It's so hard to believe that The Office has been over for five whole years. Even if the later seasons of the show are widely regarded as having taken a huge drop in quality, the sitcom was still one of NBC's most beloved and popular. Many fans even argue that The Office was this generation's Friends!
The cast was a large part of what made the show as big of a hit as it was. The Office's colorful characters played off of each other with hilarious antics while also feeling like they had a real connection with their coworkers. Dunder Mifflin never had a dull moment when the cameras were rolling on their fake documentary.
However, as with any show, the cast of characters changed over the years. Sometimes the writers just wanted to bring in some fresh blood to the show, while other times one of the actors would move on to bigger things and their character's void needed to be filled.
Either way, The Office had a revolving door of secondary characters, some of which stuck around to become series regulars, for better or for worse, in the viewers' eyes.
Sometimes, we fans were left scratching our heads as to why certain characters were still on the show - or had even been introduced in the first place. Other times, new characters became so popular that fans couldn't picture the show without them!
We're going to look at 11 Character Additions Saved The Office (And 9 That Hurt It).
20 Saved: Holly Flax
Throughout the course of the series, Michael Scott was a man who just wanted to be loved by everyone. Unfortunately, his goofy personality and buffoonish nature always seemed to rub people the wrong way. Enter Holly Flax, the HR woman who replaced Toby for a brief period of time. She and Michael hit it off and, eventually, they tied the knot and moved out to Colorado to raise a family.
Holly was a great character simply because she and Michael were like two peas in a pod.
She actually laughed at all his jokes and quite often gave them right back to him. After years of watching Michael Scott get mistreted by Jan, it was finally a breath of fresh air to see him in a healthy, mutual relationship.
19 Hurt: Brian the boom guy
Once Michael left the show, the writers started to focus more heavily on Jim and Pam's relationship. In season 9, Jim is always away trying to start his own sports marketing company, much to the dismay of Pam. She often talks about her problems to the documentary's boom-mic operator, Brian.
The biggest issue with Brian was that he came out of nowhere and was just used as a cheap way to create drama with Jim and Pam's marriage.
In the later seasons it looked like Jim and Pam's marriage could be in trouble. It was obvious Brian had a crush on Pam, and throughout season nine he was trying to get her to return his affection. Everybody knew the plot was going nowhere, yet the writers persisted.
18 Saved: Charles Miner
It's hard to believe that such an actor like Idris Elba was once a secondary character on The Office! In the fifth season of the show, Charles Miner is introduced as Ryan's replacement.
Instantly it is shown that he isn't going to be as lenient with his new employees as previous bosses had been. He clashed with Michael's antics so much that the character quit and started his own paper company.
However, what made Charles such a great character were his hilarious interactions with Jim Halpert. Without fail, whenever Jim would be in the middle of performing one of his pranks, Charles would walk in on him, forcing Halpert to awkwardly explain what he was doing. Other times he would catch Jim right at the wrong moment, making an innocent statement or action look much worse than it really was.
17 Hurt: Nellie Bertram
In season six of The Office, all of Dunder Mifflin was bought out by the printer company Sabre. This action led to a slew of new characters being introduced to the show.
Nellie was first seen interviewing for Michael Scott's old job before going on to become the President of Sabre's special projects. In season eight of the series she became a regular.
The thing about Nellie is that she's good in small doses. There's nothing wrong with the character, per se, but it never felt like Nellie ever got any real character development. She gained a recurring role thanks to her hilarious initial story arc, but once she became a coworker of the rest of the cast she never really got to do much other than be creeped out by Toby.
16 Saved: Erin Hannon
Erin Hannon was so popular that most people forget that she wasn't around until season five! Portrayed by Ellie Kemper, Erin is Pam's replacement at the receptionist desk. The character is a very naive young woman with a mysterious past who has brief relationships with Gabe and Andy before realizing that she is perfect for Pete.
Kemper's bubbly portrayal of Erin made her a fan favorite of the show.
It's quite obvious why Erin is in the "saved" section of this list. Her character created an entirely new dynamic within the office of Dunder Mifflin. She also pumped some much-needed energy back into a show that was starting to veer off of its path. She may have only been around for half of the show's run, but she left an impression like few other characters could!
15 Hurt: Clark Green
After a disappointing season eight, the writers of The Office looked to invigorate the show with some new blood. At the start of season nine we were introduced to Clark and Pete, two newbies to the Dunder Mifflin branch of Sabre hired as customer service reps. Clark had a striking resemblance to Dunder Mifflin's favorite Assistant to the Regional Manager, leading his coworkers to dub him as "Dwight Jr."
That was the problem with Clark. He was basically brought on to fill the role that Dwight had filled in earlier seasons. Now that Schrute had gone on to be a more mature character with responsibilities, Clark was left to be the "odd one" of the office. Though the character wasn't terrible, his existence just begged the question-:"Why?"
14 Saved: Pete Miller
On the other side of the coin, you had Pete. The character was brought in as a customer service rep alongside Clark, and the two instantly had a love-hate relationship. However, his biggest storyline in the show revolved around his crush on Erin, who was currently dating Andy at the time. In the end, the two ended up together, much to the frustration of the new boss.
Pete was a good addition to the show because he pulled Erin away from the creeps she was normally dating.
Andy was kind of a jerk to her, and much like Michael and Holly, it was refreshing to see her with a person that actually treated her right. Pete also returned a little bit of the awkward "straight man" vibe to the show after Jim stopped hanging around the office as much.
13 Hurt: Cathy Simms
Cathy was a minor character on The Office who was brought onto the show when Pam was out on maternity leave. She was one of the team members who was sent to Florida to promote the company's new brick and mortar Sabre Stores alongside Jim, Erin, Dwight, Ryan, and Stanley. While down in the Sunshine State she attempts to romance.
Much like Brian, Cathy's entire existence was just a cheap way for the writers to throw some tension into Jim and Pam's marriage. Up until this point in the show, Jim had shown zero interest in this woman. All this story did was give us some awkward moments in which Jim knows exactly what Cathy is trying to do but is too timid to stop it.
12 Saved: Helene Beesly
Helene Beesly (better known simply as "Pam's Mom") was introduced in the second season of the show when she appeared to talk to her daughter about her upcoming wedding. Throughout the rest of the series she kept popping up in different scenarios: she split with her husband, she briefly dated Michael Scott, she showed up at Jim and Pam's wedding, and even had it in her heart to share in Roy's special day!
Helene may have been a minor character, but she was an important one.
She was the first to reveal that the feelings between Jim and pan were mutual. Upon her first visit to the office she asks her daughter, "Which one is Jim?"
Not to mention, the episode in which her and Michael go on a date is one of the funniest in the entire series!
11 Hurt: Jo Bennett
Jo Bennett was the CEO of Sabre, portrayed by the one and only Kathy Bates. Bennett was a character who was not afraid to speak her mind and make decisions based purely on her strong opinions. Though she only got a handful of appearances on the show, her presence was felt all the way until the company's liquidation at the end of season eight.
Sadly, it felt like The Office wasted the talent of Kathy Bates. The character got a few fun interactions with the cast (Dwight and Michael in particular), but outside of those scenes she was just there to play the straight-laced role of the boss.
Here's the problem: it's hard to be the straight-laced when you yourself are just as wacky as the rest of the cast.
10 Saved: Bob Vance
Yes, we are talking about the Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration. If the name didn't give it away, Bob is the owner and manager of Vance Refrigeration, a company that shares an office building with Dunder Mifflin. He starts dating Phyllis in season two, and by the end of season three, the two are married. It is also revealed later on that he may or may not be a member of the mafia.
There are two things that make Bob such a fun character: first, once he and Phyllis are an item, her personality changes. Suddenly, she goes from a timid punching bag to a more confident and cocky person.
He is also a hoot to watch in his few on-screen appearances, including the time he almost got into a fight with Michael and when he dressed up like Santa Claus.
9 Saved: The Senator
In season seven of the series, Angela finds love in the most unusual of places: a Senator from Pennsylvania. Robert Lipton, most commonly known as just "The Senator," starts a relationship with Angela. The two get married and have a child in season eight, but it quickly becomes apparent that he and Oscar are having an affair and that Angela is just a front. He eventually comes out on his own terms, severing ties with both characters in the process.
The Senator played a very small role in the series, but it was a significant one.
Angela had been having a secret relationship with Dwight behind Andy's back the entire time they were together. Having the tables turned felt like it was justice for all the wrongs she had done to Andy.
8 Hurt: Val Johnson
Throughout most of the series, Darryl flew solo - with the exception of his brief fling with Kelly, of course. This all changed with the introduction of Val Johnson in the eighth season.
Val was one of the new hires in the warehouse. Though she had a boyfriend, Darryl flirted with her throughout the show until Val broke it off with her boo and fell for Darryl. Soon after, Darryl grew bored of the relationship and tried to break it off though his efforts were in vain.
The "reluctant relationship" angle had been done perfectly not once, but twice before on the show with Jan and Michael and then Andy and Angela. Not to mention, there was nothing seriously wrong with Val. Her inclusion in the show did nothing but make Darryl look like a jerk.
7 Saved: Todd Packer
Actors Steve Carrell and David Koechner are quite familiar with working with each other. They were both costars in the hit movie Anchorman as well as The 40-Year Old Virgin, so it was only natural that Koechner would appear on Steve's new hit show, The Office.
Todd Packer is a Dunder Mifflin employee and an old friend of Michael Scott's who is about as foul-mouthed and arrogant as you can get.
What makes Packer such a great character is that, no matter how awkward and cringey Michael may get, he could always be much worse!
Packer's existence also shows us why Michael is the way he is; if you're always trying to impress somebody as off-color as this guy, you're going to be saying some things that are in really bad taste!
6 Hurt: Gabe Lewis
Gabe came onto the scene in with the buyout of Dunder Mifflin by Sabre. Acting as Jo Bennett's personal representative and VP of Northeaster Sales, this character was always in over his head.
No matter how hard he tried, he could never get the respect he felt he deserved from his coworkers. Gabe and Erin dated for a short period of time, and when they broke up he took it really poorly.
Now, The Office is no stranger to awkward situations or creepy characters, but there was something about Gabe that was just a little bit much. The way he obsessed over Erin wasn't funny, it made our skin crawl. His personality didn't make us laugh or feel for him; it made us just want him to go away.
5 Saved: Robert California
With the departure of Steve Carrell, The Office had a huge gap that needed to be filled.
Robert California was initially hired to be the Branch Manager at Dunder Mifflin. However, he instantly drove to Florida and convinced Jo Bennett to make him the CEO of the entire company.
Robert California was a hilarious addition to the show because he was creepy in all the right ways (unlike Gabe).
There was just enough mystery to the character that you never knew what he was going to say next. He could jump from joking and smiling to downright terrifying at the drop of a hat. His interactions with the rest of the cast are some of the best moments in an otherwise lackluster season.
4 Hurt: Cousin Mose
Sadly, The Farm never was able to get enough steam to be greenlit by NBC. The show would have followed the exploits of Schrute Farms, a quaint amish-like homestead that run by Dwight and his family. One of the central characters would have been Cousin Mose, a man who appeared multiple times on the show but never really said a word. Little is known about Mose other than the fact that he gets night terrors.
Here's the thing about Mose: the character himself isn't bad. But he doesn't really fit into the tone of the rest of the series. Dwight works because, although he is weird, he is weird in a way that is believable to the real world. Mose, on the other hand, is a cartoon character that could only exist in the imaginations of a writer.
3 Saved: Karen Filipelli
Karen was a series regular for all of season three. After Jim leaves the Scranton Branch to get away from Pam, he takes a job at the Stamford Dunder Mifflin, where he meets Karen. The two eventually warm up to each other and begin dating when Stamford and Scranton merge. However, Jim realizes his heart will always be with Pam and dumps Karen shortly after their interviews in New York.
Karen is a great character because she isn't some caricature like so many others in the show.
In a way, she and Jim would have been great for each other, and you kind of feel for her when she gets left high and dry. Her inclusion in the show also did wonders for advancing Jim and Pam's plotlines!
2 Hurt: Deangelo Vickers
Shortly after it was announced that Steve Carrell was leaving The Office, fans broke out into wild speculation as to who would replace him as the boss. Will Ferrell joined the cast as a new character named Deangelo Vickers.
This was the guy that was toted as replacing Michael Scott. However, after just four short episodes (only two in which he was the Regional Manager), Deangelo was left comatose after an incident with a basketball hoop.
Will Ferrell replacing Steve Carrell seemed perfect! Then audiences met Deangelo and the character was just awful. Words cannot describe how much most fans of The Office despise the character's few appearances.
Ferrell did his best with the role, but the writers made Deangelo so unlikable and obnoxious that we were all happy to see him gone!
1 Saved: Andy Bernard
Andy Bernard is such a staple of The Office that people sometimes forget that he didn't show up until season three of the show.
Andy first appeared at the Stamford Branch as Jim's angry coworker. After one of his outbursts at Scranton, Andy is sent to anger management and returns an entirely different person. He would go on to become one of top-billed actors on the show and eventually replaced Michael Scott as Regional Manager.
Although his character took a nosedive in season nine, Andy is one of the best characters The Office ever created.
It's hard to picture what the show would look like without actor Ed Helms' charismatic and joyous personality. Andy was part brown-noser, part harmonic, part loose cannon, and part hopeless romantic. And we loved him for it!
Who was your favorite new The Office character? Let us know in the comments!
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