The Definitive Ranking of Every Episode of The Office, Part I
Updated: Jul 10, 2021
Despite the success The Office had during its initial run on cable, the show's popularity has exploded ten-fold in the age of streaming. Becoming the spirit show for millennials all over the globe, The Office became one of the most iconic shows of all-time. We’re here to rank every episode, 1 to 201.
Getty Images/Circuit Artwork
Here at The Circuit, we loooooove The Office. It’s probably collectively our favorite show. It’s an endless well of content, from ranking the best characters to arguing who the villain of the show is (that article coming soon to The Circuit). But we begin our Office content with perhaps the most ambitious of them all; ranking all 201 episodes of the American workplace sitcom.
Before we begin it’s important to note this is entirely objective. These rankings are final. If you have a different opinion, then we’ll agree that you’re wrong (but seriously, there are 201 of these f*cking things. Our rankings will differ, and that’s okay. As long as we agree that each episode is great, and it’s like choosing a favorite amongst your 201 children. Your poor wife).
For each episode, we’ll provide:
A brief one-line recap of the episode
Reasoning for the ranking
Iconic quote from the episode
Winner of the episode
Every day for the next eight days, The Circuit will release episode rankings, leading to the ultimate reveal of the top episodes, plus the characters with the most wins! This first post will feature episodes #176-#201, the "worst" 26 episode in the nine-season run of the show.
#176: Michael’s Birthday (Season 2, episode 19)
One-line recap: Michael takes the office to the ice rink on his birthday to try and cheer everyone up because of Kevin’s pending cancer diagnosis.
Reasoning: Michael actually shows some maturity here, trying to cheer Kevin up and crying when he thinks he has cancer. Plus it’s great to see Steve Carrell skating.
Iconic quote: “Well, apparently in the medicine community, negative means good. Which makes absolutely no sense. In the real world community, that would… be… chaos.”- Michael Scott
Winner: Kevin Malone! Kevin finds out he doesn’t have cancer! One of the biggest wins in the entire series.
#177: The Farm (Season 9, episode 17)
One-line recap: Dwight has to help his family with his aunt’s funeral, and Todd Packer comes to Scranton to try and make amends.
Reasoning: The cupcakes that Todd distributes decimates the office, which is great to see, and it is always great to visit Schrute Farms.
Iconic quote: “They’re a descriptive people.”- Oscar Martinez
Winner: Pam Beesly! She stands up to Packer which is great to see, and she doesn’t eat the spiked cupcakes and doesn’t suffer the severe consequences.
#178: The Seminar (Season 7, episode 14)
One-line recap: Andy holds a seminar on small businesses to improve his sales, Michael tries to impress Holly with an impression, and Erin battles Gabe in Scrabble.
Reasoning: We get a rare glimpse of Jim being uncomfortable, which is a fun twist on that character. We get a terrible Michale character, which is always a welcomed addition to the office. We see Oscar teach Erin how to play Scrabble, PLUS we see Ricky Gervais interact with Michael Scott!!!
Iconic quote: “It is hard to explain why Erin is doing so well today. The only thing I can think is Erin is living out some “Slumdog Millionaire” scenario, where every word she’s playing has a connection to her orphan past. It’s possible.”- Gabe Lewis
Winner: Erin Hannon! Yes she loses the game, but she plays way better than she usually does, she hangs out with coworkers all day in a way she usually doesn’t, plus she learns from Andy that Shrek 2 exists.
#179: Training Day (Season 7, episode 20)
One-line recap: Michael is tasked with training the new manager, Deangelo Vickers, but when he starts making changes Michael starts causing mayhem.
Reasoning: A solid cold open where Michael and Deangelo don’t realize they’re meeting each other. Plus the scene with the peanut butter sandwiches is a classic Michael Scott moment.
Iconic quote: “Well that’s just good sense right there. Everyone I know who skis is dead.”- Deangelo Vickers
Winner: Deangelo Vickers! He gets a new job, meets his new staff, and by the end of the episode Michael opens up to help him.
#180: Paper Airplane (Season 9, episode 20)
One-line recap: Jim and Pam go through couples counseling, Andy auditions for an acting role and the office holds a paper airplane contest.
Reasoning: Really the only thing that is memorable from this episode is the paper airplane contest, and Toby getting cut in the eye and no one caring.
Iconic quote: “I offered myself to Angela and she turned me down. If she changes her mind, the next move is hers. I’m with Esther now. She’s younger than Angela, sturdier, more comfortable with the scent of a manured field. Let’s be honest. When it came to manured fields, Angela was at best indifferent.”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Dwight Schrute! Despite attempting to throw the finals, Dwight wins the contest and has two women fighting over him. Some might say, dueling.
#181: Promos (Season 9, episode 18)
One-line recap: Dwight starts dating Esther, Andy gets popularity from his appearance in the promo, Oscar and Angela inform the senator he’s going to be outed, and Pam discovers just how much the film crew has recorded over the years.
Reasoning: As we near the end of the rankings, there is a run on season 9 episodes (not a coincidence). This episode features an all-time cold open with Phyllis getting a cold bath due to her masturbation, but unfortunately this episode features Pam and Boom-Mic Brian heavily, which no one wants or cares about.
Iconic quote: “Be careful. I pulled my mom’s dog off a pillow once, and I got bit.”- Pam Beesly
Winner: Andy Bernard! Andy gets a lot of positive feedback from his performance in the promos, and begins his “acting career”. One of the very few bright spots for Andy in the last season.
#182: Turf War (Season 8, episode 23)
One-line recap: Robert finalizes his divorce, shuts down a branch, and Andy starts his own Big Red Paper Company.
Reasoning: A great cold open with Dwight and Gabe battling to see who the strongest in the office is, Robert spirals in a drunken stupor, and Andy follows in Michael’s footsteps by creating his own company and stealing clients.
Iconic quote: “Ah, well, I will not be blackmailed by some ineffectual, privileged, effete, soft-penised debutante. You wanna start a street fight with me, bring it on. You’re gonna be surprised by how ugly it gets. You don’t even know my real name. I’m the *f*cking* lizard king."- Robert California
Winner: Andy Bernard! Back to back wins for the Nard Dog! He starts his own paper company and kicks off his plot to take back the regional manager job.
#183: Special Project (Season 8, episode 14)
One-line recap: Dwight is tasked with selecting a team to head down to Florida to work on a special Sabre project.
Reasoning: Not a lot happens in this episode other than Dwight giving us his reasons for why everyone in the office is terrible.
Iconic quote: “The Shrutes have a word for when everything comes together in a man’s life perfectly: Perfectinschlag. Hmm. Right now, I am in it. I finally get a chance to prove myself to corporate, I am assembling a competent team, I am likely a father, I am so deep inside of perfectinschlag right now. And just to be clear, there is a second definition, “perfect pork anus” which I don’t mean.”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Dwight Schrute! Everything is coming together for Dwight; he is in perfectinschlag.
#184: Jury Duty (Season 8, episode 13)
One-line recap: Jim gets assigned to jury duty, but gets let out early…
Reasoning: Jim is always the popular one in the office, but this episode turns that on him when they all discover he took a week off and made their jobs miserable. We get some great interactions between Jim, Dwight, Andy and Toby.
Iconic quote: “My nickname was actually King Butt, because I had a king-size butt.”- Andy Bernard
Winner: Jim Halpert! He gets a week off from work, then gets another afternoon off when the office realizes how difficult these kids are.
#185: Customer Survey (Season 5, episode 7)
One-line recap: Jim and Dwight get poor customer reviews, only to find out that Kelly tampered with their files.
Reasoning: Much like when they had to throw Kelly a birthday party, we get another great Jim & Dwight vs. Kelly match in this episode. Plus a wonderful cold open where Michael lies about being engaged.
Iconic quote: “I have an enormous amount of trouble trying to get people to come to my place. And I hate it. I can’t tell you how much leftover guacamole I have ended up eating over the years. I don’t even know why I make it in such great quantities. Here’s what we’re gonna do. We are going to sit here for a while, make it look good. And maybe you should cry. Can you make yourself cry?”- Michael Scott
Winner: Kelly Kapore! She gets revenge on Jim and Dwight without facing any consequences at all.
#186: Business Trip (Season 5, episode 8)
One-line recap: Ryan moves back to Scranton, Michael goes to Winnipeg, and Pam returns home.
Reasoning: I think most would have this episode much higher, but there’s just something about this entry that doesn’t do it for me. It’s fun to see Michael in an international setting, but other than that there isn’t much to love.
Iconic quote: “I had to go all the way to Canada to get to know a guy who sits 20 feet away from me. And he’s delightful!”- Andy Bernard
Winner: Michael Scott! He hooks up with the concierge, plus he tells off David Wallace and doesn’t get fired for it.
#187: The Banker (Season 6, episode 14)
One-line recap: An investment banker comes to Dunder Mifflin to check out the company.
Reasoning: We get a lot of flashbacks and memorable scenes from the series, which is really the only reason it’s as high as it is.
Iconic quote: “I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. I don’t want to lie and I DON’T want to tell the truth.”- Toby Flenderson
Winner: The Audience! Not much happens in this episode, but we get to see all of our favorite moments throughout the series.
#188: Welcome Party (Season 8, episode 20)
One-line recap: The office plans to prank Nellie during her welcome party, and Andy has to break up with his girlfriend while Erin comes back with him.
Reasoning: This is where we get some of the last moments between Erin and Andy that we actually root for. Plus, seeing Jim and Dwight learn the truth about the magician is hysterical. And, we get the great Stanley mustache debate.
Iconic quote: “Best gig ever. They asked me to play only originals. I said, “Have you heard my originals? They’re terrible.” They said, “Even better.” I said, “I get it. It’s an ironic party for Nellie.”- Creed Bratton
Winner: Andy Bernard! Andy went down to Florida to get the girl, and this episode he proves triumphant! And begins a quick descent into madness from here on out.
#189: The Target (Season 9, episode 8)
One-line recap: Pam starts painting her mural in the warehouse, Jim asks to work part-time in Philadelphia, and Angela tries to have Oscar killed.
Reasoning: Angela tries to have Oscar killed.
Iconic quote: “[murder] Okay, that’s the big one. That’s the big “M.”- Trevor
Winner: Jim Halpert! Despite spending a ton of money, he convinces Stanley and Phyllis to cover for him so he can work part-time at his dream job in Philly.
#190: Moving On (Season 9, episode 190)
One-line recap: Andy gets chewed out by David, then schemes to get Pete fired for dating Erin, plus Toby is feeling guilty about the Scranton Strangler verdict.
Reasoning: We get a brief moment of relief with Jim and Pam enjoying a dinner in Philly, we see Andy finally get chewed out for disappearing for 3 months, and we see Dwight and Angela take a step closer to getting back together. Plus further confirmation that Toby is in fact the Scranton Strangler.
Iconic quote: “I am as smooth as a porpoise.”- Gabe Lewis
Winner: Toby Flenderson! Not only did he successfully get an innocent man to take his fall (allegedly), he even goes to see him to rub it in. Then Nellie commends him for his bravery. What a guy.
#191: Suit Warehouse
One-line recap: Dwight and Clark team-up to make a sale, while Darryl heads for an interview with Jim’s company in Philadelphia.
Reasoning: It’s really fun to see Dwight and Clark play on the whole “Dwight & Dwight Jr.” schtick, and seeing Darryl fry the fish tank is a mic-drop moment in the series. Plus watching the pens wreck the entire office is a really fun display.
Iconic quote: “Women reach their sexual peak at whatever age Jan was last week. I mean it was… like making love with a wild animal. But not like a cougar like you might think. It was uh… like a swarm of bees. Bees that just find something wrong with every hotel room.”- Clark Green
Winner: Clark Green! Clark returns from his week with Jan only to go on another sales call, and Dwight buys him a damn nice suit.
#192: Customer Loyalty (Season 9, episode 12)
One-line recap: Jim can’t make it to see Cece’s dance recital, and Pam fails to record it so she turns to Boom-Mic Brian for comfort.
Reasoning: I could argue this could be the worst episode, if it weren’t for some miserable characters who are somehow worse than Boom-Mic Boom0MicBrian. Not a great episode for anyone except Pete, Erin and Darryl. However, we do get a pretty fun scene with Dwight at the fast-food restaurant.
Iconic quote: “Oh, no, no, no, no. Oh God. Andy has just started to be nice to me, I just sent his girlfriend into the arms of a younger man. “Our social media presence should be hot, hot, hot. Go at it vigorously.” I did everything but unzip their pants for them. Oh, God, Nellie.”- Nellie Bertram
Winner: Darryl Philbin! He gets hired at Athlead, plus he gets Dwight on the hook for throwing a milkshake at a minimum-wage employee.
#193: Take Your Daughter to Work Day (Season 2, episode 18)
One-line recap: Members of the office bring their kids to the office, forcing Michael to water-down his usual workplace behavior.
Reasoning: This episode doesn’t age tremendously well, and it focuses almost exclusively on cringe-comedy and doesn’t really tell any jokes in the episode.
Iconic quote: “Boy have you lost your mind? ‘Cause I’ll help you find it! Whatcha lookin’ for, ain’t nobody gonna help you out there! Jesus could come through that door and he’s not gonna help you if you don’t stop sniffing after my child!”- Stanley Hudson
Winner: Pam Beesly! She was determined to make friends with one kid, and by the end of the day she finally wins over Jake, Meredith’s son.
#194: Moroccan Christmas (Season 5, episode 11)
One-line recap: Meredith gets drunk and catches on fire at the Christmas party, and Dwight is up to Crhistmas toy schemes.
Reasoning: This episode focuses mainly on Meredith’s alcohol problem, which admittedly isn’t all that interesting to me. Plus Toby has a very questionably racist interaction with Darryl.
Iconic quote: “My horn can pierce the sky.”- Michael Scott
Winner: Dwight Schrute! He makes a killing off of the Princess Unicorn dolls, putting him in the holiday spirit.
#195: Vandalism (Season 9, episode 14)
One-line recap: Jim and Darryl struggle to live together, and someone from the warehouse vandalized Pam’s mural leading to revenge and a fight.
Reasoning: My least favorite storyline in the series (other than Andy’s downward spiral) is Pam and Boom-Mic Brian. I believe these two had an affair, and while this episode doesn’t kick off that relationship, it certainly raises the stakes. After Pam takes it on herself to get revenge on the guy who vandalized her mural, Boom-Mic Brian protects her and gets fired for it. Blah.
Iconic quote: “Normally, I find Pam to be a comforting, if unarousing, presence around the office. Like a well-watered fern. But, today, she has tapped into this vengeful, violent side. And I’m like, wow, Pam has kind of a good butt.”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Pam Beesly! Sure her mural is vandalized, BUTT Boom-Mic Brian defends her and Dwight compliments her butt.
#196: Andy’s Ancestry (Season 9, episode 3)
One-line recap: Nellie tells Andy he’s related to Michelle Obama, which ultimately unravels into his ancestors owning slaves.
Reasoning: Another episode that doesn’t feel like it’s aged well in the BLM era? Also, this episode plants the seeds for Jim and Pam to start splintering, which is a very uninteresting storyline that no one needed or wanted. But we do get an awesome cold open with Fake Jim.
Iconic quote: “Whoa! That person has really gotten him or herself into quite a predicament.”- Darryl Philbin
Winner: Jim Halpert! Sure we see the beginning of the low-point between him and Pam in this episode, but he decides to tell Pam about starting his company in Philly in this episode, which is a huge win.
#197: Roy’s Wedding (Season 9, episode 2)
One-line recap: Pam and Jim go to Roy’s wedding to find he has changed quite a bit, while Clark tries to sleep with Erin and Dwight can’t cut Nellie’s hand off.
Reasoning: The storyline of Clark trying to get with Erin is just not interesting to me, especially since Pete is about to get with her. Plus seeing Roy turn his life around just feels… wrong.
Iconic quote: “The Taliban is the worst. Great heroin, though.”- Creed Bratton
Winner: Roy Anderson! Despite being one of the worst characters in the show, he pulls his life together, gets married and delivers an inspiring musical performance in this episode.
#198: Lotto (Season 8, episode 3)
One-line recap: The warehouse crew wins the lottery, which leads to Darryl questioning his life choices and wants to quit.
Reasoning: This episode takes a dark turn with Darryl, who is usually a very positive presence in the show. He seems really upset about his life choices, despite always expressing how happy he is with moving up the ladder? Plus the very weird cold open with Oscar smashing the car window to help the dog, despite the sunroof being open. We do get fantastic warehouse sequences between Jim, Dwight, Erin and Kevin though.
Iconic quote: “My future’s not gonna be determined by seven little white lotto balls. It’s gonna be determined by two big black balls. I control my destiny. I do.”- Darryl Philbin
Winner: Andy Bernard! Probably his best moment as manager, Andy talks Darryl off the ledge and inspires him to be motivated once again.
#199: The Inner Circle (Season 7, episode 23)
One-line recap: Deangelo shows favoritism to the men of the office, which ultimately leads to him getting in a horrific basketball accident.
Reasoning: This episode is the first post-Michael Scott era, and it shows. The sexism in this episode does not age well in the Me Too era, and the fact that the Deangelo Vickers era ends this fast is really strange.
Iconic quote: “Damn it, Dwight! Enough! Get your ass downstairs or find a new place to sell paper!”- Deangelo Vickers
Winner: Dwight Schrute! At the end of this episode, he is named the new acting manager of Dunder Mifflin, the job he has always dreamed of.
#200: The Boat (Season 9, episode 6)
One-line recap: Andy and his family are broke so they need to sell the family boat, which leads to Andy sailing it to the new destination.
Reasoning: While Andy has been awful since he came back with Erin in season 8, this episode really begins his miserable arc. I hate everything about Andy post-Tallahassee, and this episode is the epitome of that. The only good thing about the episode is the office pranking Dwight on the phone interview.
Iconic quote: “I totally forgot about the affair for a minute. Oscar is having sex with the senator and Angela doesn’t even know. Her life is a complete sham!”- Kevin Malone
Winner: Oscar Martinez! He admits that he’s in love with the senator, and Kevin actually covers for him (although unknowingly) so that Angela doesn’t find out… yet.
#201: Todd Packer (Season 7, episode 18)
One-line recap: Todd Packer comes to Scranton looking for a desk job, while Pam gets a new computer for reception.
Reasoning: Todd Packer is without a doubt the worst character on the show. I would take 9 seasons of season 9 Andy over 1 episode of Todd Packer. This character ages horribly, and didn’t even feel funny in the moment.
Iconic quote: “No. Because you laughed at me. Kevin will be eaten! Pam will be taken slave! Jim will be made a warlord’s gesture. Meredith will do ok. Be assured this day will come. It’s just a matter of time. Could be one month, could be two months.”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Michael Scott! This episode finally shows Michael outgrowing Todd Packer, which is a huge win for him and for Holly.