‘The Office’: Ricky Gervais Is to Thank for a Big Part of Michael Scott’s Personality

Though The Office has been off of the air for nearly seven years, the show has never been more popular. Michael Scott and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin team have only gotten more mainstream with time. As the show is leaving Netflix at the end of 2020, more people are binging the documentary-style show. In fact, in 2019 it was Netflix’s most-watched series, beating out other big names like Friends.

The Office Cast Michael Scott
Angela Kinsey, Kate Flannery, Steve Carell, Phyllis Smith, and Jenna Fischer| Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

Though the show delivered two hilarious seasons without him, one of the things that makes The Office iconic is the character, Michael Gary Scott. Played brilliantly by Steve Carell, Michael Scott serves as the Regional Manager for Dunder Mifflin Scranton for seven seasons. Equal parts infuriating and loveable, Michael Scott is one of the best characters in television history.

Michael Scott is one of the best characters on ‘The Office’

From making wildly inappropriate jokes, to sleeping with one of his employee’s mom’s Michael can often be completely insufferable. Yet, there are moments when you can’t help but root for him. Who could forget when he finally got the family he always wanted or when he encouraged Jim to never give up on his love for Pam. Furthermore, there were so many moments where Michael was laugh-out-loud funny. Watching him “declare bankruptcy” and share that the worst part about prison “was the dementors” is pure comedic gold.

Another unique thing about Micheal was that though he was often a menace in the office and a complete distraction to his employees, he occasionally crushed it at his job. A prime example of this comes in the third season of the office in an episode called “The Initiation.”

Michael’s unique work ethic

In this episode of The Office, Pam is tasked by Jan to keep a log of Michael’s productivity for the day. As the day progresses it appears as if Michael gets absolutely nothing done. He does Cosby Show impressions, stands in line for a free pretzel, and then naps in his office after his sugar high inevitably causes him to crash. However, at the end of the episode, we learn that his Cosby impressions actually help him land a large account.

Instances, of Michael being great at his job, on occasion, are littered throughout seven seasons of The Office and, according to the cast, this was done intentionally. In an episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Angela Kinsey (Angela) and Jenna Fischer (Pam), revealed that this personality trait was at the recommendation of Ricky Gervais.

Ricky Gervais gave advice that influenced the writers

Gervais is the creator of The Office UK and his show inspired the U.S. remake. He gave a suggestion that there should be moments in the series where the audience sees glimpses of Michael being both a good boss and a good salesman.

He argued that in England, you can be bad at your job for a very long time and not deal with any consequences. However, he believed that the same couldn’t be said for America so viewers would need to see Michael a being great boss sometimes for the show to be believable. Clearly, The Office U.S. writers took that advice to heart and helped make Michael Scott the loveable, well-rounded, ridiculous, character he is today.