The surprisingly dark cold open The Office had to remove

THE OFFICE -- "Business Ethics" Episode 2 -- Pictured: Steve Carell as Michael Scott (Photo by Justin Lubin/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE OFFICE -- "Business Ethics" Episode 2 -- Pictured: Steve Carell as Michael Scott (Photo by Justin Lubin/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) /

The Office continues to grow in popularity long after its heyday of airing new episodes on NBC. And it’s also pretty famous for its hilarious, brilliant, and sometimes bizarre cold opens. According to Pop Culture, however, there was one cold open that was so controversial, it was inevitably removed by the network before we ever got to see it on streaming services. Who knew?

As it turns out, the cold open that was removed took place in the eighth episode of season 6. You’ll probably remember it as the appropriately titled “Koi Pond” episode. At the start, Michael and Jim have met with a very important client. When they return to Dunder Mifflin, Michael is completely drenched and vividly flustered. Naturally, everyone around the office starts to ask questions, and inevitably, they begin poking fun at Michael for falling in.

Jim seemingly has his back, but in a plot twist, we learn what really went down at the meeting. Via security footage, Michael is shown falling into the koi pond and to everyone’s surprise, Jim leans out of the way, rather than trying to help him.

In the end, “Koi Pond” proves to be an eye-opening episode in more ways than one, but it appears there was one part of the episode we’ll never get to see again. As Pop Culture reports, the memorable episode once featured “a pre-credits sequence that served as Season 6’s Halloween celebration.” Originally, the Dunder Mifflin employees put together a no-frills haunted house for children in the warehouse, of all places. And most of them are less than enthusiastic about it. All except Michael Scott, of course, who is loving every minute of it.

At a glance, it doesn’t sound like a controversial cold open, but the issue NBC had came down to the punchline. Steve Carell’s character was a bit more enthusiastic than his employees when it came to making the haunted house for the kids. In true Michael Scott style, he took things too far, to say the least.

As the publication notes, Michael “graphically simulated suicide, to the horror of the children attending the haunted house,” dropping from a fake noose and “wriggling for a moment before imparting a confusing message about seeking mental health care if you need it.” Yikes.

After airing only once in 2009, the scene was cut forever, never to appear on Peacock, Netflix, or anywhere else for a long, long time. Until somewhat recently, that is. As Pop Culture notes, this all but forgotten cold open is actually available on YouTube if you want to check it out. With that said, it’s not any less disturbing to watch than it was for first-time viewers back then. So consider yourself warned.

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