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The absolute best deleted scenes from The Office

The Office has become a worldwide classic, as beloved by today's teenagers as it is by their grandparents. Everyone has a favorite couple, season, episode, or running gag, from Dwight and Angela's bizarrely sweet romance to Andy's devotion to the art of acapella. Streaming services have made the NBC comedy an institution to the point that its imminent departure from Netflix is headline news. Pop sensation Billie Eilish sampled "Threat Level Midnight" in the midst of her otherwise stripped-down electronica. It's Michael Scott's world, we're just living in it.

But there's another layer to The Office even the most diehard fans may be oblivious to: the many hours of deleted scenes that never made it to prime time. Some episodes have so many that they nearly constitute separate episodes unto themselves, some involve props that never ended up on screen, and many are just as funny as the jokes we still quote endlessly, years after the show's end. Where should a fan begin when combing through the wide world of Office outtakes? Here are 11 of the absolute best, taken from the show's entire run. Sit back, put on some Scrantonicity, and enjoy.

Michael comes home from Jamaica

It's hard to forget Michael, fresh off his trip to a Jamaican resort, banging on a steel drum and serenading his employees with the news that he's feeling "hot, hot, hot." He is at his most irritating — no one has ever benefited from someone attempting reggae lamely at 10 a.m. — and his most truly clueless. He has no idea that he isn't introducing his colleagues to "island living," but preventing them from doing their work… and, simultaneously, no idea that the sunbathing photo of Jan is about to blow up his office.

In this deleted scene, however, he is almost sweet in his sincerity. Sure, he sounds ridiculous as he attempts to remember the lyrics to Harry Belafonte's "Day-O," and no, he is nowhere near pulling off his tiny little rasta braid, despite the fact that he somehow managed to fit three beads onto it. But he is nakedly honest when he describes wanting every day to feel like it did for him in Jamaica, when he woke with the sunrise, ate a mango, and looked forward to hours spent with someone he loved. He is almost tragicomic in the airport, his bold Hawaiian shirt the only color in the otherwise grey-toned frame. He has no idea how silly he looks, how messy things are about to get, or how much he's going to annoy his employees. He's just happy to be enjoying his "chill pill."

Ryan 2.0 vs. Kevin

Ryan's descent from good-natured temp to sleazy, pretentious grifter was one of The Office's most satisfying character arcs. It's not that he was ever diabolical, really — he was just deeply and unrelentingly smug. Even at the depths of his low points, from sporting a bad bleach-job in a bowling alley to being driven to work by his mom, he never lost his grip on his own unearned sense of superiority. Audiences loved to hate Ryan because the world is so full of Ryans, in every incarnation he tried on: hipster photographer, the world's laziest startup mastermind, and even the dad dumping his baby on a stranger to follow an unendingly codependent relationship.

This deleted scene is fascinating in that it gives the viewer a bit of insight into how Ryan rationalizes being Ryan. As he explains to Kevin, someone else does everything bad he's ever perpetrated, and that guy is always and forever the "old Ryan." He's Ryan 2.0 now! He has to bear the weight of another man's misdeeds! Why should he be punished when the sins of this other man already press down upon him each day? It's utterly obnoxious and makes total sense. Not only does this illuminate just how nasty he is, it makes Kevin's ultimate revenge upon him all the more sweet.

Jim and Michael brainstorm the commercial

Jim and Michael's relationship took many forms. Sometimes, as when Jim confided in his bumbling boss about his feelings for Pam, it was a genuine friendship. Often it became a game of Jim seeing just how much he could get away with under the nose of the man who was, ostensibly, his superior. Once in a while it grew openly adversarial. But it never stopped mattering, from the moment they were introduced to the day Michael left for Colorado. The two men might not always have gotten along, but they made each other into better, smarter, and kinder people.

This deleted scene is a great example of the bedrock kindness that was always the foundation of Jim and Michael's camaraderie. Yes, Jim is pulling a fast one on Michael, culminating in Michael's surrender of his own office. Sure, Michael is made to look silly in contrast to Jim's knowing prankster charm. But Jim is genuinely helping his friend get into the right headspace, and by the end of the episode, he will have arranged a special screening of the Michael Scott "director's cut" at Poor Richard's Pub. When Michael needs a "suit" to play off, Jim steps in to provide — and Michael, if not knowingly, gives him a creative outlet in his workday. If that's not workplace synergy, what is?

Creed's musical past

Perhaps The Office's greatest trick was its casting of Creed Bratton as… Creed Bratton. The 1960s rock star might have been playing a bizarre, alternate universe interpretation of himself, sure, but Bratton's performance never entirely strayed from the truth of his origins. He was a flower child through and through, from the mung beans he sprouted on a damp paper towel in his desk drawer to his fake-ID machine. Sure, he sometimes forgot to do his job, but he'd find a way (or a person) to cover for him. And didn't it beat, as he frequently alluded to, the international vagrancy that had previously defined his life?

In a deleted scene, however, Creed behaved as he never had before: competently. We get to watch the man who once toured with the likes of Janis Joplin and the Doors rock out on a Pennsylvania party boat, playing the electric guitar like he was born to it. Had this been included, it would have been the only acknowledgment of the metatextual history of the actor/character prior to the finale, in which he finally plays an acoustic song. Though the lateness of that reveal is hilarious in and of itself, it's a lot of fun to watch the Dunder Mifflinites agog at their mysterious colleague's skill this early in the series. He might not be able to last more than 90 seconds on a phone call, but he can play like he never left Woodstock.

Michael buys a portable defibrillator

The fake fire that led to Stanley's heart attack has become the stuff of Office legend. It was, of course, a great scene in and of itself, from the baroque escalation of Dwight's cigarette in a trash can to the moment Angela's cat falls out of the ceiling. But social media has given the clip new life, circulating everywhere from Tumblr to Twitter. Stanley collapsing is just the cherry on top of a strange and smoke-filled comedy sundae.

This deleted scene would have given it a hilarious postscript, however, and an all-time great Michael vs. Toby moment. The Office was, above all, built on the inherent tension of "cringe comedy," and this scene epitomizes that — and even adds a dash of horror. You're fairly certain Michael won't actually electrocute someone, but this is a show on which you can't be absolutely sure that won't happen. After all, someone already had a heart attack, and there was that episode all about Michael hitting Meredith with his car. 

By the time Michael wends his way to the annex and asks for a handshake from his greatest enemy, you're nearly convinced that Michael might just send a second employee to the hospital. The tension breaks, Michael is angry, Toby is once again laid low. But for a moment, the audience hangs perfectly suspended between horror and hilarity.

Phyllis confesses to a hit and run

Who could have imagined that Phyllis, with her love of gaudy makeovers, charming handicrafts, and overwhelming perfume would have ended up so truly bizarre? Her marriage went from being a lovely facet of the office park to the most brazenly (and happily!) sexual relationship on the show. She took bloody-minded revenge on Angela for crimes committed in the name of party-planning. And hey, remember that time she revealed that she gave up a child for adoption and wondered if Erin might be that very baby?

Phyllis' depths were strange, funny, and often pretty endearing. I mean, okay, you feel bad for Pam and Jim as they wait for Phyllis and Bob to finish up canoodling in the bathroom, but aren't you also kind of happy for the two lovebirds? In one deleted scene, though, things take a turn for the morbid. Phyllis straight-up confesses to manslaughter that she and Bob only narrowly got away with — a crime she isn't even able to convince herself into dismissing. It's humor so black it's impenetrable, and it makes sense that it was cut, given how damning a detail it reveals. But as a deleted scene, cast into the quasi-canon of the show, it's truly, horrifically hilarious.

Andy's high school girlfriend

Before Andy was "Baby Wawa," before he was in and out of love with Erin, before he was boss, he was a fumbling salesman with nothing but a Cornell degree to his name. Among the earliest hits he would take was the moment he realized the young woman he'd been seeing was, in fact, an underage high-schooler. He and Jim wander the school in a daze after spotting her, Andy incredulous and increasingly hurt. How could she do this to him? How could he have been so blind? Finally, Jim comforts him with the soothing balm of acapella. Only song could soothe the savage beast.

In a deleted scene, however, The Office derived quite a bit more comedy from the situation. Andy cartoonishly confronts his girlfriend, Jim attempts to keep Andy from incriminating himself, and it becomes more and more clear just how thoroughly Andy's paramour and her friends were using him for access to the adult world. Jim failing to impress a high schooler is an exquisite detao — not even he can make this disaster of a situation anything but embarrassing. Cutting these scenes made the plotline more focused on Andy's failure to establish himself in Scranton, but it did deprive the audience of Jim accidentally insulting a dead man.

Michael in the koi pond

Comedy depends as much upon what isn't seen as what is. It makes sense, then, that we don't get to see much of Michael splashing around in the titular "Koi Pond" of this sixth season episode, especially when much of the story hinges on exactly how he fell in. But a deleted scene, consisting of the security camera footage of the fall and its aftermath, reveals the whole affair as a showcase of comedy greatness. Carell gets to show off his slapstick chops to an extent rarely seen in the show, somehow managing to drag the event into an operatic odyssey. He repeatedly underestimates how far the edge of the pond is. He slips. He stumbles. The fish are bewildered, and, as we learn later on in the episode, in the process of being killed by Michael's pratfalls. And through it all, the security camera sweeps calmly back and forth. There's just something perfectly absurd about the unimpeded motion of it, in contrast to the buffoon's ballet it beholds. It is The Office digging into the classics and reminding us all of just how good physical comedy can be — and how good Carell is at it, in particular.

Jim guesses Dwight's password

Jim and Dwight's rivalry was a pillar of The Office from beginning to end. Future Dwight, Megadesk, and Dwight's secret CIA ice cream social are all standouts of the series, and they're only a handful of classic moments between the two. What made their tension so special was the fact that Dwight never stopped believing himself to be the superior man, despite the many, many times Jim took him down a peg. He is, according to himself, the true authority in the office, an alpha male, possibly a genius, and so entirely perfect at being himself that his Second Life persona was also a Pennsylvanian paper salesman who owned and operated a small-scale beet farm.

It is that iron ego that makes this deleted scene so special. Dwight's password is "Frodo," because of course it is, and then he changes it to "Gollum," because of course he does. A lesser show might have reduced Jim to a bully and Dwight to the kicked-around patsy, but the cast and crew of The Office knew that Dwight would never allow himself to be reduced to such a cringing caricature. He is the volunteer sheriff's deputy, and by god, his internet will not be reduced to the lax state of security one might expect from (insert sneer) someone like Jim. The audience roots for both of them, because no one's really getting hurt — Dwight and Jim need each other to get through their days at Dunder Mifflin.

Dwight's crime scene dilemma

In this scene, Dwight is faced with the greatest dilemma of his life: when authority is compromised, who should he obey? On the one hand, Dwight believes himself to be the greatest of all leaders, evidenced most dramatically by the time in which he was manager. He became something of a dictator, commissioning Soviet-esque portraits of himself for the conference room and painting his office as black as possible to intimidate the employees that he, of course, only ever refers to as "subordinates." And yet, Dwight is just as defined by his servility. He never loses a chance to play the sycophant to Michael and all who fill the managerial role after him, even if it comes at the cost of his dignity. To Dwight, there is no dignity without hierarchy.

So what should he do when faced with a crime scene he must disrupt? Essentially, he becomes a robot faced with a paradox. We often saw Dwight reduced to ridiculousness, but rarely did we ever get to see him play a part in it himself, beyond what anyone could have planned. 

Visiting Meredith in the hospital

Season 4 started off strong, and not just because Jim and Pam had finally decided to act on their feelings. No, that long-running plotline played second fiddle to the real star of the season opener: the moment Michael hit Meredith with his car. Everything that came from that moment, poised on that edge between horrifying-and-hysterical that The Office kept sharpened to a wicked point, became the stuff of TV legend. Truly, will anything ever top Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure? 

The deleted scene of everyone visiting Meredith in the hospital comes about as close as anything could. It is a symphony of awkwardness, a perfect blend of these characters at their most vivid. Angela's terseness and Kevin's blunt narcissism are held barely in check by Michael, who is, of course, working overtime to convince everyone that he is not at fault here. Creed snags a few pills. Andy makes it weird, then doubles down. It is The Office encapsulated, a distillation of all that made these characters so weird, lovable, and ultimately, unforgettable. They might not have raised any money for rabies, but they cemented a place in our hearts.