“The Office” was not a popular show when it first arrived on the air at NBC. Then, in the early days of iTunes, people started watching the show on there and it took off. The workplace mockumentary became one of the most popular shows on TV. Somehow, since it’s ended it has become even more popular. People found it on Netflix and “The Office” became maybe the most-beloved sitcom in the world. Now, the show lives on Peacock, with NBC hoping the passionate fan base would follow the show there. There have been many memorable episodes of “The Office” over the years. Which ones rise above the rest to emerge as the top episodes in the show’s history? Here, in ranked order, are the 25 best episodes of “The Office.”
1 of 25
In a way, “Niagara” is a huge episode. It’s where Jim and Pam finally get married, and there are sweet moments along the way in this one. Hey, it’s in the top 25! It’s just that “Niagara” may be momentous, but it isn’t necessarily the funniest or sharpest episode the show ever did.
2 of 25
“Murder” is a goofy episode. Michael takes a murder mystery game very seriously in an attempt to distract the Scranton branch from the fact they might all be out of a job soon as Dunder-Mifflin is dealing with serious financial issues. The highlight of the episode is acting the closing tag, when Michael, Dwight, Andy, and surprisingly Pam are all still really into the game and involved in a finger-gun standoff. Pam proclaiming, “I’m not going down for this!” is one of her best lines.
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23. “Michael Scott Paper Company”
“The Office” really added some freshness to the show in the fifth season when they had Michael Scott leave Dunder-Mifflin and start his own paper company. Of course, the Michael Scott Paper Company is just him, Ryan, and Pam, and they are certainly up against the odds. However, it makes for a fun underdog story, and this was one of the last strong long-term stories the show did.
4 of 25
22. “Fun Run”
During the third season of “The Office” the show really took off, and it was so popular that NBC asked them to start the fourth season with four hour-long episodes. That was, frankly, a bit much. On the other hand, the season-four premiere “Fun Run” wasn’t overstretched and actually worked. There are big reveals, and also Michael hitting Meredith with his car.
5 of 25
21. “Chair Model”
“Chair Model” gets pretty dark, but in a good way. Michael, looking for love, becomes preoccupied with a model from a business catalog. He then finds out she was dead. Eventually, Michael and Dwight go to visit her gravestone and proceed to do a full rendition of “American Pie.” It’s amazing.
6 of 25
20. “Moroccan Christmas”
“The Office” did Christmas quite well, and there are a couple of Christmas episodes on this list. The first of those is “Moroccan Christmas,” which gets pretty dark for a Christmas episode of a sitcom. It’s as much about the office trying to get Meredith to confront her drinking as it is the holiday spirit. However, if you like a little darkness in your comedy, it works.
7 of 25
While the show spends a lot of its time in the titular office, as it went on we got to see the gang get out of the workspace more and more. “Diwali” focuses on a big party that Kelly invites everybody to. Michael thinks it’s a costume party which means his poor girlfriend shows up dressed like a cheerleader. Then he proposes to her. Then she turns him down. It’s a rough night for Michael. And Roy. And Angela. And basically everybody.
8 of 25
18. “The Deposition”
The toxic relationship between Michael and Jan provided some of the best comedy in “The Office.” Don’t worry, we’ll get to a certain episode eventually. “The Deposition” involves both Michael and Jan’s issues plus Michael’s incompetence in the workplace. It’s a lot of wonderful awkwardness. This episode could be higher if the B-story was better than Jim and Darryl playing table tennis.
9 of 25
17. “Goodbye, Michael”
Maybe it was inevitable that Steve Carell would leave “The Office.” He became a movie star early in the show’s run and it’s to his credit he stayed with the show as long as he did. “The Office” really went downhill after Michael Scott stopped being the focal point, but we got one great episode to send him off with “Goodbye, Michael.”
10 of 25
16. “Michael’s Birthday”
It was during the second season that “The Office” started to figure out Michael Scott as a character. They sanded down some of the edges of the British original’s David Brent and made him more of a doofus who means well than an actual awful person. “Michael’s Birthday” is a good example of that. His birthday is overshadowed by Kevin awaiting a cancer test, and while he’s upset about this when he’s oblivious to the seriousness, he does care about Kevin and basically turns his self-thrown birthday party into a day for Kevin as well.
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15. “Frame Toby”
Michael and Toby have a fraught relationship. Toby is the branch’s HR rep, and for a guy like Michael that makes him the enemy. Toby returns after an extended departure to Michael’s surprise in “Frame Toby” and he goes as far as to try and plant drugs on Toby to get rid of him here. Yes, it’s Michael going a bit too far, but fortunately, he didn’t actually buy weed, but instead Caprese salad.
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14. “Business School”
“Business School” is a fine showcase for Michael. He is brought in to give a speech for Ryan’s business class, and naturally, it spins out of control. Candy bars are thrown. The secondary stories are strong as well. One involves a bat in the office, and the other involves Pam’s art show.
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13. “A Benihana Christmas”
“The Office” liked to mix depression and despair into their Christmas episodes. For example, in “A Benihana Christmas” Michael is dumped by his girlfriend Carol (with good reason) and so he and Andy go to Benihana and get drunk. They bring a couple of waitresses back with them to the Christmas party. It doesn’t get any less sad, but it’s a funny episode that also has some great storytelling and fine directing from Harold Ramis.
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12. “Booze Cruise”
Imagine being trapped on a Booze Cruise with Michael Scott and the rest of your coworkers in cold temperatures. Now imagine you’re Jim, you’re in love with Pam, and Roy finally decides to commit to marrying her. It’s such an awful night for Jim that he even confesses his feelings for Pam to Michael, which decidedly backfires on him soon enough.
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11. “Goodbye, Toby”
We mentioned in “Frame Toby” that Toby returned to the office. Before he could do that, though, he had to leave. This episode also introduces Holly Flax, played by Amy Ryan, who becomes Michael’s love interest. It’s momentous in that regard, and also has plenty of action and funny jokes. “Goodbye, Toby” was a fine end to the fourth season.
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The last couple seasons of “The Office,” to be honest, aren’t that good. They are totally decent, but definitely a major step down. Fortunately, they managed to ramp things up in the last couple of episodes. The series finale is actually a truly great episode and an excellent way to say goodbye to the show and all these characters. Michael returns. Jim and Pam leave. Creed is arrested. It’s emotional, funny, and fantastic.
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9. “The Dundies”
The first season of “The Office” is only six episodes, and it was a little rough around the edges. The second season begins with “The Dundies,” and it’s kind of a soft reboot for the show, and for Michael. It’s a classic episode that introduced the concept of the Dundie Awards to us, and also Pam gets drunk which is fun.
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8. “Night Out”
In “Night Out,” Michael and Dwight head to New York City to hang out with Ryan. It doesn’t go well, as Ryan is on drugs. It’s another dark fourth season episode, but a fascinating one. Watching Ryan devolve after getting his corporate job is an interesting storyline, and seeing Michael and Dwight as fish out of water is cool too.
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7. “The Job”
Speaking of Ryan’s corporate job, he gets it in the episode “The Job.” The season three finale sees some of the notable members of the Scranton Branch vying to replace Jan. Of course, Jan doesn’t know this when the episode begins, and neither does Michael. That ends up going poorly. Then again, you are probably just thinking about Jim returning to Scranton and making a date with Pam, aren’t you? Hey, we get it.
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6. “Gay Witch Hunt”
“The Office” would engage in some pretty severe cringe comedy from time to time. Not on the same level as the British version, but just say the word “Scott’s Tots” to people and they might reflexively cringe. That episode didn’t make the top 25, but “Gay Witch Hunt” did. It culminates with one of TV’s most-awkward kisses, which happens between Michael and Oscar, who Michael thoughtlessly outed to the entire office.
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5. “The Injury”
Michael burns his foot on a George Foreman Grill. We don’t have to say anything more, do we? That alone makes this an iconic episode. Of course, there is plenty of fun stuff beyond that. Still, the opening with Michael and his injury really makes the episode truly special right off the bat.
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4. “Café Disco”
This is just some pure goofy fun. Michael turns his old Michael Scott Paper Company into “Café Disco,” which is basically just an empty office space where he plays music and dances. Then, eventually, others start joining him. They have a ton of fun. It just emits joy as an episode for a half-hour.
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3. “Beach Games”
Right before “The Job” came “Beach Games.” The whole office heads to the beach, ostensibly for a day of fun, but really Michael is looking for a successor. That means he starts a series of challenges not unlike “Survivor.” There’s a lot of great jokes and sight gags, but this is also a tremendous episode for Pam, who walks over coals, and speaks her truth.
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2. “Casino Night”
The second season of “The Office” concludes with a truly momentous episode. To many, it’s the all-time best episode of the show. It’s what helped turn “The Office” into a bit of must-see television. The office hosts a casino night. So many things happen. Creed cheats. Jan and Carol both show up much to Michael’s dismay. Oh, and Jim and Pam have their first kiss. It gives you all you want from a season finale.
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1. “Dinner Party”
In the end, though, there was only one episode we can go with. Yes, if you don’t like cringe comedy, “Dinner Party” won’t be for you. It’s maybe the darkest, bleakest, most-uncomfortable episode of “The Office.” It’s also the best. “Dinner Party” is so funny and so glorious in its darkness. It’s like the funniest take on “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” imaginable. If you are on its wavelength, you probably love “Dinner Party.” Clearly, we are. It tops our list.
Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the booksThe Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000andThe Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.
- "Office Olympics" The Office Season 2, Episode 3. ...
- "The Fight" The Office Season 2, Episode 6. ...
- "The Injury" The Office Season 2, Episode 12. ...
- "Booze Cruise" The Office Season 2, Episode 11. ...
- "Valentine's Day" The Office Season 2, Episode 16. ...
- "Conflict Resolution" TheOffice Season 2, Episode 21.
- 8/10 Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too.
- 7/10 Bandersnatch.
- 6/10 White Bear.
- 5/10 15 Million Merits.
- 4/10 USS Callister.
- 3/10 The Entire History of You.
- 2/10 Nosedive.
- 1/10 San Junipero.
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|Directed by||Ken Kwapis|
|Written by||B. J. Novak|
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