Hot Office Gossip: Are Phyllis and Erin...?!

Now that we know how Steve Carell will leave The Office — in this week’s episode, Michael left Scranton for Boulder and a new life with fiancee Holly — it’s time to latch onto a new burning question.

Sure, there’s the matter of who will ultimately succeed Michael as boss, seeing as Deangelo seems set to implode at any moment. But Carell’s final episode may have also planted a seed for a new mystery — a maternity bombshell — by hinting that Phyllis and Erin are mother and daughter.

EXHIBIT A: Early into the episode, Michael announced that he had a secret to share about Phyllis, one that he had held for “over 20 years,” from back in their high school days. After Michael benignly revealed to the staff that Phyllis was “cute” as a teen, she later fessed up to the docu crew, “I thought he knew about the baby I gave away.”

EXHIBIT B: Later in the episode, Erin — who in Season 6 revealed that she grew up in foster care — said to Michael during a confab about the Gabe/Andy sitch, “I wish I knew who my birth mother was, so she could just tell me who to choose.”

EXHIBIT C: Office EP Greg Daniels recently told that within Carell’s final episode, “A tiny mystery story — which I’m not sure anyone’s going to catch and will come out a few episodes from now — is being set up.”

And EXHIBIT D: Phyllis and Erin were literally, physically juxtaposed during the conference room gathering, even mimicking each other’s tilt of the head (as more than a few Office gossips have commented):

What do you think, is The Office planning to reunite mother and child next season? Oh, and is Gabe totally the Scranton Strangler or what?!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Tucker says:

    I can see how those pieces fit, but that would be too gimmicky, too soap operatic.

    Maybe they can explore the idea that Phyllis and Erin think they are mother and daughter, but it turns out not to be true. That could be played for a few chuckles.

    • mawhi says:

      That’s what I would prefer- a fake out. We caught on to the mystery while watching last night and groaned…

      Also yeah, why is Gabe so obsessed with treasure hunts? That’s hilarious and random.

    • Valerie says:

      I could definitely see it being a fake out! It is the office so they’re always joking around. But, if it turns out that they are mother and daughter there would be a great connection! Erin would have a “step dad” (Bob Vance) and she would be able to do motherly stuff with Phyllis! And that would be awesome!

  2. Christine says:

    i can see where the conspiracy theorists will get that, but I don’t think the show will go there. and considering the fact that Phyllis’ baby would have been given up for adoption, not put into foster care. Foster care usually happens when a child is taken by the state later in life. Newborns usually get adopted — and snatched up pretty quickly. — And to address any comments that may come (1) I know it’s a tv show, so reality doesn’t necessarily mean much and (2) I know I’m making generalizations about the adoption process

    • sadie says:

      No one actually specified foster care in the show as far as I can tell, I believe that was the writer’s impression

      • Lauren says:

        Erin was definitely in foster care. We met her foster brother last season.

      • Amber says:

        She has talked about being in foster care lots of times. Remember the episode where she got upset in the restaurant about Andy having been engaged to Angela and hid her face behind her hair? She said that’s how she would hide when she was a kid because she grew up in foster care and didn’t have a private room to go hide in.

        And Christine, I did think exactly what you did, that it wouldn’t make sense for a baby to go to foster care unless it had been abused, and even then they would be able to find it a permanent home pretty quickly. Babies that are given up usually go straight to adoptive parents. But like you said, it is a TV show, so they can pretty much do whatever they want, and what do I really know about the foster care and adoption processes? Not much.

    • Anya says:

      But she did say she doesn’t know who her birth mother is at all. So it could still be Phillis.

    • Valency Speaks says:

      It is very possible for a woman to relinquish a child for adoption, but the child ends up in foster care. In fact, during the era that Phyllis would have relinquished, it was very common for newborns to go into foster care for a few days to a few months. Sometimes those with illness of one variety or another remained in foster care.

      The sad things is a natural mother may never find out that her child, whom she thought she was giving a better life, lives a life in the system instead. I personally know at least one mother this happened too and it has been a tragedy all around.

  3. ScottB says:

    i don’t think gabe can be the scranton strangler. he has only been in scranton for a couple of seasons. the scranton strangler goes back way before he was in scranton.

  4. Maxwell Haddad says:

    Gabe as the Scranton Strangler?

    No way. I’m fairly confident next week we will find out that Deangelo himself is the strangler. And he gets taken away in handcuffs and suddenly they need a new boss… again.

    • This briefly crossed my mind! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought that.

    • Paige says:

      I agree! I definitely think it is Deangelo. There was something weird (?) with the handprint on the wall. Seemed a little out of place… that could go back to what they are saying about something in this episode setting up future episodes.

  5. Rob says:

    My theory is that the mystery was why is Pam lying. For the past few episodes it seems like Jim and Pam are on two different planes. I wouldn’t be shocked if they tell us that Jim and Pam are separated.

    • Melissa says:

      We waited SO long for Jim and Pam to be together. I really don’t want the writers to go there!

    • Amber says:

      What is Pam lying about? Going to the movie on work hours instead of pricing the shredders? I don’t really think that’s a big deal, lots of people sneak out of work to go do stuff like that sometimes. Unless I missed something bigger, I don’t really think her sneaking out to a movie is a big enough deal to be a mystery.

      • Valerie says:

        She priced the shredders. She just didn’t think that it was necessary to immediately come back. She figured since Micheal still had one more day she could wait for goodbyes. She pulled in just as Michael’s cab was pulling out. JIM was the only one who knew it was his last day. Sooooo Pam, being a good person went to the airport to say goodbye. (because since JAM is a great relationship Jim told her) After all, Michael is the Worlds Best Boss. It was a sweet way to end.

    • Valerie says:

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE JAM!!!! And sooooooooooooooo does every other office watcher! The actors and the writers LOOOOOOOVE JAM!!! If they killed them off I would be sooooo sad! Plus they have Cece! Remember! They even brought Cece in to show Deangelo(who does need to be replaced, unlike Michael (who is funny to laugh at and DOES care) Deangelo is just a nutjob and a jerk)
      I hope Jim Carrey becomes boss and Jam MUST stay together!!!

  6. AaronisThinking says:

    Wait, I thought it was pretty clear that they were setting up Will Ferrell to be outed as the Scranton Strangler.

  7. Diana says:

    I didn’t pick up on all that Phyllis/Erin stuff. Kinda like the idea.

  8. John says:

    There was also that phone call-to-phone call pan out just before Michael checks on the mittens, which I caught.

    Didn’t Mindy Kaling reveal that Will Arnett is the Scranton Strangler? Or maybe just the CONVICTED Scranton Strangler…

  9. Matt says:

    I agree with the Tucker guy, if this were to be true, I would probably stop watching The Office. Ever since Will Ferrel joined, it has been hilarious, but I seriously doubt they would try something so “soap opera” type. I say don’t go with those hints

    • Rowan says:

      I doubt we will find out that Erin is actually Phyllis’s daughter. It think once they get to the point where both of them have it in their heads that they are mother and daughter, a DNA test will show that they aren’t – and both will privately be upset about it.

  10. Carrie says:

    If done right, I think it could be awesome if Phyllis were Erin’s biological mother. They planted the seeds in Michael’s final episode and maybe they could just continue to hint at it, but we never really find out. The show is just strange and quirky enough to pull it off. They don’t have to turn it into a soap opera or anything too over the top.

  11. Amber says:

    Gabe is the Scranton strangler? That is dark, Matt. Really dark. But so is the idea of it being Deangelo or anyone else we encounter in the office.

    Though I must admit, the thing about Gabe owning so many horror stories is kind of suspicious, and he does kind of look like the type.

    I think if anyone in the Office was going to be the Scranton strangler, it would be Creed. =) He’s so creepy, but funny creepy, so I hope it wouldn’t be Creed.

    • Valerie says:

      I guess that is possible,on Season 6 Episode 18 The Scranton stangler is first introduced. And episode 15 sabre bought Dunder Mifflin. I don’t think Gabe would’ve had enough time to make himself a murderer.

  12. corey says:

    anything to get gabe off the show. i know his character is intended to be this bland, odd guy that nobody really LIKES. but still they put in all these sub-plot stories about him that no one cares about.
    and deangelo? i would LOVE if he were the scranton strangler. we don’t yet really know anything much about his past other than the fact that he was obese and that he has 4 kids. so could he be the strangler? i suppose so…it would explain a bunch of things. although…a strangler wouldn’t be so fond of people holding sharp objects up to his neck (he was shaved in the office…) anyone else notice how toby is looking skinnier and skinnier? is he okay? he does not look good. he looks kind of…ill.

    • BRETT says:

      Um, or the actor who PLAYS Toby is just losing weight.


    • Valerie says:

      I noticed that! And his… Cousin? Creepy… Yeah he wasn’t looking too good.

      • JGM says:

        It was his brother, I believe, and from the end credits, he was played by his real-life brother (or at least a real-life relative on his father’s side).

        • Evan says:

          I think is is his real brother (who was married to Angela Kinsey – who plays Angela on the show umtil like 2009, and they have a child together.

  13. Cloudy Knight says:

    So when Toby did jury duty for the Scranton Strangler case, was the defendant found not guilty? Did they have the wrong guy on trial? Gabe can’t be the strangler, he wasn’t even in Scranton until recently, he was working for the printer company in Fla. We don’t know much about Deangelo Vicker’s past, I was kind of assuming he was also not from Scranton since he met Micheal in a hotel bar. I’m content to let the whole thing play out.

    • inturnaround says:

      They found him guilty and he was sentenced to death, but Toby now has second thoughts as we found out last week.

  14. craig says:

    Could the chocolate fingerprints left in the office kitchen used by Toby or and the police to investigate and arrest Deangelo? Just a thought….

  15. Doug says:

    There was another slight allusion to the Phyllis thing.. when Ryan held up the jar of whatever that was and said “There is just something motherly about Phyllis”

    I put together that statement and when she said she had given up a child, but I didn’t connect it with Erin until I read this.

    Certainly interesting.

    The cake scene certainly showed that Deangelo is disconnected from reality, so I can totally see him being a psychopathic killer.

    Gabe may not be the Scranton Strangler, but he does have a significant amount of crazy going on there, that won’t end well.

    But it should sure be entertaining.

  16. Kevin says:

    After the closeup on DeAngelo’s chocolaty finger prints i think he’s The Strangler. The whole Erin/Phyllis thing seems plausible too. Good detective work Matt!

  17. Jessica says:

    I thought the mystery was that Creed would be the new boss. He is seen at the end toasting Michael while holding the world’s best boss mug.

  18. toast says:

    I think that Erin is actually Meredith’s daughter. It makes sense.. they’re a little more similar.. so that’s where I’m going with it. I see Phyllis actually having a baby BOY, since the sex wasn’t mentioned.

  19. Powell says:

    I think this was an amazing send-off and I just know I will be telling my grandchildren about Michaels perfect “last words”.

  20. Roni Weiss says:

    Makes sense. Good catch.

    I think you’re right.

    The whole giving Phyllis giving her daughter away and Erin wanting a mom in the same ep is pretty glaring when you think about it.

  21. Amy says:

    I think Erin is Phyllis’s daughter. Exhibit E: Right after Michael’s talk with Erin the camera is focused on Erin on the phone then immediately pans to Phyllis on the phone. Of course this was when I was watching the episode for the second time. But if that is true why would the cameras be implying their connection? How would the camera men know unless they started digging up stuff after Phyllis mention the baby she gave away, but that would be really fast. Who knows, maybe it is just all a coincidence.

  22. Gina says:

    I think the writers were very smart to throw a couple possible “twist” storylines at us. But here is my 2 sense: Whoever mentioned the twist being about Pam & Jim’s demise, get out of here with that garbage. =P I don’t think the Erin/Phyllis thing will turn out to be, I’m sure that’s just a ploy to throw us off. I do think that the real Scranton Strangler identity theory is pretty good. They’re leading us to believe it can either be Gabe or Deangelo. My money is on Deangelo.

  23. Aeryn says:

    No way is Gabe the Scranton Strangler. That’s way too dark for this show… maybe Deangelo.

  24. DMBRose says:

    I think it is very possible that Phyllis could be Erin’s mother. I’m a huge fan of the show. Erin has said throughout the past few seasons that she was born premature, was sick as an infant, and spent years as a child in the hospital. This would explain why she wasn’t adopted as an infant – I think if she were a healthy baby she would have been adopted immediately, but she was not, so she floundered for years in foster care.

    It’s not definite that Phyllis is her mother, but there is enough for it to be a theory.

    And I think Creed did steal the Best Boss Mug from Michaels trash. I don’t think he is the Scranton Strangler BUT when they played the murder mystery game, Michael told Creed “there’s been a murder” and Creed took off in his car. But I think that’s just Creed :)

  25. Jayne Kincaid says:

    I think that Phyllis does have a child working in the office, but it is NOT Erin. I think Gabe is her child. It was forshadowing in the caption contest episode when Phyllis made her caption about Gabe’s mom. The hints about Erin’s mom are misdirection.