The Behind-The-Scenes Story Of ‘Diversity Day,’ The Episode That Defined NBC’s ‘The Office’

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Of his iconic TV character from the American version of The Office, Steve Carell once said, “If you don’t know a Michael Scott, then you are Michael Scott.” Actually, it was Ricky Gervais who said that to Scott in regard to his character, David Brent, from the U.K. version of the series, but the basic idea behind it remains terrifying to devoted fans of the hit NBC series. Nobody ever wants to be as awkward and prone to humiliating mistakes both in and out of work like Michael Scott was, but he was certainly a character who was far more realistic than a lot of people realized.

Adapted and developed by Greg Daniels for NBC, the American version of The Office debuted on March 24, 2005, and viewers and critics were intrigued from the start. More than 11 million people tuned in to watch the remake of the British series’ pilot, and it was met with negative reviews from critics who were disappointed that it seemed like a cheap carbon copy. The following week, though, Daniels’ series proved that it could and ultimately would shine on its own, as the episode “Diversity Day” introduced us to the real Michael Scott, and how this horribly awkward goon of a Dunder Mifflin boss would affect the lives of his poor office drones. (In the event you’ve never seen it, the full episode is available on YouTube for $1.99.)

“Diversity Day” has long been praised and remembered by critics as one of the best episodes of the entire nine-season run (IGN, TV.com and Entertainment Weekly each ranked it No. 3 all-time, for example). Some might argue that other favorites like “Fun Run,” “Gay Witch Hunt” and “The Dundies” were more enjoyable, but no episode defined the entire series quite like “Diversity Day.” For the 10th anniversary of the debut of the American version of The Office, we spoke with some of the cast and crew to find out how this episode was made, and how much it means to them a decade later.