The Office certainly went through its fair share of ups and downs over the course of nine seasons, but most would agree that it was never really the same after Steve Carell exited in season seven. Even if you couldn’t stand Michael Scott’s cringe-worthy behavior — Scott’s Tots still makes me want to break out in hives — Carell’s performance was without a doubt the magnetic center of the show.
Still, before he rode off into the sunset and away from Scranton with the love of his life, Holly, Michael Scott managed to cram in one last moment with Jenna Fischer’s Pam. The former receptionist had stuck by his side through some truly weird shit, and they pulled off some of the most poignant moments of the series together (oh, you were too cool to cry when Michael was the only one who showed up at her first art show?). Their goodbye at the airport remains a quietly beautiful moment, and it felt right that we weren’t privy to what was said between the two.
Jenna Fischer explained on Instagram Live this week what she said to Carell in this final minutes:
“That was me talking to Steve. I told him all the ways I was going to miss him when he left our show. Those were real tears and a real goodbye. That was a really emotional scene.”
While that really is a lovely thought, I almost wish that I didn’t know. When every single bit of pop culture is fully explained by the people who made it, I miss that little bit of mystery. Knowing feels like I’m intruding on a personal moment. People may disagree with me, and it was certainly Fischer’s prerogative to share this information, but it’s just another bit of information to chip away at the fourth wall. In a culture where we demand that every narrative choice is explained, perhaps we should just let some things remain unknown.