The Office: 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Michael Scott

Steve Carell as Michael Scott in The Office

In March, 2005 a little show called The Office made its premiere on NBC. Critics and viewers were initially lukewarm about the first season, and the show itself barely managed to stay alive. The now beloved series finally hit a stride in its second year, bringing laughs and warmth into millions of homes every week for nine seasons.

The Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin was chock full of colorful, vibrant personalities, but one that towered above them all was Michael Scott, played by the divinely talented Steve Carell. Despite being based on an already existing character, Carell managed to make Scranton's Scott a unique personality all on his own. The actor stayed on the show for seven years, becoming sorely missed when he did finally make his bittersweet exit.

Michael Scott is so beloved that it often blurs people's perception of him. The next twenty entries aim to clear the air about the lovable goof, correcting the often glossy image people have in their minds. True fans may already realize some of these, but even some of them may benefit from a quick reminder that Michael Scott probably would not be the best dude to hang out with in real life.

So get ready to call HR, because here are the 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Michael Scott.

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20 He's Mean

Michael Scott mean face

Michael Scott makes the audience laugh in just about every episode of The Office. His words and actions can leave people rolling on the floor in tears, holding their stomach in pain from all the cackling. These moments have brought life to what can otherwise be a dull and boring day. Taken at face value, though, a lot of what Scott says is mean and hurtful.

Sure, maybe he does not explicitly mean to cause pain, but he still hurts people, and rarely apologizes. What's worse, there definitely are a few characters he is mean spirited towards, sometimes inexplicably. It's odd how the rest of the branch put up with his malicious words.

19 He's Actually A Pretty Solid Businessman

Michael Scott Nice Smile

By the time The Office starts, Michael is already the manager of Dunder Mifflin's Scranton Branch. Right from the get go, it is clear that he is unqualified for the position. Considering how bad of a manager he is, one has to wonder how the lovable scamp was able to stay with the company for so long. It makes more sense upon realizing that Scott is a more than decent salesman, perhaps even a great one.

It is revealed that Scott won the Salesman of the Year award twice consecutively in 1996 and 1997. Awards like this in a giant company aren't just given out like candy on Halloween -- Scott truly had to work and prove himself for the honor.

18 He's Lonely

No one can ever say that Michael Scott is not bold. His schemes and demeanor are highly indicative of somebody overflowing with confidence. Shy people wouldn't dare do half the things he did on the show. Of course, there is another reason why he does the things he does, and that is because he is unbearably lonely.

Most of his coworkers are rude to him, and justifiably so. He is surrounded by people daily and is the boss of most of them, but none of them actually want to be his friend. It is only shown in glimpses here and there throughout the years, but this bothers Michael, who wants nothing more than to have friends.

17 He's Not Actually Funny

This entry is not saying that Steve Carell isn't funny or that Scott has not elicited countless laughs from viewers. On the contrary, Carell's performance as the character is one of the greatest to ever grace television screens. Imagine for a moment that Scott was a real person, then think about how funny his jokes would be in the real world.

Odds are high that most people wouldn't find him very funny. In fact, they'd probably think he is downright offensive, flooding HR with complaints. It is the performance and the reactions he gets from coworkers that really make the show, and this is fine, because it is a television show and not a stand up comedy routine.

16 He's Insensitive

The Office

Some people reading this may fantasize about having Michael Scott as their boss. They would love to have a superior who prioritized fun and comfort over getting work done. They may even want to be friends with him. Should this miraculously occur, people would be quick to see the error in their wish when they realize he is insanely insensitive.

There are several shining examples of this, such as when he forces Oscar to come out of the closet and when he makes every worker act out racist ethnic stereotypes. In the latter example, it gets to a point that Kelly slaps him in the face for doing an accent. It's clear from these two moments that Scott is inconsiderate of people's feelings.

15 He's A Little Misogynistic

Angela Kinsey in The Office

It's easy to remember most of Michael Scott's doings as being all in good fun. All he wants to do is make people happy. However, even if those are his intentions, this doesn't mean that he doesn't say bad or hurtful things, particularly towards women. Even if he does not mean it, Michael Scott was shown to be a tad misogynistic during his seven year stay on The Office.

The episode "Women's Appreciation" shows this in full force. He asks many of the women highly personal questions, which anybody with common sense would know are offensive. Many people don't realize when their words are offensive, and Scott also ends up saying such remarks, potentially without realizing.

14 He's Never Actually Been Sued

Ed Helms, Steve Carell, and Rainn Wilson as Andy, Michael, and Dwight in The Office

This one is truly hard to believe, but Michael Scott has never been brought to court over the ridiculous, sometimes wicked things he has done to coworkers. The Office is shot like a documentary, but anybody with workplace experience knows that a boss would never get away with half of the things Scott did without being sued.

If he was sued, no one would not be surprised and would find it entirely justified. Just about every one of his subordinates has a reasonable claim against him if they chose to follow through with it. Despite all of this, though, Scott has never been in legal hot water in criminal or civil court.

13 He's A Bad Friend

Scott may seem like a great guy to have as a buddy, as going out of one's way to please others is a great characteristic for a friend to have. However, this only works if these attempts to bring joy are well thought out. If they are not carefully planned and considered, they hilariously backfire in unexpected ways, as is often the case on The Office.

Imagine having such a friend in real life. At best, it would be a slight nuisance to deal with every time he tried something. At worst, it would drive people to the brink of their sanity. On top of this, he would say hurtful things under the guise of witty humor.

12 He Has Hurt People Even Outside Dunder Mifflin

The office scotts tots

Maybe Scott only showcases his unique personality in the Dunder Mifflin office, and those not associated with the company are lucky enough to escape his crimes against society. Anybody who has read the title of this entry already knows that this is not true, though. Michael Scott is himself twenty four hours a day, making him the source of grief for everybody who interacts with him.

Perhaps the worst thing he has done involved promising tuition to an entire class of elementary school students. When the time comes to make good on his vow, as seen in the episode "Scott's Tots", he has to let them all know that he simply cannot do it, enraging the entire class.

11 He's Potentially A Criminal

Sure, Michael Scott does a lot of things anomalous to what typical bosses do, but it is all with a good heart, right? He would never go so far with his capers as to end up the wrong side of the law. This is what many would like to think, but avid fans of the series know better. The charismatic boss has broken the law on several occasions, with crimes severe enough as abduction.

In the episode "Launch Party", Michael orders a pizza from a less than stellar establishment. Upon discovering that his coupon is invalid, he holds the delivery boy hostage to ransom a discount. This act also implicates his coworkers as accessories to the crime.

10 He Kind Of Deserves The Bad Things That Happen To Him

Throughout the seven seasons audiences spend with the character, the show and by extension the faux documentary crew often paint Michael in a sympathetic light. When bad things happen to him the audience is supposed to feel bad, as if he is the victim of these circumstances. In reality, however, many of these unfortunate happenings can be attributed to karma.

He does a lot of morally bankrupt things on the show, both intentionally and unintentionally. Should people really feel bad when misfortune falls on his shoulders? He has hurt people, so it is only right that he gets some grief in return. He's still lovable, but one has to admit that he gets what is coming to him sometimes.

9 He's Still Pretty Smart

Michael Scott Paper Company

Michael can come off as someone with his head in the clouds, if not as an outright idiot altogether. He seems unaware of what most people think and completely ignorant of how his escapades may hurt those around him. Lacking skills in social areas does not mean he is wholly unintelligent, though, and several moments on the series reveal that he is quite smart.

His sales acumen proves that he is smart enough to succeed at his job. Additionally, there is one point during the show where he leaves Dunder Mifflin to start his own ramshackle paper company. He fools his former employer into believing his business is an astounding success and a threat, so they end up buying the company from him.

8 He's A Dedicated Employee, Just Not A Good One

Steve Carell as Michael Scott in The Office

It is easy to believe that Scott hates his job, which is why he shrugs his duties. Most readers can probably relay a story about a job they could not wait to leave, so each day they did the bare minimum of what was required. Unlike these stories, however, Scott is really a dedicated employee -- he's just is not a good one.

The show reveals that this dedication yielded good results in the past, but in his higher position, he fails to get much work done. If he did lack any dedication, he probably would rarely have shown up to work and would not have taken strides to please his coworkers, however ill advised these efforts may have been.

7 He Has Assaulted People

Michael Scott Kissing Oscar

Most are familiar with the platitude "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt." The validity of this statement is debatable, but at least Michael Scott tends to stay on the side of words. He definitely has hurt people with oration, but those with clearer memories of the show will recall that he occasionally breaks physical boundaries.

After he forces Oscar to come out of the closet, he kisses him on the lips without consent (a moment that was actually improvised). In another instance, he relates how the women in his improve club hate his character Blind Guy McSqueezy, for reasons that should be obvious after reading the character's name.

6 He Is Also Racially Insensitive

Michael Scott Racial Sensitivity

Nobody is perfect; we all accidentally drop a crude remark here and there without realizing how it may affect those around us. In instances such as this, the minor transgression can be forgiven as long as everybody learns from the experience. Michael Scott, on the other hand, has broken this boundary so many times that a simple apology will not suffice. He has even taken it a step further by being racially insensitive.

The biggest example of this is when he uses his own form of racial sensitivity training. He himself does an offensive impression a man from India. This entry is not saying that the moment in the show isn't funny, just that, taken at face value, Michael's actions are racist.

5 He Hates Toby For A Reason

Toby in The Office Goodbye Michael

Michael usually tries to please everybody, but there are a few exceptions. The most notable object of his hatred is Toby, the head of human resources. Scott's disdain for the bland, but perfectly normal Toby seems unfounded. Some deeper digging into the matter will reveal that the eccentric personality has two reasons for his animosity.

Firstly, as head of HR, Toby tends to stand in the way of all the fun Michael wants to produce in the office. Secondly, Toby is a divorced father. As the son of divorced parents, Michael may disapprove of Toby for what he could perceive as abandoning his kids. None of these reasons may be rational, but they are reasons none the less.

4 He's Not Beloved By His Family

Michael Scott with his nephew

From a brief description of the character, one may infer that he has a loving family. Only a caring mother and a stable home life could breed such confidence. However, those who paid close attention during the show or know people similar to Scott in real life already can infer that the exact opposite is the case. The energetic boss is not only disliked by his kin, but some of them refuse to speak to him all together.

Audiences are told that he has two siblings, but they are never shown on the show. Given his personality, perhaps they cannot be blamed for not wanting anything to do with their brother, but it still must be an immense source of pain for the character.

3 He Desperately Wants To Be Liked

The Office Cast

From looking at Michael Scott's character, it is easy to assume that he hasn't a care in the world. He does what he wants to do, and anyone who disagrees or tries to stop him knows exactly where they can go. Upon closer inspection, though, one can deduce that his antics come not from a place of joy, but of desperation.

Scott does not have a lot of friends, and most of the ones he does have are abusive towards him. Scott does what he does because he needs people to like him, and would do anything to make that happen. It gives the audience a good laugh, but look close enough and you can't help but feel sad for him.

2 He Loved Working At His Office And Hometown

It is easy to think of Michael as someone who sees himself as above his station. Maybe he slacks off and goofs around because he thinks he is too good for his job and his small town life. If only he was somewhere else, then he could really make change. The truth stands contrary to this though; Michael loves his hometown and workplace with all of his heart.

It was almost impossible for him to imagine life outside of Scranton until he met Holly, his true love. Nothing else could have moved him from his small town living except true love. It was good for Michael, but sad for the audience and characters to see him go.

1 He's A Loser

Ultimately, as joyous as it was to see Michael on television for all those years, one truth must be faced: he was a loser. Sure, he was funny to the audience, but almost everybody in his life either hated him, felt sorry for him, or used him for pranks and cruel jokes. It's also hard to sympathize with him, considering how irritating he could be.

In the end, though, he left the show happy. He met Holly, fell in love, and moved to Colorado in order to start a new life with her. He finally found happiness and his place in the world, but up until then, he was a sad and pitiful character most of us felt sorry for.


Are there any other common misconceptions about The Office's Michael Scott? Sound off in the comments!

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