updated 04/29/2011 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/29/2011 AT 12:10 PM ET
It was the end of an era for the fictional characters of The Office at Dunder Mifflin Inc. in Scranton, Pa. on Thursday.
Steve Carell – who played the paper and printer distribution company’s manager (and self-proclaimed “World’s Best Boss”) Michael Scott – made his final appearance on the show in a humorous, but heartfelt episode called “Goodbye, Michael.”
Announcing his plans to move to Colorado to live with fiancée Holly Flax, Michael brings in an assortment of Wizard of Oz-themed farewell gifts for his colleagues.
Spoiler: Read on only if you want to know what happens on the final episode.
Gifts and jokes aside, in order to avoid tear-filled goodbyes, Michael tells the staff that his last time working for the company will be the following day, when in fact it’s on the day he announces he is leaving. Jim Halpert (played by John Krasinski) catches on to Michael’s fib and has a heart-to-heart with his soon-to-be-ex-boss.
“Sometimes goodbyes are a b–ch,” Jim says after Michael admits he is “so sad.”
Michael gives a little speech before he gets in the elevator to leave for the day, then simply says “later guys,” before heading to the airport.
But there’s still one more goodbye: Pam Beesly (played by Jenna Fischer) – who had been out of the office all day – runs through security at the airport to bid her boss adieu. They hug in a touching farewell scene.
The show ends with the Dunder Mifflin staff gathered in the conference room the next day for Michael’s goodbye party – everyone except him, of course.
Carell, 48, has called his departure from the hit NBC comedy “a little sad” and acknowledged that many of his coworkers are his “best friends.”
In an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show airing Monday, Carell said ending his run on the show was more emotional than he expected. “I had been preparing myself because I had known for about a year that I was going to be leaving this season,” he said. “And, I thought I was emotionally prepared but, I was really surprised at how bittersweet it was. Everybody was crying.”
As for what he’s doing now, Carell says he’s loving having some downtime to just do nothing at all.
“I’m so great at not having anything to do. I think that I am an intrinsically, extremely lazy person,” he told Ellen DeGeneres. “An entire day will go by I will have done nothing but drive my kids to school, pick them up, have a cup of coffee, read the paper and go to bed. And that’s it. I have nothing to show for a day.”