When we heard the news that The Office is bringing back Pam's ex-fiancé Roy (David Denman), we realized how tiny of a chance Season 9 had at being remotely good. But unlike some new NBC shows that we genuinely love to hate-watch, The Office was at one time a great sitcom with a lot of heart, and we're still not quite ready to completely throw in the towel just yet. Over the course of the series, there were dozens of characters that could be brought back, all of which are less desperate than yet another callback to Roy. Sure, most everyone below has booked better gigs since leaving their Office stints, but we dare to dream.
Rashida Jones could reprise her role as Karen, one of the few Dunder Mifflin employees who weren't over-the-top zany. Karen actually has managerial experience thanks to her time over at the Utica branch, so she could be called in by David Wallace to help her former coworker and once-sort-of rival Andy in his permanent position. Plus, it could be nice to actually see Jim and Pam show some maturity and make friends with Jim's ex-girlfriend, as opposed to disastrous story arcs like the poorly-written Cathy seducing Jim.
Like Karen, Danny (Justified's Timothy Olyphant) also has the potential to gracefully add some mellowness into the series so that every episode isn't a completely unrealistic-to-the-point-of-unwatchable mess. He's also got the Jim/Pam connection, and we'd much prefer him making Jim uncomfortable than Roy. There's got to be some new material to cover with a travelling salesman who actually competent at his job, right?
Elizabeth the Stripper
Elizabeth (Jackie Debatin) was great in "Ben Franklin" and again in her brief "Fun Run" cameo, so why not bring back the wise stripper with a heart of gold to once again teach the gang another important lessons about love and life?
Quite possibly the most obvious choice is Michael's crazy ex-girlfriend, Jan (Melora Hardin). She's been on and off the series for years and just may be the missing link between past great Office episodes and recent disappointing installments. Her character is strange and hilarious without being bizarre or insufferable.
The Scranton Strangler
Forget Michael Scott -- the true center that held this show together is and always has been the Scranton Strangler. Once he got busted, the jig was up. A while back, Paul Lieberstein told us that they'd been thinking about writing a plotline for Toby in which he establishes a relationship with the Strangler and visits him in jail. He even suggested that another strangling could happen to throw the whole thing in question... at this point, that sounds significantly more entertaining than another season of Angela's closeted husband hitting on Oscar.
And, for the sake of fairness, Roy isn't the worst former character getting brought back. It could be...
Despite how much we hate Robert California and Nellie, they were never as pointlessly freakish as Will Ferrell's character, at least not on a regular basis.
The employee who Michael fired during Season 2's "Halloween" has actually be brought up every few seasons. At this rate, he'll basically guaranteed to come back.
Remember when Michael Scott dated a married woman who managed a fake Dave & Busters? She's slightly more random than Roy, at least.
The Prince Family
Dwight and Michael screwed over this family-owned paper business a few seasons ago, so expect to see them again in Season 11, when Kevin's new wife turns out to be one of their cousins.
Finger Lakes Guy
At the end of the day, at least we don't have to sit through promos for another two-second Jim Carrey again. Maybe that's as high as we can hope.
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