It seems all but confirmed at this point: Rainn Wilson will likely anchor an Office spinoff in 2013 that centers around his character, Dwight Schrute, and other family members behind Schrute Farms.
A brilliant idea destined to last for several more seasons, akin to Frasier? Or an abysmal idea that makes Joey look like Emmy bait? TV Fanatic staff members Matt Richenthal, Dan Forcella and Steve Marsi are here to debate this question, along with others related to the aging NBC sitcom...
A spinoff for Dwight: A Frasier-like good idea or a Joey-like awful idea?
Matt: It's far closer to Joey and here's why: Dwight Schrute is pretty much a cartoon. The guy is hilarious, don't get me wrong, but he's not exactly a layered, realistic individual. He's a mostly one-note character and, while The Office has gotten incredible mileage out of that note, it's very hard to imagine an entire show built around his strange interest and unusual mannerisms.
Dan: I don't think it's all that good of an idea, mostly because we have seen eight seasons of Dwight as a main character. Spinoff's work best when taking a character who has had little to do on one show, and giving them more to do on their own. On the other hand, he is one of the only people still getting consistent laughs on The Office, so making him the focal point of a new series can't be that bad of an idea.
Steve: Let me state right off the bat that I am an unabashed Dwight fan. He made the show for me while it found its footing in the first 2-3 seasons. I almost bought a Schrute Farms t-shirt at the NBC Universal gift shop (I settled on Mouse Rat). The guy rules. That said, I agree with Dan and Matt, for his phrasing of this question. Frasier was well enough known on Cheers that fans liked and would care about him after he left Boston, but he was far from a main character. As such, his life story had plenty of room to grow comedically, and did it ever.
For seven-plus seasons of The Office, Dwight has been close to the main character ... assistant TO the main character if you will. Already, The Office is losing traction after an incredible run, and all the little things that make Dwight so funny would, by necessity, become overexposed and tiresome in a Dwight-centered sitcom.
Come up with a name for the spinoff.
Matt: You Dwight Up My Life? Schrute of the Loom? Dwight Supremacy? Really, the pun-worthy titles are the only reason to go forward with this.
Dan: Bears, Beats, Battlestar Galactica.
Steve: Depends on the plot. If the focal point is Schrute Farms, call it The Beet Goes On. If Dwight and Mose are building homes in the Amish country... Schrutes and Ladders.
Which character would you most want to see in a spinoff?
Matt: Kevin. Sick of all the mockery at work, he quits to focus full-time on Scrantonicity, eventually getting a big break when a record executive mistakes him for a mentally-challenged drummer and gives the band a sympathy contract.
Dan: You never said current character, so the spinoff to see would have to be Michael and Holly in Colorado. I imagine those two are having the times of their lives out there, doing improv, using robot voices and PDAing all over the place!
Steve: Andy. There needs to be a home for Ed Helms' musical talents and Cornell name-dropping. Plus, it's not like he's tied to that area or company like some of the Scranton lifers. How great would it be if he fell out of favor at the paper company and answered an online ad for a political campaign assistant ... in Pawnee, Indiana?
Give this season of The Office a grade.
Matt: I'm going all the way down to a D. Robert California has been a complete whiff and Andy is mostly a less funny version of Michael Scott, desperate for his underlings' love, yet in a more pathetic, less occasionally racist way. Only Jim's pranks, Ryan's attachment to his phone and Kevin's Kevinness (Kevinocity?) keep me going.
Dan: The season continues to have its issues, while hitting a few great jokes every week. I'll give it a B- overall.
Steve: Try as it may, the comic cohesiveness Dunder-Mifflin gang has come unglued slightly in Carell's absence, and simply from lasting longer than 95 percent of shows could dream of. It gets a C+ by Office standards, but given the loftiness of those very standards, remains quite watchable.
Your turn, readers. Would you watch a Dwight Schrute spinoff?