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  • Writer's pictureR.D. McClenagan

Top Ten 'The Office' Episodes

How does one even narrow down a Top Ten of The Office? With a total of 201 episodes spread across 9 seasons a top 10 represents the top 5% of all episodes. But, let not your hearts be troubled, I have done this hard work for you the reader. It is the Lord's work.

This website is usually reserved for more theologically driven pieces, but I also have a deep love for film, television, and literature and so I would like to incorporate more of that as we head into 2021. So let's start this new direction with a doozy--narrowing down a Top Ten of one of my favorite shows and one of the most culturally significant shows of the last 20 years.

Of the 201 episodes that aired I made an initial list of 33 episodes for consideration into a Top Ten list, and even narrowing down 33 episodes was difficult! There are only handful of bad episodes in all 201 and there are many good, great, and incredible episodes. I know that my Top Ten (and honorable mentions) will miss one of your favorites and even as I see episodes I left out I think 'that one should be on this list!' and I made the list! But at some point you have to make a here is order from 10 to 1.

10. Goodbye, Michael (Season 7, Episode 22)

Michael Scott's final episode was a fitting finale to Steve Carrell's incredible take on the Dunder Mifflin boss. It was not as laugh out loud funny as some other episodes that did not make this list, but the writing, the nods to each relationship Michael has with this employees (his family) with parting gifts, and the heart that colors the whole episode makes it worthy of a top ten slot. And I routinely forget that Will Ferrell guested in several episodes around this time and each time I watch him he is funnier than I remember. But the man of the hour, of the show, its very heart and center was Michael Scott...the man, the myth, the legend.

Best line(s): Andy: "You know I'm the worst salesman here right?

Michael: But you're the best salesman on the inside.

Phyllis: What does that even mean?

Michael: You sold us all on Andy, a product that nobody wanted."

Michael to Jim: "T-shirt idea, goodbyes stink."

9. Scott's Tots (Season 6, Episode 12)

The most cringeworthy of all 201 episodes. Just saying the title of the episode fills one with a disturbing amount of nervous energy. I know some people cannot even bear to watch it. The long buildup to Michael's speech only makes his final devastating pronouncement all the more hard to watch and yet unmissable.

Best line: "I fell in love with these kids, and I didn't want to see them fall victim to the system. So I made them a promise, I told them that if they gradated from high school, I would pay for their college education. I have made some empty promises in my life, but hands down, that was the most generous." - Michael Scott

8. Stress Relief (Season 5, Episodes 14 & 15)

The post Super Bowl episodes were worthy of their coveted time placement. I remember watching these episodes live and they continue to deliver the laughs, especially Part 1, with each viewing. The opening of Part 1 with a mock fire drill from Dwight is an all-time opening sequence. The roast of Michael in Part 2--we all saw it coming, except for Michael.

Best line: "Nobody should have to go to work thinking, "Oh, this is the place that I might die today." That's what a hospital is for. An office is for not dying. An office is a place to live life to the fullest, to the max, to... An office is a place where dreams come true." - Michael Scott

7. Business School (Season 3, Episode 16)

This episode is on my list because it contains my favorite moment of the entire show--when Michael breathlessly arrives at Pam's art show yelling "PAMCOSSO" and marveling at her paintings when no one else did. It is a truly beautiful moment. And of course we have Michael Scott spending time at "hottest in the office" Ryan's business school and this is a recipe for all the worst parts of Michael Scott to come out--and come out they do--hilariously.

Best line: "So, you want to start a business. How do you start? What do you need? Well, first of all, you need a building. And secondly, you need supply, you need something to sell. Now, this could be anything. It could be a thingamajig or a who's- he-what's- he or a Whatchamacallit. [throws a candy bar of the same name] Now, you need to sell those in order to have a PayDay. And if you sell enough of them, you will make a 100 GRAND. Satisfied? [holds up a Snickers bar]"

6. Basketball (Season 1, Episode 5)

"Stanley, of course" Michael says as he picks prickly Stanley to be on his starting Top 5 for a basketball game against the warehouse guys. One of the two standout episodes from a short, but very good first season is this one. The dynamics between Jim and Roy, Michael and the warehouse guys, and the actual game itself make this episode work on multiple levels.

Best line: Michael: "I know 'grumble grumble', but you would follow me to the ends of the earth grumblin' all the way. Just like that uh dwarf from Lord of the Rings.

Dwight Schrute: Gimli.

Michael Scott: NERD. That is why you're not on the team."

5. The Dundies (Season 2, Episode 1)

Season 2 was the strongest season of The Office and I placed half of the episodes (11) from this season on my initial top 33 list. So Season 2 alone had 1/3 of my very favorite episodes and near the top of the best season of the show is this beauty. The Dundies. Chili's. Incredible.

Best line: Finally, I want to thank God, because God gave me this Dundee and I feel God in this Chili's tonight. - Pam

4. Casino Night (Season 2, Episode 22)

The episode that turned the show into a cliffhanging sensation. It is a hilarious episode in its own right, but the final minute of the show is one of the best in the entire series, obviously.

Best line: Toby: "Actually, I didn't think it was appropriate to invite children since it's, uh, you know. There's gambling and alcohol... And it's in our dangerous warehouse. And it's a school night. And, you know, Hooters is catering. You know. Is that- is that enough? Should I keep going?"

Michael Scott: "Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to do something fun or exciting, you make it not that way. I hate so much about the things that you choose to be."

3. Booze Cruise (Season 2, Episode 11)

This was the first episode of the show that I ever watched as it actually aired and what an episode to pick. Party Captain Michael anchors the show's first trip outside the office and it is a boozy doozy.

Best Line: "Captain Jack: But I'm not only your ship's captain, I'm also your PARTY CAPTAIN!


Captain Jack: Michael, please.

Michael: And we are gonna... rock it!

Captain Jack: If you would just...

Michael: You are gonna put on your dancin' shoes later on! If the boat's rockin', don't come knockin'!"

2. The Injury (Season 2, Episode 12)

That dang George Foreman grill. One of the best written episodes (thank you Mindy Kaling) of the entire show. Watching Michael's meltdown from slightly burning his foot and then the drive of Michael, Jim, and Dwight to the hospital to take care of Dwight make this a favorite of many.

Best Line: "I enjoy having breakfast in bed. I like waking up to the smell of bacon, sue me."

1. Dinner Party (Season 4, Episode 9)

The best episode of the show. It simply is. The absolute implosion of Michael and Jan in front of everyone at a dinner party...the most rewatchable of them all. Snip snap.

Best line: "That is a $200 plasma TV you just killed!" - Michael Scott

Honorable Mentions

* Fun Run (Hitting Meredith & Pasta)

* The Convict (Prison Mike)

* Goodbye Toby (Goodbye to Toby and Hello to Holly)

* Niagra (The One Where Jim & Pam Get Married)

* Murder (I Do Declare)

And there are even more honorable mentions I could make (AARM, Threat Level Midnight, Drug Testing, Christmas Party), but I won't. :).

It was a simple, hilarious, wonderful show filled with tremendous writing, unforgettable characters, and a depth of heart that anchored it throughout. As Pam says in the final line of the entire show in the series finale...

There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?

It kind of is the point.

What are your favorite episodes? Drop them below in the comments!

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