Borders Line: Farewell To Michael Scott, The World’s Best Bad Boss

Tonight marks Steve Carrell’s departure from The Office after seven seasons of making us cringe, flinch, wince and laugh as the bumbling Michael Scott. In honor of Carrell’s brilliant performance, I offer you several of Michael Scott’s most excruciating moments—and a precious few moments of triumph.

1.02 Diversity Day:

After an ill-advised interpretation of a Chris Rock routine, Michael is subjected to diversity training. Not surprisingly, Michael believes he can improve on the standard corporate training through his own improvised program, Diversity Tomorrow “because today is almost over.” Michael’s training includes asking the employees to “say a race you are attracted to sexually,” attributing the words “If you are a racist, I will attack you with the north” to Abraham Lincoln, doing a solid impression of Apu from The Simpsons when talking to Kelly, asking Oscar if there is a less offensive term than “Mexican” that he would like to be called, and telling Stanley they’re called “colored greens” because “there’s no such thing as collard people.”

2.02 Sexual harassment:

After receiving a corporate sexual harassment warning due to his penchant for sending inappropriate and outdated Michael Jackson e-mail forwards to his employees, Michael brings a blow-up doll into the office and constructs an elaborate lesbian scenario between Pam and the doll. He refers to Stanley’s picture of his daughter as a hot schoolgirl centerfold, tells Phyllis she’s giving him a boner, and whips out his very first “That’s what she said.“And several more after that. This episode also introduces us to Michael’s best friend, the heinous Todd Packer, who is just one big pile of sexual harassment suits waiting to happen.

2.12 The Injury:

In his attempt to wake up to the smell of fresh-cooked bacon and in the absence of this amazing product, Michael burns his foot on a George Foreman grill and gets really cranky. He hobbles into the office using a makeshift cast of bubble wrap and proceeds to make the day miserable for everyone in the office. He asks Pam to rub Country Crock on his foot and demands that Ryan follow him into the bathroom with a wet towel to clean him up after a mishap. When he feels that he’s not receiving adequate compassion from the office, he brings in wheelchair-bound property manager Billy Merchant and makes several crappy attempts to demonstrate that their disabilities are comparable. When it’s revealed that Dwight has a severe concussion after wrecking his car in his frenzied attempt to rescue Michael from the George Foreman grill, Michael is typically unsympathetic.

3.01 Gay Witch Hunt:

After calling Oscar “faggy” but meaning “lame,” Michael learns that Oscar is, in fact, gay. He tries to ascertain if any other employees are gay so he doesn’t accidentally call one of them faggy in a fit of harmless fun. He and Dwight search Brookstone and Sharper Image for gaydar (may I suggest Sky Mall?) and watch gay porn on an office computer in the name of research. Michael eventually forces Oscar to come out to the entire office and then rape-kisses him to prove his unfailing tolerance of homosexuality. He also offers this gem of insight: “You don’t call retarded people retards. It’s bad taste. You call your friends retards when they’re acting retarded. And I consider Oscar a friend.”

3.15 Phyllis’ Wedding

Phyllis reluctantly asks Michael to push her father’s wheelchair down the aisle at her wedding in exchange for more honeymoon PTO. Michael determines that this is a big day for Phyllis, but an even bigger day for him, the “employer of the bride!” Michael gives her agonizing wedding night advice and accuses her of farting before the ceremony. Once it’s time for Phyllis’ father to give her away, he makes the touching effort to stand and walk Phyllis down the aisle himself, a move that Michael deems “bullshit.” Feeling vengeful for losing his moment in the spotlight, Michael acts out hideously. He marches up to the altar and shoves his way between the groomsmen, and he interrupts the ceremony to pushily announce the couple before the officiant can. Astonishingly, that’s not the worst of it: Michael butts in on the best man’s speech and starts bitching about being upstaged by Phyllis’ dad before being ejected from the reception and shrieking “I HATE YOU!” to the crowded room. Yikes.

4.01 Fun Run:

While musing on his recent good luck at the office and domestic bliss with Jan, Michael hits Meredith with his car. He accidentally convinces everyone in the office that she’s dead before revealing that she actually just has a fractured pelvis. When office sentiment turns against him, he tries to force Meredith to forgive him by climbing on her hospital bed and straddling her broken pelvis. After learning from the hospital that Meredith could have rabies due to two separate incidents, Michael organizes a charity marathon to discover a cure. A cure for rabies. He sort of inadvertently shows his penis to Pam while changing into tiny running shorts and prepares for the race by carbo loading with a veritable planet of fettucine alfredo. After finishing the race and vomiting prodigiously, he ends up next to Meredith in the hospital with dehydration and general fettucine fatigue where he does, at least, share his lollipop with her.

5.08 Frame Toby

Toby returns after his self-imposed exile to Costa Rica. Michael, already devastated at the loss of Holly, does not respond well to this. He actually screams “OH GOD NOOOOOOO!’ for a good fifteen seconds. Michael believes his misfortune is similar to that of Neve Campbell’s in Scream 2, when she leaves for college and Ghostface follows her there. Michael and Dwight combine their considerable intellect to come up with a way to get Toby fired, including trying to bait him into punching Michael or sexually harassing Pam or Dwight. They finally settle on framing Toby for illegal drug use. Michael pays some warehouse guys $500 for what he thinks is pot but is totally salad, and they hide it in Toby’s cube and call the cops. Fortunately for Toby, even 5-hundy salad is still legal in Pennsylvania.

6.08 Double Date

Michael has been dating Pam’s mom Helene, to Pam’s extreme discomfort. Michael tries to gain favor with Pam by planning a birthday lunch for Helene and referring to Pam, Jim and Helene as “the Scott family.” Pam starts to come around after seeing that Michael has splurged on decorations and a memory scrapbook for Helene. However Michael, through some arduous math, realizes with dismay that Helene is 59 years old, and that his dream of robbing the cradle has been superseded by his reality of “robbing the grave.” After grilling Helene on whether she’d be willing to go snowboarding or bungee jumping, Michael dumps her unceremoniously in front of Jim and Pam at her birthday lunch, first warning her to enjoy her cake before he tells her something terrible. Michael tries to appease the incensed Pam by offering her a raise; she opts instead to clock the shit out of him in the parking lot after work, with all of Dunder Mifflin as witnesses. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch.

7.03 Andy’s Play

Andy invites the office to see his performance in the local production of Sweeney Todd. Michael is feeling slighted that he wasn’t cast after his stirring audition in which he recited an entire episode of Law & Order, and he plots to ruin everything as per usual. He brings an obscenely large balloon bouquet and steals an entire bottle of wine from the bar, disrupting the performance multiple times and actively heckling the cast at curtain call. He picks a fight with the lead actor at the reception afterward, calling him “chucklehead,” and pouts the entire evening. We do, at least, get to see a glimpse of his audition, and it is predictably, amazingly terrible.

7.07 Christening

At their daughter’s christening, Jim and Pam break it to Michael that they somehow, against their better judgment, did not choose him to be Cece’s godfather. Michael reacts as classily as one might expect, calling their infant daughter a “b-i-t-c-h.” At the reception afterwards, the local youth group make the mistake of giving Michael a modicum of attention, and he decides on a whim that he’s religious now. As the church youth leave for their mission trip to Mexico, Michael spontaneously hops aboard the bus, urging Andy to join him. Approximately seven minutes later, Michael’s having serious misgivings about going to the terrifying country of Mexico and being forced to help people, so he flies into a panic, orders the bus driver to stop, berates the fresh-faced, wide-eyed youth and splits.

We’ll Miss You, Michael Scott:

2.07 The Client:

Jan and Michael meet with a representative of Lackawanna County (Tim Meadows) in the hopes of landing a very large account for Dunder Mifflin. Michael reschedules Jan’s classy do at the Radisson for an outing to Chili’s, because it says in Small Businessman magazine that Chili’s is the new golf course. Or it will say that, once they publish Michael’s letter to the editor. Michael proceeds to win over the client with awesome blossoms, baby back ribs, the baby back ribs song, weak-ass jokes, a rousing game of truth or dare and many, many cocktails. Before Jan knows what’s happening, he’s smoothly sealed the deal, demonstrating to Jan and the audience for the very first time that he got his position by possessing at least a shred of business acumen. Jan rewards him with a gross and unexpected make-out sesh in the Chili’s parking lot. The Client is also noteworthy for introducing us to the fully awesome Threat Level Midnight screenplay that Michael has stored in his desk drawer.

2.11 Booze Cruise

Michael books a booze cruise in lieu of a leadership seminar. He has difficulty keeping the staff’s attention until he performs an utterly righteous dance routine and then tells everyone the boat is sinking. It’s a metaphor! Michael is banished to the upper deck for his antics where Jim joins him and, in a rare moment of intimacy, shares that he has feelings for Pam. Jim is crushed that she and Roy have set a date, and Michael earnestly tells him to never give up on Pam, because “Engaged ain’t married.” For the first time possibly ever, Michael gives someone useful advice, and he and Jim take their first step toward a weird but occasionally rewarding friendship.

3.02 The Convention

Michael and Dwight travel to Philadelphia for a convention where they meet up with Jan, Jim and his new Stamford boss, Josh. Michael packs his fun white jeans, condoms, a dartboard, a strobe light, a black light and about twelve bottles of liquor. He reminds Jim, Josh and Jan that “Ain’t no party like a Scranton party ‘cause a Scranton party don’t stop!”, but they seem more preoccupied with actually working while he’s busy scoring sweet business supply “swag.” After pouting for much of the episode because he thinks Jim prefers Josh as a boss, it’s revealed that Michael’s yet again landed a huge account in the midst of all his fuckin’ around. Jim tells Michael that he’s a great boss and that he left Scranton because of Pam; Michael declares that they are best friends and Jim kindly does not dispute this. Michael also displays an endearing ability to remain sanguine in the face of the black-lit array of hotel bed stains that Dwight determines must be blood, urine or semen by calmly declaring, “God, I hope it’s urine.”

5.07 Business Trip

David Wallace sends Michael, Andy and Oscar on a business trip to Winnipeg (and Michael gets to sit in business class!), in part because he feels guilty for transferring Holly out of Scranton. Michael believes that the hotel concierge is something of a geisha, due mainly to his misinterpretation of the word “concierge.” He flirts awkwardly with her and she seems to dig it, somehow. He manages to land a one-night stand, something that could never happen if Michael were actually trying. He also lands a huge sale, to David Wallace’s approbation. But for the first time in his life, Michael doesn’t want someone’s approval, and he tells David off for transferring Holly, and then he straight hangs up on him. It’s a pretty baller move.

5.25 Cafe Disco

Michael’s converted the old Michael Scott Paper Company/storage closet into a dance club/coffee shop, largely because he fears his employees are growing too industrious and focused. Most of the Dunder Mifflinites are uninterested, but he continues to coax them to shake ass down in Cafe Disco. When he still meets with resistance, he compares himself to Phillip Morris, because “you just want to give people a smooth, fun way to relax, and suddenly you’re some terrible monster.” Eventually, the employees slowly find themselves compelled by the splendor that is Cafe Disco. A sensational dance-off between Kelly and Andy really sells the experiment, and everyone has so much fun that Jim and Pam decide against eloping because they want a wedding reception. But it’s when Angela starts tapping one tiny, disapproving foot that Michael has all the proof he needs that he’s truly succeeded.

7.18 Garage Sale

Michael plans an elaborate proposal to Holly that involves gasoline and fire-writing. Pam wisely puts the kibosh on that idea. Holly has learned that her parents aren’t doing very well, and she asks Michael to move to Colorado with her. She’s about to propose to him first, but he’s not having any of that. He takes her by the hand, guiding her on a tour of various spots in the building where they shared significant moments in their relationship. They end in the hallway outside Holly’s office, where all of the employees of Dunder Mifflin stand, holding a candle. He tells her that this is where their love faces its toughest test, and says, “After this, it’s all smooth sailing for the rest of our lives.” Each employee asks Holly to marry him or her, and Holly smilingly tells them no. Once they reach Holly’s office, it’s covered in lit white candles (safer than gasoline?). Michael offers Holly a stunning ring and tells her, “This is where I fell in love with you. And this is where I ask you to marry me.” The blatant fire hazard sets off the sprinklers, and Holly and Michael laugh and kiss in the shower. As everyone celebrates, Michael tells his beloved employees that he’s moving to Colorado. The staff is crestfallen.

In seven seasons and 134 episodes, it’s the moment where Michael shines brightest. Holly brings out the best in Michael; through her love he’s no longer the insecure and pathetic middle manager we met in Season One. Holly’s love has turned Michael into a good man, and a good man isn’t that funny. So it’s time for Michael to move on, and for The Office to bring another contemptible boss to the fore.

Tell me your favorite and least favorite Michael Scott moments in the comments!

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