Michael Scott’s most memorable Freudian slip

Or; The hidden meaning of driving your car into a lake

Farid Alsabeh
8 min readSep 13, 2022


This picture will make complete sense by the end of this article (Source)

The flaws, foibles, and fumblings of Michael Scott feature prominently in the TV show The Office. From bizarre malapropisms to cringe-worthy faux-pas, almost every episode involves some kind of mistake that the regional manager tries fruitlessly to correct, cope with, or cover up.

But one of Michael’s mistakes is particularly striking. In the episode “Dunder Mifflin Infinity”, he zealously defies all common sense and drives his car directly into a lake. And as audience members, we can’t help but wonder whether this mishap was the result of sheer stupidity — or something more.

Enter Sigmund Freud’s infamous concept of the ‘Freudian slip’: a mistake which carries some hidden significance. In this article, we’ll use the concept of the Freudian slip to investigate Michael’s four-wheeled fumble, hoping to reveal something not only about the act itself, but also about his character.

What are Freudian slips?

Few of Freud’s concepts have entered common knowledge as much as the ‘Freudian slip’ has. Known in psychoanalytic literature as parapraxes, they consist not only of errors in speech, but any mistake that is supposed to convey some hidden truth or meaning: including mis-hearings, mis-readings, and many others.

Freud believed that parapraxes were a kind of ‘symptomatic action’. Like dreams or neurotic behaviors, these actions can be interpreted, yielding an explanation that helps us better understand the person who performed them. Consistent with the psychoanalytic view on insight, this understanding can in turn be used for the purpose of healing and growth.

Freud cites using the wrong key as a common parapraxis, and one which often carries some significance

What does the interpretation of these kinds of meaningful mistakes usually reveal? In a lecture on the fundamentals of psychoanalysis, which begins with a discussion of parapraxes, Freud tells us:

Parapraxes are the product of mutual interference between two different intentions, of which one may…



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