The Definitive Ranking of Every Episode of The Office, Part VII
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.
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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 two days, The Circuit will release episode rankings, leading to the ultimate reveal of the top episodes, plus the characters with the most wins! This seventh post will feature episodes #26-#50, the "top shelf" 25 episodes in the nine-season run of the show.
#26: Garden Party (Season 8, episode 4)
One-line recap: Andy aims to impress his parents with a garden party, and Jim pranks Dwight with how to throw a garden party.
Reasoning: We get a classic Jim prank on Dwight, we get the office at a different location which is always much appreciated, and we see some Mose hijinx. Solid episode.
Iconic quote: “JAMES, PAMELA and PEEPEE HALPERT!”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Jim Halpert! One of the better pranks he pulls on Dwight is the garden party book, since it lasts the entire episode. And he tricks Dwight into admitting Jim is the better salesman, which is a huge victory.
#27: Here Comes Treble (Season 9, episode 5)
One-line recap: It’s Halloween, and Andy’s old acapella group comes to the office, but end up making him feel old and irrelevant.
Reasoning: Another entry from the much-maligned ninth season, but this episode has a lot of Andy singing and a lot of fantastic costumes. And Stephen Colbert. And that cold open is… everything.
Iconic quote: “I mean the pumpkin should rot off my head in a month or two. Right?”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Broccoli Rob! Stephen Colbert becomes the second non-cast member to win an episode, but this is more of a reflection on the cast; Pam and Jim are fighting, Dwight has a pumpkin on his head, Andy is humiliated, and Erin’s boyfriend is a wreck. With no clear winners, Broccoli Rob steals the win.
#28: Ben Franklin (Season 3, episode 15)
One-line recap: Michael hires a stripper for Bob Vance, and Jim hires a Ben Franklin impersonator for Phyllis and hyjinx ensues.
Reasoning: The Ben Franklin scenes alone rank this episode highly, as he doesn’t realize the ladies think he’s a stripper. And seeing Dwight quiz him is priceless.
Iconic quote: “I don’t care what Jim says, that is not the real Ben Franklin. I am 99% sure.”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Michael Scott! Another tough choice, but Michael pulls through. Not only does he get a (brief) lap dance, but he also shows loyalty to Jan by stopping it. What a guy.
#29: Gettysburg (Season 8, episode 8)
One-line recap: Andy takes some members of the office to Gettysburg to try and improve company numbers.
Reasoning: A different location is always welcomed, and there are numerous subplots here; The Battle of Schrute Farms, Gabraham Lincoln and General Andy.
Iconic quote: “Apparently, I bear a passing resemblance to Abraham Lincoln.”- Gabe Lewis
Winner: Gabe Lewis! The praying mantis won an episode! It probably won’t happen too often, so let’s celebrate this. He thrives in this episode, fully embracing his destiny as portraying a former president in a park.
#30: The Fire (Season 2, episode 4)
One-line recap: Ryan has a big test coming up, and his nerves get the best of him as he burns a cheesy pita and causes a fire that forces the office into the parking lot.
Reasoning: “Ryan started the fire!” Need I say more?
Iconic quote: “Ryan started the fire!”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Dwight Schrute! After feeling neglected most of the episode, he proves his worthiness to Michael by running into the blaze, solves the mystery of the fire, and creates an iconic song.
#31: Pilot (Season 1, episode 1)
One-line recap: We meet the workers of the office, as Michael takes us around and introduces everyone from reception to HR.
Reasoning: Admittedly, the first couple of seasons aren’t my favorite. But the pilot is special, it gives our first look at the office! And we see Jim prank Dwight immediately, which sets the tone for the next nine seasons.
Iconic quote: “Damn it! Jim! He put my stuff in Jell-O again.”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Jim Halpert! Immediately we know that he is the office heartthrob, so that’s a victory in itself. Plus, we see maybe his most iconic prank ever in this episode.
#32: Office Olympics (Season 2, episode 3)
One-line recap: While Michael and Dwight are out of the office, the rest of the crew host an “Office Olympics” to combat their boredom.
Reasoning: The “Office Olympics” are referenced throughout the run of the show, and seeing these thoroughly un-athletic people battle it out in thoroughly un-athletic events is special to witness.
Iconic quote: “Jim, they refer to it as... Flonkerton. In English, box of paper snowshoe racing.”- Pam Beesly
Winner: Phyllis Vance! Phillys took home the gold medal in Flonkerton, so she takes home the gold medal here too.
#33: Beach Games (Season 3, episode 23)
One-line recap: Michael attempts to name a successor by having the office compete in a Survivor-style competition at the beach.
Reasoning: From the hotdog eating contest, to Pam finding herself, to Andy floating down the river, this episode is a classic.
Iconic quote: “I just wanna lie on the beach and eat hotdogs. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”- Kevin Malone
Winner: Pam Beesly! Really no contest here. She walks on the coals, spends the day at the beach, and finally steps out of her comfort zone and becomes the Pam that is formidable. Go Pam!
#34: Did I Stutter? (Season 4, episode 16)
One-line recap: Michael tries to get Stanley’s attention in a meeting and he was having none of it, and Michael struggles to save face.
Reasoning: That moment when Stanley yells is one of the genuine laugh-out-loud moments of the show, and Michael crying is pretty amusing as well.
Iconic quote: “Did I stutter?”- Stanley Hudson
Winner: Stanley Hudson! That moment is so great, but the lead-up is pretty good too. Lots of funny lines leading to the big one, and this episode is really one of the first times we feature Stanley in the series.
#35: Survivor Man (Season 4, episode 11)
One-line recap: Michael is jealous of Toby, so he attempts to rough it in the wilderness, meanwhile Jim attempts to throw a mega birthday party back at the office.
Reasoning: Watching Michael fare about as well as we expected him to in the wilderness is great, and watching Jim flounder as “boss” is excellent foreshadowing for seasons to come.
Iconic quote: “Yeah. Phyllis called me Michael. And I will always and forever be haunted by that fact.”- Jim Halpert
Winner: Michael Scott! It’s been a while for our guy Michael, but he deserves this win. He survives the wilderness (for like 4 hours, but still) and is compared to Jim, which is a big (tuna) compliment.
#36 & #37: Niagara Parts 1 & 2 (Season 6, episodes 4 & 5)
One-line recap: Jim and Pam are having a destination wedding, and the whole office is invited!
Reasoning: We get some of the most tender moments in the show’s run here, with Jim cutting his tie and them getting married on the boat. Plus we see Dwight hook up, Andy tear his scrotum and Kevin gets hair.
Iconic quote: “The boat was actually plan C, the church was plan B, and plan A was marrying her a long, long time ago. Pretty much the day I met her.”- Jim Halpert
Winner: Jim Halpert! Such a tough call. Kevin almost got a complete telephone number, Michael saw his “kids” get married, and Pam got married! But Jim wins the episode. He displayed countless romantic gestures, and he finally got the girl he loved for so many years.
#38: New Leads (Season 6, episode 20)
One-line recap: Michael doesn’t like the attitude of the sales staff, so he hides the new leads from corporate to teach them a lesson.
Reasoning: This episode combines Michael hijinx, Michael screw-ups and a fantastic remote location. Enough said.
Iconic quote: “Hande ‘em over, numbnuts.”- Phyllis Vance
Winner: Michael Scott! He gets to teach the sales staff a lesson, he comes up with hilarious riddles about Kevin and his moppy place, and he scores a sweet beanbag chair.
#39 & #40: Goodbye, Toby Parts 1 & 2 (Season 4, episodes 18 & 19)
One-line recap: Toby is leaving, so Michael and the office throw him a going-away party where they meet the new HR rep, Holly.
Reasoning: We get to meet the future Mrs. Scott in Holly Flax, we get some wonderful musical performances AND we get a couple twists that no one saw coming in this season finale.
Iconic quote: “Hey! What the hell! Is going on here! Who thought it would be hysterical to give Toby a rock for his going away gift?”- Michael Scott
Winner: Angela Martin! Another brutal decision; Michael, Holly, Dwight, Andy, Kevin and Toby all had cases to be the winner, but we went with Angela. She gets engaged AND hooks up with the love of her life (different people though) on the same night. Winning.
#41: Diwali (Season 3, episode 6)
One-line recap: Kelly invites the office to the celebration of Diwali, but Michael thinks it’s a Halloween party, and proposes to his girlfriend, who says no.
Reasoning: This episode has a lot of funny moments, but Michael singing his Diwali song warrants a high ranking.
Iconic quote: “I decided to come. Um, I feel a little underdressed, but at least I’m not dressed like a slutty cheerleader, right? Is that mean?”- Pam Beesly
Winner: Kelly Kapore! She gets the entire office to come to her cultural celebration, and gets to show Ryan off to her family.
#42: Trivia (Season 8, episode 11)
One-line recap: Andy needs to make money to impress Robert California, so he takes the office to a trivia competition at a gay bar to win the prize money.
Reasoning: We get Oscar in his element, flexing his knowledge. We also get to see Kevin and Erin kick ass in trivia, which is quite amusing.
Iconic quote: “So, our best chance of hitting our mark is now in the hands (and brains) of Kevin, Meredith, Erin and Kelly. Do I like these odds? My answer is no.”- Andy Bernard
Winner: Kevin Malone! Not only does he lead The Einsteins to the win over Oscar, but he also gets redemption after being kicked off the A-Team (but we get it).
#43: The Whale (Season 9, episode 7)
One-line recap: Dwight is tasked with selling to his weakness; a woman, and it turns out to be an old frenemy.
Reasoning: Watching the women of the office try and teach Dwight how to talk to females is an incredible scene, and the shock factor of revealing the client is Jan is a great twist. And then Dwight feeding Clark to the Den Mother is a great counter-move.
Iconic quote: “I can’t. I just can’t carry on with that face. Look at it. I’m gonna get nightmares with that face. I mean he looks like he’s laboring over a stool having just eaten human flesh.”- Nellie Bertram
Winner: Jan Levinson! She makes a triumphant return to the series in this episode, and she gets her newest boy toy, Clark. And she gets paper.
#44: Gay Witch Hunt (Season 3, episode 1)
One-line recap: Jim settles into life in Stamford after he gets denied by Pam, and Michael outs a gay employee (Oscar).
Reasoning: We got a great cliff-hanger at the end of season 2, so this episode had a lot of plot to cover.
Iconic quote: “No, NO! I don’t want to touch you, ever consider that? You’re ignorant, and insulting, and small!”- Oscar Martinez
Winner: Michael Scott! Some might argue Oscar, but he had a rough episode. He got outed at the office AND had to kiss Michael. But Michael (somewhat) got over his ignorance of homosexuality, so that’s a win.
#45 & #46: Weight Loss Parts 1 & 2 (Season 5, episodes 1 & 2)
One-line recap: Corporate runs a weight loss competition among the branches, some take it further than others, and Jim proposes to Pam.
Reasoning: JIM PROPOSES TO PAM!!! That alone ranks it high, but the weight loss plot is hilarious, especially Creed and his worms.
Iconic quote: “Pam, will you marry me?”- Jim Halpert
Winner: Jim Halpert! Jim pops the question fans have been anticipating for 5 years, and one he’s been anticipating for even longer. Jim for the win!
#47: The Duel (Season 5, episode 12)
One-line recap: Andy learns that Angela has been sleeping with Dwight, so the two have a duel to settle their differences.
Reasoning: Andy finally learns the truth, which is a relief for the audience. And the actual duel between Andy and Dwight is captivating.
Iconic quote: “The Prius is silent if kept under five miles per hour. He deserves the win.”- Oscar Martinez
Winner: Andy Bernard! Despite a tough blow (finding out your fiance is sleeping with your coworker), he does get revenge by running Dwight down in his car, and he gets out of a toxic relationship.
#48: The Surplus (Season 5, episode 10)
One-line recap: Michael and Oscar discover a surplus, so they have to spend $3,400 by the end of the day.
Reasoning: There’s a great chair plot going on here, with Creed needing two more chairs to achieve… something? Plus Dwight “marrying” Angela with a plot straight out of Lemony Snicket’s head is fun to watch.
Iconic quote: “Yes. Yes, I can see… that we did indeed. Why don’t you explain this to me like I’m an eight year-old?”- Michael Scott
Winner: Creed Bratton! The office got new chairs, which means Creed got Pam’s new chair. Now only one chair to go.
#49: Company Picnic (Season 5, episode 28)
One-line recap: Every branch of Dunder Mifflin gathers for a company picnic, which gets derailed by volleyball and a one-act play.
Reasoning: We see Michael and Holly reunite which is always special to see, we get a classic office sporting event in volleyball, and we see the tender moment where Jim and Pam find out they’re expecting.
Iconic quote: “Hey, Dwight, uh… Send in the subs!”- Jim Halpert
Winner: Pam Beesly! Paaaaaam PAM! She destroys the entire company at volleyball and she finds out she’s pregnant. Hard to top that!
#50: Mrs. California (Season 8, episode 9)
One-line recap: Robert brings his wife to the office looking for a job, but under no circumstances does he want Andy to hire her, despite his mixed signals.
Reasoning: It’s hilarious to watch Andy struggle to decipher Robert’s cryptic requests, and Jim’s escape is everything we could ever want and more. Plus the cold open where Dwight pretends to stand 24/7 is a classic entry.
Iconic quote: “In four seconds my wife is going to be coming through that door. I told her she could work here. Under NO circumstances can that be allowed to happen.”- Robert California
Winner: Robert California! An extremely difficult decision, as there are very few winners here. Robert gets the nod because he really gets to shine in this episode with his Robert Californiaisms, and ultimately his wife does not end up working there.