By Dan Snierson
Updated April 28, 2011 at 10:05 PM EDT
Credit: Chris Haston/NBC

For seven seasons on The Office, Michael Scott has served as the crazy crown prince of cringe while being responsible for more lost man hours than carpal tunnel syndrome. But that comes to an end tonight as we say goodbye to the world’s best/worst boss — played to perfection by Steve Carell — with a 50-minute episode (9 p.m. on NBC). As we look back and remember the good times we spent with the great Scott, we ask a tough question: Is it possible to choose a single favorite Michael Scott moment? EW presented that challenge to the show’s three writer-actors — Mindy Kaling (Kelly), B.J. Novak (Ryan), and Paul Lieberstein (Toby).

Kaling: “My favorite moment is a scene in ‘Secret Santa’ (season 6), where Kevin sits on Michael’s lap. Michael has been angry and hurt all day that Phyllis got to be Santa, so against everyone’s wishes, he dresses up as a competitive Santa. Forget that Kevin, a grown man, is earnestly telling Santa all the toys he wants — it’s Steve’s reaction. When Kevin unburdens himself on Michael’s lap, Steve’s voice changed to this distressed, guttural mumble, showing the instantaneous agony he was in. This was literally a laugh out loud moment, because you can see me laughing in the background, completely breaking character.”

Novak: “The moment I fell in love with Michael Scott was the first time he used the phrase ‘That’s what she said,’ in ‘Sexual Harassment’ (season 2). Michael had been warned that he has to stop all inappropriate joking in the workplace. Heartbroken, he makes a dramatic speech to the office, announcing he will never make another joke. But then Jim starts baiting him: ‘That sounds long…and hard.’ ‘Well, you always kept me satisfied and smiling.’ Finally, Michael can’t help himself and blurts out, ‘That’s what she said!’ in an explosion of pure joy. He knows the consequences — he’s surrounded by his corporate supervisor and the company lawyer — but it’s still all worth it to him. It was Michael’s love of life that made his flaws so much fun to watch.”

Lieberstein: “The first time Michael Scott cried was in ‘Office Olympics’ (season 2). It wasn’t scripted — it was Steve’s choice on set. He was being handed a meaningless medal made of a yogurt lid for doing nothing, and it blew my mind how hard this character could twist reality to fit his needs. It created a new world for our storytelling. And crying Michael, for me, is some of the funniest Michael we’ve done.”

Those are some worthy contenders, indeed. As well as Michael’s “NOOO, GOD! NO, GOD, PLEASE NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOO!!!” tirade against Toby. Or his “Why are you the way that you are?” speech to Toby. Or his George Foreman grill-related foot injury. Or just about anything from “Diversity Day.” Or… that moment you’re about to type below. Calling all fans: What’s the best Michael moment of all-time?

Follow Dan on Twitter @dansnierson

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The Office

The mockumentary-style sitcom chronicles a group of typical office employees working 9-5 at the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

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