Recently I decided that I would re-watch every episode of the american remake of The Office.
I’ve burned through the first five seasons so far (easily the last truly good season) but what has really struck me is how well Michael Scott’s character is written. Now, it’s one thing having good writers but you need an equally committed actor to bring this person to life and Steve Carrell has proven himself to be well up to the task. Scott is, in this writers opinion, one of the greatest characters in sitcom history. Three reasons why this is true:
1. He is all of us.
What I mean by this is that everything about Michael (his need for approval and love, his bad jokes, his innate averageness) can be applied to most of the viewing audience. This can mostly be appropriated to his upbringing, when he lets slip to Pam, just as it’s looking like the Michael Scott Paper Company isn’t going to work out, “Well, you know what? My mom used to say that average people are the most special people in the world. And that’s why God made so many…”
This one pitiful, sad line sums up everything about Michael so neatly that i’m surprised it took the writers five years to work it in. We’re all brought up believing that we’re special, just a little different to the norm, and we do, we all believe this, until time comes when we can’t. Until we grow up enough to realise that we’re not that different, we’re not that special. Sure, we may have different tastes in music, books and movies, but by and large we’re all average and it’s only when we try to do things outside our comfort level do we realise how limited our skills are and how hard it is to actually try and create or do something meaningful.
Now, don’t be offended, reader, I’m probably the most average person around. I don’t have any discernible skills, I don’t really excel at one thing, I haven’t done anything particularly special with my life. I’m well organised and keep on top of my finances, for the most part, but you don’t see Hollywood making any feel good films about a man who can file things away and gets to work on time every day.
I’m mostly fine with this but what makes Michael special and the reason his character is relatable to me is how he manages to stay so upbeat, no matter how many times he’s knocked back or proved wrong. Which brings me to my next point.
2. His unending optimism – no matter what.
In all honesty, Michael Scott should be suffering from depression considering the amount of times he’s been crapped on but he seems intent on not letting his glaring weaknesses and miserable existence get the better of him. Things eventually worked out for him, what with him marrying Holly and creating a family of his own – something he’d been dreaming about for years. It just goes to show that if you keep going and if you have your heart set on something, no matter how big or small, you may eventually get rewarded.
You’re probably asking yourselves how did Michael manage to get himself out of bed every day, how did he wade through all his personal hell – I wish I could properly answer this. I know that if life kept pushing me down that I couldn’t be as openly positive as he is.
My guess is that he learnt at a young age that he had to stay positive – can you imagine what would happen if he took a realistic look at himself, if he was Pam, Jim or Darryl for a day and just observing the Michael Scott Show? I don’t know if that’s something he could recover from so he learnt to use his optimism as a kind of shield against the harsh realities surrounding him. He learnt to love and respect himself and, ultimately, that’s why we find him endearing and loveable; he takes all that life throws at him and still comes out smiling at the end.
He’s like the Duracell Bunny of positivity, remaining upbeat long after yet another rejection or social faux pas. This is what makes us root for him and wish that everything works out for him.
3. That’s what she said
Sometimes he doesn’t know what she said but he just says it to lighten the tension. When things sort of get hard. That’s what she said.
The last one always makes me cry.
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