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Years after Dunder Mifflin closed their doors, the life and times of the crew of The Office have maintained a firm place in the everyday goings on of pop culture. From Jim’s pranks to Michael’s lovable incompetence to Dwight’s general oddity, the show has rightfully earned its place as one of the funniest sitcoms in TV history. It’s inspired countless imitators, earned tons of awards, and launched the careers of several of today’s most prominent film stars. While there are heaps of classic episodes to choose from, if you want to get the right feel for the show, here are your top 15 episodes, in order of hilarious-ness.

15. New Boss

Who knew Idris Elba was funny? I mean, God already granted the guy a whole slew of favors, so it wouldn’t be any shock if he couldn’t carry a joke. Yet, as Charles Minor, Elba’s deadpan delivery was the perfect antidote to Michael’s scenery chewing. When Minor is put in place to serve as an intermediary between Michael and CFO David Wallace (who’s tired of hearing from him), sparks fly and the conflict is wonderful.

Charles Minor

14. The Coup

You always knew that Dwight had delusional designs on the top spot. He was devoted to Michael, but he’s also an ambitious animal. When he coerces Jan into joining him at a diner, Dwight — under Angela’s influence — declares that he should replace Michael as the branch manager (all while drowning a ridiculous amount of breakfast food in a sea of syrup). It’s an amazing moment. Not as amazing, though, as Michael’s punishment when he finds out about Dwight’s betrayal.


13. Basketball

The first season of The Office is kind of uneven. There was a lot of potential, but the show was just finding its legs and it took some time for the cast and crew to really coalesce. “Basketball” was one of the first signs of life, when the office team challenges the warehouse crew to a game of basketball. From Michael’s declaration that “of course” Stanley would be on the team to his on-court intensity, it’s one of the first times that Michael Scott really gets to shine as a total loon.


12. The Promotion

Okay, so most peoples’ list would include “Niagara,” which is Jim and Pam’s wedding, but in Season 6 I’ll take the plot about Jim’s brief tenure as office co-manager over the couple’s nuptials any day of the week. “The Promotion” is a great example of that plot working very well, when the office discovers that Jim and Michael are using candy beans to determine the specific percentage of every employee’s raise.

Jim and Michael

11. Dwight’s Speech

This one has to go down as one of Jim’s best pranks. When Dwight wins the award for Dunder Mifflin’s Top Salesman, Jim convinces him that the best way to win over a crowd is with half-shouts and erratic gestures that mimic some of history’s greatest dictators. It’s hard to pinpoint the most wonderful moment the episode; Michael’s jealousy at Dwight’s accomplishment or the fact that Jim’s prank actually works out in Dwight’s favor. Those dictators got put in charge for a reason, Jim.

The Speech

10. Goodbye, Michael

Late in the seventh (and last good) season, Michael must finally take off to his new life in Boulder, where he and his wife Holly will finally get to settle down in relative peace. Touching and funny in equal parts, Michael spends his last day in the office saying individual goodbyes to all his favorites. The decision for Michael to take off a day earlier than he’d announced was both great for subduing the schmaltz and as a sign of just how far Michael had come from his manic need for attention in the earlier seasons.

So Long and Farewell

9. Garage Sale

The first narrative sign that star Steve Carell was on his way out came in “Garage Sale” which features perhaps one of the best on-screen proposals in TV history. It’s heartfelt and sweet and it’s made even cuter by the fact that Michael’s candles set off the fire alarm. It’s a great moment for a character that began as hard to love and morphed into a character that’s one of the most treasured in pop culture history.

Michael and Holly

8. Scott’s Tots

This easily the worst thing Michael has ever done. Ever. Several years before the episode premiered, you see, Michael promised to pay for the tuition of a whole bunch of inner city school kids if only they graduated high school. Guess what? They graduated and now they want their money. The look on Michael’s face when a room of high school kids go from adoration to revulsion in a single heart beat is just priceless.

Scott's Tots

7. The Dundies

This episode, penned by future star Mindy Kaling, was the first shot of brilliance in the show. The second season premiere saw the gang take over a local Chili’s for a (mandatory) awards ceremony that doesn’t even go right in the planning stages. Add to that Pam’s drunken silliness — a welcome break in Jenna Fischer’s normally stoic demeanor — and you’ve got a recipe for some good old fashioned shame.

Pam is proud … and drunk. More the latter.

6. The Client

A personal favorite, “The Client” is the first real evidence of Michael Scott’s worth. You’ve seen him behave like a buffoon for more than ten episodes all while wondering how in the hell he was in charge. Then, you get to see him sell Tim Meadows and finally it’s clear. The guy is charming and persuasive. It’s a big moment on the road to loving Michael Scott. Watching the crew back at Dunder Mifflin read Michael’s script for his movie Threat Level Midnight adds another layer of joy to the proceedings.

Threat Level Genius

5. Goodbye, Toby

The season four finale saw the departure (kind of) of Toby Flenderson, Dunder Mifflin’s sad sack HR guy. This news excited Michael to such a degree that he insisted on blowing out Toby’s going away party, going so far as to use his nest egg — quick note: his nest egg is a series of checks from his senile grandmother who keeps sending him birthday money several times a year; Michael cashed them all at once — to get a carousel and a band and even fireworks. Also, watching Jim almost propose to Pam before getting his thunder stolen by Andy is a treat.


4. Heavy Competition

Really, the entire “Michael Scott Paper Company” story arc is incredible, but we’ll have to go with “Heavy Competition” as the standout. Having left Dunder Mifflin (poaching Pam and Ryan in the process), Michael is now digging into his new role as company owner by stealing all of Dunder Mifflin’s clients. “Look at that old guy and his rolodex go.” Indeed, Ryan. Indeed.

Michael Scott paper company

3. The Duel

In true Michael fashion, just moments before he leaves for a meeting in New York (like, he’s literally in his car and pulling out of his spot), Michael tells Andy that he’s been cuckolded. The result is a duel in the parking lot between Andy and Dwight as only The Office can deliver. Angela’s reserved commentary is also a treasure in the series.

the office duel

2. Office Olympics

As Michael takes Dwight to sign the closing papers on his condo, Jim tours the office in search of the games people play to pass the time until closing. From M&M stuffing to the national sport of Icelandic paper companies, Flonkerton, the entire cast gets a chance to let loose and act a fool. Meanwhile, audiences get the opportunity to see Dwight poke several holes in Michael’s purchase, completely deflating his boss little by little.

The Medal Winners

1. Dinner Party

If The Office’s brand of humor could be described simply, you’d have to go with “awkardly acidic.” The show wrung so much humor from putting their characters in the most horribly awkward situations and just watching them squirm. This was never better executed than in season four’s “Dinner Party,” when Michael tricks Jim, Pam, Andy, and Angela into attending a dinner party with him and Jan. What follows is a masterpiece in slowly unraveling domestic discord. There’s the “sex camera” left out by accident during the bedroom tour. There’s Michael’s pathetically small flat screen TV, that he has to stand to watch. There’s Jan’s obvious affair with her former assistant, revealed as she’s playing (and dancing to) his horrific single. Oh, Dwight shows up, too, with his old babysitter in tow (because he needed a plus one). Did you know that in Spain sometimes they don’t even eat until midnight? It’s a series of inspired disasters that culminates in a visit from the police and the end of Michael and Jan’s relationship. It’s the series’ best writing and acting, and it’s the single best example of the singular voice The Office developed during its run.

The Dinner Party

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