Maybe you loved it and knocked the whole thing out immediately. Or maybe it didn’t land and you’re disappointed. Either way, Space Force on Netflix, which premiered Friday, ended too quickly for you.
Look, I get it. Even if you set aside the huge, ridiculously funny ensemble cast, there’s also the fact that Steve Carell – Michael Scott himself! – is back to doing a scripted half-hour comedy with Greg Daniels. So with Space Force having come and gone from your life so quickly, those of us craving Carell-styled laughs are feeling unmoored.
Fret not, friends. There are hours upon hours of Steve Carell programming just waiting to surprise and delight. One could even argue that there’s a Steve Carell production to fit every taste and every mood. You just have to know where to look for it.
In that spirit, let’s pick a Steve Carell for every mood. So if….
1. …you embrace our apocalypse: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is about an asteroid (named Matilda!), not a pandemic. If you’re looking for parallels to our current hell, go watch Outbreak or Contagion. But you’re here for Steve Carell, and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a sweet, little rom-com that sets him up alongside Keira Knightley (and a very cute dog) as the world is coming to an end. How relatable!
Stream it on: Hulu with the Starz add-on
2. …you want a lengthy binge: The Office.
Carell has earned plenty of acclaim for his work on the big screen, but any long view of his career is always going to start with one, key TV project: The Office. For nine seasons, Greg Daniels’ Americanized take on the hit UK series from Ricky Gervais delighted audiences everywhere. For the first seven seasons (out of nine), Carell’s lovable idiot boss Michael Scott delivered a master class on TV comedy. There’s a reason The Office is one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Watch it if you haven’t.
Stream it on: Netflix
3. …you have kids in the house: Despicable Me.
Speaking of lovable idiots, Carell’s turn as Gru in Despicable Me (and its sequels) is an all-ages delight. He was once a supervillain, but his heart – and inner life! – starts to transform after he hatches a plot that involves adopting three young girls. Suddenly thrust into the role of father figure, Gru rises to the challenge and becomes a better person in the process. These animated hits are wonderful.
Stream it on: Netflix (only the first one)
4. …you crave a comedy classic: The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
There’s not much to argue about here: Carell’s breakout in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy as Brick Tamland (yet another lovable idiot!) led directly to The 40-Year-Old Virgin, his true breakout. The title says it all. Carell stars as Andy Stitzer, a sweet-natured yet deeply repressed 40-year-old toy collector who, yes, is a virgin. With the exception of some unfortunate product-of-its-time homophobic humor, the movie is still a delight. Especially thanks to co-star Catherine Keener and a supporting cast that includes Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Romany Malco.
5. …you miss road trips: Little Miss Sunshine.
Little Miss Sunshine was a big deal in 2006 after making a splash at the Sundance Film Festival and later going on to score multiple Academy Award nominations, including wins for best original screenplay (Michael Arndt) and best supporting actor (Alan Arkin). It was also in the running for Best Picture. And for good reason! This is a heartfelt family affair that follows the Hoover clan on a road trip to get their youngest, Olive (Abigail Breslin), to a distant beauty pageant. It’s not exactly a comedy, but Carell’s range as an actor is what makes him so beloved and that’s on full display in Little Miss Sunshine.
Stream it on: Hulu, with the Starz add-on
6. …you can’t remember what dating looks like: Crazy, Stupid, Love.
If you like the idea of watching The 40-Year-Old Virgin but want something with fewer dick jokes, why not give Crazy, Stupid, Love a shot? Carell stars in the rom-com as Cal Weaver, a newly single 40-something who fumbles his way back into the dating pool after his wife of 25 years is unfaithful. He soon falls in with Ryan Gosling’s womanizing player Jacob Palmer, who commits to teaching Cal how to function as a dating adult.
Stream it on: HBO (or any of the HBO streaming platforms)
7. …you’re curious about Steve’s darker side: The Way, Way Back.
Carell is more of a supporting lead in The Way, Way Back, a coming-of-age “dramedy” from directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Liam James stars as Duncan, an awkward teen and unwilling participant in a family vacation with his mom Pam (Toni Collette), her boyfriend Trent (Carell), and Trent’s daughter Steph (Zoe Levin). Trent is an emotionally abusive and domineering jerk who keeps Duncan at arm’s length, with no real objection from Pam. The movie is really a story about Duncan growing up – and truly, it’s a great watch just for that – but Carell’s unusual turn as an obnoxious piece of shit also gives fans of his work something a little different to chew on.
8. …you want something totally random: Sleepover.
Carell is only a supporting player in this 2004 ensemble teen comedy starring Alexa Vega, Sara Paxton, Mika Boorem, Scout Taylor-Compton, and Kallie Flynn Childress. The movie follows four best friends ahead of the first year in high school, after an overnight slumber party turns into a middling-stakes scavenger hunt competition where the prize is the best lunchtime seats in the cafeteria. Carell plays a neighborhood security officer who has multiple run-ins with the girls over the course of the night.
Stream it on: Netflix