Will I cry?
That must have been a major concern for many a non-cryer going into Thursday's super-sized episode of "The Office," in which Michael Scott exited the series after months of hype and speculation.
As a dude who pretends to be a stoic but is really a softie, I am required by my moral code to announce, after having viewed the 50-minute farewell to Steve Carell, that, no, the episode absolutely did not make me sob -- it must have been my allergies.
In all seriousness, what turned out to be the most surprising aspect of the night was how un-serious it actually was. This was a surprise because NBC had been promoting the episode as if they'd given it the dreaded "Very Special Episode" tag, with ads that only showcased the touchy-feeling aspects of Michael Scott's departure.
But if you subtract the waterworks moments -- and there were definitely a few moments that choked me up (from allergies, I swear!) -- Carell's final episode may also have been the funniest of the year, if not a few years.
The premise, which NBC had been keeping top-secret, turned out to be that Michael Scott would be sneaking off to Colorado a day earlier than he'd been telling everyone, and that he was secretly saying goodbye through uncharacteristically thoughtful parting gifts.
The funny lines came at you like, well, insert one of Michael Scott's patented “That’s what she said” jokes here. (Fittingly, that cliched gag was not part of his repertoire in his finale. EDITED: Ooh, not true. See the comments!)
“Was it just me," he asked Angela as he bade her an unwitting adieu, "or did you think we were going to have sex at some point?”
Angela: “It was just you.”
Michael: “How would you have wanted to do it?”
To a borderline suicidal Gabe, he said, "Can I give you a piece of advice? A little cover up on your Adam’s apple will make it appear smaller, which will make you look less like a transvestite."
But it was Carell's final goodbyes to Jim and Pam that had the most impact on the tear ducts.
Late in the episode, Jim figured out that Michael was lying, that he'd actually be getting on a plane a day earlier than he'd been telling everyone. He alone deduced that Michael Scott would not be showing up at the office the following day, when his co-workers would be throwing him a big goodbye party.
But even their memorable meeting, which had both of them struggling to say so long to each other in a manly way, was mostly humorous.
“It’s just that sometimes, goodbyes are a bitch," said Jim, explaining why the moment was difficult even though Michael had been planning for it for weeks.
Michael: "T-shirt idea: 'Goodbyes suck.'"
While lesser laughs came via Will Ferrell, the biggest scenes were all Carell's.
Indeed, Steve Carell's final scene was nearly perfect, with Michael Scott playing off the idea that the documentary crew that has been trailing him and his co-workers for seven years is still trailing them around. “Hey, will you guys let me know if this ever airs? Thank you," he deadpanned, as he put his shoes back on after going through airport security.
He then took the microphone off, saying, "This is going to feel so good getting this off my chest."
As he headed off in silence to the gate where he'd catch his flight to Colorado, Pam suddenly appeared from stage left to give him a long hug.
Only one question remained afterward, and it wasn't "Will I cry?," because yeah, that happened.
The question was: How the hell did Pam get through security?