Michael Scott (Steve Carell) has always been the central character of The Office. While he serves as the regional manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin, he likes to think of himself first as a friend, second as a boss, and then third as an entertainer. Unfortunately, his attempts at humor tend to fall flat since he usually says inappropriate and offensive things inadvertently in the hopes of getting a laugh. Even so, he’s not the type who easily gives up. In fact, he’s created an array of characters which he brings into play for both entertainment and educational purposes.
Agent Michael Scarn
Out of Michael’s characters on The Office, FBI Agent Michael Scarn is the most popular persona since it has been referenced in at least four episodes. For those who can’t remember, he’s the star of Michael’s action hero screenplay, Threat Level: Midnight. In “The Client,” Pam (Jenna Fischer) finds a manuscript in Michael’s desk drawer that features Michael as character Agent Michael Scarn. While Michael is out, Jim (John Krasinski) gathers everyone in the conference room and gives them copies of the script. Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) reads the role of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dwight (Rainn Wilson) lands the role of agent Michael Scarn. At another occasion, Michael adopts this persona in his improv comedy class, only this time, he uses an alternate name – Michael Scoon, who always pulls out imaginary guns and shoots everyone in the room regardless of their participation in the scene.
Based on Michael’s Chinese food deliveryman, Ping is a chauvinistic Asian caricature which he portrayed during “The Dundies.” During the award show, Michael says the name of “Jan Levinson Gould” using a peculiar accent while wearing some goofy glasses complete with squinty eyes that are printed on the lenses. Ping didn’t really turn out to be a significant part of the episode, but revisiting this episode reminds me of Michael’s poor judgment and knack for putting people into awkward situations, and I’m hoping to see more of that if and when the writers decide to come up with yet another annual awards show.
Prison Mike is one of the most hilarious faces of Michael Scott. It’s also my favorite among all his other characters. Sporting a purple bandanna while speaking in distorted New York English, Michael calls a meeting in “The Convict” in attempt to disprove employees who believe that prison is a much better place than Dunder Mifflin. As Michael adopts the persona of Prison Mike, he tells them about his awful experience inside prison and claims that he stole, robbed, kidnapped the President’s son and held him for ransom, and that he never got caught, which is ironic because he asserts he learned all these things in prison. He also states that the scariest part of prison is the Dementors, an obvious reference to Harry Potter, though he claims otherwise. While his depiction of life behind bars is enough to make you laugh, it gets even funnier when Prison Mike tells Ryan (B. J. Novak) that he would be the belle of the ball in prison with matching puckered lips and smacking sound.
As a comedian, Michael Scott can easily transform a dull moment at work into a stimulating and thought-provoking moment. And in spite of all his mistakes and futile attempts to make people laugh, he remains to be a compassionate character because of his lack of malice and his genuine desire to make people happy. Here’s hoping to see more of Michael’s characters in the future!
What’s your favorite Michael Scott persona?
-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of NBC)