The Office began as a humble remake of the British sitcom created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. It initially seemed unlikely that the show would survive an American remake, but the unlikely happened and then some. An American talent agent, Ben Silverman, saw the show while in England, and in 2005, he sold the format to NBC. The show found its footing with an amazing team of writers, including Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak. The cast was equally remarkable, with some serious comedic power coming from Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, and Jenna Fischer.
Because they couldn't last forever, the glory days of The Office came to an end when Michael Scott, played by Carell, left the show before the end of the seventh season. The gaping hole left by the loss of the character was quickly filled by James Spader. However, it soon became painfully clear that his character, Robert California, did not belong in Scranton. Considering the fact that Spader was replacing the world's best boss, he was probably always doomed to fail.
The book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History by Andy Greene shared how appealing Spader seemed as the show searched for Carell's replacement. Greene explained,
"He played the Robert California character as a suave, cocksure mystery man, almost as if Don Draper from Mad Men had an evil twin. Even critics who felt The Office had jumped the shark by that point were impressed."
Writer Daniel Chun told the book's author that Spader got cast because he seemed to offer a new kind of energy to the show. He explained,
"I remember us being really sort of taken by the energy that he brought that was just so different than anyone else's energy on the show. And I think we felt like there's something very interesting about this really really specific, strange character. We were kind of drawn to exploring that a little bit more."
Sadly, Spader's unusual energy reportedly didn't vibe well with the rest of the cast and crew. Spader's character, Robert California, was introduced in the Season 7 finale of The Office, but it was apparently obvious to everyone else around that he wasn't the right choice. Keep watching the video to see why James Spader wasn't popular on the set of The Office.
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