Welcome to The Circuit’s first entry in our collection of Pop Culture Olympiads; The Office! From Best Michael Moments to Best Office Parties, we award Gold, Silver & Bronze medals across 23 different Scranton-based categories.
Opening Ceremonies: Here at The Circuit, we view pop culture content through an Olympic lens, using medals to convey our feelings for different categories. This is the first entry in our collection of Pop Culture Olympiads. We will be looking at NBC’s crown jewel The Office, and awarding gold, silver and bronze medals in 23 different categories that all revolve around the sitcom.
Now, let’s jump off the diving board head-first into the Dunder Mifflin Olympic events!
Gold Medal: Dinner Party (Season 4, episode 13)
This is the most iconic episode of the show. Essentially a bottle episode, we see Michael at the peak of his Michael-ness. For more on this episode, check out our other Office content here.
Silver Medal: Stress Relief (Season 5, episodes 14 & 15)
This episode has unquestionably the most iconic cold open, and maybe the most iconic 5 minutes of television history with the fire. For more on this episode, check out our other Office content here.
Bronze Medal: Threat Level: Midnight (Season 7, episode 17)
Years after being first teased with Michael Scott’s screenplay, we finally see his movie in all its glory. It gives us a great look back at all our beloved characters, as well as shows how much Michael has grown. For more on this episode, check out our other Office content here.
Gold Medal: Season 4 (2007-2008)
This was the season with the infamous writers strike, so it had fewer episodes with longer runtimes. From Fun Run to Dinner Party to Goodbye Toby, this season had some of the most electric episodes of the entire series. We see Michael run over Meredith in the first five minutes, we see Michael drive into the lake, and we see Michael kidnap a pizza boy. By far the best of the show's nine seasons.
Silver Medal: Season 7 (2010-2011)
This is definitely the most emotional season of the show, as we see the departure of Michael Scott. We get to watch Michael really grow and mature this season, from getting rid of Todd Packer to proposing to Holly and moving on from Scranton. And who didn’t shed a tear when the office sang to Michael?
Bronze Medal: Season 5 (2008-2009)
This season had so many memorable moments and arcs; Jim and Pam get engaged, Michael falls in love and then loses her, and then Michael starts his own paper company. Dwight goes full Hannibal Lector, Jim drills Phyllis in the face with a soccer ball and Andy and Dwight fight for Angela. Great moments. Great episodes. Great season.
Best Male Characters
Gold Medal: Dwight Schrute
This may be controversial. Michael is obviously the face of the show, and was the Sun in which the show revolved around for seven seasons. But that was the problem; there are two seasons of the show without Michael. And in his absence, Dwight really carries. Dwight is an incredible character from pilot to finale, and arguably has the most complete character arc of anyone on the show by marrying Angela, fathering Phillip and becoming Regional Manager.
Silver Medal: Michael Scott
As noted above, Michael is one of the most iconic television characters ever. Had he stayed on for all nine seasons, he easily would have taken home gold. But even with missing two seasons he still takes the silver medal. Not bad.
Bronze Medal: Jim Halpert
Oh Jim. He makes up ½ of maybe the greatest television relationship ever (until Pam cheats on him with Boom-Mic Brian), and his character over the first seven seasons is awesome. The problem was that once he and Pam got married and had kids his arc was complete, so the last few seasons he didn’t have much to do. But he is easily the third best male character on the show.
Best Female Characters
Gold Medal: Pam Beesly
Pam is without a doubt the best female character on the show. Despite my theory that she is actually the villain of the series, she does a lot for her coworkers. She realizes her dream of being an artist by the end, she goes from a receptionist to office administrator and she becomes a mother and (mostly) loving wife. She comes a long way from pilot to finale and gets the gold in a landslide.
Silver Medal: Angela Martin
This show ran before the #MeToo movement and it particularly shows in this category. While the series arguably developed five incredibly strong male characters (Michael, Dwight, Jim, Andy & Ryan), it really didn’t develop any strong female characters outside of Pam. The best of the rest was Angela, based on how she went from the accountant everyone hated to… the accountant everyone hated, but became a mother and married Dwight along the way.
Bronze Medal: Holly Flax
Holly would have won the silver had she been in the show more, but she was really only in Scranton for a total of a season. She’s not only the perfect match for Michael’s weirdness, but she also helps him grow as a person and gets him to a point where he can leave Dunder Mifflin behind.
Gold Medal: “That’s what she said”- Michael Scott
Silver Medal: “Bears. Beats. Battlestar Galactica.”- Jim Halpert
Bronze Medal: “Hey Mr. Scott! Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do, make our dreams come true!”- Scott’s Tots
Gold Medal: Toby Flenderson
Yankees vs. Red Sox. Duke vs. North Carolina. Ohio State vs. Michigan. Michael vs. Toby. Toby is everything Michael hates in humanity, and is often the foil of many great dreams. Toby may be one of the greatest villains of all-time.
Silver Medal: Roy Anderson
From the very beginning we all hated Roy. We all wanted Jim and Pam to be together and Roy was the obstacle that we needed to overcome.
Bronze Medal: Jan Levinson
Jan was a horrible girlfriend to Michael; she abused him verbally and physically, forcing him to sleep on a dog bed. Plus, she was constantly trying to downsize the Scranton branch, even going so far as to try and close it in season 3.
Best Jim & Pam Moments
Gold Medal: Jim cutting his tie at the wedding
Was there a more sweet moment in the entire show? I think we all took a mental picture when he cuts that tie to make them even.
Silver Medal: Discovering they’re pregnant
You have no soul if you didn’t shed a tear when Jim bursts back into the room and hugs Pam after he finds out she’s pregnant.
Bronze Medal: Pam falling asleep on Jim’s shoulder in the meeting
This was the first real sign that maybe there was something there between these two, and the look on Jim’s face shows just how much he loves her.
Best Michael Moments
Gold Medal: Going to Pam’s art show
Who didn’t love this moment? After Roy bailed on Pam, Michael showed that he truly cared about his employees, and showed he really believed in Pam.
Silver Medal: Proposing to Holly
While I don’t love how he proposed, it was great to see him do it. He finally found his happily ever after, and it was a nice way to close out his character.
Bronze Medal: Coming back for Dwight’s wedding
They couldn’t close this show out without an appearance from the boss could they? While he didn’t speak much at all, he delivered one last TWSS and brought everyone to tears.
Best Dwight Moments
Gold Medal: Silence of the Lambs
By far the most iconic image of Dwight K. Schrute is him turning around with the dummy face over his own, directly referencing Silence of the Lambs. In an episode full of Dwight memes, this was by far his gold medal moment.
Silver Medal: Bagging Meredith
This was one of the most Dwight things Dwight ever did; bagging Meredith, thus trapping her with a bat. Not only was this great in the moment, it was continually alluded to as the show went on. Numerous times he brought up a person-catching net, and he even tried to bag Meredith again, leading to her classic line “stop bagging my head!”
Bronze Medal: Defeating Roy
This moment served as a bookend for the Pam and Roy relationship. After Pam admitted to kissing Jim, Roy came in looking to kick some Large Tuna ass, but Dwight sprayed his face before he could do anything. While he claimed it didn’t matter that it was Jim in danger, we all know he wanted to protect his friend.
Best Supporting Character Moments
Gold Medal: Stanley yelling at Michael
I tried to spread the medal wealth around the office, so there are some moments that definitely deserved a medal here, but got medals elsewhere (see Best Physical Comedy category). But this moment was fantastic, so much so that they named the episode after the iconic “DID I STUTTER?” line.
Silver Medal: Gabe interviewing Andy
Andy shows tremendous knowledge of the Sun, as well as quick thinking and problem solving skills here. Gabe shows a quick temper and an unhinged mental state. But I guarantee whenever one of your friends starts talking about the solar system, you reply with “SHUT UP ABOUT THE SUN. SHUT. UP. ABOUT THE SUN.”
Bronze Medal: Oscar & Michael kissing
Even though Michael was involved, this was one of the most memorable moments in the history of the show. Seeing Oscar react to Michael’s lips pressed against his own, the sounds he makes, the way his body goes full rigor mortis, it’s fantastic. Oscar takes the bronze.
Best Physical Comedy Moments
Gold Medal: Kevin spilling the chili
This may be THE moment from the show. Fas can perfectly picture the scene, from Kevin in the parking lot to Kevin scooping the chili back in the pot with paper. In a way, we as fans all got to know each other in the pot that is Dunder Mifflin.
Silver Medal: Andy falling into the river
This is both one of the funniest and one of the most alarming moments ever on the show. Watching Andy in the sumo suit fall into the river is a tear-inducing moment. On the other hand, WHAT IS THE CAMERA CREW DOING!?!? They watch him fall in and don’t help, they don’t tell Michael when he asks them directly where he is, and they stay with him all night just to record him, not help him.
Bronze Medal: Gabe falling into the swimming pool
The get-together at Robert California’s house eventually turns into a party, with RC stripping and jumping into the pool. Ryan swiftly followed suit, and then Gabe attempted to but couldn’t quite get his pants off before face-planting into the water. Hilarious.
Best Break Room Moments
Gold Medal: Michael & Toby in counseling
The epic Michael vs. Toby rivalry came to a head in season 7 when Michael had to undergo six hours of counseling with Toby. From playing Connect-4, to drawing the office, to Michael telling Toby to take two middle fingers in the morning, this was by far the most iconic break room scene.
Silver Medal: The Finer Things Club
The office had a handful of clubs throughout the years, but the Finer Things Club was the only one to occupy the break room. While it only lasted an episode, it provided some great moments.
Bronze Medal: Jim heckling the magician
Nellie was an incredibly complicated character. Her hatred of magicians only added to those complications. But it gave us a great scene with Jim heckling the magician to the point of breaking him, which was hysterical.
Best Office Parties
Gold Medal: Yankee Swap Christmas party (Season 2)
This episode was great for so many reasons; we get the famed teapot, Michael both obsessing over Ryan and acting childish, and Kevin gets a footbath instead of an iPod. Oh shoot.
Silver Medal: 2x Santa Christmas party (Season 6)
While Michael vs. Toby was an incredible rivalry, Santa Michael vs. Santa Phyllis wasn’t too far behind. The battle for Kevin was an epic one, and it led to Jesus Michael which was a fun twist. Kevin spoke for all of us when he said “Michael I had you. I just wanna try Phyllis now.”
Bronze Medal: Costume Contest Halloween party (Season 7)
This episode provided some great costumes, some great drama, and a fantastic bleep moment. It had everything from Michael being childish to Oscar being pretentious.
Gold Medal: Identity Theft
This is by far the most iconic prank; Jim pretending to be Dwight is one of the funniest moments on the show. He even nailed the “Michael!” command that Dwight made famous.
Silver Medal: Stapler in Jell-O
Ahhh, the one that started it all. This is the classic prank, the simple joke that introduced us to Jim vs. Dwight.
Bronze Medal: Asian Jim
Asian Jim was a lot of fun, but really made us question our reality. Everything we (and Dwight) knew about Jim seemed to be crumbling around us. Props to us for not seeing color, though.
Best Halloween Costumes
Gold Medal: Oscar as Rational Consumer
This costume netted Oscar a coupon book worth $15,000 in savings during the costume contest. That’s enough to also get him the gold.
Silver Medal: Jim as Three-Hole Punch
Jim is known for not giving a bleep about Halloween costumes, and this is definitely the best of his non-costume costumes.
Bronze Medal: Kevin as Charlie Brown
While there were undoubtedly better costumes than this, you cannot argue that there was a more character-accurate costume. Imagining Charlie Brown as a 40 year-old is the spitting image of Kevin the Accountant.
Best Cold Opens
Gold Medal: Fire simulation (Stress Relief)
This episode aired after the Super Bowl, so they knew they had to come out swinging with a “fire” cold open (get it?). This was an epic introduction to the episode, and is probably the most famous scene from the show.
Silver Medal: Jim impersonates Dwight (Product Recall)
Yes, I didn’t want to award the same scene with multiple medals, but the entrants in this category are too strong to deny medals. This scene is too strong to deny the silver medal.
Bronze Medal: Kevin spills the chili (Casual Friday)
Much like the silver medal, I couldn’t deny this scene another medal, despite trying to spread the medal-wealth around.
Gold Medal: Dwight Schrute
Dwight time and time again is considered a phenomenal salesman, so he gets the gold without question.
Silver Medal: Michael Scott
Michael is often depicted as an idiot, but he does make the sales that matter. He closes the deal at Chili’s, he closes the deal at the conference, he closes the deal on Danny Cordray, and he closes the deal on the Michael Scott Paper Company buyout.
Bronze Medal: Stanley Hudson
Stanley doesn’t care. About anything, really. But in Branch Wars, we are led to believe that he has a great sales record.
Gold Medal: Pam Beesly
Pam was a great receptionist. Not because she knew how to answer a phone, but because she knew how to control Michael and how to keep him from getting fired. And she knows what to do with new pen shipments.
Silver Medal: Erin Hannon
Erin is a loveable soul, and wants so badly to live up to Pam’s legacy. She may struggle at times, but she held the job for four seasons, so she gets the silver medal.
Bronze Medal: Andy Bernard
The battle for the bronze was intense. We had Rice-O-Ronnie, Ryan, and even Kevin for a hot minute. But Andy appeared to crush the role, cooking for everyone and organizing materials in a fun and engaging way.
Best Warehouse Workers
Gold Medal: Darryl Philbin
Darryl is really the only warehouse worker to get significant screen time. He eventually gets promoted upstairs and starts running the warehouse, so he easily gets the gold.
Silver Medal: Val Johnson
Val seemed pretty good at her job, and really that’s all she needed to win the silver medal here. There were a lot of stinkers in that warehouse.
Bronze Medal: Hidetoshi
Back in Japan, Hidetoshi was #1 heart surgeon. Steady hand.
Best Corporate Employees
Gold Medal: Robert California
The Lizard King was by far the best corporate employee. He got the CEO position by convincing the current CEO to give him the job, he gets solid numbers from the branch and inspires his workers. And he actually is in the office a lot, which is a plus.
Silver Medal: Jo Bennett
Jo provided Dunder Mifflin with steady leadership, something unfamiliar to them. While Jo wasn’t around long, she was powerful in that time.
Bronze Medal: David Wallace
David was the CEO for a total of (roughly) seven seasons, and did a pretty decent job. They did struggle under his watch the first time, and he was rather negligent towards the end with Andy, but overall he cared about his employees and was a good guy. Bronze medal.
Best Bleep Moments
Gold Medal: “Oh f*ck you! F*ck you!” -Creed when Erin does a cartwheel
Silver Medal: “You don’t even know my real name. I’m the f*cking Lizard King” -Robert California to Andy Bernard
Bronze Medal: “F*ck!” -Dwight when Angela sneaks up on him and Isabel
Best Talking Heads
Gold Medal: Jim asking Pam out
Finally! The Jim and Pam relationship is finally about to blossom when Jim interrupts Pam’s talking head to ask her on a date. Such a great ending to season three.
Silver Medal: Andy singing Willy Wonka
When Dwight leaves Dunder Mifflin, no one is happier than Andy. He is so happy, that he took to the conference room to sing his version of the Oompa Loompa song, which was iconic. Doompity doomp.
Bronze Medal: Stanley laughing about Scott’s Tots
Nothing sums up Scott’s Tots better than Stanley dying of laughter when he realizes it has been ten years.
Best Scranton Business Park Activities
Gold Medal: Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies
Of course it had to be this. So much in this 5k, with a stripper accepting a large check and a race that was not a circle. An iconic event in an iconic episode.
Silver Medal: Toby’s Going Away Party
This party was the definition of a summer blowout. There was a ferris wheel, fireworks, a live band, and Michael singing! By far the best bash the Party Planning Committee ever threw, and a great business park event.
Bronze Medal: Pretzel Day:
Everything is perfect on Pretzel Day.
Closing Ceremonies: With the Dunder Mifflin Olympics in the books, we’re going to see who won the most medals. It’s important to note that we didn’t count any medals that belonged to season or episode events for this leaderboard, only individual events. Also, we excluded individual character events since those characters are the only ones that could get those medals. Let’s take a look at the medal leaderboards:
Pam Beesly- 4 Medals (3x Gold, 1x Silver)
Michael Scott- 4 Medals (2x Gold, 2x Silver)
Andy Bernard- 4 Medals (3x Silver, 1x Bronze)
Jim Halpert- 4 Medals (1x Gold, 2x Silver, 1x Bronze)
Toby Flenderson- 3 Medals (2x Gold, 1x Silver)
Stanley Hudson- 3 Medals (1x Gold, 2x Bronze)
Dwight Schrute- 2 Medals (2x Gold)
Kevin Malone- 2 Medals (1x Gold, 1x Bronze)
Oscar Martinez- 2 Medals (1x Gold, 1x Bronze)
Gabe Lewis- 2 Medals (1x Silver, 1x Bronze)
Darryl Philbin- 1 Medal (Gold)
Robert California- 1 Medal (Gold)
Creed Bratton- 1 Medal (Gold)
Angela Martin- 1 Medal (Silver)
Erin Hannon- 1 Medal (Silver)
Jo Bennett- 1 Medal (Silver)
Roy Anderson- 1 Medal (Silver)
Val Johnson- 1 Medal (Silver)
Holly Flax- 1 Medal (Bronze)
David Wallace- 1 Medal (Bronze)
Jan Levinson- 1 Medal (Bronze)
Hidetoshi- 1 Medal (Bronze)