I’ve been re-watching The Office on DVD this summer in hopes of reminding me how good the series once was. I’ve accomplished that completely, but with TVS in mind, I’m always thinking about how I transfer what I’m watching into some sort of post or feature or whatever else. If you follow me on Twitter — and obviously, you should — you know I’ve been tweeting about doing a ranked list of the series 115 episodes (hour-long/extended episodes count as one). Well, here it is.
If you need more information about my thought process in the selection, check out my introductory post on the matter.
And we’re almost to the top! Sorry for the delay I’ve been extremely busy with “real world” things. Yeah, I know. Ew. A number of these episodes might belong in your top tier and some you might think suck, but this is a strong, enjoyable batch of Office efforts. Remember, no particular order.
46. “Branch Wars” (S4): I originally had this episode in the third tier, and then I thought about it. Yes, it does feature Michael and Dwight acting childish — but in the best way possible. Plus, mustaches! And Jim’s face when he 1.) finds out where they’re going 2.) knows Karen sees him and 3.) has to face Karen! Hilarious.
45. “Koi Pond” (S6): The quick Halloween stuff was fun and I’m a big fan of the times the series decides to make Jim out to be kind of a dummy while Michael plays it more straight, instead of the other way around. This one has them in both roles, so hey!
44. “Drug Testing” (S2): Dwight’s interrogations of the various office folk are some of his best moments in the series.
43. “A Benihana Christmas” (S3): This is just a fun episode that was probably one of the deciding factors that convinced NBC that the series should do more hour-long efforts.
42. “The Lover” (S6): I don’t understand why some folks think Pam’s actions when she finds out about Michael dating her mom are unrealistic or bitchy. This is a woman who has sat by and watched Michael do his thing for nearly a decade. And he’s now dating her mother. I get it.
41. “Launch Party” (S4): The kidnapping plot is ridiculous, but the episode goes a long way in having the characters actually acknowledge said ridiculousness. Yet another fine hour-long effort.
40. “Back From Vacation” (S3): Michael depressingly playing the little drum outside in the cold weather while singing “I’m feeling hot, hot hot…” makes me smile.
39. “The Fire” (S2): This is a classic episode that has a flimsy premise that’s really just in place to let the series tell some fun little character beats.
38. “Cafe Disco” (S5): I’d say the same thing about this one, actually.
37. “Two Weeks” (S5): I just finished this arc on DVD a few days ago and damn is every single episode within it fantastic. Michael rolling around on the office floor trying to recruit is a little goofy, but the payoffs are all worth it.
36. “Initiation” (S3): Dwight’s initiation of Ryan is stupid. But it’s stupidly funny.
35. “The Merger” (S3): The episodes right before and right after this are better, but the excitement of the merger alone made this a season three standout.
34. “Lecture Circuit: Part 1” (S5): This episode might be the funniest episode of season five, if you go minute-by-minute. I need more of Jim and Dwight working together as the heads of the Party Planning Committee.
33. “Conflict Resolution” (S2): I remember my reaction to the list of Jim’s prank was exactly like his. Initially I LOL’ed, then as he slowly realized how frivolous it was, I realized he was leaving. Tear.
32. “Fun Run” (S4): What a wonderful start to season four and also an episode that takes a paper-thin premise and actually extends it to a fine hour-long effort.
31. “Murder” (S6): With a dark reality bearing down on them, Michael smartly distracts the office folk from it. Sometimes, that crazy Michael Scott managing style actually pays off.
30. “Customer Survey” (S5): Another episode with a number of wonderful Jim and Dwight confrontations in the conference room. Smart to throw Kelly into the mix as well.
29. “The Client” (S2): This was perhaps the first indication that we received that Michael could be a savvy, intelligent paper salesman — and not just a spoof-song-writing idiot.
28. “The Coup” (S3): Can’t knock Dwight for trying.
27. “Heavy Competition” (S5): I’m not sure I totally buy Dwight selling out Michael, but I guess Charles buttered him up enough. Either way, still part of the wonderful Michael Scott Paper Company arc.
26. “Office Olympics” (S2): This is something I would want to do if I worked in an office.
25. “Branch Closing” (S3): Like I noted before, this is a better episodes than “The Merger,” even though it isn’t overly funny and heavy on plot.
24. “Dream Team” (S5): Broken record-ed: I love the Michael Scott Paper Company arc. This one has a number of great Michael and Pam moments.
Season totals so far: In this tier (total)
Season 1 –> 0 (5) Season 2 –> 5 (16) Season 3 –> 6 (18) Season 4 –> 3 (10) Season 5 –> 6 (21) Season 6 –> 3 (22)
Tomorrow: the top 23!