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Emmys 2011: Making a Case for Steve Carell

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Sep 15, 2011 | 7:06am EDT

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michael scottEveryone knows Steve Carell is funny. Even if you don’t like the movies he chooses to make (like Date Night or Evan Almighty or Dinner for Schmucks) and you might question his capabilities as a dramatic actor, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that his embodiment of Michael Scott on The Office revolutionized comedic television. So, since we all concur Carell is an immensely talented actor and someone who is very much responsible for making the world a more welcoming place for multidimensional characters to exist (both on TV and in reality), I shouldn’t have to work very hard to convince you that he deserves to win the Emmy for being an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series this year.

Aw, man! I still don’t have you believing he’s the person most worthy of such a terrific honor this year? Alright, well it just so happens I’ve come to this quick draw very much prepared.

Surely you know that my first piece of ammunition in this battle is going to be that since Carell just left the cast of The Office, there really is no better way to thank him for entertaining us than to send him on his way with a nice statue. Carell has been included in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy category and walked away empty handed a total of five times, and the universe will be forever off kilter if his sixth and final nomination doesn’t result in an award. Because without his very own Little Miss Sunshine, he will never be able to look back on the time he spent on television and be proud of it. How could he? Carell has nothing to show for all his efforts! And what do we have? We have Michael Scott quotes printed on t-shirts, mouse pads, set as our screensavers, and as our email accounts' automated replies! Essentially, this man has given us so much more than just an excuse to not join the employee softball team, and it’s pretty much about damn time we thank him for everything.

Another reason Carell deserves an Emmy this year is because of the beautiful way he balanced his character’s obnoxious habits with some completely new and endearing traits. For six years, Michael Scott has always been the guy who took things too far, misread people’s signals, and caused tons of unnecessary drama at Dunder Mifflin. But this season, we saw Michael finally find the love he’d always wanted for himself. This meant that going into the season, Carell had to be careful to express a softening in Michael’s personality WITHOUT completely abandoning the person Michael was originally. In other words, Carell recognized that Michael matured significantly in the show’s seventh season because he finally found the love he’d always dreamed of having in Holly. But he also understood that Holly fell in love with Michael because of how idiosyncratic he was, and wasn’t asking him to change, and so Michael would still retain some of his old habits even though love had finally entered his life -- and Carell beautifully conveyed how it’s possible for love to make someone a better person without entirely changing them. And let’s face it – is there anything better than watching someone who is worthy of love finally receiving it?

So, as you’re all at your Emmy parties drinking and arguing with each other about who should win the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy, just remember that Steve Carell worked really hard to dry your tears when your boyfriend left you, when your brand of lavender body lotion was discontinued, and when you heard that there was going to be a fourth Bourne movie without Matt Damon. He deserves some love now.

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