Michael Scott (The Office)

Michael Scott (The Office)
Michael Gary Scott
The Office character
Steve Carell as Michael Scott
First appearance "Pilot"
Last appearance "Goodbye, Michael"
Portrayed by Steve Carell
Nickname(s) World's Best Boss
Agent Michael Scarn
Occupation • Regional Manager, Dunder Mifflin, Scranton
•Founder, Michael Scott Paper Company
•Regional Manager, Dunder Mifflin
•Regional Co-Manager, Dunder Mifflin, Scranton
• Sales Representative, Dunder Mifflin, Scranton
• Regional Manager, Dunder Mifflin Sabre, Scranton
Family unnamed mother and father (divorced)
Jeff (step-father)
unnamed brother
unnamed half-sister
unnamed grandmother (portrayed by Connie Sawyer)
Luke Cooper (nephew, portrayed by Evan Peters)
Significant other(s) Holly Flax (fiancee)
Based on David Brent

Michael Seth Gary Scott (born March 15, 1964) is a fictional character on NBC's The Office, portrayed by Steve Carell, and based on David Brent from the original British version. Michael, the central character of the series, was the manager (formerly co-manager) of the Scranton branch of paper and printer distribution company Dunder Mifflin Inc. Prior to being co-manager, he was the regional manager of the branch, but in the season 6 episode "The Meeting", he was made co-manager with Jim Halpert; however, they returned to their original roles in "The Manager and the Salesman". In the fifth season, Michael Scott briefly left his position to start his own company, The Michael Scott Paper Company. Dunder Mifflin purchased the Michael Scott Paper Company and as part of the agreement rehired Scott as the regional manager. In the seventh season, Michael decided to move with his fiancée Holly Flax to Colorado to help her take care of her aging parents, thus preparing to begin a new chapter of his life and the end his ties with Dunder Mifflin. He officially left Scranton in Goodbye, Michael.

During the summer, he was permanently replaced as Regional Manager by Andy Bernard.

In many instances in the show it is heavily implied that Michael tries to use his subordinates as a substitute for a family, which he does not have. Michael insists everyone in the office think of him as a friend first, a boss second, and "probably an entertainer third", as did David Brent in the British version. Michael holds inflated views of himself and considers himself an office comedian, but his attempts at humor tend to fail. Often, he says things that are inappropriate, offensive or unwittingly mean in the hopes of getting a laugh. He lacks maturity and self-awareness, has few friends and is quite lonely, made worse because his efforts to make friends with people usually backfire. Michael will resort to any means possible to make himself the center of attention and often takes credit for the successes of others. His subordinates, with the exception of Dwight Schrute, think of him as inept and several of them remark that they get their work done whenever Michael is distracted or away.

Michael wasn't always an incompetent employee at Dunder Mifflin. Before he was promoted to regional manager, he was a great salesman, able to relate well with clients and using his personable attitude to his advantage. However, his promotion put him into a position above his level of competence, making him an embodiment of the Peter Principle.[1] However, when needed, Michael springs to the help of his employees in landing or maintaining sales relationships for his employees. He has, on occasion, shown a powerful business acumen, particularly when negotiating on behalf of his employees. Over time, Michael has evolved from a wholly inept leader and unlikable person to a decent, if flawed, individual who is capable of rising to the occasion and doing a good job.



All original series characters were adapted for the U.S. version. NBC programmer Tracy McLaughlin suggested Paul Giamatti to producer Ben Silverman for the role of Michael Scott, but the actor declined. Martin Short, Hank Azaria, and Bob Odenkirk were also reported to be interested.[2] In January 2004, Variety reported Steve Carell of the popular Comedy Central program The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, was in talks to play the role. At the time, he was already committed to another NBC midseason replacement comedy, Come to Papa,[3] but the series was quickly canceled, leaving him fully committed to The Office. Carell later stated he had only seen about half of the original pilot episode of the British series before he auditioned. He did not continue watching for fear that he would start copying Gervais' characterizations.[4]

Two supporting roles in films helped get the attention of audiences: Bruce Almighty, in which Carell plays Evan Baxter (an arrogant rival to Jim Carrey's character), who gets a humorous comeuppance while co-anchoring the news. In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Carell plays another news personality, as slow-witted weatherman Brick Tamland. Although the series premiered to mediocre ratings, NBC renewed it for another season because of the anticipated success of Carell's movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin,[5] and the show subsequently became a ratings success. Carell won a Golden Globe and Television Critics Association award in 2006 for his role. He also received Emmy nominations in 2006 and 2007 for his work in the series. He played the lead role in the 2005 film The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which he developed and co-wrote. Although the film was a surprise success, Carell revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that he had no plans to leave The Office. However, on the BBC Radio 5 Live Film Review show he stated in an interview that his time on the show will probably come to an end when his contract runs out after Season 7.[6] This was later confirmed on June 28, 2010, when Steve Carell confirmed that the seventh season of the show will be his last when his contract expires. However, rumors have been circulating that the writers want to hire Ricky Gervais to reprise his role as David Brent, an office manager imported from the UK. Many believe that the addition of Gervais could provide a wider base in attracting fans from the original Office sitcom to the U.S. version.[7] According to the Vancouver Sun, Michael Scott's successor will not be decided upon until the beginning of the 8th season.[8]

Producer Randy Cordray has said that it's possible that Steve Carell will make guest appearances on the show.[9]

Character information


Michael was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on March 15, 1964 (Stating his birthday in Season 2 "Michael's Birthday" and his age in Season 5 "Dream Team"). He came from a broken home and has talked about his loneliness as a child, explicitly telling Jan's sperm-bank baby Astrid that she will be able to survive not having a father figure around because he was in that position as a child. In "Diversity Day", Michael claims to be of English, Irish, German and Scottish ancestry. He also claims that he is 2/15 Native American. He has mentioned an unseen brother, and on a number of occasions mentioned his stepfather, Jeff, whom he hates. In "Nepotism", it is revealed that Michael had a half-sister, from whom he was estranged from 1995 through 2010. As a consequence of their reunion, Michael hires his nephew Luke as an intern for the office, but eventually confronts the incompetent and rude Luke and ends up spanking him in front of the office, leading Luke to burst into tears and quit.

In the episode "Take Your Daughter to Work Day", it is revealed that Michael was a child star on a kids' show called Fundle Bundle and spoke touchingly about what he wanted when he grew up: get married, have "100 kids" so he could then have "100 friends". Michael did not attend college, having lost all his tuition money in a pyramid scheme. In the season 5 premiere episode "Weight Loss", Michael says he once went twenty eight years without having sex, implying he was a virgin until his late twenties. He rose to his manager position by being a superstar in the Sales Department, winning consecutive awards for best salesman; in a deleted scene from The Coup, Dwight Schrute says that he will never be able to approach the numbers Michael rang up during his sales days.

Michael is shown to be an incompetent manager, who injects a lot of his personal feelings into the work environment. He seems to have few relationships outside the office. In his interactions with other characters, he is shallow, callous, ignorant and unaware of basic social norms. He tends to overestimate his own importance in the eyes of his co-workers and cannot understand why they do not seem to have much fun at work, as he believes an office to be the "place where dreams come true." However, Michael is somewhat loyal to the company and honestly tries to help his employees when he thinks they are having a problem. Michael has been at Dunder Mifflin (as of "Michael's Last Dundies") 9,986,000 minutes, meaning he would have been working at Dunder Mifflin since May 6, 1992.

Michael's constant desire to be the center of attention often manifests itself in selfish behavior. For example, when he burns his foot in "The Injury", he expects Pam Beesly and Ryan to tend to his needs, despite Dwight's much more serious concussion. When invited to be an usher in "Phyllis's Wedding", he assumes that his participation will be the high point of the ceremony and pouts when he is upstaged by Phyllis' elderly father, eventually giving an insulting and overly-familiar toast that gets him banned from the reception altogether. Michael appears to emphasize moments of sympathy or civility directed at him by his co-workers (mostly Jim) and inflate their importance in order to compensate for his loneliness.

Due to his overall lack of common sense, Michael can withstand significant abuse from his peers and is often the butt of jokes. He is quick to take offense when he realizes he is being wronged and his response is often disproportionate to the harm suffered. Even though he is generally oblivious to criticism, derision and sarcasm, Michael has some limits to his patience, and leaves to question the extent of offense that he can actually acknowledge (demanding professional respect from Stanley Hudson in "Did I Stutter?" or standing up to the employees in favor of Holly in "Business Ethics").

In "The Meeting", it is shown that Michael does not aim for his employees' betterment or his own, thinking that this would put his job at jeopardy; he unwittingly turns down a promotion that would put Jim in his position, choosing the status quo over his employees' ambitions, and sabotaging Jim with a bad recommendation because he mistakenly believes that Jim's promotion to his job would lead to his firing. He is eventually forced to budge, having to co-manage the branch with Jim.


Michael's favorite catchphrase is "That's what she said!" inserted as a sexually suggestive double entendre even in the most inappropriate circumstances, including business meetings and legal depositions. Michael finds uttering the phrase so irresistible that in "Sexual Harassment" he is goaded into saying it just seconds after Jan Levenson and a lawyer from Corporate specifically ask him not to do so.

Michael enjoys writing song parodies. In "Goodbye, Toby", it is said that he had written songs such as "Beers in Heaven" (which he tells Holly is "very sexual") and "Total Eclipse of the Fart". In "Diwali", Michael performs his own parody of Adam Sandler's "The Chanukah Song", replacing the Jewish-themed lyrics with Hindu ones.

He also appears to have a history of playing ice hockey and is, as Jan once noted when trying to find a compliment to give him, a very talented ice skater. In Dream Team, Michael tells Pam that in high school, after his math teacher told him he was going to flunk out, he went out the next day and "scored more goals than anyone in the history of the hockey team." On multiple occasions, Michael has also expressed interest in basketball even though he is terrible at it (in "The Fire" and "Basketball"). He also once stated that he is a Pittsburgh Pirates fan.

Michael loves Meryl Streep. In "The Job", Michael states that Meryl Streep is "The best actor around." In "Money", Michael watches The Devil Wears Prada and begins to order Pam around. Pam then tells the cameras that Michael is "a big Meryl Streep fan."

Michael attends classes in improvisational comedy and although he believes his skills are among the best in the world, he is shown in "E-mail Surveillance" to be a frustrating and unpopular presence in the class. He is also the screenwriter of such scripts as Threat Level: Midnight (a planned movie which was discovered by Pam and read by the entire office without Michael's knowledge), celebrating Michael's main character alter-ego Michael Scarn. He constantly compliments his own performances, from joke-telling to impressions to videotape skits that he creates for presentation in the office. Michael spent a total of 10 years filming, editing, screening and re-editing "Threat Level Midnight" into a movie that he shows the office; he's initially in denial that it's a bad movie, but ends up making peace with the fact that everyone finds it amusing and enjoyable in its lack of quality.

Michael loves wearing jeans, in particular a pair of Levi's he refers to as his "Fun Jeans" ("The Convention"). He is so fond of his jeans that he gets them dry cleaned; Pam surmises that he instituted Casual Friday just to show off his jeans ("The Client").

Michael treasures his "World's Best Boss" mug, even though he bought it for himself at Spencer Gifts and has multiple replacements. The audience knows that he has purchased at least two, because Dwight precariously places one of them on Michael's desk, and Michael accidentally knocks it off with a golf putter that he was using to practice with in his office. This is also proven in "The Promotion", when Michael presents Jim with his own "World's Best Boss" mug at the end of the episode that they share gin with each other.

Michael is a passionate fan of YouTube, although he may not be entirely clear about what it is and seems to believe that it is a news media organization, ordering Dwight to call the website so they can cover his employees' roast in Stress Relief. Michael is also fond of Wikipedia itself--at one time calling it "the best thing ever" (a claim which is continually mocked by Jim). He is a fan of the HBO television series, Entourage. It is also established that Michael tends to be a bit "behind" when it comes to pop culture references, particularly in music. This is mainly shown through his cellphone ringtones, such as "My Humps" early on in the show, or "Salt N Pepa" in "The Lover".

Michael likes Chrysler cars. For the first three seasons, he drove a silver 2004 Sebring convertible, until the season four episode "Money" in which he mentions he traded it in (along with Jan's car) for a Porsche Boxster. After breaking up with Jan, he buys a red PT Cruiser convertible. He drives the PT Cruiser until the season 5 episode "Broke" in which he asks for a new Sebring convertible as part of his agreement to return to Dunder Mifflin.

Michael's PIN is YMCA (9622) as illustrated in the season 6 episode "Secret Santa".

Michael also seems to be a fan of the 1970s classic "Welcome Back, Kotter", as seen in "E-mail Surveillance" when he was raising his hand, shouting Arnold Horshack's famous "Oh, Oh" and blurting out "Mr. Kot-ter" like Freddie 'Boom Boom' Washington. He also has shown to enjoy the 2004 cult classic "Mean Girls" as he was seen calling his employees "Mean Girls" in reference to the movie in "Christening".

Michael apparently takes Propecia as mentioned if Jan ever handled it while she was pregnant in the episode "Goodbye Toby"

Personality and management style

Michael is almost inexplicably lacking in any skills, management or otherwise. Co-manager Jim Halpert once made a color graph of how Michael spends his time: 80% "distracting others," 19% "procrastination," and 1% "critical thinking", and added that he inflated the "critical thinking" percentage so people could actually see it on the graph. His laid-back approach more often results in lower than expected workplace productivity, particularly when Michael places his personal interests as a priority over work (such as his birthday, someone else's birthday, or his various seminars). To avoid being disciplined for his foolish actions, Michael often resorts to scapegoating employees to cover himself. Although his actions often lead to more problems for his employees, Michael believes that Scranton is "the cool, fun branch", and is genuinely upset when the top salesman from the Utica office trashes Scranton in a phone call by saying it's "worse than Camden".

Although his position as Regional Manager gives him broad decision-making authority on branch operations, he often places those responsibilities secondary to his desire to be friends with his employees. On the other hand, he also oversteps his authority by hosting events that Corporate disapproves of such as "The Dundies", and a "Booze Cruise".

It is revealed in the episode "The Duel" that, despite Michael's incompetence, the Scranton branch is the best-performing company branch, well ahead of Utica and Nashua. Michael is called to Corporate to answer the question, "What are you doing right?" After several minutes of Michael's inarticulate babble, his superiors concede that while Michael is definitely doing something right, they will probably never know exactly what. They send him on a lecture tour for Michael to spread his wisdom; instead, he wastes time and annoys the workers who have to listen to his drivel.

Despite his apparent ineptitude, Michael is prone to brief bouts of surprising insight and is shown to have a kind heart as he shows deep, family-like affection towards most of the people working for him in the Scranton branch. In the episode "Broke", Michael displays self-awareness of his inability to keep secrets when he, Pam and Ryan all agree not to let Dunder Mifflin know that the Michael Scott Paper Company is broke, yet moments later he is seen bent over and in a near panic when he admits that he's afraid he won't be able to keep himself from letting the truth slip. Later in the same episode, he displays a remarkable ability to negotiate with Dunder Mifflin and convince the company to hire himself as well as Pam and Ryan back with full benefits.

In the episode "Business School", Michael is one of the few Dunder Mifflin employees to show up to Pam's gallery showing. Unlike Oscar and Gil, who had shown up and heavily criticized Pam's drawings (which Pam overheard), Michael immediately marvels at her work and asks to buy Pam's drawing of their office building. In a moment of sincere kindness, Michael tells Pam that he is very proud of her. Pam begins to tear up and hugs Michael, who also seems touched by Pam's reaction. During "The Seminar", Michael advises a fledgling Andy Bernard to step up and begin selling at a seminar Andy's hosting, in order to boost his sagging sales.

While it seems clear that Michael loves Dunder Mifflin very much, he has also shown signs that he sometimes feels under appreciated given his long history with the company. In the episode "The Negotiation", Michael discovers that he is making only slightly more money than Darryl, the warehouse manager, even though at that point he had worked for the company for 14 years and was in a management position. Later in the episode he drives to New York and demands a raise from Jan at corporate headquarters.

In the episode "New Boss", after Dunder Mifflin's CFO David Wallace ducks Michael's calls throughout the day and Michael's 15-year anniversary party is cancelled by Michael's new superior, Charles Miner, Michael drives to New York to confront Wallace. Citing his long history of service with the company and his many sacrifices for Dunder Mifflin, Michael asks that he be treated more respectfully. Wallace, seeing Michael's heartfelt openness, promises Michael his party and pledges to attend, as well. But Michael surprisingly recognizes that the CFO is just humoring him, and stuns Wallace by quitting his job.


Michael tends to overestimate his importance to his employees, and, despite constantly demeaning and offending some of them, has a close bond with them. Most of the employees have been the focus of Michael's jokes at one point or another, usually in reference to their race, sex, size, attractiveness, or sexual orientation. Examples of Michael's difficult relationship with his staff include getting slapped by Kelly for being racist, hitting Meredith with his car, getting kicked out of Phyllis and Bob's wedding, and outing Oscar to the entire office without his permission.

Michael's relationship with the company warehouse employees is tense. He has a tendency to disrupt their daily work flow, and in a talking head interview, warehouse supervisor Darryl Philbin (Craig Robinson) explains that they have never been able to make a full year accident-free because of Michael's antics. CFO David Wallace tolerates Michael's antics because his branch is the best in the company, but Michael offends CEO Allan Brand and the rest of the executives during his only meeting with them with his lunk-headed comments and claims he can't back up.


Dwight's character is originally based on the character 'Gareth Keenan' from the original British version of The Office. Dwight has the most respect for Michael, viewing him as a model for success, and is thrilled when asked to handle any task given to him however ill-conceived it may be. Although on the surface, Michael usually appears dismissive of Dwight and generally views him as a suck-up, he is genuinely hurt and angry at the few times when Dwight has deceived him, such as when Dwight went over Michael's head to vie for the manager's job or when Dwight refused to reveal office secrets to Michael's new company, the Michael Scott Paper Company. In the episode "Heavy Competition" of Season 5, Dwight steals Michael's Rolodex and finds his own business card, on the back of which, Michael had written (before leaving Dunder Mifflin): "Dwight Schrute, tall, beets". Michael also cares how Dwight feels about him. After Michael beats Dwight at his own dojo, Michael finds out that Dwight no longer wanted Michael as his primary contact in case of an emergency which causes Michael to promote him from "Assistant to the Regional Manager" to "Assistant Regional Manager", with a three month probational period. Dwight told Michael in Season 6 that Michael's pathetic career path hurt Dwight and he regretted working for him instead of taking a fast-track job at Home Depot, but they buried their differences later on. When Deangelo Vickers arrives to be the new Branch Manager, Dwight is depressed that he didn't get the job after Michael recommended him, only to learn from Gabe that Michael didn't recommend him after all. At first Dwight is angry with Michael, but they make amends when Michael gives him a letter of recommendation on his final day at Dunder Mifflin. They end the day with a paintball fight behind the building.


Michael has a one-sided mancrush on Ryan, which makes Ryan uncomfortable. Examples of this are when Michael gave Ryan a $400 iPod for the staff's Christmas Secret Santa exchange, despite an agreed upon office limit of $20 per person, and when in "The Dundies", Michael gives Ryan the "Hottest in the Office" award. Michael appears to view Ryan both as an idolized friend, such as when he grew a goatee just because Ryan also grew one, or as a son, which he says he views Ryan as in "Secret Santa". In "The Deposition", a page from Michael's diary reveals he describes Ryan as being "just as hot as Jan, but in a different way." He is horrified when he finds out of Ryan's arrest for fraud, and much to the dismay of David Wallace, he re-hires Ryan despite the fact that he was fired by corporate office for his crime. He later earns Ryan's respect when Ryan sees Michael's talents as a salesman over the phone. In "Prince Family Paper", Michael acknowledges that his heart has led him astray before, stating "Jan [and] Ryan" as examples of this. In Season 7, Michael shows the full gamut of his ties to Ryan: he heavily invests in WUPHF.com and won't agree to sell his majority shares when it's clear Ryan is incapable of saving the venture from bankruptcy, although Ryan exploits Michael's goodwill in their friendship to keep his venture going. But Ryan is later stunned when Michael later calls out his negative qualities and makes it clear Ryan only has nine days with no wiggle room before he fails everyone. Michael is later relieved when Ryan sells the project and everyone gets their money back. Ryan later appears as part of the group to help Michael brainstorm a perfect proposal to Holly.

Jim and Pam

The characters 'Jim and Pam' are based on the characters 'Tim and Dawn' from the original British version of The Office. Michael doesn't hesitate to compliment or criticize Pam for her looks and he frequently mentions her breasts. In the episode "Diwali" Michael mistakenly thinks that he and Pam have a connection, and is rejected when he tries to kiss her. Their relationship comes to a rocky point when he begins dating her mother Helene. This is only repaired after he breaks up with Helene and allows Pam to slap him in the face in the parking lot. He trusts and respects Jim, although when they were co-managers they clashed due to their polar-opposite management styles. In "Secret Santa", Michael mentions that in a future vision he sees himself and his future wife living next door to Jim and Pam and that their children will play together. He often also refers to Jim as his best friend in the office. Michael attempts unsuccessfully to have Jim and Pam over for dinner on many occasions, though he finally succeeds in the episode "Dinner Party"; the entire evening is a disaster. In a Season 5 episode, Michael also shows his admiration for Jim, when Jim wears a tuxedo to work and goes on and on about having a 'classy party' for the party planning committee, and frequently suggests all of the ideas Dwight had offered that Michael had then rejected, only to bother Dwight by having Michael accept the same ideas from him. He is hurt when Pam tells him he won't be Cece Halpert's godfather (moreso when she tells him the godparents are a couple she and Jim have only known for a few months), but the Halperts lend him a genuine hand when he plans his ultimately-successful proposal for Holly. In "Goodbye, Michael" it is revealed that Michael is secretly planning to leave for Colorado at the end of his penultimate work day, thereby avoiding having to say goodbye to everyone. Jim figures this out and goes along with it, telling Michael that he will tell him what a great boss he was the following day at lunch, which they both know Michael will not be around for. Pam, who spent the better part of the day away from the office finds Michael at the airport and says goodbye just as he's about to board his plane for Colorado. She watches from the window as his plane flies off. In a deleted scene of "The Inner Circle", it is revealed that Michael named his new dog after Pam, named "Pamela Beagsley".


Despite liking most of the staff, Michael fiercely hates Human Resources Manager Toby Flenderson, likely due to Toby's requirement to enforce the rules of proper office behavior that Michael loves to flout. Michael once reasoned that "Toby is in HR, which technically means he works for Corporate. So he’s really not a part of our family. He's also divorced so he's not a part of his family either". His longtime goal is to get rid of Toby and any attempts at reconciliation between the two usually backfire, with Michael resorting to name calling or jokes at Toby's expense. In the episode "Goodbye, Toby", Michael is thrilled when Toby decides to move to Costa Rica and gives as his going away present a rock with a note that reads "Suck on this". The next season, after Toby's replacement Holly is transferred, Michael is horrified when Toby returns to Dunder Mifflin. In "Frame Toby", he goes to great lengths to get him fired, trying to frame him for possession of marijuana (which turns out to be salad).In "The Chump", Michael says if he had a gun with two bullets and was in a room with Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and Toby, he would shoot Toby twice (which disgusts the rest of the office). During "Nepotism", Toby is able to deduce that Luke, the surly, universally disliked intern is Michael's nephew. When Michael makes an example of Luke by spanking him in front of the staff, it's perceived as assault on a company employee. To avoid termination, Sabre employee Gabe Lewis suggests Michael's spanking of Luke as a stress-related outburst, which can be addressed as therapy with Toby, the certified HR rep. Obviously displeased but with no other options, Michael reluctantly agrees. In "Counseling" Toby tricks Michael into telling him about his life which upsets Michael but at the end, Michael and Toby share a laugh together. In "Classy Christmas", Michael is happy to hear the news that Toby is going to be on a leave of absence for jury duty and that Holly will be taking his place. In "Michael's Last Dundies", Michael eggs Toby's house in the cold open while yelling, "you suck", while he and Deangelo are handing out Dundie nominations. Ironically, Michael is shown to have befriended Toby's daughter Sasha in "Take Your Daughter to Work Day". In "Goodbye, Michael", Michael is seen saying goodbye to Toby without insulting him, possibly indicating that he will miss Toby on some level.


Returning to Dunder-Mifflin after The Michael Scott Paper Company was bought out, Pam moved to the sales division while Michael kept Kelly Erin Hannon as his secretary after she was hired by Charles Miner. She treats Michael with respect as he is her boss, to which Michael generally enjoys. Michael is unkind towards Erin because he misses Pam (now working as a salesperson) and tries to get Pam to go with him during his disastrous school visit in "Scott's Tots". After Pam pushes Michael to take Erin along with him, the two end up bonding and Michael foresees a great future in store for Erin. Once Dunder Mifflin was bought by Sabre and Jim is manager while Michael returns to sales, Erin walks into Jims office and says "Who's hungry??!". Jim asks what that is and Erin tells him that Michael would have her come in every day at 2:30 pm to say "Who's hungry??!" with a plate of "Ants on a log". However his dismissive feelings for Erin still continue until "Secretary's Day", to the point where he insults her by calling her a rube to Andy, who is dating her at the time. Andy pushes Michael to bond with Erin, who is delighted he wants to spend time with her. However Michael finds Erin awkward. After Michael inadvertently reveals Andy's past relationship with Angela, Erin is extremely upset and breaks up with Andy. Michael ends up feeling guilty and manages to cheer Erin up. In "Viewing Party", Erin throws a Glee party with her new boyfriend, Gabe Lewis. Through the night, she attempts to unsuccessfully get Michael and Gabe to bond. Michael is jealous that the office looks to Gabe as the boss and attempts to sabotage the party. After being confronted by Erin in private, Michael questions why his opinion matters so much to her as he is not her father. In a moment of insight, Michael realizes that Erin, who was raised in foster care, looks to him as a father figure and jokes around with her. Later Michael warns Gabe to never break Erin's heart and comes to view Erin as a daughter. Erin becomes protective of Michael to the point where she is very hostile towards Holly Flax for a while as well. Erin later mentions in a talking head interview that she doesn't understand what Michael sees in her, until The Search when she, Dwight and Holly go searching for a missing Michael. Erin sees that Holly is able to sense where Michael is, and when she sees them reconcile, she smiles. Later in "Goodbye, Michael", Erin talks to Michael about her love life and wishes that she knew her birth mother so she could tell Erin what to do. Michael advises Erin that she shouldn't rush things and that she'll know what to do when the right guy comes along. Michael then tells her that she won't need her mother for advice, because she will always have his personal phone number when she needs advice, before kissing her on the head and walking away.


Shortly after the dissolution of his troubled relationship with Jan, Michael found love with Holly Flax (Amy Ryan), Toby's replacement as HR Representative, who appears for a while to be Michael's best chance at love, with the two sharing a similar sense of humor and social awkwardness. However, after David Wallace witnesses them kissing, Holly is transferred to the Nashua branch and she and Michael break up after choosing not to pursue a long-distance relationship. Even despite the breakup and Holly's new relationship with another man, their affection for each other doesn't go away, as it's shown that Holly had been writing a note for Michael on her work computer, as well as their subtle romantic glances at one another during the summer company picnic. Throughout her absence in Season 5 (excluding Company Picnic) and carrying on into Season 7, Michael hooks up with a few other women, but ultimately he realizes that they're nothing compared to her. Around Christmas in Season 7, Toby is forced to leave the office due to being selected as part of the jury duty for a local murder case, resulting in Holly returning as the temporary HR replacement. There's initial tension between the two of them and hesitation on her side (mostly after her sudden break-up with A.J.), but Holly finally reunites with Michael after realizing they're both soulmates. The two continue dating for a few weeks (even going so far as to move in together on Valentine's Day), and, with her time at the Scranton branch almost up and the recent knowledge that her aging parents need to be taken care of, they ultimately become fiancees. Holly later moves back to Colorado and Michael follows her soon after.

Other romantic relationships

Michael's longest relationship to date has been with Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin), his original-then-former boss from Corporate. Starting with a one-night stand after they closed their business deal at Chilli's in The Client guest star (Tim Meadows), Michael and Jan begin awkward dating, become an official couple, and eventually move in together after Jan is fired from her job, though Jan usually treats Michael with contempt. After Michael fails to defend Jan in her Wrongful Dismissal suit against Dunder Mifflin, they remain together for a short while but end up blowing up at each other during an ill-fated dinner party and eventually break up. He also dated Carol (played by Carell's wife Nancy Walls), a real estate agent from whom Michael bought his condominium. Michael was much more interested in Carol than vice versa, and after he made an unwanted and rejected impromptu public marriage proposal, Michael's decision to Photoshop pictures of himself over Carol's ex-husband in her family pictures resulted in their breakup. On a business trip to Winnipeg, Michael & "Concierge Marie" become close, and Michael does not wish to leave her after they are caught necking in her suite. After Jim and Pam's wedding, Michael begins dating Pam's mother Helene (much to Pam's horror), but he breaks up with her after discovering she is 58. Near the end of season six, Michael begins dating Donna (Amy Pietz), the manager of a local bar, but later finds out that she's married and he is, as he puts it, "the mistress". He continues seeing her until the disgust of his employees drives him to listen to his conscience and break things off with her. In Season 7's "Sex Ed", Michael reunites (in person or by telephone) with all of his aforementioned past girlfriends when he believes that he has contracted Herpes. In doing so, he realizes that Holly was the only one he truly loved.

Alter egos of Michael Scott

Given his proclivity of constantly trying to keep his employees entertained (and coupled with his juvenile personality), Michael has created a variety of different alter egos which he uses for both entertainment, and, at times, educational purposes. Often at times he uses these characters names to hide transacting information, and at one point his credit card uses "Michael Scarn", instead of Michael Scott.

  • Ping ("The Dundies", "The Seminar", "Goodbye, Michael"), an Asian caricature based on Michael's Chinese food delivery man.
  • Agent Michael Scarn ("Threat Level Midnight", "The Client", "E-mail Surveillance", referenced in "Product Recall", "Money", "Dinner Party", "Prince Family Paper") is the star of Threat Level Midnight, a derivative spy/action hero screenplay written and illustrated by Michael. He had kept it hidden in his desk drawer until it was discovered by Pam without his knowledge and photocopied so the staff could stage a rollicking reading of it while Michael was on a sales call.

A thinly-veiled portrayal of himself, Michael also adopts the persona in one session of his improv comedy class, ignoring the rule to base his dialogue on his scene partners, and ultimately shooting everyone in the room, regardless of their participation in the scene. He also uses the alias in another episode to go undercover in a local paper competitor to attain information from it. ("Prince Family Paper")

  • Prison Mike ("The Convict") wears a purple bandana over his head, speaking in a caricature of New York English, and explains that he is in prison for theft, robbery and kidnapping the president's son for ransom (although he claims, in knee-jerk defensiveness, that he was never caught). He proceeds to paint an awful, and somewhat fanciful, picture of prison life. He states that the scariest part of prison is the Dementors. The character is likely the result of Michael's take on the Scared Straight! documentary series.
  • Michael the Magic ("Cocktails") attempts to escape from a straitjacket but fails because of a lost key (actually hidden by Jim). Michael's fondness for magic is referenced throughout the series, including an off-screen visit to a children's magic camp. Michael also attempts to utilize a magic prop briefcase (which included a working chainsaw) while speaking at Karen's Utica branch in "Lecture Circuit". In the cold open for "Nepotism", he is seen performing numerous, albeit repetitive, magic tricks.
  • Michael Klump ("Weight Loss", referenced in "Garage Sale") attempts to show that overweight people are people too. Michael wears a partially-inflated sumo suit underneath a business suit, and is patterned after the Eddie Murphy character in the Nutty Professor remakes.
  • Michael Scotch ("New Boss") was co-created when Michael and Dwight were trying to contact David Wallace to complain when Charles Miner cancelled Michael's fifteenth anniversary party because of budget cuts. Michael Scotch is an overly aggressive character who threatens that he has kidnapped David Wallace's son.
  • Blind Guy McSqueezy ("The Lover") is a character Michael created at his improv class so he could feel up women.
  • Caleb Crawdad ("Murder") is a Southern persona used for the purposes of a murder mystery game.
  • Date Mike ("Happy Hour") is a personality Michael takes on when on a date. Michael creates this personality when Jim points out to him that Pam's friend likes him. Up to that point, Michael had been charming and likable, but Date Mike completely ruined things and the friend fled in disgust. Ironically, Michael felt Date Mike was successful because he impressed Donna, while Jim thought Date Mike was a disaster because he didn't know about Donna. Michael says Date Mike is inspired by "the winners of reality dating shows. AND the losers". Date Mike comes off as egotistical and introduces himself with the line "Hi, I'm Date Mike. Nice to meet me."
  • Mike Leno is an interview personality that is a parody of Jay Leno.[10]
  • Santa Bond is an obvious parody of James Bond that Michael uses to help make Holly Flax notice him sexier in ("Classy Christmas"). However, it only appeared in that episode so far, and was replaced by a Santa Claus outfit later in the episode.
  • Reginald Poofter is Michael's English character, briefly mentioned but never actually seen in "The Seminar". Michael brings up the character after running into David Brent.
  • Mykonos (The Seminar), a Greek character whose persona he develops with the help of Holly, used in order to pretend he is a potential customer interested in Andy's product.
  • Orville Tootenbacher is Michael's briefly mentioned "billionaire character that farts popcorn".

That's What She Said

The show often uses the joke, "that's what she said" which was popularized by the Wayne's World sketch on SNL. [11][12] In the original BBC version of The Office, Ricky Gervais's character David Brent frequently used the similar phrase "as the actress said to the bishop" as an inappropriate joke. Michael inserts the phrase as a sexually suggestive double entendre even in the most inappropriate circumstances, including business meetings and legal depositions. Michael finds uttering the phrase so irresistible that in "Sexual Harassment" he is goaded into saying it just seconds after Jan Levenson and a lawyer from Corporate specifically ask him not to do so. The phrase has become so associated with the character that the television show 30 Rock in the episode "TGS Hates Women" there was a scene in which one character became infuriated at another's use of 'TWSS' because "Steve Carell owns 'That's What She Said,' okay? He owns it!" In the episode, "Goodbye, Michael", "that's what she said" was Steve Carell's final (inaudible) line as a series regular.

Comparison with David Brent

Although originally based on David Brent, Scott has developed into a significantly different character than his British counterpart. Whereas Brent is shown to be irredeemably incompetent,[13] Scott is portrayed as an outstanding salesman who is unwisely promoted to a management role to which he appears completely ill-suited making him an apt example of the Peter Principle. A scathing performance review written by Jan Levenson stated that he should be removed from the Branch Manager position and put into a more suitable position in Sales. However, Scott has been oddly successful as regional manager. This is, in part, attributed to his weakness of procrastination wherein he typically forfeits a bad choice by seeking the advice of his subordinates (such as Jim, Oscar, or Darryl) and uses their recommendations, while also partly attributed to his main strength: genuinely caring about the well-being of the office and treating his employees like family. When he took over the Scranton Branch he decreased costs by 17%, without firing any personnel. After the merger of the two branches Scott does not lose a single client despite a great deal of employee turnover (much of which he was directly responsible for). He received a $3,000 bonus for firing Devon, most likely because his doing so saved the company around $50,000. Although it is suggested that Brent has had similar success, such claims only ever come from Brent himself, thus making them unreliable.

Scott's social immaturity and inability to cope with responsibility is balanced with a personality that is much more caring than Brent's, even if both make unwise comments in the heat of the moment. Unlike Brent, who pretends to be friendly with many of his employees purely for the benefit of the cameras, Scott seems to genuinely like his colleagues, with the exception of Human Resources Director Toby Flenderson. Scott's need to be liked by his staff and his belief that people see him as a genuine friend leads him to become very hurt when he realizes this is not the case. Most, if not all, of Scott's managerial blunders can be directly correlated with the degree to which he desires to be liked by his employees or jealously seeks their approval.

The DVD commentary to the pilot episode suggests that Scott's character continues a process begun in the second UK series, in which Gervais and Merchant intentionally made Brent less nasty, and more of a buffoon. It is said in the commentary that Gervais and Merchant suggested that this be applied to Scott. This also reflects a general change in the US version's attitude, which is more sympathetic to the characters, and tones down the cruel humor of the original. The commentary also says that Steve Carell had not seen more than a few minutes of the original UK series when he was offered the role of Scott, and has since made a conscious decision not to watch it in case it influences his own performance.

The show's writers have said that the 2005 hit movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin provided very useful guidance as they refined the character along with Steve Carell between the 1st and 2nd seasons. Michael Scott wore a large amount of hair gel and dressed sloppily in Season 1, but by Season 2 he had a more conventional haircut and dressed much more neatly. Also, while Michael is often rude and nasty in Season 1, he is generally nicer and less hard-edged in subsequent seasons.

Behind the scenes

  • U.S. Developer Greg Daniels envisioned Michael Scott behaving as if "I was hoping that the documentary about this would one day be seen by Jennifer Aniston, and I was just trying to impress her any way I possibly could"[14] and notes the occasional need to show Michael being competent or even effective, to justify why he is not simply fired.[15]
  • Writer B. J. Novak explains that Michael Scott drives a Sebring because it is the most ostentatious car he can afford, opting for a convertible even though the climate in Scranton is cool even in the summer.[16]
  • After the airing of "Garage Sale", Colorado governor John Hickenlooper issued a press release appointing Michael Scott to the position of Director of Paper Distribution in the Department of Natural Resources.[17]


  1. ^ Hilliard M.A., Adam (April 28, 2011). "HR Lessons: The Michael Scott Effect". Select International, Inc.. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  2. ^ Carter, Bill (2006-09-17). "The Whole World Is Watching, and Ben Silverman Is Watching Back". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/17/arts/television/17cart.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=arts. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  3. ^ Susman, Gary (2004-01-29). "Daily Show's Carell may star in Office remake". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/report/0,6115,584652_3_0_,00.html. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  4. ^ Carell, Steve ([Actor). 2005. "Pilot" [Commentary track], The Office Season One (U.S./NBC Version) [DVD], Los Angeles, CA: Universal.
  5. ^ Ryan, Maureen (2006-02-23). "'Office' promotions pay off in a big way". Chicago Tribune. http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2006/02/office_workers_.html. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  6. ^ http://tv.ign.com/articles/108/1086587p1.html
  7. ^ Michael Ausiello (June 28, 2010). "Steve Carell on 'Office' exit: 'It's a good time to move on'". EW.com. http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2010/06/28/steve-carell-office-exit/. Retrieved June 28, 2010. 
  8. ^ "NBC devising Office succession plan". October 1, 2010. http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/devising+Office+succession+plan/3516700/story.html. Retrieved Oct 1, 2010. 
  9. ^ http://screenrant.com/the-office-season-8-steve-carell-return-aco-113000/
  10. ^ http://www.dundermifflin.com/newsletter/scranton/scranton_032610.shtml
  11. ^ http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Where_did_the_saying_'That's_what_she_said'_come_from
  12. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo5lg_Jl2p8
  13. ^ Wikipedia article on David Brent
  14. ^ "Writing 'The Office'". WHYY-FM. 2006-11-02. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6422523. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  15. ^ Daniels, Greg (Producer). 2005. "Valentine's Day" [Commentary track], The Office Season Two (US/NBC Version) [DVD], Los Angeles, CA: Universal.
  16. ^ Novak, B.J. (2005-10-04). "Michael and Co. Hit the Road". TV Guide. http://www.tvguide.com/News/bj-novak-office/051004-10. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  17. ^ Gov. Hickenlooper appoints new Director of Paper Distribution in the Department of Natural Resources

See also

  • Dunning–Kruger effect - a cognitive bias of an unskilled person whose incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to realize their low competence. (Michael is delusional about his great skills as manager, friend, and comedian.)

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