The Office had featured an exciting cameo from The Sopranos actor Michael Imperioli, but his appearance was saved for the wrong episode. Across its nine seasons, The Office was able to bring on an impressive array of TV stars and celebrities from the era for cameos. Such guest stars included Jim Carrey, Bob Odenkirk, Ricky Gervais, Josh Groban, Jessica Alba, and Christian Slater. While most of The Office’s guest stars had roles that perfectly aligned with their personas, others had missed opportunities with their cameos.
The Sopranos had come to an end just as The Office was taking off, but the popularity of the mobster series remained high throughout the sitcom’s timeline. As such, it was still exciting to see The Sopranos’ Christopher Moltisanti actor Michael Imperioli cameo toward the end of The Office’s run. Imperioli appeared in The Office’s season 9 episode, “Livin’ the Dream,” in which he briefly portrayed Dwight Schrute’s karate teacher Sensei Billy. “Livin’ the Dream” turned out to be a good episode, but The Sopranos actor’s appearance was largely forgettable. However, this may not have been the case had Imperioli guest-starred in a different episode of The Office instead.
Michael Imperioli’s Cameo Should Have Been In “Mafia”
Rather than a stint in a season 9 scene, Michael Imperioli’s cameo would have been far better in The Office’s season 6 episode “Mafia.” Throughout “Mafia,” Dunder Mifflin boss Michael Scott was convinced that blank was a Mafia leader, so this would have been the perfect opportunity to cast an actor from The Sopranos in his role. Had Michael Imperioli been cast as Grotti, The Office‘s “Mafia” storyline likely would have been far more intriguing, and would have been a hilarious way to pit Michael Scott against Christopher Moltisanti.
At this point, The Office was still thriving on TV with Michael Scott leading the characters, but Jim and Pam’s absence from “Mafia” meant that it would have benefited from an exciting guest star to replace their missing subplot. Considering Michael Imperioli is most notable for playing one of the greatest mobster characters on The Sopranos, it was a missed opportunity to not place him in “Mafia.” This isn’t meant to discredit Mike Starr’s great performance as Grotti; Imperioli’s persona simply would have been better utilized in “Mafia” as a potential mobster than in “Livin’ the Dream” as Sensei Billy.
Why The Office’s Sopranos Cameo Was Still Great
Although Imperioli didn’t get to bring back his Mafia experience for The Office, his cameo was still a fun moment in a largely mediocre season. Seeing Christopher from The Sopranos give Dwight his long-awaited black belt made the journey of Rainn Wilson’s character even more exciting and heartwarming. “Livin’ the Dream” also turned out to have some of the best moments in The Office season 9 due to the storylines with Dwight, Jim, and Pam, so if Michael Imperioli was going to appear in any of the final season’s episodes, this was the right one.