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The Office Fan Theory That Paints Kevin As A Secret Genius

Fan theories are plentiful and varied, running the gamut of credulity from "We're all actually living in The Matrix" to "No seriously, Ryan. You're in the Matrix right now and this is the only way we can reach you. Climb through the window to the right of your home office computer and hide in your neighbor's garage until we arrive. The key code is 7992. Go now."

But even with a healthy suspension of disbelief, some head-canon premises are almost impossible to believe. By way of example, there are fans of this obscure sitcom called The Office who are convinced that a character named Kevin Malone, portrayed in-universe as an absolute beef head, was secretly a genius all along. It's preposterous. It's ludicrous. It's ... actually pretty compelling, looked at from a certain angle.

As anyone who spent all of 2020 watching and rewatching The Office can confirm, Kevin is Dunder Mifflin's resident dumb dumb, shown at times to be incapable of high-brow tasks like recognizing when a turtle has died and, in a particularly upsetting turn for a professional accountant, math. But what if it was all a con? What if Kevin walked away from the paper company shaking off his ineptitude like a Keyser Söze limp? 

According to some viewers, that's exactly what he did.

The Office was Kevin's private piggy bank all along

The crux of the theory lies in The Office's final episodes. At the end of the series, viewers learn that Kevin, who was summarily fired at the beginning of Dwight's managerial reign, is now running a bar. Check out the deleted scenes and you'll learn that he claims to have pulled this off by allowing fans to put credit on his bar tab until he was able to cash in on his line of credit by purchasing a majority share of the establishment. It all seems so easy — maybe too easy.

Put aside for the time being the uncharacteristic self control that Kevin would need to exercise in order to accrue such a massive backlog of beer money. How many I.O.U. drinks would he have to pile up before the owners decided that it was more financially feasible to just hand him the establishment? Too many. It makes more sense that Kevin had a substantial wad of cash sitting around already — the kind you might get by "cooking the books" at an accounting job for more than a decade, which is exactly what Dwight accused Kevin of doing. He'd even invented a number — "keleven" — to make up for his accounting errors at work. 

The theory goes that this was all part of a long con, convincing his coworkers that he was too dumb to know any better and too harmless to be doing intentional damage. He even played up his stupidity for the cameras in order to build plausible deniability, a habit we'd already seen him display when he spoke to his ex-Stanford branch colleague about getting caught committing white-collar crime.

We may never know whether Kevin Malone was actually the smartest man in the room. The only thing that's certain is that Toby was absolutely the Scranton Strangler.