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The Office Stars Reveal The Hilarious True Story Behind The Famous Michael Meme

"The Office" fans finally know the real story behind one of the series' funniest moments.

Over the course of its nine seasons, the NBC sitcom featured more than its fair share of iconic scenes, but few "Office" moments have gone on to be as well-remembered as the screaming rant Michael Scott (Steve Carell) gives during the cold open of "Frame Toby." The episode in question opens casually, with most of the members of the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch enjoying brownies in their conference room. Things take a turn, however, when Kelly (Mindy Kaling) grabs two brownies and says she's going to give one to Toby (Paul Lieberstein), who had previously moved away to Costa Rica. Michael, in denial that his nemesis has returned, goes to Toby's desk area thinking it's all just a practical joke on the part of Kelly and Jim (John Krasinski).

When he actually sees Toby standing by his desk, though, Michael reacts drastically. Before Toby can even say a full sentence, Michael screams out in anger and frustration, "NOOOO GOD! NO, GOD, PLEASE NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOOOO!" The moment is one of the most popular that "The Office" ever produced, and Michael's scream has gone on to become a popular internet meme. But for as iconic as the cold open is, very little is actually known about how it — or Carell's hilarious overreaction — came to be. Thankfully, some much-needed light has finally been shed on the making of the scene itself.

Michael's iconic scream on The Office was partly improvised by Steve Carell

During the most recent episode of the "Office Ladies" podcast, "Office" stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey talked at-length about the show's "Frame Toby" episode. That subject inevitably led to the two stars highlighting Michael Scott's now-iconic scream, which the actresses revealed was partly scripted and partly improvised. "In the script, it just says 'Michael turns and screams in all caps,'" Fischer revealed. Therefore, everything Michael actually says in the scene was, according to Fischer, "Steve's interpretation of that script note." The "Office Ladies" hosts went on to praise Carell's comedic talents, with Kinsey adding, "How funny was that? You guys, if you read that you scream, I think most of us would just be like, 'Ahhhh,' right? But Steve made a meal out of that moment."

In addition to talking about Carell's improvisational skills, Kinsey and Fischer also revealed one moment with Paul Lieberstein's Toby that was ultimately removed from the scene. 

The iconic Frame Toby scene was originally going to be longer

While it's crazy to imagine that this scene could've been even more hilarious, it turns out that other funny elements were cut. "As Michael turns to see Toby and he has that look of horror in his face, if you look at the wall behind him, you will see that there are three framed sort of things on the wall for Toby. There is an award for Toby Flenderson, a certificate of achievement, and a diploma from the California Coastal College," Angela Kinsey noted. "He had been back long enough to hang up his framed items. And in the script, Toby had a talking head where he said this: 'I've been back for six days. I think I've even talked to him.'"

Jenna Fischer quickly added that she wished the moment had "stayed in" the final version of the scene.

While that Toby moment might have made the cold open of "Frame Toby" even funnier, the scene itself is already pretty hilarious in its own right — and largely because it ends right on Michael's scream. That being said, the reveal that Carell took a scene direction like "Michael turns and screams in all caps" and turned it into what is now one of the most recognizable television moments of all time, is just a testament to how he and his fellow "Office" cast members managed to consistently make already funny material somehow even better.