“Has it really been ten years?”
It's the question that character Stanley Hudson asks at the beginning of the “Scott's Tots” episode of The Office, before erupting into an iconic cackle, but it's also a question that we're asking ourselves today.
The answer is: Yes. Somehow, it's been exactly a decade since The Office's arguably most cringeworthy episode aired.
While fans of the show adore its intentionally awkward humor, this episode has frequently been cited as the one that has even some die-hard Office fans scrambling to hit “next episode” on their Netflix queue, rivaled only in discomfort by the “Dinner Party” episode in season four. Although, for many of us, it's the same reason we love the episode.
If you have a nearly Pavlovian response to turning off your TV though when you hear the character Phyllis ponder out loud, “What's Scott's Tots?”, you're not alone. Over 16,000 people subscribe to the sub-reddit r/CannotWatchScottsTots, dedicated solely to the inability to make it through the episode's 22 minutes.
With a series full of mortifying moments like Michael trying to evade a blind date he finds unattractive or Toby resting his hand on Pam's knee, what is it about this episode that makes it so hard to watch for so many?