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The Office: The Best Moments From Michael Scott’s Goodbye Episode

The Office: The Best Moments From Michael Scott’s Goodbye Episode

Michael Scott was the face of “The Office” for seven blissful seasons of comedic glory. He started out as a discomforting office jefe modeled after Ricky Gervais’ notorious head honcho David Brent. However, over time, the writers — along with a stellar performance from Steve Carell — shaped and modeled Scott into one of the show’s most lovable characters.

By the end of his Scranton career, Michael Scott manages to break out of his insecurities, empowered and emboldened by the love of his life, Holly Flax. While there are still plenty of moments of melodramatic failure, Scott starts to flash deep introspective insights, dish out inspiring moments of leadership, and even make some laudable life decisions. All of this character evolution comes to a head in the two-part Season 7 episode “Goodbye, Michael.” With an extended version runtime of well over 40 minutes, the episode is loaded with laughter, drowning in tears, and brimming with plenty of heartwarming memories.

In fact, there are few episodes in the show that are so chock-full of anecdotal moments, and they have stuck with fans ever since the episode aired way back in April of 2011. With the momentous departure of Mr. Scott now over 10 years old, we decided to round up some of the greatest moments from his final episode as the intrepid leader of the Scranton office of Dunder Mifflin. So, without further ado, here are the best moments from Michael Scott’s goodbye episode.

Michael adjusts to the altitude

The episode opens on an upward shot of Mr. Scott, basking in the gloriously dull downtown Scranton scenery while sitting in a folding chair on the highest point of the office building. Oh, and he’s wearing his cowboy boots.

As he sits there, Scott explains that he’s up on top of the building “getting used to the altitude” before he heads off to his new life in Boulder, Colorado (although, at this point, he doesn’t remember that his new home town is Boulder, per se.) Having Scott equate a short office building with the lofty heights of the Rockies is a perfect callback to the character’s lovable ignorance.

Of course, the scene doesn’t stop there. A disgruntled Dwight shows up shortly after with a plate full of bull testicles disguised as Rocky Mountain oysters. After tricking Michael into partially eating one, the two coworkers are about to duke it out. But Michael sets a surprising tone (that he keeps up for the entire episode) by smoothing things over. He starts by explaining why he didn’t recommend Dwight for the manager position. Then he cleverly butters up the farmer, tapping into his wildlife knowledge by asking him loaded questions about bears, salamis, pepperonis, and the like.

The entire scene is filled with classic Michael-Dwight moments. But it’s also important, as it really does set the tone for the nostalgia overloaded content that’s about to follow.

Jim calls out the camera crew

As Michael’s secret last day at the office kicks off, we get a quick detour that is so clever it’s too hard to pass up. It all starts when Andy goes to the bathroom. As the Nard Dog tends to his business, Gabe pins Andy against the wall and threatens him six ways to Sunday. The reason for the confrontation? Erin.

The two gentlemen suitors are after Erin throughout the season, and at this point, Gabe is trying to shoulder Andy out of the picture. After expertly warning his subordinate to stay away by informing him about how many horror movies he’s seen (hint: it’s over 200), Gabe weepily storms off … just as a nearby toilet flushes. And who should emerge a moment later, but Jim Halpert, who looks quite alarmed at the entire altercation.

The next thing we see is a talking head of Jim. But rather than dropping some juicy gossip or inner circle opinions, Jim just stares down the camera and says, “You guys are filming people when they go to the bathroom now?” The best part is, this isn’t the first time the crew enters the sacred premises of the lavatory. And yet, we, the viewers, are so used to it at this point in the show that we don’t give it a second thought. The scene abruptly calls out the inappropriateness of the behavior out of the blue and is a great nod to the very real presence of the film crew that is so important two seasons later.

Andy bumbles some high-profile clients

As the episode really gets going, Michael starts his undercover goodbye tour by dispensing a series of gifts to his employees. He starts with the Phyllis, Stanley, Andy desk clump, where he gives the two former sales reps a pair of cheap but cute parting gifts. Then Michael gives Andy his own clients … as a parting gift to boost his confidence.

Even Andy is shocked by the gesture. He looks uncomfortably at the bundle of clients and then looks up at Michael and says, “You know I’m the worst salesman here, right?” Michael looks right back at his underperforming employee and confidently says, “But you’re the best salesman on the inside.” He follows this up with the first of many priceless one-liners for the day: “You sold us all on Andy, a product that nobody wanted.”

The well-meaning yet undercutting compliment fails to smooth out the situation, as it takes Stanley all of two seconds to make a move for the precious bundle of clients. The fact that Andy loses a client within minutes of receiving the gift hardly counts as a vote of confidence, either. However, by the end of the episode, the Cornell graduate does manage to salvage a client relationship that was nearly torpedoed by Deangelo Vickers. So, yeah, maybe the faith wasn’t completely misplaced, and the fact that Andy ends up in Michael’s position not long afterward is another point in his favor. Maybe Michael was just having a moment of prophetic clarity after all. Maybe.

Don't be a caricature, Kevin

Another gift that Michael bestows in a perfectly Scott-onian manner is his life lesson for Kevin Malone. The boss walks over to accounting, where he informs Kevin that he has a gift. Mr. Malone gets excited, but the enthusiasm quickly fades from his face when Michael unveils a caricature drawing of Kevin’s head on a pig’s body scarfing down pizza. The picture really is alarming at first sight.

Fortunately, after asking if Kevin knows who’s on the picture, Michael fixes the issue by tearing it in half and telling his speechless accountant to “never be a caricature.” After that, they start to talk through the oddly out-of-place intervention. Michael starts to exhort Kevin about losing weight, resisting food, and finding love, to which Kevin replies that he’s happy with who he is right now.

Clearly uninterested in self-acceptance, Michael rejects Kevin’s confidence, stating, “You should never settle for who you are.” Wise words from the man who once rejected Kevin’s application to work in the warehouse and stuck his butt in a desk chair in the first place.

Who has the lowest opinion of Michael Scott?

Right after Michael gives Kevin his unsolicited life lesson, the boss moves on to say goodbye to Oscar Martinez. Scott’s relationship with Oscar is the polar opposite of his friendship with Kevin, and the interaction that follows demonstrates that in spades. Rather than going for a high-minded lesson in subtly undermined confidence, Scott presents Oscar with a gift: a handmade scarecrow. The barely-thought-out doll looks ridiculous, and it turns out that Michael is well aware of that, too.

After Oscar chokes down his initial reaction and accepts the gift as graciously as possible, the scene cuts to Michael in his office, roaring with laughter. In-between bouts of uncontrollable guffawing, Scott points out that the gift looks like it was made by a 2-year-old monkey on a farm, adding that, “He has the lowest opinion of me of anybody.” It’s a true fact. But the twist that Michael is hyper-aware of that information — and willing to integrate it into his parting gift, no less — is priceless.

The best part is, in the very next scene, as Michael talks to Angela, Oscar goes right on making snooty comments from the background, correcting verbiage and generally sounding about as jerky as it gets. Looks like Michael’s read on Oscar’s opinion was spot on.

Holly calms Michael down

So far, most of the scenes we’ve brought up have focused on the laughs. For this next one, though, we’re going to shift over to the more sentimental side of things (and not for the last time, either). As the episode approaches the middle point, Michael starts to have a lapse in confidence, and his splendid plan to leave that very day is threatened when the boss begins to have some serious second thoughts.

Rather than panic and pull the plug on the whole thing, though, Michael flexes some of his newfound maturity by calling the one person in the world that he knows can help: Holly. His fiance answers the phone and immediately picks up on the fact that something’s wrong. She asks Michael what’s up, but all he says is that he needs to hear her voice.

Holly reads right through the statement and comes back by saying, “Oh, you mean this?” in a deep voice, to which Michael says, “Yes, my hero” in a high-pitched tone. And here’s the kicker: Holly follows this up by saying, “I’ll pay the rent!” She reads right to the heart of the issue, addressing Michael’s concerns about jobs and income, and reassures him that everything will be okay. It’s yet another way that the show reminds all of us that Michael really did find his soup snake — er, soul mate.

Just … Rory Flenderson

Michael’s antipathy toward Toby Flenderson is very, very well documented — the manager is hostile toward his HR rep at any and every opportunity. It’s particularly amusing considering Toby’s removal during the Scranton Strangler case is what leads to Michael meeting Holly.

Figuring out how the pair would part ways had to be a challenge, but it’s one that the production crew managed to answer with aplomb. As Michael manages to civilly say goodbye, Toby informs him that he has a brother in Boulder — one Rory Flenderson. The thought of still having a Flenderson within a hundred miles clearly disturbs Michael to no end, but he shakes it off and moves on.

However, a little while later, we see Toby video messaging his brother the news. On the other side of the call, we see a face that is almost familiar, and for a good reason — Rory Flenderson is played by Warren Lieberstein, the real-life brother of Toby actor Paul Lieberstein. Warren looks eerily similar to Paul, and one could almost say that he has some Michael Scott vibes tossed in, to boot. Add in the fact that the actor was married to none other than Angela actor Angela Kinsey, and the entire scene is bewildering, hilarious, and an instant classic.

The baler

Throughout the seven seasons of “The Office” that feature Michael Scott, one of the boss’s biggest goals in life is to use the baler. He doesn’t just like the idea — he needs to use it. His life won’t be complete if he can’t crush some garbage into a compact cube at least once before he breathes his last. This desire is so strong that it spills over into his final day at the office. Notably, Scott says goodbye to Darryl by giving him the very unfinished first draft of his book “Somehow I Manage.” After buttering his coworker up with this clearly incredible gift, Michael asks one favor: He wants to use the baler.

Being the level-headed, responsible guy that he is, Darryl politely turns down the request. Michael accepts the response on the surface, but the next thing we see is him down in the warehouse saying that he has Darryl’s permission to use the baler. Still denied access, Scott finally turns to leave, saying, “See you later, warehouse. Catch you on the flippity-flip,” as he casually throws a basketball over his shoulder, trying to land it in the net without looking. We are then treated to a montage that shows Michael trying to make the shot over and over again, all while saying that “flippity-flip” line until finally, he gets it in the hoop and walks off grinning. He may not use the baler, but at least he nails the exit.

Paintball

It’s difficult to bring up Michael’s farewell episode without referencing his paintball match with Dwight. As Michael ticks the goodbyes off of his list, each one comes with its own memorable moment. Understandably, though, Mr. Scott puts the most work into saying goodbye to his loyal salesman and kind-of second in command, Mr. Schrute.

The goodbye starts with Michael handing Dwight an official letter of recommendation. Dwight, who’s still pissed at not getting an official referral for the manager job at this point, reads the letter aloud. As he reads through the well-written missive, Dwight’s expression softens. He then discovers one of Michael’s business cards with the words “2:45 Behind the building. Paintball.”

Seconds later, we see a very excited Dwight circling the building, decked from head to toe in paintball gear. Just as he starts to think the entire thing is a prank, Michael ambushes him from the nearby protection of a garbage bin. The two proceed to engage in a paintball duel right there in the parking lot before the scene cuts to a grinning Michael Scott, dressed in his suit again but with paint still visible in his tousled hair. The entire sequence is a perfect ending to the over-the-top relationship that the pair of characters share throughout the show — only to be topped by Michael’s surprise attendance at Dwight’s wedding two seasons later.

Jim says goodbye

At last, we’ve come to it — the moment that we all knew would make the list. If there’s one moment that defines Michael’s last full episode on the show, it has to be his final conversation with Jim. As the day goes on — and Pam Beesly fails to reappear, much to Michael’s dismay — Jim starts to pick up on the fact that something’s off. When Michael attempts to run a last-minute, spur-of-the-moment meeting before he leaves, only to break down crying behind his Ping impression, Jim hustles Michael into his office. There, he calls out his boss’ early departure plans by asking him if he’d like to go out to lunch the next day.

Once the cat’s out of the bag, the two share a heart-wrenching moment as they realize that this is the end of their professional relationship. Michael starts to question his decision again, but this time Jim is quick to jump in, reassuring him that it’s “absolutely not” the wrong choice. This is followed by Jim’s “Goodbyes are a b****” line, which Michael promptly plans to turn into a “Goodbyes Stink” t-shirt someday.

Then we get the kicker: Michael tries to give Jim a proper goodbye, thanking him for his service at the company, but he can’t make it through without breaking down in tears. Jim, whose eyes are also brimming at this point, stops him and suggests that they save the goodbyes for tomorrow — where he can tell Michael that he was the best boss he ever had. Full stop. Nuff said. Please pass the tissues.

Michael surveys the office

One of the quieter-yet-memorable moments of the episode comes right as Michael is about to leave the premises. Coat on after claiming his nearly-finished mittens from Phyllis Smith, Michael turns at reception and gives one long, final look at the office that he led for so many years.

As he surveys the area, we see everyone busy with their business — a scene that both Michael and the audience have become intimately familiar with. Creed can be glimpsed in the background, already drinking from Michael’s “Best Boss” mug, but otherwise, very little is amiss in the setting. Creed shouts, “See you tomorrow, boss,” and Michael replies with the concise, “Later, guys.”

Then Michael looks at Jim one last time, and the salesman knowingly nods, encouraging him to get a move on and start the next chapter of his life. The camera follows Michael out to the elevator, where it stops for one final shot as the doors close on the story of one of the greatest regional managers of a small paper supply company that the world has ever known.

Pam catches Michael at the airport

As is always the case with a show that juggles this many storylines, Michael’s goodbye episode doesn’t end on his perfectly written exit from the building. No, there’s one more little coda that has to take place before Michael’s journey in Scranton can truly end.

After his ride to the airport, the camera crew follows Michael to the security check. And it’s here that we see the manager remove his mic — along with one more “that’s what she said” joke — and officially unplug from the documentary. He heads through to the terminal, but before he walks out of sight, Pam runs up and hugs him.

The receptionist-turned-salesman-turned-office administrator arrived back at the office just after Michael left and physically tracked him down just in time to say goodbye. Even from a distance, the importance of the act of friendship can be seen on Michael’s face. After years of pursuing validation from Jim and Pam, he gets exactly that in two separate moments as he launches off into the next stage of his life. It’s a fitting end to a character that captivated the loyalty of fans for seven years as he helmed the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin — and who has remained close in our hearts ever since.

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