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The Saddest Thing About Michael Scott That The Office Fans Ignore

Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) is easily one of the most lovable characters on NBC's The Office, despite his uncanny ability to make every situation he's in unbearably awkward. He was known for taking jokes just a little too far, and for getting overly attached to his employees, who he often called his family. Michael was also selfless and selfish at the same time, making for quite the paradoxical boss.

He was also incredibly open with his employees — unless that employee's name was Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein). He tried his hardest to get to know those in his office on a deeper level and struggled to form real friendships with them outside of work. While many characters on The Office had moments of sympathy for Michael somewhere along the way, he was just as often dismissed — especially by Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey), Phyllis Vance (Phyllis Smith), Stanley Hudson (Leslie David Baker), Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak), and even Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) in the first few seasons.

The employees of Dunder Mifflin were given so many hints as to why Michael is the way that he is, that they should have shown him a little more compassion. Many of his issues stem from emotional suffering during his childhood and teenage years. Viewers, and his coworkers, learned of many of these issues over the years, which included the embarrassment of wetting his pants at his mom's wedding when he was a young boy, the public humiliation he received as a child on the television show Fundle Bundle, and a third emotional disaster from high school that might have been the actual worst.

In season 6, episode 5, Michael briefly mentions a horrific ordeal he had to endure for four years, and it's a story many fans overlook because it was mostly delivered as a throwaway line. If you take the time to unpack it, however, it's easily one of the saddest moments from the entire show.

Michael Scott admits he was bullied ... by teenage girls

In this episode, Jim Halpert coaches Michael Scott on how to get over his embarrassment from falling in the water feature while out on a sales pitch. The employees are having an absolute field day with Michael's misfortune as they throw fish pun after fish pun at him for their cruel enjoyment. Jim advises Michael to make fun of himself, which results in his co-workers taking it easy on him, and eventually even defending him.

Michael — as Michael is wont to do — takes the poking fun at himself too far and reveals a devastating story about a frozen lake.

"It's actually not the first time I've been embarrassed by a pond," he says to the group. "In high school, the girl's volleyball team always used to throw me in the frozen lake ... four years in a row. It was freezing." Oh, the trauma! For all four years of high school, Michael was ambushed by a pack of predatory teenage girls in incidents that could have resulted in his death each and every time. Falling through ice on a frozen lake is terrifying, dangerous, and definitely humiliating.

Michael had to endure this year after year as a young man, which very well could be one of the reasons he so desperately wants to be close to people. He craves attention, he craves family, he craves friendship, and this could be due in part to how he was treated during his high school years, and because of those mean ol' volleyball players.