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Fans Agree That These Are The Hardest Episodes Of The Office To Watch

"The Office" is considered by many to be the best workplace comedy of all time. The show chronicles the lives of the hapless employees at the failing paper company, Dunder Mifflin, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Based on the British mockumentary series of the same name created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the series was adapted for American television by Greg Daniels. Although the show got off to a rocky start, facing cancellation after Season 1, "The Office" found its footing in Season 2 and aired for a total of nine seasons (2005-2013) on NBC.

"The Office" starred Steve Carell as regional manager Michael Scott: a man lacking self-awareness whose incompetence as a leader elevated the mundanity of working at a dead-end job to the level of absurdity. The series also starred John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, whose characters Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly remain one of TV's most iconic couples.

The show delivered many hilarious and memorable episodes, and the cringe-worthy antics of Michael and his employees were part of its appeal. Recently, fans of "The Office" took to Reddit and offered their opinions on the series' most difficult episodes to watch.

Phyllis ties the knot

Multiple episodes made it on fans' radar for being tough to sit through. Redditor u/hiphopbeerdude called out "Phyllis' Wedding," and u/Devotchk8 agreed, opining that karma played an uncredited role in the episode. "Phyllis was kind of a b****, she stole Pam's wedding design, so maybe she kinda deserved the wedding she got," they wrote. 

After revealing her engagement to Bob Vance (Robert R. Shafer) of Vance Refrigeration at the start of Season 3, Phyllis ties the knot in Episode 16. Not only does newly-single Pam realize Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) has recreated every aspect of Pam's canceled nuptials to Roy Anderson (David Denman), she has to watch Jim enjoy the festivities with his new girlfriend, Karen Filippelli (Rashida Jones). Michael's attempts to steal the spotlight, including hijacking the ceremony and a disastrous and inappropriate wedding toast, are mortifying. Also doing his best to put a damper on Phyllis' big day is Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), who ejects an elderly guest with dementia from the venue for being a wedding crasher.

Michael's Wonka obsession, a disastrous dinner party, and Dwight and Michael take down a competitor

Season 4's "The Dinner Party" proved to be triggering for u/jdeluca87, who wrote the episode was "cringeworthy" because "it reminds a lot of us of our parents growing up." When Michael and Jan (Melora Hardin) invite Jim, Pam, Angela (Angela Kinsey), and Andy (Ed Helms) over for an intimate gathering, the peek inside the couple's dysfunctional home life creates palpable tension among their guests.

Season 6's "Prince Family Paper" also made the cut of hard-to-watch episodes of "The Office." Michael and Dwight spy on a rival paper company run by a sweet but clueless family. Despite Michael's misgivings, Dwight is relentless when it comes to handing over information to corporate that is guaranteed to put the competition out of business. u/Greendale7HumanBeing wrote, "I think we really see Dwight at his most blackhearted, and that hurts to see."

Redditor u/sidsZebra singled out Season 5's "Golden Ticket." Although they didn't offer any specific reasons, the episode speaks for itself, with a plot centered around Michael humiliating himself on a non-stop loop. When Michael develops a marketing strategy based on "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," chaos ensues. Convinced he's going to get fired, Michael attempts to throw Dwight, the manager's one sycophantic employee, under the bus. However, when Michael learns the gimmick worked, he scrambles for the recognition and affirmation he desperately craves. 

It's difficult to decide who looks like the bigger jerk — Michael for his cowardice and neediness or Dwight, for well, being Dwight. Not all users, though, agreed with u/sidsZebra's choice. u/HollisFlaxseeds stated, "The Willy Wonka episode isn't cringe at all," and u/Greendale7HumanBeing commented emphatically, "I think the Wonka one is fun!"

Michael dashes the hopes of underprivileged kids

One episode that stands out among the others is Season 6, Episode 12, "Scott's Tots," which received the most mentions. Reddit user u/jdeluca87 wrote, "SCOTTS TOTS FOR SURE! Took me 3 attempts to finish that episode," and u/Alternative_Body 7345 commented the episode "makes me want to hide under the couch."

Throughout the series, Michael inadvertently exhibits homophobic, racist, sexist, and generally offensive behavior, but the only ones who suffer are his employees, and it's difficult not to feel sympathy towards a man who so desperately just wants to be liked. However, in "Scott's Tots," Michael's bad judgment and overall stupidity have far-reaching consequences. The episode reveals that 10 years earlier, Michael promised a class of underprivileged children that if they graduated from high school, he would subsidize their college educations. When it comes time to pay the tab, Michael has to skip out on the bill. Michael admits that this one was by far the most generous out of all the empty promises he's made. 

We have to agree with u/interestingmongoose's critique, who stated the episode "always makes me cringe."