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Why The Office Fans Think Michael Scott Is A Secret Genius

In nearly every episode of the mockumentary sitcom The Office, world's best boss Michael Scott (Steve Carell) does or says the most grossly inappropriate thing in any given situation. His extraordinarily ignorant behavior and treatment of his coworkers lands them in hilariously awkward scenarios, like when he wore a Halloween costume to a Diwali celebration or when he spread rumors about everyone and a couple of them ended up being true. Despite him being as obtuse as geometry, life regularly works out okay for the Scranton branch manager.

Based on how often things go perfectly wrong, even inattentive salesman Stanley Hudson (Leslie David Baker) finds himself wondering if Michael is "some kind of secret genius" in the "Branch Wars" episode. Fans have been wondering the same things for years, with a number of them posting on Reddit what they consider evidence that Michael Scott is completely self-aware. Is Michael Scott's untold truth that he's a business guru in disguise?

Michael Scott is not just a good salesman, he's a good businessman

Michael Scott used to be the best salesman around, and he's not shy about letting anybody know. Not only is he a remarkably good salesman, but he also keeps a meticulous, color-coded Rolodex of all his contacts. The code is at spy game level, as Dwight (Rainn Wilson) learns in "Heavy Competition," when he steals the Rolodex and attempts to use the note "son, gay" to get friendly with a client. It doesn't work. Michael explains that a green note means "to go ahead and shut up about it": genius, indeed.

In season 5 of The Office, Michael creates Dunder Mifflin's fiercest competitor, the Michael Scott Paper Company. You can argue that Michael only started the company because he felt neglected by his boss David Wallace (Andy Buckley) and that the company was worthless. But that doesn't negate the fact that Michael still manages to sell his company to Dunder Mifflin and secure jobs for himself, Pam, and Ryan. Wallace complains that the move means Michael is "talking about salary plus health benefits" — Michael interjects, demanding dental insurance, before Wallace continues — "insurance, taxes, social security for three people... you're talking about a multi-million dollar buyout." He is, and he gets it. Even Entertainment Weekly named it the most successful (fictional) business in history.

One of the more popular examples of Michael's secret wisdom is presented in "The Client," when Michael forces Jan Levinson (Jennifer Taylor-Clarke) to spend hours getting to know the affable client (played by Tim Meadows). Jan is fed up, but just at the right moment Michael swiftly secures the sale with the school district rep, in turn impressing a slightly tipsy Jan (via Mental Floss).

On The Office, Michael knows how to manipulate people for good

One Reddit fan theory that Michael Scott is a secret genius compares him to the Dark Knight, calling him "the boss Scranton needs, not the one it wants." It's true that the staff at DM often yearn for a different boss. In "The Roast of Michael Scott," Oscar even yells at Michael about it in Spanish. Employees of the Scranton branch often find themselves at odds with their boss, but some fans think he does this on purpose for either his or the greater good.

The show does offer a glimpse of what a completely lucid Michael could be in the "Murder" episode, wherein Michael forces the branch to play a murder mystery game while they wait on news of a possible branch closure. Co-manager Jim (John Krasinski) tries to stop it, but Michael, steadfast in knowing what his staff needs, fires back by saying, "I'm in control, I know what I'm doing, do not disturb this." Michael is right, and the entire staff's mood is lifted before they hear any more news.

There's no shortage of legendary and hilarious Michael Scott moments, and the character could not have existed without the improvisation that Steve Carrell and the entire cast brought to the show. Michael Scott is an unusual and beloved boss, genius or not.