‘The Office’: Michael Scott’s Iconic Line to Dwight Is Really a Slick Reference to ‘SNL’

The Office is one of the most popular and influential television shows of all time. The series, which focuses on a group of working-class employees at a fictional paper company in Pennsylvania, ran for nine seasons, but for true fans, it will always live on.

The Office has remained hugely popular in the form of reruns, and even seven years after the series went off the air, fans still can’t get enough of the folks at Dunder Mifflin. The Office is loaded with clever in-jokes and juicy trivia — including one particular moment when the show referenced another iconic television series. 

‘The Office’ is based on a British comedy series

In 2005, The Office premiered on television. While for most American fans, the series was unlike anything else they had ever seen, those who were familiar with British television quickly recognized the concept.

The Office was based on a BBC series of the same name, which was written and directed by comedian Ricky Gervais. Just as the British version achieved cult-classic status across the pond, the American edition of The Office became instantly popular. 

The show was filmed in a documentary-style format, with characters speaking directly to the camera as if they were being interviewed. The format was certainly innovative, but what really sealed the deal with viewers was the charisma of the characters.

Stars like Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson were at their absolute best and rose to fame playing the beleaguered employees of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Critics and fans couldn’t get enough of the show and it earned acclaim right out of the gate. 

When did ‘The Office’ get canceled?

Rain Wilson in character as Dwight Schrute on 'The Office.'
‘The Office’ | Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The Office won several awards during the early seasons, including two Screen Actors Guild Awards, four Primetime Emmy Awards, and a Peabody Award. Later seasons of the show did not get the same overwhelmingly positive critical reception, and series lead Steve Carell eventually left the show in order to pursue other projects.

Finally, in early 2013, The Office went off the air. For series fans, it was the end of an era. 

Although The Office is no longer airing new episodes, fans still eagerly watch and rewatch old episodes of the show. The entire series is available to watch on the NBC website, as well as platforms like Amazon and YouTube.

Fans have also not given up hope for an eventual reboot — and it is certainly possible, especially considering that many of the series stars still count each other as good friends and frequently hang out offscreen. 

Michael Scott’s clever ‘SNL’ reference

Viewers love The Office for the plethora of memorable moments that the show has spawned. Many scenes and lines in The Office have entered the pop culture lexicon. From Jim and Pam’s romance to Kevin’s chili, every fan of The Office has their own particular favorite.

For many, the iconic line, “Dwight, you ignorant slut,” that Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, uttered to Rainn Wilson’s Dwight, tops the list. Carell’s delivery of the line made it an instant classic, but its origin is actually decades older than The Office.

In fact, the line is an homage to a line that Dan Aykroyd spoke to Jane Curtin on a vintage episode of Saturday Night Live, during a Weekend Update sketch. It is quite possible that Steve Carell’s version of the line is now much more popular than the original source, and for fans of The Office, it is one of the show’s all-time classic moments.