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    7 Unsettling Theories About "The Office" That Actually Make A Lot Of Sense


    1. Stanley died and the office is his hell.


    Evidence: Consider this: Stanley actually died of his heart attack in "Stress Relief Part 1" and went to hell. Reddit user u/Burnnoticelover reminds us that he's an adulterer who consistently disrespected his boss and didn't care much for his coworkers, so it's reasonable to assume he might have been sent to The Bad Place β€” and it's also reasonable to assume that Dunder Mifflin would be that for him. Plus, if he disliked his coworkers the way they were, he would certainly hate them more if their personalities became over the top and exaggerated.

    Other important things to note: In Stanley's personal purgatory, he can't be fired. However, as Stanley pays off his time, the punishments lessen. For example, Michael Scott β€” one of his biggest stressors β€” is sent away. Plus, Creed's bizarre behavior would be because he's actually a demon, and his role in the office is to determine who gets sent to actual hell and who doesn't. It's a dark twist, but if you're willing to accept the possibility of a supernatural element (and the fact that Michael Schur was a producer on both The Good Place and The Office), it's not all that unbelievable.

    2. Jim cheated on Pam with Cathy in Philadelphia.

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    Evidence: Jim has a track record of lying to his girlfriends, Reddit user /u/Sarlax says: Remember when he told Pam he didn't find Cathy attractive, and lied to Karen about his past with Pam? He's also detail-oriented and an excellent planner (you've seen his elaborate pranks on Dwight), and he's kept secrets from Pam before (he bought a house without telling her).

    Other important things to note: Most of Jim's time in Philadelphia with Cathy is not recorded, another Reddit user, /u/annyc, points out. Could this be because he was having an affair and didn't want a camera crew following him? In addition to this, when the documentary is finished, Pam is asked why she stopped trusting Jim. Both Jim and Pam seem uncomfortable, despite having had their relationship on display for the past nine years, and dance around the question. Pam also suggests that there are areas of their life they would like to "keep private." Hmm.

    Though this theory has been mostly debunked because of a deleted scene where Jim calls Cathy "crazy," the unfaithful Jim theory seems to often spark conversation among fans.

    3. Everyone was suffering from radon poisoning.


    Evidence: Reddit user u/TimmestTim points out that Toby has brought up the radon poisoning issue numerous times, but everyone waves it off. The effects of the radon poisoning can be seen through character changes, like Kevin Malone. He's dull and slow at the start, but isn't a complete idiot β€” however, as the show goes on, he becomes less and less functional, like when he tries to glue a turtle shell together. Another example is Dwight, who started out as just an overzealous employee, but his progression resembles one of someone on a path to insanity, as his antics become more and more over the top and violent. This also explains why the members of other branches seem far more stable and normal than the Dunder Mifflin employees.

    Other things to consider: Another version of this theory suggests that the documentary creators purposefully pumped the office full of radon to get interesting content. Why? First, it's unlikely that a documentary about a random office would get made in the first place but adding in radon could help cause erratic behavior that'd make for good content. Second, it's highly unlikely that the events that occur at Dunder Mufflin would ever take place under normal circumstances. Michael's horrible leadership, Jim's elaborate pranks, Dwight's crazy behavior, and the general disregard for rules all suggest something else may have been going on.

    4. Kevin Malone embezzled money from Dunder Mifflin.


    Evidence: In "The Convict," Martin Nash talks about insider trading. Kevin responds by saying, β€œI had Martin explain to me three times what he got arrested for, because it sounds an awful lot like what I do here every day.” Reddit user u/Mekki suggests that this might mean Kevin may've been involved in nefarious financial activities without knowing it initially. However, there's evidence to suggest that once he figured out that what he was doing was illegal, he didn't stop; he continued.

    How do we know this? In "Trivia," Andy tries to get Oscar to make an error in the account reports. When Oscar refuses, Kevin is all too eager to help out, suggesting that not only is he is capable of embezzlement, but he has the lack of morals that would enable him to steal without feeling guilty.

    Other things to consider: We know that Kevin enjoys gambling, which gives us two reasons for why he might be involved in embezzlement: He enjoys doing risky things with money, and he may need money because the odds are, he lost quite a bit through gambling. Plus, many fans have wondered how Kevin is able to afford his own bar. It is unlikely that he could afford one with his salary alone, and it's doubtful that he makes enough extra money through his band. So what other source of revenue did he have? πŸ‘€

    5. Jim is a sociopath.


    Evidence: His sociopathic tendencies include deceitfulness, being impulsive, and using lies for personal gain or pleasure, according to Reddit user u/furrrsurre. He constantly pushes Dwight to the edge, and derives pleasure from doing so. While Dwight is a difficult coworker, he doesn't seem to have bad intentions; everything he does, while obnoxious, are things he genuinely believes to be right. Everything Jim does, on the other hand, is intentionally annoying and even harmful.

    Other things to consider: The way Jim acts in relationships. When his plans to impress Pam go awry, he consistently confesses his feelings to Pam (even though she's with Roy), and then cuts off ties with her when she rejects him. As soon as Pam doesn't give him what he wants when he wants it, he leaves. He also lies to Karen about his past with Pam, demonstrating his tendency to tell lies. He skips Pam's art show so he can mess with Dwight. When he does get together with Pam, their relationship involves impulsiveness and lies (he buys a house without telling her) and putting himself first (he tries to get himself out of Michael's uncomfortable dinner party, but is willing to leave her behind). Him spending $10,000 on Athlead is an example that fits both these categories.

    6. Dwight has delusional disorder.


    Evidence: Reddit user u/TimmestTim suggests this theory. Often Dwight cannot distinguish between reality and fantasy β€” which is a symptom of delusional disorder β€” so he is an easy target for Jim's pranks. He also brags about having abilities that no human being has, such as being able to alter his cholesterol at will (in the episode "Health Care"), and he seems to have a general disconnect from facts, such as when he believes there's a possibility that Ben Franklin is still alive (in the episode "Ben Franklin").

    Other things to consider: Another version of this theory suggests that this difficulty is a result of his sheltered childhood; because he was not allowed to watch movies as a child, he was never able to grasp the concept of fiction.

    7. And finally, the Scranton Strangler might be Creed...


    Scranton Strangler theories are arguably the most popular ones in this fandom.

    Evidence: Reddit user u/RRRRR11 suggests a few reasons: We know that "Creed Bratton" is actually an identity he stole, and he even once showed up to the office covered in blood.

    ...or Andy...


    Evidence: There's a chance Andy has dissociative identity disorder, according to Reddit user u/KANNABULL. We know about his history with anger issues and his attempts to manipulate people into liking him. His pattern of behavior is most noticeable in Season 3, during which Andy seems to have over-the-top responses to small situations. However, in the following season after his anger management training, it seems as though Andy's softer side has taken control; when Angela treats him badly, he remains a kind and patient fiancΓ©e. Neither of these emotional reactions are normal; Andy is either far too kind or far too aggressive, indicating that he has two personalities on opposite sides of the spectrum that he has difficulty balancing.

    The user also provides physical evidence that suggests that Andy may be the strangler:

    - In the episode "Did I Stutter?" Andy is willing to sell a perfectly good car for a low price, possibly because he's trying to get rid of evidence.

    - In "Job Fair," Andy's hands are damaged from blisters which he supposedly got from playing golf β€” however, he could've worn golf gloves to prevent this. Perhaps he damaged his hands another way?

    - In "Weight Loss Part 1," we find out that Jan's candles are doing well because of a vigil for a missing girl. Which character briefly dated a high-school student, then got mad because she lied about her age ("Product Recall")?

    - In "The Duel," Andy's reaction when Michael Scott tells him that Angela cheated on him is subdued, possibly because he was afraid that Michael Scott found out his real secret β€” he's the strangler.

    - Also, we find out Andy has invested in a quiet car, which he later states would be helpful for escaping the police ("Viewing Party").

    Or possibly, the Strangler is Toby Flenderson.


    Evidence: This is the most popular (and arguably convincing) theory. Reddit user u/TheMadLion argues that the "Scranton Strangler" was born when Toby broke his neck in Costa Rica β€” this is how the Toby got his M.O. (method of operation). Here are some pretty good arguments:

    - Toby has a crush on Pam that never seems to go away. In the episode "Delivery Part 2," Andy shows a newspaper that states that the Scranton Strangler has murdered someone... on the day Jim and Pam's daughter was born. Is this a coincidence, or is Toby taking out his frustration on innocent people?

    - In "Viewing Party," the office staff is watching a live video of the supposed strangler trying to escape the police; however, Toby is notably absent.

    - Finally, what might be the most compelling piece of evidence is Toby's behavior after the strangler's conviction. Toby, who was on the jury, reveals that he feels guilty about the conviction and goes to speak to the strangler. This is definitely not normal behavior for a regular jury member. Maybe Toby just has a very good conscience, but let's not forget that this is a man who was willing to skip his daughter's play to go to his coworker's art show, that he has a bad relationship with his ex-wife, and that Michael Scott does not believe that he is a good person. Fans argue that he felt so guilty not because he suspected that the conviction was wrong, but because he *knew* it was wrong β€” since he was the strangler all along.

    What are your thoughts on these, or your favorite theory about the show? Let us know in the comments!

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