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
We did it! We made it to the final episode group! Tomorrow we will make one last post detailing the episode winners leaderboard. This eighth post will feature episodes #1-#25, the "greatest" 25 episodes in the nine-season run of the show.
#1: Dinner Party (Season 4, episode 13)
One-line recap: Michael and Jan host a dinner party for the couples of the office, which goes off the rails when the couple begins arguing over children, candles and neon beer signs.
Reasoning: This episode is undeniable. From Michael tricking Jim and Pam into going, to Dwight showing up with his babysitter/girlfriend, to Jan throwing a Dundie at Michael’s plasma screen tv, this episode crackles with electricity and awkward tension. The jokes fire on all cylinders, it makes you squirm with uncomfortableness, and most importantly it focuses on the main characters (Michael, Jim, Pam and Dwight) and doesn’t lose focus on who the audience really cares about.
Iconic quote: “Good luck paying me back on your zero dollars a year plus benefits, babe!” - Michael Scott
Winner: Michael Scott! Get ready to see this name a lot, given he’s one of the most titanic characters of all-time. Michael has numerous iconic moments in this episode, from his epic fail at charades to his vasectomy snip-snap-snip-snap delivery, to the iconic quote above. This is about as unanimous as you can get, with second place probably being Dwight’s babysitter/girlfriend.
#2 & #3: Stress Relief, Parts 1 & 2 (Season 5, episodes 14 & 15)
One-line recap: Dwight tests the preparedness of the office by starting a “fake” fire which leads to Stanley having a heart attack and Michael struggling to accept he’s a stressor in everyone’s life.
Reasoning: The first of many two-part episodes in this series, Stress Relief provides countless of pure euphoria for the viewer. The opening scene is brilliant, watching the workers flee from one exit to another (how many exits are in that office!?!?), watching Angela fling her cat through the ceiling, and then Dwight signaling the fire is a simulation (despite there actually being a fire!) with bullhorns. While that scene alone would put this in the top 10, the scene where Andy breaks into song and Dwight cuts the face off of the dummy is the icing on this delicious marble cake.
Iconic quote: “Today, smoking is going to save lives.”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Dwight Schrute! Dwight sizzles in these episodes, flexing his muscles as maybe the best #2 in the history of television. Starting the fire, cutting the face off the dummy and then defending himself to Wallace, and many more moments make Dwight K. Schrute the winner of these episodes.
#4: Threat Level: Midnight (Season 7, episode 17)
One-line recap: Michael shows his long-awaited independent film Threat Level: Midnight to the office to mixed receptions.
Reasoning: What a classic! After reading part of the script way back in the second season, we finally get to see Michael Scarn on the big screen. This episode pulls off the rare feat in television; successfully paying off something teased in the beginning of the series.
Iconic quote: “After three years of writing, one year of shooting, four years of re-shooting and two years of editing, I have finally completed my movie, Threat Level: Midnight.”- Michael Scott
Winner: Michael Scott! He did it! He finally finished his movie, and shares it with the people he loves.
#5: Scott’s Tots (Season 6, episode 12)
One-line recap: Michael Scott pledges college tuition to a class of 8 year-olds, and the day finally comes to pay up.
Reasoning: Maybe the most divisive episode in the Office catalog, causing many tears from both laughing and cringing. Without a doubt the most awkward episode ever made, Scott’s Tots is like a car crash; you can’t look away.
Iconic quote: “Hey Mr. Scott! What you gonna do? What you gonna do, make our dreams come true!”- Scott’s Tots
Winner: Erin Hannon! What an upset! Go Erin! Maybe the most underrated character in the entire series, Erin really shines in this episode. Michael is highly dismissive of her, but by the end of the episode she’s the one to comfort him and show that he did make a difference, which puts a smile on everyone’s face.
#6: Casino Night (Season 2, episode 22)
One-line recap: The office hosts a charity fundraiser in the warehouse, where Michael brings two dates and Jim finally confesses his love to Pam.
Reasoning: Jim and Pam kiss! Michael has two dates! Jim and Pam kiss!
Iconic quote: “Two queens on casino night. I’m going to drop a deuce on everybody.”- Michael Scott
Winner: Angela Martin! Not only does Dwight show affection openly towards her for the first time in the show, but she gets to do what everyyyyyyyone in the show (and audience) has wanted to do; slap Dwight. The clear victor!
#7: Goodbye, Michael (Season 7, episode 22)
One-line recap: Michael tells everyone he’s leaving tomorrow but he’s really leaving today, so he needs to find the perfect way to say goodbye to everyone in the office before the end of the day.
Reasoning: This episode highlights the best quality in Michael; his love for his friends. This episode does a great job of dialing him down, and just having him show affection for everyone in the office, which is the best way for him to say goodbye. And him and Jim in his office? Tears.
Iconic quote: “It looks like it was made by a two year-old monkey!... he has the lowest opinion of me, of anybody!”- Michael Scott
Winner: Jim Halpert! His first of many wins! Yes, Michael had a strong case, but the win goes to Jim because he delivers a gut-wrenching performance as he says goodbye to Michael. He gets to say what we’re thinking, getting to be the avatar for the audience in that moment.
#8 & #9: The Finale Parts 1 & 2 (Season 9, episodes 24 & 25)
One-line recap: Dwight and Angela get married, Jim and Pam are moving to Texas, Michael returns and the workers say goodbye to The Office.
Reasoning: These two episodes gave us laughs and tears, gave us a perfect final scene in the office, and we got to see the return of Michael Scott. Enough said.
Iconic quote: “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good-old days, before you’ve actually left them.”- Andy Bernard
Winner: The audience! While the final two seasons were far from perfect, they managed to really nail the finale in a way that most sitcoms don’t (Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, looking at you). This show played the ending simple; it gave us what we wanted! We wanted Dwight and Angela to get married, we wanted Michael to come back, and we wanted one last scene in the office. Simple. Perfect.
#10: Basketball (Season 1, episode 5)
One-line recap: The office plays the warehouse in a friendly game of basketball, with the loser having to work on the weekend.
Reasoning: Love sports? Check. Love comedy? Check. Love drama? Check. This episode has it all.
Iconic quote: “What? You’ve gotta be kidding me.”- Michael Scott
Winner: Jim Halpert! Larry Legend! Jim gets to show off his hoops prowess and impress Pam, he doesn’t have to work on the weekend, and he gets to hit Roy. Perfect episode.
#11: Murder (Season 6, episode 10)
One-line recap: With rumors swirling that the branch might close, Michael forces the office to play a murder-mystery game.
Reasoning: A personal favorite of mine, this episode is fantastic. With Michael and Jim playing the role of office parents, bickering over playing the game and with the crew getting into their characters, this episode is charming and delightful.
Iconic quote: “He lives on Sesame Street, dumbass.”- Kevin Malone
Winner: Michael Scott! He convinces Jim that the office doesn’t need to keep working despite being scared, but that coming together to have fun is the best for morale. And he gets his revenge for tube city.
#12: The Injury (Season 2, episode 12)
One-line recap: Michael grills his foot in his George Foreman grill and Dwight gets concussed.
Reasoning: Watching Michael crutch around the office to no sympathy whatsoever from his coworkers is priceless.
Iconic quote: “Ok, buhhhh, I burned my foot very badly on my Foreman Grill and I now need someone to come and bring me into work.”- Michael Scott
Winner: Dwight Schrute! He gets sympathy for getting a concussion, but he shows the loveable side of Dwight that fans, to that point, had rarely seen. We see his unconditional love for Michael, and we even see him begin to bond with Pam.
#13 & #14: Fun Run Parts 1 & 2 (Season 4, episodes 1 & 2)
One-line recap: Michael hits Meredith with his car, finds out she has rabies and puts together a fun run 5k to raise money and awareness for the disease.
Reasoning: Seeing Michael run down an employee in the parking lot was hilarious; the fact that it was Meredith made it even funnier. Putting together the “Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure” for a disease that has already been cured is a classic entry in the series.
Iconic quote: “It was on company property, with company property. So, double-jeopardy, we’re fine.”- Michael Scott
Winner: Toby Flenderson! A lot of great candidates in this episode, but we kept it simple; Toby won the race, so he wins the episode.
#15: Andy’s Play (Season 7, episode 3)
One-line recap: Andy is in a production of Sweeney Todd, which Michael auditioned for but wasn’t cast, and the office crew goes to see the play.
Reasoning: Admittedly, this is much higher on our list than most. A guilty pleasure if you will, this episode hits all the right beats for a former theatre kid. Seeing Dwight grab his knife in the intro when they sing at the office, to Michael bringing wine and booing the actors, this episode was a great trip away from the office.
Iconic quote: “Uh, no, thank you. Last time I went to the theatre, a man dressed as a cat sat on my lap.”- Dwight Schrute.
Winner: Andy Bernard! I love Andy’s character (until I didn’t, but more on that later), but a lot of people don’t, and I get that. But this episode he really gets to flex his performance muscles, even causing Dwight to praise him. And he clearly wins Erin over at the end.
#16: The Dundies (Season 2, episode 1)
One-line recap: We head to Chili’s for our first look at the Dundies, where Michael hands out awards to his employees, and we see some sparks between Jim and Pam.
Reasoning: Now that the first season was a success, The Office really ran out of the gates for season 2 with a bang. Seeing all the awards given out and laying a foundation for a staple of the show is great to see.
Iconic quote: “This is the ‘Don’t Go In There After Me’ award. It’s for the time I went into the bathroom after him, and it was really, really smelly.”- Michael Scott
Winner: Pam Beesly! First win of the series, go Pam! She finally stands up to Roy, which we were all waiting for. She gets the “Whitest Sneaker” award which she is so excited for, and she gets drunk. Winning.
#17: The Coup (Season 3, episode 3)
One-line recap: Dwight goes behind Michael’s back to take his job and gets caught.
Reasoning: We all know that Dwight is more than qualified to be the regional manager, maybe even more so than Michael. It’s great to see him finally try and take what he deserves, and even greater to see Michael catch and punish him. I mean crentist? Come on Dwight. And too bad for Dwight, Michael has a laundry machine.
Iconic quote: “The decision to turn on Michael was difficult. But once I did it, I didn’t look back. And mostly I feel that Michael would approve. It’s really what’s best for the branch. And I could care less about my co-workers. So… here we are. It’s all on the table. I want… the branch. And I await your decision.”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Jan Levinson! Jan gets taken out to breakfast and Dwight points out a bunch of stores for her to go shopping at while Michael is getting backstabbed, so he might actually try harder at his job, making Jan’s job easier.
#18: Koi Pond (Season 6, episode 8)
One-line recap: Michael joins Jim on a sales call and… falls into a koi pond.
Reasoning: The idea of Michael falling into a koi pond is hilarious, How he tries to cover it up makes it even more hilarious.
Iconic quote: “Truthfully, it wasn’t the way he fell in. It was… how long it took him to get out.”- Jim Halpert
Winner: Jim Halpert! A tough choice, but it came down to two factors; he didn’t want Michael there and he had to take pleasure in Michael embarrassing himself, and… don’t we all wish we could have been there to see it??
#19: Golden Ticket (Season 5, episode 19)
One-line recap: Michael comes up with a golden ticket promotion, but accidentally gives their biggest account 50% off, and when he pawns the idea off on Dwight it turns out to be a success.
Reasoning: We get to see Michael cosplay as Willy Wonka, Dwight stands up for himself and we see lots of Michael back-pedalling, which we love.
Iconic quote: “The KGB will wait for no one!”- Jim Halpert
Winner: Dwight Schrute! Close call between him and Michael, but Dwight takes it here. He stands up for himself with Michael, which we love to see. And we see him slap Michael in the cold open, which in itself is, golden.
#20: Booze Cruise (Season 2, episode 11)
One-line recap: Michael takes the office on a booze cruise but finds out he isn’t the captain on that particular ship, and Jim breaks up with Katie.
Reasoning: Seeing Michael flounder (get it, cruise?) when he realizes that he isn’t the captain on the ship is great, and we see more of the Jim-Pam pre-relationship which is great.
Iconic quote: “In an office, when you are ranking people, Manager is higher than Captain. On a boat, who knows, it’s nebulous.”- Michael Scott
Winner: Captain Jack! Gotta love Rob Riggle. The first non-Dunder Mifflin winner in the series, Captain Jack gets up a lot of shots in not a lot of playing time, and he wins the power struggle with Michael. Aye aye, Captain!
#21 & #22: Launch Party (Season 4, episodes 5 & 6)
One-line recap: Ryan holds an online party to celebrate the new website, and Michael ends up kidnapping a pizza delivery boy in the process.
Reasoning: Watching Michael and the office kidnap a pizza boy is priceless, and we get two of the greatest rivalries ever on the show; Pizza by Alfredo vs. Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe, and Dwight vs. Computer.
Iconic quote: “We’re getting hungry out there. We’re all accomplices now anyway, so we figured we might as well eat. We would like to order some good pizza, from Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe, while we wait for the hostage situation with the bad pizza to end.”- Kevin Malone
Winner: Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe! This is actually a restaurant in Scranton, and wow what incredible marketing! This is a tough episode for winners, as most of the employees take pretty big losses. But Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe instantly became the #1 most desired pizza by millions of fans.
#23: The Return (Season 3, episode 14)
One-line recap: Oscar returns to the office, and Andy loses his freaking mind.
Reasoning: One of the 10-15 most iconic moments in the entire series has to be when Andy punches the wall because Jim hid his phone and kept calling it, playing Rockin’ Robin on a loop.
Iconic quote: “Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship… Here’s a little newsflash! It’s not funny! In fact, it’s pretty freakin’ unfunny! Oh, my GOD. [punches a hole in the wall] That… was an overreaction.”- Andy Bernard
Winner: Pam Beesly! She gets to prank with her best friend Jim, and even though she isn’t there when he says it, Jim admits he still has feelings for her.
#24: Work Bus (Season 9, episode 4)
One-line recap: Jim pranks Dwight to get the week off from work, but Dwight provides a bus for the office to work remotely in, which inevitably goes mobile.
Reasoning: This might surprise many, seeing as it comes from season 9 (other than the finale, most people choose to forget those seasons. But this episode is hilarious, and the moment between Jim and Dwight on the bus roof is touching.
Iconic quote: “Oh, better than ok. You know what honey? I’m gonna get you that rhubarb pie.”- Dwight Schrute
Winner: Pam Beesly! Not only does Jim prove his love to her by going to extreme lengths to get her some well-deserved time off, not only does Dwight end up coming to her rescue, but she gets her pie.
#25: Gossip (Season 6, episode 1)
One-line recap: Michael feels left out, so he spreads rumors about everyone in the office, but two of them happen to be true.
Reasoning: Insecure Michael? Check. Cheating Stanley? Check. Gay Andy? Check. Interns? Check. All the ingredients for a wonderful recipe.
Iconic quote: “If you resisted Brad Pitt a little bit, he would still… need to get to you?”- Oscar Martinez
Winner: Stanley Hudson! Not an episode full of winners, but Stanley stands out. He does get caught for cheating, but is spared (temporarily) by Jim and Pam. But we see that A) He’s been cheating for a while and getting away with it and B) He’s clearly been taking a lot of personal trips on work time, so that’s a win.