The Office's Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is many things: inventor, comedian, drinker of coffee, distinguished public speaker and a lover of the ladies. As an employee of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Michael worked his way up from sales to become manager of the Scranton branch, a job he keeps despite showing minimal competency. Not only is Michael a lackluster leader, he constantly puts the future of the company at risk thanks to his cringe-worthy hijinks.
So what kind of business overlooks, excuses, and generally accepts such bad behavior from an employee? Only a floundering mid-sized paper company with a beet lover as its top salesman, a former CFO accused of sexual harassment and a revolving door of VPs, including a mentally unstable, litigious woman and an unproven "wunderkind" who commits fraud. Michael and Dunder Mifflin are a match made in heaven. Here's a list of the five worst things Michael Scott did to Dunder Mifflin, and the five worst things the company did to him.
10 Dunder Mifflin: Decides To Close Scranton Branch And Fire Michael
After years of loyal service, the Dunder Mifflin board of directors decides to close the Scranton branch. Michael isn't offered a job in Stamford working for the "poor man's Michael Scott," Josh Porter (Charles Esten). This isn't just business, it's personal -- at least for Michael.
Michael's pushed out and emasculated, convinced his dismissal is a personal vendetta on Jan's (Melora Hardin) part (on this point he may not be entirely wrong). Worst of all, Michael learns his arch-nemesis and human resources rep Toby (Paul Lieberstein) knew the ax was going to fall and didn't bother to share the information. No wonder Michael doesn't consider Toby part of his "family." Michael who is adept at self-humiliation, but also oddly impervious to it, is delivered a series of blows to his ego in quick succession.
9 Michael: Puts Dunder Mifflin At Risk For A Lawsuit
Michael's inappropriate behavior towards ... everyone and his pathological inability to be politically correct usually results in companywide sensitivity training. But after calling accountant Oscar (Oscar Nunez) "faggy" (because he prefers Shakespeare In Love to Die Hard), Michael learns Oscar is gay. Equal parts homophobic, well-meaning and ignorant, Michael outs Oscar to his co-workers. Every time Michael tries to fix a mess, he inevitably makes things worse.
Only Michael Scott could compound insulting Oscar's sexual orientation at every turn and sexually harass the accountant at the same time. Oscar gets a paid vacation and a company car, Jan gets a headache saving the company from a lawsuit and Michael fails to fulfill his self-imposed responsibility to "put an end to 100,00 years of being weirded out by gays."
8 Dunder Mifflin: Refuses To Pay For The Dundies
Michael loves a good party which explains why the Scranton branch has its own PPC (Party Planning Committee). The most prestigious celebration is the annual Dundies: a chance for Michael to be the center of attention and reward his employees with awards like "Bushiest Beaver."
But after celebrating 05-05-05 and throwing a tsunami relief "fun" raiser the Dunder Mifflin coffers run dry. This is bad news for Michael who has to figure out how to lure his employees to an event they don't want to attend and ambush them with the announcement they'll be paying for it themselves.
7 Michael: Steals Dunder Mifflin Clients
After butting heads with his new boss Charles Miner (Idris Elba), Michael quits his job and starts the Michael Scott Paper Company. Aided by former temp turned white-collar criminal turned bowling alley employee Ryan (B.J. Novak), long-time receptionist Pam (Jenna Fischer) and his knowledge of paper, Michael's joke of a business venture becomes a threat to his former employer. Little does CFO David Wallace (Andy Buckley) know, Michael's broke, but the flailing Dunder Mifflin has no choice but to enter into negotiations and walk away big-time losers.
Time and time again, Michael disproves Albert Einstein's quote that genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. His secret to success is more of an unreplicable mix of luck and stupidity than skill.
6 Dunder Mifflin: Transfers Holly Flax
After a disastrous romance with Jan Levinson, it seemed certain Michael wouldn't find love again, but fate works in mysterious ways. Holly Flax (Amy Ryan) arrives to fill the hole in Michael's heart. When corporate finds out about their romance, they transfer Holly to a branch seven hours away.
There are so many office romances at Dunder Mifflin, it's almost an epidemic, so it's not entirely clear why the company intervenes when it comes to Michael and Holly. Maybe Jan and Michael's ill-fated romance serves as a cautionary tale upper management. Ironically, Dunder Mifflin brings Holly and Michael together only to tear them apart.
5 Michael: Announces A Branch Closing At The Company Picnic
Give Michael enough rope to hang himself, and he'll take as many people with him as he can. Anyone with a modicum of common sense would never bring up a branch closing at the company picnic, but Michael doesn't just lack common sense, he is void of any sense at all.
For aspiring improv star-screenwriter-director Michael Scott, it's all about the spotlight, and corporate has a whole lot of 'splainin' to do to the party pooper from the Buffalo branch when Michael's comedy sketch completely jumps the shark.
4 Dunder Mifflin: Promotes Ryan Over Michael
David Wallace offers Michael the opportunity to interview for a job opening at the corporate office but fails to mention Michael will be replacing his girlfriend Jan. Someone else who is surprised to learn Jan's leaving Dunder Mifflin is Jan which leads to a huge scene with Michael caught right in the middle.
All Jan-related drama aside, Michael's incompetence which is confirmed by his employees and most of his actions are undoubtedly the overriding factor as to why he doesn't receive the promotion, but it's a definite slap in the face they choose junior salesman Ryan who has never made a single sale.
3 Michael: Makes Big Promises To The Shareholders
On the brink of bankruptcy, Dunder Mifflin tries to quiet of fears of nervous shareholders using Michael -- the manager of the most profitable branch -- as a prop. Michael's never one to get mired down in reality, and after being courted by the 1 percent for a few hours, he quickly becomes a liability.
Once again, Michael manages to demonstrate how he's a businessman with no head for business by promising Dunder Mifflin will be in the black in 45 days with a "45 point plan" that doesn't exist. Thanks to Michael, Dunder Mifflin stocks take another deep dive.
2 Dunder Mifflin: Forces Michael To Choose Between His Job And Jan
Jan's chances of winning her wrongful termination lawsuit against Dunder Mifflin rest almost entirely on Michael, and that's not a basket anyone wants to put all their eggs in. But Michael can be a clutch hitter, so Dunder Mifflin covers all their bases. Ryan exploits Michael's adulation and loyalty to the company. Both Jan and Dunder Mifflin put Michael in the middle, and it's Jan who loses. In a rare moment of clarity, Michael explains"You expect to get screwed by your company. But you never expect to get screwed by your girlfriend." (that's what she said).
1 Michael: Demands Money In Exchange For Sex
When it comes to an employee, you get what you pay for. This explains a lot about Michael whose salary remains stagnant for 14 years. Clad in a woman's suit and egged on by Darryl (Craig Robinson) from the warehouse, Michael finally demands his due. Negotiations take a twisted turn when Michael threatens to withhold sex from Jan if she doesn't deliver a sizable raise. An event like this would be a "groundbreaking" legal case at any other company, but at Dunder Mifflin, it's business as usual.