comedy about the sixth branch of the military that also reunites the former “The Office” showrunner with Steve Carell, he said you probably won’t see the president.
But when it came to “The Office,” one particular dark storyline popped into his mind.
“At one point, the writers pitch the story that Michael ran over Meredith in the parking lot and backed over her as to finish the job,” Daniels said, “Which is a horrible, horrible story. I had to put a stop to that. That’s the first thing that comes to mind.”
Daniels continued, “Michael doing something that is truly evil is not something that we would see on the show. That probably goes for every show. You don’t ever want to take your comedy’s central character and make them a casual murderer.”
In “The Office” Season 4 premiere, “Fun Run,” Michael does hit Meredith with his car in the parking lot, but it’s clearly an accident. No casual murder to see here.
The showrunner also opened up about another dark moment he had previously revealed was cut from the show: Dwight riding a horse off of Niagara Falls at Jim and Pam’s Season 6 wedding.
Daniels recalled, “I had this idea that it would be really funny if Dwight was fascinated by stories of animals that went over Niagara Falls and survived, and that he would try to go over Niagara Falls on a horse during the wedding because the wedding was at Niagara Falls, and then he would chicken out but the horse would go over the falls in the background.”
The joke didn’t go over so well with everyone else.
“There was such an outcry among the cast and crew at the table read, because I brought this to the table read, and I was actually scouting big tanks at Universal. But everybody was like, ‘No, No! Not the wedding! The wedding was the most romantic thing! You can’t ruin it with a horse going over a waterfall.’ Anyway, I finally came to my senses and listened to them. I think it was a good idea,” Daniels said.
The moment was dropped and replaced with the cast imitating a viral video and dancing down the aisle to “Forever.” Actors from the show even recently recreated the dance for a Zoom wedding on John Krasinski’s “Some Good News.”
On finally deciding against the moment, Daniels said, “Sometimes it’s not a democracy, you just go with your gut.”
“Ultimately, with Dwight going over the waterfall, that was the tension that we often had on the show between an urge for comedy and an urge for drama. You have to balance them when you’re doing both tones,” Daniels said. “In that case, I was attracted to the comedy a bit too much, but eventually came to my senses and let the drama play. Then we found another funny thing to do. We found that funny music, dance parody. That started to be an alternative, and it seemed like a much more positive alternative than animal cruelty.”