How 'The Office' Stars' New Roles Measure Up to Their Dunder Mifflin Counterparts


The Office only ended less than a year ago, but it already feels like an eternity since we last saw Jim, Pam, Dwight and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin crew on our TVs. That's because with a few exceptions, nearly all of the show's ensemble has taken their time picking new roles, choosing to stay away from the small screen until the right part comes along. Now, though, several are returning, including Oscar Nunez (aka Oscar Martinez), who just signed onto Benched , a USA comedy starring Happy Endings' Eliza Coupe.

Little is known about Benched, picked up for a series order in January, except that Nunez will play a public defender colleague of Coupe's corporate attorney. It's exciting to see one of the series' best characters return to TV, especially in a role likely so different than his turn on The Office as an exasperated accountant.

For more on how the new roles of Nunez's former Office co-stars compare to their best-known characters, read on.

Image: NBC

Steve Carell

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Known for Playing: Michael Scott, the loud-mouthed, fun-loving, “that’s what she said!”-loving regional manager.

Post-Office: Carell has played a range of characters, from a sad-sack dad in Crazy, Stupid, Love to a stubborn magician in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone to a reformed super-villain in Despicable Me 2.

Similarity: Carell’s role as Brick Tamland, a naive but loyal reporter, in December’s Anchorman 2, is by far the closest to Michael Scott.

Rainn Wilson

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Known for Playing: Dwight Shrute, a no-nonsense, power-hungry assistant (to the) regional manager.

Post-Office: Wilson is set to star in Backstrom, a FOX drama about an offensive, hard-partying detective trying to change his unhealthy habits.

Similarity: Not even close. Would Dwight would ever let drinking and overeating get in the way of his job? Please.

John Krasinski

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Known for Playing: Jim Halpert, the friendly, joke-loving salesman married to Pam.

Post-Office: Krasinski has signed onto an untitled Cameron Crowe rom-com, where he’ll play a military man married to the ex-girlfriend of the lead.

Similarity: Probably not much. The details of Crowe’s project are being kept secret, so nothing else is known about Krasinski’s character. Still, imagining Jim Halpert, prank-lover, in the military, is impossible.

Jenna Fischer

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Known for Playing: Pam Halpert, a sweet receptionist/saleswoman/office manager/mural painter.

Post-Office: Fischer had a supporting role in You Are Here, an Owen Wilson-starring dramedy, and will appear later this year in Kiss Me, a drama about a teenage girl’s romance with a married man.

Similarity: Both roles are small, so it’s hard to compare. In Kiss Me, though, Fischer plays the wife of the adulterous man — could you ever imagine Jim cheating on Pam with a teenage girl? Hell no.

B.J. Novak

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Known for Playing: Ryan Howard, a slimy, unreliable employee whose job is never really clear.

Post-Office: Novak’s appeared in films like Saving Mr. Banks and the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2, but his latest role is author; his book of short stories, One More Thing , was just released.

Similarity: So, so similar. Like Ryan, it’s not really clear what Novak’s main job is — is he an actor? A writer? A producer? And just like his character, he still somehow manages to charm his way into our lives with each new project.

Ed Helms

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Known for Playing: Andy Bernard, the insecure manager and aspiring actor.

Post-Office: His latest film, a rom-com satire called They Came Together , just premiered at Sundance.

Similarity: Starring alongside comedy icons Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler would’ve been Andy’s wildest dream.

Angela Kinsey

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Known for Playing: Angela Martin, an uptight, cat-loving accountant.

Post-Office: She’s signed on to The Hotwives of Orlando , a Real Housewives-parody about the “hot housewives” of Central Florida.

Similarity: About as different as it gets. Angela (the character) would’ve never even watched a Housewives-like show, let alone starred in one.

Mindy Kaling

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Known for Playing: Kelly Kapoor, the rom-com obsessed customer service rep.

Post-Office: She’s the creator, writer, and star of The Mindy Project, a show about the life and loves of an OB-GYN.

Similarity: Kelly Kapoor as a doctor? No way. Kelly Kapoor dating lots of guys, believing in romance, and obsessing over celebrities? We can believe it.

Ellie Kemper

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Known for Playing: Erin Hannon, a sweet, naive receptionist.

Post-Office: This fall, she’ll be starring in an NBC comedy about a cult- escapee who starts a new life in New York City.

Similarity: It’s pretty believable that the susceptible Erin would’ve gotten pulled into a cult, but less likely that she would’ve made it out.

Craig Robinson

Known for Playing: Darryl Philbin, a likable, laid-back employee.

Post-Office: Mr. Robinson , an NBC comedy about a musician taking a job as a middle school teacher, just received a series order.

Similarity: No way would Darryl make it as a teacher of 12-year-olds. The noise, the stress, the constant need to be working — it’d be the Dunder Mifflin employee’s worst nightmare.

Phyllis Smith

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Known for Playing: Phyllis Vance, a quiet, gossip-loving saleswoman.

Post-Office: Smith had a recurring role on Trophy Wife’s first season, playing a nervous, awkward teacher.

Similarity: Phyllis (the character) may be quiet, but she gained a lot of confidence by the series’ end. She’d never be as socially inept as Trophy Wife’s Mrs. Steinberg.