A rundown of all The Office managers that came after Michael Scott

THE OFFICE -- "Counseling" Episode 702 -- Pictured: Steve Carell as Michael Scott -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
THE OFFICE -- "Counseling" Episode 702 -- Pictured: Steve Carell as Michael Scott -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank /

A look at The Office managers that followed in Michael Scott’s footsteps, and how they each helped turn the show into a fascinating trainwreck.

After Steve Carell hung up his “World’s Best Boss” mug near the end of The Office Season 7, the show never quite managed to find its footing again. Replacement managers were rotated in and out, and the show’s secondary characters became amplified parodies of themselves to help fill in the enormous gap left by Carell’s unmatched comedic presence.

Still, there’s something so fascinatingly watchable about the show in its last two-plus seasons. A peek into a world that had lost its center, and never found a new one.

None of the new characters trotted in to sit in the manager’s office tried to duplicate what Carell did with Michael Scott, though none of them should have. Yet, despite their individual competency as actors, none of their characters are remembered fondly — if at all — when looking back at the show’s nine-season run. Let’s break them down.

Deangelo Vickers

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Having Will Ferrell come in as a replacement manager to soften the gargantuan loss of Steve Carell sounded good on paper. Even their first scene together, where the two of them are oblivious to the fact they’re supposed to meet one another at a hotel bar, is comedy mainlined directly from the heart of Vaudeville.

However, every scene with Ferrell’s Deangelo Vickers steadily got worse and worse. Some of them bordered on uncomfortable, but not in the cringy, awkward Michael Scott sense. More of a “this character was written by a committee” sense. Seriously, Deangelo was all over the place, alternately a brutish, though competent, leader and someone who visited animal shelters to psyche himself up before a sales pitch. It was a weird few episodes.

Farrell’s run on The Office was only intended to have a limited arc, which started the story that turned into a well they’d often return to: the finding of the new manager. After he obtained a head injury playing basketball in the warehouse, the search for his replacement began.

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Creed Bratton

This is really only here as an honorable mention since Creed (Creed Bratton) was briefly given the role of Regional Manager based solely on his seniority. Even though he had long since become a shady, grifting, possibly murderous character, he didn’t make much of an impact during his time in the big chair. Which is probably for the best.

Robert California

For Michael Scott’s first full-time replacement, James Spader vested the role of eccentric millionaire Robert California with his usual calculated creepiness. He was the anti-Michael. Brash and confident, while hiding a sinister undercurrent just below the surface.

Robert, who talked his way into becoming CEO, didn’t necessarily run things any more efficiently, but his lifelong history as a member of the One Percent taught him the corporate savvy to work any situation to his benefit. During his tenure, we saw more of the corporate backstabbing and widespread consequences of his bad decisions. But never once was he humanized, leaving him to be remembered as a weird, out-of-place footnote in the history of The Office.

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Andy Bernard

After Robert was named CEO in place of Jo Bennett (Kathy Bates), who was in charge throughout the last part of Michael Scott’s run, Ed Helms’ Andy Bernard was named Regional Manager.

Andy’s run as manager, which happened over two non-consecutive durations, made Deangelo Vickers seem positively competent by comparison. During his tenure in the first half of Season 8, and again through most of Season 9, Andy went from wholly likable to absolutely detestable, depending on… whatever situation the writers found themselves in, I guess.

To be fair, this was the same time that The Office really started to move away from that whole “you can almost see this happen in real life” vibe for more quotidian sitcom tomfoolery. Still, no single character was so routinely separated from their core characteristics than Andy.

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Nelly Bertram

Catherine Tates’ Nelly Bertram was the closest thing we got to a Michael Scott-type after his departure. She first showed up to interview for the Regional Manager position in the wake of Deangelo’s accident, and was every bit as thoughtless and insensitive as her once-removed predecessor, but also seemed to lack anything to make her remotely relatable.

This was fine when she was first re-introduced as the head of the Sabre Store in Tallahassee, a word-salad-spewing corporate middle-management type who’d only earned her place due to her friendship with Jo Bennett (whose influence on The Office far extended beyond her character’s off-screen departure).

It wasn’t until Nelly was brought back to the Scranton branch by Robert and decided that she’d take over Andy’s job as manager that her caustic behavior became simply irritating. Yet rather than her simply become The Office’s heel, she got some thrown-together sob story that was designed to make her seem more empathetic.

It didn’t, but after her character was slightly mellowed out, she ended up being a not-terrible addition to the Dunder Mifflin office.

Dwight Schrute

As The Office had its eyes on the horizon, Rainn Wilson’s long-suffering (and insufferable) sycophant, Dwight Schrute finally achieved his dream by being made Regional Manager. We saw very little of what the Dwight era actually meant, aside from him granting Jim and Pam (John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, respectively) 13 months of severance pay after the two of them quit Dunder Mifflin to move to Austin.

In the finale, the documentary crew that had chronicled the paper company workers’ lives for the better part of a decade revisited Dunder Mifflin a year later. It turns out, Dwight wasn’t really that bad of a manager, employing morning Tai Chi exercises with his staff. Sure, he fired Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) for incompetence and Toby (Paul Lieberstein) for… well, that was never really explained, but those who stuck around didn’t seem unhappy with their work environment.

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Still, all considering, Dwight was made out to be the best Regional Manager of the post-Michael Scott era — and possibly in the history of that company. Although we’ll never know how Jim Carrey’s Fingerlakes-obsessed character would have faired had he gotten the job. He should’ve at least gotten a second interview, Jim.

Who was your favorite manager in The Office after Michael Scott’s exit? Share in the comments below.