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In early seasons of The Office, Michael Scott is an unprofessional, largely problematic boss. As the series progresses and fans learn more about Michael’s past and core values, however, it’s hard not to feel for the guy every once in a while.
In Season 2, Episode 18 of the show, titled “Take Your Daughter to Work Day,” Kevin, Meredith, Stanley, and Toby bring children to the office for the day. Though Michael initially seems annoyed by the presence of the children, he winds up charming them all and revealing that he was once “the star” of a children’s show called Fundle Bundle.
“I sobbed twice during this episode,” Fischer announced before diving into a recap with Kinsey. She recalled that the first cry came when Michael’s Fundle Bundle tape played, and it took her by surprise because she remembers everyone laughing so hard when filming the scene.
“[Michael is] asked what he wants to be when he grows up and he says, ‘I want to be married and have 100 kids, so I can have 100 friends and no one can say no to being my friend,'” Fischer said. “This is when I had to turn off the episode.”
“It hit me so hard, I don’t know why — this idea of just this little kid longing for friends… and Steve’s acting is so good in that moment,” she continued. “I remember at the time when we shot that, after the little Michael says that it cuts to a shot of the puppet. The puppet can’t speak, and we lost it.”
“All I could remember when I was sitting down to watch this scene was how we were dying laughing at the shot of this puppet, but then I just saw this whole other side of how not funny that was and how sad it was,” Fischer explained.
Kinsey agreed, and noted that even her 11-year-old daughter picked up on the heaviness of the scene when watching.
“The little girl says, ‘I guess you didn’t get to be what you wanted to be,’ and it is just soul-crushing,” Kinsey said. “I was watching this with Isabelle, who’s 11, and she turned to me and was like, ‘Mom, were there times when you were doing this show where you were like, ‘I am just so uncomfortable?’ She thought it was funny, but she was like, ‘That is awkward.'”
After Michael’s Fundle Bundle reality check, he retreats to his office and Toby eventually goes in to ask if he’s OK. After a little pep talk, Michael perks up again and decides to pursue his dream of one day getting married. He sets up an online dating profile, but unfortunately makes his username “Little Kid Lover.”
Some scenes in this episode were undoubtedly cringey, but both Fischer and Kinsey said that the mood on set was great — especially because Steve Carell kept making the kids crack up.
The episode ends with Michael and Dwight performing a rendition of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children,” which is when Fischer had her second cry.
“I get the first one, [but] why did you cry in this one?” Kinsey asked Fischer. “I don’t know, this song really gets to me. I love how Steve does this. His very weird harmony,” Fischer said.
“He went for it,” Kinsey replied. As always.