‘The Office’: The Worst Episode of the Series Isn’t ‘Scott’s Tots,’ According To IMDb

Fans of the hit comedy series The Office can rattle off their favorite episodes easily. However, it can be more challenging to pin down with episodes they like the least. But according to its score on IMDb, there’s one clear standout. And it may surprise some fans to learn that it isn’t “Scott’s Tots.”

‘The Office’ is one of the most beloved U.S. series

Steve Carell as Michael Scott in 'The Office'
Steve Carell as Michael Scott in ‘The Office’ | Byron Cohen/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The Office premiered in 2005. The show features relatable (if some a bit exaggerated) characters in ordinary circumstances — primarily at work. Audiences fell in love with these intriguing characters, from Steve Carell’s obtuse boss Michael Scott to Mindy Kaling’s vapid Kelly Kapoor.

Even before its series finale in 2013, The Office influenced numerous shows that came after it. Parks and Recreation sprang from the same minds and quickly became another popular NBC comedy. And another long-running sitcom, Modern Family, followed in its footsteps with its mockumentary style.

It’s known for its ‘cringe comedy’

Coming from the British series, The Office had to find a way to differentiate itself. There’s a lot of awkwardness in the U.K. version, but it’s of a drier sensibility. While there are many heartwarming moments in the show, the U.S. show leaned into what’s known as cringe comedy, when the audience can genuinely relate to the characters.

“Our generation embraced the comedy of failure and awkwardness,” star Ed Helms said on the podcast The Oral History of The Office. “My parents never got The Office — they were mortified by it. They weren’t able to see the humor in it. But [cringe] is so much of what drove comedy writing at that time.”

Fans think ‘Scott’s Tots’ is one of the hardest episodes to watch

The episode many point to when referencing The Office’s cringe comedy is “Scott’s Tots.” The season 6 episode depicts the branch manager recounting a profile he made to a group of kids 10 years earlier: That he would pay their college tuitions. Michael has to speak to the teenagers directly and tell them he can’t fulfill this promise.

Over the years, “Scott’s Tots” has become a frequently cited episode of the series. Collider deemed it “one of the most excruciating episodes of television ever made.” There’s even a subreddit dedicated to it, where users discuss precisely what makes it so cringeworthy and why they skip it during their The Office rewatches.

The lowest-rated episode of ‘The Office’ is from Season 8


‘The Office’: Why Fans Love the Cringe Comedy Element Even Though It’s So Uncomfortable to Watch

While “Scott’s Tots” may cause fans second-hand embarrassment, it’s not one of the series’ lowest-rated. In fact, at an 8.3, it’s about average for a The Office episode. The least-liked episode of the series, with a 6.5 rating, is season 8’s “Get the Girl,” which comes from the time when the series was floundering without Carell’s character.

In the episode, Andy decides that he’ll do anything to get Erin back, including driving all the way to Florida. This comes at the very end of the Sabre Store arc, which most fans weren’t into. In addition to the storyline around Erin and Andy, who the show tried to make into another Jim and Pam, the focus on Nellie was also a negative for some.