The Office: Steve Carell scrapped controversial ‘dead horse’ joke in classic episode

Actor claimed that the story would have been a ‘jump the shark’ moment if it went ahead

The Office cast re-enact wedding dance

Steve Carell personally axed a controversial joke about a horse on The Office, after claiming it was too cartoonish for the series.

In "Niagara", a memorable episode of the US comedy broadcast in 2009, Jim and Pam (played by John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer) get married. But the episode originally featured a horse plunging to its death during their nuptials.

The episode, which was written by Greg Daniels and Mindy Kaling, had the pair’s Niagara Falls wedding interrupted by Pam’s ex-fiance Roy, who would ride into the ceremony on a horse. Meanwhile, Dwight (played by Rainn Wilson) reveals he has an unshakeable urge to throw himself from the falls.

The two stories would eventually intersect, with Dwight stealing Roy’s horse to ride up to the falls, only to have second thoughts about jumping. The horse, however, would bolt over the falls and come crashing down behind Jim and Pam, who were taking part in a romantic boat ride.

Carell, however, strongly advised against the story. The behind-the-scenes change has been revealed for the first time in Andy Green’s The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, a new book exploring the making of the hit series.

“Steve was the first one to speak up,” producer Randy Cordray recalled. “He said, ‘Guys, I love the episode but you can’t throw a horse over Niagara Falls.’ And Greg and Mindy were like, ‘Really? But it’s so funny.’

“And he’s like, ‘Yes, it is funny. I love your writing. I love all of you, but this is really an animated joke. This is a cartoon joke. This is a joke we might see on The Simpsons. I know many people think that The Office has already jumped the shark in many different ways, but let me just say, throwing a horse over Niagara Falls is really jumping the shark. I’m not in favour of this.’”

It was eventually decided that the horse subplot would not go ahead. The “Niagara” episode of The Office is widely considered in fan circles to be one of the greatest instalments of the series.

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