Now that The Office’s entire run can be found on Peacock, NBCs proprietary streaming service, we thought we’d salute our favorite sitcom by ranking our favorite episodes ever.
Here’s the best of the best from Dunder Mifflin!
Check out the video above, click through the gallery below, or scroll down for the full list!
The 25 Best Episodes of The Office of All Time
25. Andy’s Play
A standout episode from Steve Carell’s final season, Andy’s Play showed us what a terrible babysitter Erin would be, how much fun Jim and Pam could be as parents instead of love interests, and, most importantly, Michael’s audition that was just an entire episode of Law & Order. It was one of the fleeting moments we kind of cared about Andy and Erin’s relationship, and on The Office’s cringe-scale, hits it out of the park with perhaps the ultimate “sequence of noises interrupt a play, but they try to keep the show going anyway” scene ever filmed. The episode may grace the bottom of our list, but whoever came up with the sequence “cell phone ring – wine bottle roll – balloon pop – baby cry” is a certified genius.
24. Goodbye, Michael
In every comedy list, some rain must fall. Or at least some ceiling-sprinklers must go off. Michael and Holly’s exit from the series stands as one of the most satisfying non-finale finales in sitcom history. With ridiculous thoroughness, we got final notes in Michael’s relationship with almost everyone in the office, the culmination of an incredibly sweet love story (superior to Jim and Pam’s, honestly), and Will Ferrell’s Deangelo Vickers to keep us on our toes. There couldn’t have been a final moment more perfect for Michael than his silent “that’s what she said,” and although we were sad to see him leave the series, we couldn’t really have asked for a more expertly crafted happy ending for such a middling, shitty person who absolutely doesn’t deserve it.
23. Threat Level Midnight
Threat Level Midnight is the first of a run of three Season Seven episodes that finish out our list, and the one that most screams “late in the run of the show.” Based on several previous references to a spec screenplay by Michael Scott, the episode breaks the traditional Office format in order to give the cast a chance to play cheesy action parodies of themselves, all while Michael and Holly have an inconsequential fight and then make up to keep things moving. Despite the somewhat lazy nature of the hook (reminds us a bit of the Scrubs fairy tale episode), it’s just so damn fun to watch Jim play Goldenface, Toby’s head violently explode, and Dwight not be a robot (but then later be a robot) named Samuel L. Chang. It’s an all out joke-fest with almost no plot to hold it back. What really puts this one over the top for us is Creed Bratton’s turn as Cherokee Jack, hockey trainer extraordinaire. “Mop.”
22. Boys and Girls
To quote Sea Monster, “Dammit, Michael!” Midway through Season Two, The Office divvied the cast up by gender and treated us to a double-dose of terrible meetings. On the one hand, we’ve got Jan Levinson really getting a chance to shine and take up some screen-time, the beginning of a fantastic run on the show by Melora Hardin. On the other, Michael popping the collar of his button-down and blundering his way through accidentally forming a union among the warehouse workers in an effort to prove that he’s “collar-blind.” In the end, all issues of gender and class are resolved, leaving Michael with only one lingering question: do black people like pizza?
21. Stress Relief
Dwight achieves peak Dwight in Stress Relief and his performance arguably carries the episode. Rainn Wilson brings us two iconic moments of television in a single brilliant run: Dwight’s fire drill and his Silence of the Lambs moment during CPR training. The two-parter also aired post-Super Bowl, so we got a ton of special guest stars (Jack Black, Jessica Alba, Cloris Leachman) via the unlicensed movie Andy, Pam, and Jim watch. Top it all off with Michael’s self-inflicted roast, and you can see why Stress Relief made the list. The exercise provides plenty of hilarious moments, although a few dead scenes also remind us that The Office often shines brightest in its typical 22 -minute format. Boom! Roasted. Not really though, because it’s still a great pair of episodes.
20. Michael Scott Paper Company
This episode makes the list if for no other reason than its very first line: “It’s Britney, bitch,” said over a Lady Gaga song blaring from Michael’s Sebring with the top down in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Smack in the middle of the “Michael versus Idris Elba” arc, Michael Scott Paper Company gifted us with a comedy dynamic we wouldn’t get much of otherwise…the unique mix of Michael’s idiocy, Pam’s confused ambition, and Ryan’s bottomless shittiness crammed into a closet and forced to function as a comedy trio without the characters they’re more used to bouncing off of. The result is a whole new vibe, some amazing stunts involving cheese-balls, Pam’s first paper sale, and the revelation that Erin’s first name is actually Kelly (let us never speak of it again).
19. The Return
Honestly, it’s kind of incredible that every one of the following iconic Office scenes occured in the same 22-minute episode: Michael going to Staples to get Dwight back. Jim admitting to Karen that he has feelings for Pam. Oscar’s Mexican-themed welcome home party. Andy punching the first of several holes in the wall of the office, which earns him his first of several trips to employer-mandated Anger Management classes. And last but not least, the very first appearance of his obnoxious catch-phrase, “r-r-r-iddit-doot-da-doo!” At the time it aired, The Return served as our in-depth introduction to Ed Helms’ comedic energy, and how it was going to mesh with the Stanleys and Merediths of the world. Looking back, it feels a bit like the moment The Office’s Avengers were all assembled and accounted for, and marks the beginning of a golden age for the series.
The obligatory two-part wedding episode, ultimate payoff and wrap-up for Jim and Pam’s kind of standard sitcom love story. Hey, they made it! Hooray! In spite of following in a long sitcom tradition, The Office’s version of a pull-out-all-the-organ-stops wedding episode felt a lot fresher than it needed to. As usual, The Office shines not when it re-invents the sitcom, but when it proves that it can execute at or above the level of its peers. Kevin’s feet nearly bring down the hotel and taint a whole ice machine, Andy rips his scrotum open in a dance-fight, and Michael predictably ruins big chunks of the wedding, but even harder and funnier than you thought he possibly could have. And we don’t know about you, but we’ve used Creed’s trick of slapping our own card onto an existing wedding present and it works like a charm. You’re welcome (oh and Jim and Pam get married on a boat, it’s fine)!
17. Garden Party
Coming so late in The Office’s run, Garden Party is oft-overlooked, but it’s chock full of classic Office moments: Jame’s Trickington’s Ultimate Guide to Throwing a Garden Party, Mose’s epic jump over a dozen parked cars in a cornfield, and the introduction of Josh Groban as Andy’s hilariously talented younger brother. It also treats us to one of the few Andy stories with real heart to it. His desperate attempts to impress his jerk-ass father stir genuine emotion, mere episodes before Andy completes his transformation into Nellie’s tormentor and the show’s heel for pretty much the rest of the show. It’s safe to say Andy’s pathetic turn going viral in the Series Finale wouldn’t have come across nearly as well without the backstory laid out in Garden Party. This is the episode where we really get to understand what makes Andy tick, and sets the stage for Ed Helms to take on more ambitious story threads, like his awesomely ill-fated boat trip to the Caribbean. So a toast! To Garden Party, and to the troops. All the troops. Both sides.
16. Prince Family Paper
Rarely has it been so funny to watch a larger conglomerate drive a small mom and pop operation out of business. Michael and Dwight’s mission to spy on Prince Family Paper, run by maybe the nicest family in the greater Scranton area, makes for perfect A-plot comedy fodder. From helping a little girl with her math homework to not knowing how a mug functions to running over the cement divider in the parking lot, Steve Carell dominates scenes throughout. Meanwhile, the completely unrelated B-plot — “Is Hillary Swank Hot?” — gives each member of The Office’s ensemble a chance to shine with a heartfelt monolog. After all, who could forget Stanley’s stirring ode to the fact that he’s going to die soon and can’t afford to be picky? Or Kelly’s tearful calculus about her own hotness relative to Hillary’s? In the end, Michael succeeds in his dubious quest and casts the final vote, determining once and for all that, koinophilia aside, Hillary Swank is in fact hot. Good to know!
15. Golden Ticket
Most great sitcoms rely on constant, sudden reversals to keep the jokes flying, and The Office is no exception. In Golden Ticket, Michael’s terrible idea for a Willy Wonka-themed marketing stunt blows up in his face, only to later turn into a good idea that he wants credit for. It’s a perfect set-up for a situation that brings out the best/worst of Michael: a selfish, manipulative, hilarious child. As he so bluntly puts it to David Wallace, “I will be honest with you. I do want the credit without any of the blame.” Dwight and Michael’s feuding versions of reality fuel scenes so full of dynamite punchlines and performances there’s little time left for a minor arc about Kevin’s plans to woo Lynn, a woman he met at the office Valentine’s Mixer. That said, the B-plot does give us the classic Kevin line, “I’m a textbook over-thinker.”
14. The Duel
For the second time in her prudish life, Angela Martin declares that she will accept the outcome of a duel between two suitors vying for her affections. In this case, we have Dwight Schrute in one corner, armed with a bike chain, and in the other, Andy “Nard Dog” Bernard, armed with a Toyota Prius and a verbose note. Beyond the excellent culmination of a long-running love triangle between the three, The Duel also boasts one of the best David Wallace scenes, with Michael struggling to explain his branch’s success in any kind of coherent fashion, not to mention Michael’s stuttering admission to Andy about Angela’s affair, delivered through the rolled-up window of his Sebring as it pulls out of the office parking lot. Oh, and at the beginning of the episode, Michael runs 31 miles per hour, outpacing the fastest-ever recorded human speed by a good 4mph. So there’s that.
13. A Benihana Christmas
Benihana’s slogan was once “America’s Most Popular Restaurant,” which is fitting, because this stellar episode of The Office is all about wildly overconfident swings. For example, Michael Scott’s bold choice to photoshop himself into a picture of his current girlfriend Carole with her ex-husband and their kids. Is “bold” the right word? The ensuing breakup results in an epic two-parter that sees Mike wallowing in heartbreak one 30-second sample of sad song at a time, then embarking upon an epic quest to pick up his Benihana’s waitress by bringing her back to the office Christmas party, which itself has split into two dueling parties: A Nutcracker Christmas and the Margarita/Karaoke Christmas Party. Like most Office Christmas outings, it’s jam-packed. Not just with plenty of story beats — including the beginnings of a rift between Jim and Karen — but also choice lines and moments. Dwight both kills a goose with his car and explains how to properly slit one’s throat, Michael marks his quarry’s arm and gives away a bike, and Angela sings a cover of Little Drummer Boy that’ll knock your socks on.
12. Gay Witch Hunt
The Office’s Season Three premiere dragged Oscar out of the closet in the most torturous way possible, with one of the boss’s signature improvised meetings and what stands as potentially the most awkward kiss ever filmed. Long before Michael started to drift into sympathetic dope territory, he was still firmly in heavy cringe-mode, and fans of “the ones where he goes too far” have long cited Gay Witch Hunt as a pinnacle ep. The episode also introduces us to the staff of Dunder Mifflin Stamford, a bizarre pocket universe that is thankfully resolved fairly quickly and serves as the origin for Karen and Andy. In the end, Oscar gets a three month paid vacation and Michael gets a thorough dressing down, allowing the show to tackle workplace homophobia in a way that intentionally pushes your buttons but keeps Michael’s bigotry firmly in perspective. A few punchlines are probably over-the-line by 2021’s standards, but they sure seemed funny at the time.
11. Drug Testing
Like many of the show’s early episodes, “Drug Testing” takes low-hanging fruit and executes the crap out of it. A staple formula of so much of The Office’s first few seasons is simply to take a basic HR issue — discrimination, homophobia, harassment, drug testing — and stretch the horrible process out for an extremely funny half an hour. Great early Office almost feels like mandated workplace training courses, but hilarious. In this case, Dwight takes center stage as he struggles through a one-man morality play, first insisting upon pee tests, then agreeing to fabricate Michael’s with his own clean urine, then resigning as a volunteer Lackawanna County Sheriff’s Deputy, to which the Lackawanna County Sheriff has no objection. Bonus points for a genuinely cute game of super-jinx between Jim and Pam before they went full-on rom-com.
10. Safety Training
There are few single images from The Office as iconic as Michael standing on the roof of the building, having just called Dwight an “ignorant slut” for the second time, about to commit unintentional suicide by jumping onto a bouncy castle because the warehouse crew called his life “nerf-y.” Safety Training is just one long harebrained scheme, and the delight of watching it careen from one epically stupid idea to another never seems to wear off. Michael putting on a histrionic show to try and “teach people a lesson” is Office bread and butter, and Safety Training may be the most iconic example. The episode also saw Andy’s return from Anger Management and shined a light on Craig Robinson as Darryl in a bigger way, foreshadowing his eventual move upstairs and addition to the main ensemble.
9. Diversity Day
This is the highest-rated episode from season one, and there’s a reason for that. Especially through 2021 eyes, a lot of The Office’s first run — which more closely mimicked the tone of the awkward-edgy British series — seems a tad dated or cruel, without much of the heart or attempts to make Michael sympathetic that became a staple of the show later on. Of course, if you LIKE that feeling of being pushed well past the line, then this episode has to be the ultimate example of Michael behaving badly. It’s hard to believe a sitcom featuring Steve Carell literally shouting the N-word at work could still retain its funny, but Diversity Day pulls it off with satirical care. At all times, we are painfully aware of how deeply Michael is in the wrong, and Larry Wilmore slays as the eternally-patient sensitivity consultant tasked with smoothing over the wildly hostile work environment Michael’s created. How else can we say it? If you liked Gay Witch Hunt, you’ll love Diversity Day, but if you don’t understand that Michael’s the villain in both, then you’re the asshole.
8. Job Fair
Letting Michael Scott around young people has always resulted in some of the best/worst Office moments, and Job Fair is second only to Scott’s Tots in terms of the damage done to our collective future. Armed with nothing but a single blank sheet of paper and an empty desk, the Scranton gang attempt to lure in unpaid interns by being frankly insulting to anyone showing interest. Meanwhile, on a golf outing, Jim tries…which is notable enough to be a plot point for someone with as many slacker tendencies as he. Frankly, the episode lacks any kind of resonance between the two plots, nor is there anything structurally interesting or innovative on display here; it’s just got a bunch of the best jokes, all in a row. Which just goes to show you, funny jokes are a very solid strategy when it comes to comedy.
7. Scott’s Tots
Scott’s Tots showcases classic asshole Michael at a remarkably late point in the series’ run. It’s ceaselessly cringey, but somehow it also retains the fundamentally endearing aspects of Mr. Scott that got fleshed out in the middle seasons. Throughout the show, we learn that a lot of Michael’s perceived cruelties stem from his aspirations and self-image far outshining his lot in life. And while the audience knows that many of his dreams will forever be out of reach, there’s something relatable and charming in how confident – how certain! – he is that he can make them come true. Michael’s goals are almost always altruistic and good, but his (lack of) talent and unearned confidence usually stop him from reaching them. Here we see how badly that confidence can backfire when a group of kids – swept up in Michael’s confidence – have their own dreams slashed. What results is one of the most tough-to-watch episodes of the entire series, likely only surpassed by Dinner Party.
6. The Convention
Jim and the Stamford crew collide with Michael and Dwight at an office supply convention in this one, which probably rated so highly both because of the next-level writing and genuine heart on display when Jim tells Michael his true reasons for leaving Scranton. This is also one of the episodes where the series’ handling of Michael-as-manager took a turn. In season one — and from Jan’s performance review at the deposition — it’s implied that Michael is terrible at his job, but at a certain point that was massaged and Scranton’s high sales numbers became a core part of the show’s lore, and one of the only things keeping Michael from being fired. He’s just a damn good salesman (ask Tim Meadows). Not that that should keep him from being fired, which he absolutely should have been long long ago.
5. Launch Party
Launch Party is a two-parter crammed with enough zany premises to make up a pretty decent season of any lesser sitcom. There’s Dwight’s John Henry-esque showdown with the Dunder Mifflin website, which then becomes “sentient.” There’s Michael’s aborted drive to New York and disastrous anti-technology screed at the company’s webcam-assisted launch party. There’s Andy’s decision to pursue Angela, setting up the entire Andy versus Dwight arc. And last but not least, there’s Michael’s kidnapping of a pizza boy to prove some kind of point about salesmanship that kind of gets away from him. Of course, this is all in service of the launch of Dunder Mifflin Infinity, the only website designed to bring you limitless paper in a paperless world, and the harbinger of Ryan’s epic downfall.
4. Fun Run
Fun Run is such a solid pair of episodes, even the Wikipedia plot synopsis is funny: “After Michael hits Meredith with his car, she learns she is infected with rabies.” Just great, great stuff. To expiate his guilt, Michael plans the first annual “Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure,” then proceeds to run it after eating more alfredo sauce and drinking less water than he ever has before. Results are predictable. Unlike the previous entry, Fun Run has about the same number of plot points as a normal episode, simply stretched out over a longer period of time and filled in with a staggering array of bits and riffs. We’re also treated to an exercise in the Law of Sitcom Conservation, which dictates that for one couple to get together — in this case Jim and Pam — another has to fall apart — in this case Dwight and Angela. Rest in peace, Sprinkles.
3. The Dundies
The Dundies was the first time we really got a good look at who the staff of Dunder Mifflin actually are as individuals. Season 1 gave us an idea of the setting and the tone, but while the broader range of characters were in play, heavy-hitters like Angela, Stanley, Phyllis, Oscar, Meredith and Kevin didn’t fully come out of their shells until this second season opener. We got to see Michael’s tone-deaf turn as an MC, we learned who won the bushiest beaver award, and we the audience all collectively felt God in that Chili’s. The Dundies will forever represent the moment an ensemble cast fully connected, and turned their show from a Michael Scott vehicle into an enduring group effort.
2. The Injury
The Injury forever changed how we look at George Foreman grills. Now all we can think of when we see one is the smell of Michael’s foot burning to a reduced-fat crisp. The outsized antics in this one — between Michael deciding his burnt foot means he’s disabled to Dwight’s concussion — pair perfectly, each raising the other’s stakes, to give us a frenetic and near-flawless disaster. It’s rare when you can simply shout the premise of an episode and deliver one of the episode’s best lines at the same time: “I BURNED MY FOOT!” Stellar performances from the entire ensemble as well as special guests, plus a simple concept built on Michael selfishly blowing something way out of proportion, equals an Office adventure second only to our top-voted episode of all time.
1. Dinner Party
Dinner Party embodies everything that makes The Office the best sitcom of all time: awkward tension, a quick-moving camera, nuanced performances, Dundees, “That’s What She Said,” and — best of all — romance-tinged chaos. Melora Hardin and Steve Carell deliver a masterclass in yelling as Michael and Jan ramp up from passive aggressiveness into naked abuse. The couple is the focal point and the dinner party guests are just like us, an unwitting audience to this train wreck. And that’s what makes Dinner Party so impactful: we’re right there with them, sitting at the table listening to Hunter’s album, shocked at how many vasectomies Michael has had, and left reflecting on what the hell we just witnessed. They say every good tragedy must be followed by catharsis, and the Dinner Party is no exception as Jan glues Michael’s Dundee back together – making us feel there may be hope for them in spite of everything we just witnessed. When it comes to what The Office does best, the Dinner Party is damn near perfect.
Those are our picks for the best episodes of the US version of The Office! Let us know what made your list that didn’t make ours in the comments, and be sure to check out the recently-released, never-before-seen cold open or the surprising actors who originally auditioned for the cast!
Michael Swaim is Manager of Video Programming for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @SWAIM_CORP.