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The Cringiest Moment On The Office, According To Fans

"The Office," in both its U.K. and U.S. versions, was known for its cringe humor. The show was so cringe-worthy in its first season, in fact, that the showrunners made a concerted effort to soften it. As "Office" writer Michael Schur once said (via CinemaBlend), Michael Scott (Steve Carell) was intentionally made 10% more likeable between Seasons 1 and 2. "We still maintained his inappropriateness, his blind spot for how people viewed him, his desperate desire to be loved and admired, but we just made everybody be 10% nicer to him," Schur said, "and that made all the difference."

Even if it was 10% softer, "The Office" became synonymous with cringe comedy, and some of its most beloved episodes are also the cringiest. "Dinner Party," for example, is often cited as the show's best as well as one of its most awkward. The "Office" subreddit held a March Madness-style bracket to determine what was the cringiest moment in all nine seasons. In the running were such moments as Jan singing "Son of a Preacher Man" at her baby shower, Toby touching Pam's leg in "Night Out," and Michael kissing Oscar in "Gay Witch Hunt." So which cringe reigned supreme?

Redditors recoil at the thought of Scott's Tots

By a country mile, Redditors' cringiest moment in the entire history of "The Office" was when Michael Scott had to renege on his promise of paying the college tuition of an entire high school class. Even breaking up with Pam's mom on her birthday pales in comparison to dashing the hopes of dozens of children. Add onto that the fact that most of the students are people of color, and it gets that much worse.

The final came down to "Scott's Tots" vs. "Phyllis' Wedding." Fans eventually decided that the one involving unsuspecting children was worse. "Phyllis knew what she was signing up for. She wanted the long honeymoon," u/innerbootes pointed out. "Scott's Tots on the other hand, were just kids."

Decider opined that "Scott's Tots" is a mirror that shows the viewer what kind of person they are. Early on in the episode, Stanley (Leslie David Baker) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) have very different reactions to the news that Michael has to go ruin the lives of a bunch of teenagers. Stanley can only see Michael's comeuppance; it's all schadenfreude for him. Pam, on the other hand, can't look past the suffering Michael has caused. Whether that's cringe comedy, or just cringe, is up to you.