The Office Star Zach Woods Hopes Fans Can See Gabe's Vulnerability Through His Villainous Arc

Among all of the loveable characters on "The Office," there are a number of them that fans love to hate. Examples include Michael Scott's (Steve Carell) toxic girlfriend Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin), the delusional Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate), and, of course, Gabe Lewis (Zach Woods), Sabre's coordinating director of emerging regions.

It's inarguable that Gabe is one of the most awkward individuals to grace the Scranton office. Given the employment of Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) and Andy Bernard (Ed Helms), that's certainly saying a lot. He's extremely passionate about horror flicks (he owns over 200), isn't afraid to sport a Lady Gaga or Abraham Lincoln costume, and is very dedicated to his boss, Jo Bennett (Kathy Bates).

Despite his hectic schedule, he finds time to pursue a romance with receptionist Erin Hannon (Ellie Kemper), though she quickly feels the "ick" toward her new man. At one point, she asks Gabe, "Can you stop talking, because every word out of your mouth is like the squawk of an ugly pelican?" When she ultimately chooses Andy, Gabe tries to sabotage his career advancement when he applies to fill Michael's shoes as regional manager.

Gabe's uncomfortable nature and tendency to be a buzzkill don't sit well with others. In fact, they have no issue insulting Gabe right to his face. When Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) hugs him goodbye, she audibly makes a groan of disgust because of his boney physique. On another occasion, when Gabe excitedly enters the conference room holding a cupcake for his birthday, Nellie yells, "Oh, get out, skeleton man!"

The abuse toward Gabe might sometimes be warranted, but Woods hopes "The Office" fans see that his character isn't all bad.

Zach Woods said Gabe desperately wants friendship and respect

When Gabe Lewis isn't trying to uphold Sabre standards, it's clear that he craves friendship and a sense of belonging. He fiercely (and creepily) fights to maintain his relationship with Erin by cornering her in the women's restroom, intrudes on "girl talk" with a conversation about Korean soap operas, and hosts a pizza-making party at his home. Zach Woods hopes audiences can look past Gabe's unlikeable exterior and recognize this sense of vulnerability.

In an interview with UPROXX, he said, "... underneath their prickly porcupine behavior, you can see the soft skin of a sickly rodent or whatever ... But I think if people felt some mixture of alienation, understandable alienation, and also some sort of, at least, empathy or understanding for poor Gabe, then I will have done my job." Woods added that Gabe's off-putting personality is largely due to his desperation for romance, respect, and other things. "It's all just like he wants it so bad, he just crushes it in his skeletal hands," he said.

Woods admitted that he doesn't read commentary about "The Office," but he'd be glad to know that he accomplished his goal with Gabe -– many fans dislike him but do feel sorry for him. On Reddit, u/silverlola said they felt empathetic toward Gabe several times, such as when he expresses his excitement over Sticky Quips or plays music for a vomiting Andy.

U/badtickleelmo shared the common belief that "The Office" goes downhill with the introduction of Sabre, but praised Gabe for being a bright spot in these less-loved seasons. For others, like u/Garth-Vader, Gabe's awkward, lonely nature truly hits home. "I relate to Gabe on a deeply spiritual level," they wrote.