This is the fifth of a six-part series Power Ranking all 185 episodes of The Office, today featuring 60-31.
The final installment (30-1) will be posted Monday. See links at the bottom for previous entries.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to announce these power rankings re just the start of things when it comes to The Office here. After this I’ll be soon launching a semi-recurring segment on my Moran-Alytics Podcast called “The Finer Things Club.” I’ll have a rotating panel of segment guests— sports media folk, athletes and other personalities who are fans of the show to talk about specific seasons, episodes, moments, characters, plot lines and much more.
I’m over the moon excited about starting that project soon. If you’re a fan of The Office or know people who are, trust me now’s the time to subscribe to the Moran-Alytics Podcast on Apple Podcast/iTunes, for free of course.
60. Performance Review (Season 2, Episode 8): Jan wants her one-nighter with Michael they had following a business meeting at Chili’s kept secret, but Michael can’t stop gloating about it in the office to everyone. Naturally it leads to an uncomfortable confrontation between the two which features vintage oversensitive Michael. Also, Jim manages to convince Dwight Thursday is actually Friday, continuing what’s increasingly become a great rivalry between the adversaries—or at least that’s how Dwight would describe them.
59. Secretary’s Day (Season 6, Episode 22): I loved the episodes where Michael bonded in fatherly fashion with Erin and this is where that dynamic is at its best. After Andy’s attempt to make a big deal of Secretary’s Day at the office with no one seeming to care, Michael takes Erin to lunch tells. There he tells her Andy was previously engaged to Angela, which in fairness to Michael it doesn’t seem likely he was unaware that Erin didn’t know. Naturally, Erin loses her shit over it in the office, throwing cake in Andy’s face. Anytime Erin was more than an episode afterthought the show was more enjoyable for me. That aside, what else made this episode a winner is how no one in the office takes Gabe seriously, especially after he tries to suspend Jim and Pam with Jo Bennett not allowing it. I’m in the minority but I thought Gabe’s character was often times criminally underrated.
58. Ultimatum (Season 7, Episode 13): Knowing Holly has given her boyfriend AJ an ultimatum to propose or she’d break up with him, Michael’s overly excited when he learns he didn’t pop the question, as evidenced by no ring on Holly’s finger. He and Erin celebrate in his office with a video he pre-made. However, we soon learn Holly’s still very much with AJ and didn’t give him a true ultimatum. Michael hilariously takes it out on the entire office. For example, Pam has a New Year’s Resolution board and Michael tries to force Kevin to eat spinach and make Creed do a cartwheel. All ends with for Michael, however, as Holly “takes a break” with AJ over the phone. Man, you talk about a chick who can’t handle long distance relationships. Also, Darryl, Dwight and Andy end up going roller skating, which makes for some rare bonding scenes between the three.
57. WUPHF (Season 7, Episode 9): Ryan and Michael try to get everyone to invest more money in WUPFH, which clearly is destined to fail. A radio station wants to buy Ryan’s company out, only for the WUPHF name. Pam convinces Michael that Ryan is using him for his money and doesn’t care about him. Michael ultimately tells Ryan that despite him being a bad person he still believes in him, which rattles Ryan. Faced with actually having to produce and no one left to bullshit, he sells the company and everyone gets their investment back. Meanwhile, Angela first meets Senator Lipton at a Hay Festival he created in the parking lot for Thanksgiving. This was a solid bounce back episode after three or four consecutive clunkers. One underrated twist regarding WUPHF is learning Kelly was the inspiration, after complaining Ryan was ignoring all her methods of trying to obsessively reach him.
56. Jury Duty (Season 8, Episode 13): One of the funnier scenes of Season eight happens here when Jim and Pam bring baby CeCe into the office with “art” they claimed she drew for their coworkers as a way to soften the blow of Jim lying about having jury duty. This featured the return of Pam after being gone for a handful of episodes. Meanwhile, Angela gives birth to her son, whom Dwight believes it’s his.
55. Crime Aid (Season 5, Episode 5): Significant episode. Michael and Holly are now dating but their relationship could be in trouble when Oscar informs David Wallace of their relationship, unaware they never filed the necessary paperwork with Toby at HR. Jim runs into Roy at a bar in what teases a tension-filled moment, but that quickly fades as Roy’s now cool with everything. Jim tells Roy he’s engaged to Pam and during some small talk Jim jokes how Pam was out til 8:00am with art school friends in New York City. Roy reminds Jim that he was once “just friends” with Pam, which has him drive half way to New York before turning around. Michael has a “crime aid” fundraiser and we see a rare, incredible tender moment between Dwight and Phyllis after he previously hurt her feelings. My favorite thing about Dwight on The Office is he had these types of moments just often enough that it never felt overly sappy and he didn’t lose his overall insufferability among coworkers not named Angela.
54. PDA (Season 7, Episode 16): Michael and Holly’s public displays of affection in the office completely annoys everyone. Gabe suggests they’re showing all the PDA to get it all in before Toby returns from jury duty, which would send Holly back to Nashua. Michael becomes worried they’ll have to break up again, points out how they broke up the last time because of relocation and hides from Holly for the rest of the day. Eventually he confronts her and tries breaking up with her to save himself the pain, but Holly says they should decide for themselves and not let the company decide their future. Meanwhile, Jim and Pam get their buzz on during lunch and when Dwight mentions all the people that have had sex in the office, they sneak off to do the same in the warehouse. They didn’t like it. It in part helps them decide to move in together and they announce it to the office. Gabe sets up a Valentine’s Day treasure hunt for Erin, Andy helps and at the end Gabe blows her a kiss through the window and walks away awkwardly. Bonus points for great V-Day testimonials from some of the gang, especially Ryan.
53. The Dundies (Season 2, Episode 1): The Dundies! After Roy wants to leave during the middle of the Dundies, Pam doesn’t and they subsequently get into fight. Pam stays (Roy doesn’t), proceeds to get hammered and also incredibly annoying. She kisses Jim in “celebration” after winning a Dundie. At this point, the first episode of Season two I’m already starting to think Pam Beasley is at best sort of a basket case at best and whore’ish at worst. Just dump Roy already if you want to be with Jim! Seriously though, this was the episode in what’s in my opinion one of the greatest comedy seasons of a TV show in history.
52. Special Project (Season 8, Episode 14): Just as Pam’s maternity leave ends, Dwight and Andy must select employees to accompany Dwight to Tallahassee, Florida, after he’s sent on an assignment by corporate. Jim, Ryan, Stanly, Kathy (a temp) and Erin are selected. That’s the main plot but this episode is absolutely stolen by the humor of Kelly and Ryan. At one point Kelly call’s Angela’s kid an “enormous monster baby.” Meanwhile, Ryan pitching to Andy and Dwight that he should go to Florida but ONLY him or Kelly, not both, several times. His emotional connection to Kelly only when they’re not an actual couple is one of the more unappreciated subplots of the entire series. We also get a significant development here as Erin tells the camera she’s going to Florida and doesn’t plan to come back. We also see Cathy on the phone with a friend and saying she plans on hooking up with Jim in Florida.
51. Customer Loyalty (Season 9, Episode 12): This is one of the least funniest episodes yet one of its most substantial, as we see Jim and Pam get into a legitimate fight for the first time ever. Jim’s forced to miss his daughter’s first recital because he’s stuck in Philadelphia and loses his cool when Pam, already stressed out messes up taking the video. It leads to her crying and boom mic operator Brian making his series debut, as we see him put down his equipment to comfort her. It’s the first time we ever get visual evidence of a film crew following the cast around. As an aside, Toby’s borderline stalking Nellie after she drunkenly kissed him at Xmas party is excellent.
50. Diwali (Season 3, Episode 6): Michael hilariously and quite awkwardly proposes to Carol at Kelly’s “Diwali” party on just their ninth date. Obviously Carol says no and when he’s sitting dejectedly on the building steps, Pam attempts to console him. Mistaking it as a romantic gesture, Michael leans in to try and kiss Pam. It ain’t happening, dude and Pam hilariously puts him in his place. Meanwhile in Stamford we have Andy, Jim and Karen staying late to work on a project. Jim and Andy get hammered and Karen drives Jim home. Folks, I think we’re starting to see the foundation of a relationship brewing there. Also, here’s a fun fact I confess to not knowing until recently. Nancy Walls (Carol) is Steve Carrell’s real-life wife.
49. Moroccan Christmas (Season 5, Episode 11): This is the classic Christmas episode where Michael holds the worst intervention for a drunken Meredith ever and unsuccessfully tries to trick her into going to rehab without her consent. We also see Phyllis blackballing Angela because she saw her cheating on Andy (whom she’s engaged to) with Dwight in the office. When Angela tires of it and doesn’t think Phyllis will pull the trigger on dropping dime, Phyllis tells the office. Andy’s absent for that moment and doesn’t know what’s going on yet, leading to tons of awkwardness that continues into the next episode. The Michael and Meredith rehab stuff was incredible.
48. Conflict Resolution (Season 2, Episode 21): Michael gets a hold of personal complaint files from Toby and reads them in front of everyone, creating bitterness in the office. Pam finds out Jim complained about her wedding planning in the office. At the end of the episode we see Jim interview for job at the Stamford branch. This is a needle-moving episode. Clearly Jim’s at the end of his rope in dealing with Pam getting married to Roy. We see evidence just one episode later in the season finale. Michael’s handling of the complaints is classic Michael Scott.
47. Back From Vacation (Season 3, Episode 12): Pam discovers Jan accompanied Michael to Jamaica on his vacation over Christmas. Michael sends via email a revealing Jan photo to Todd Packer, but unknowingly also sent it to the entire warehouse, which of course quickly spreads. Jan arrives unaware of the email and admits to the camera she’s attracted to Michael. They end up making out. Also, Jim tells Pam he got into a fight with Karen but he and Karen make up and we later see Pam by herself crying. This is a clear cut sign of her strong feelings towards Jim despite trying her best to hide it. Dwight finds her on the staircase and comforts her, thinking she’s PMS’ing. I love Dwight and Pam interractions.
46. Email Surveillance (Season 2, Episode 9): Michael has an IT guy set up the computer system so he can monitor his staff’s emails and in doing so learns Jim’s having a party he’s not invited to. Naturally he ends up crashing it. We also see a little sexual tension between Jim and Pam in his room as he shows her his high school yearbook. You can tell by this point he’s pulling out all the stops to try and impress her, including having the part in the first place. Also, Pam realizes everyone in the office suspects she’s romantically involved with Jim, which of course she isn’t (yet) and it has her back off a little. Unrelated, Pam suspects Dwight & Angela are hooking up and wouldn’t you know it, we find out at the party they secretly are! Bonus points here for Ken Jeong having a cameo as an actor in Michael’s improv class. This was before Jeong became famous for his role in “The Hangover.”
45. Angry Andy (Season 8, Episode 21): This is the top-ranked episode from Season eight as far as I’m concerned. Andy returns to the office after driving to Florida to win Erin back and finds Nellie has taken over as manager. As he did in the earlier seasons, Andy overreacts by punching a hole in a wall. Robert California fires him. Later on Robert offers to hire Andy back but for sales, not manager and Andy refuses. Meanwhile, Kelly is forced to choose between Ryan and her new man, Ravi, who is Pam and Jim’s pediatrician. Ryan is amazingly funny in this episode with his trademark selfishness and pattern of trying to win Kelly back only when he’s not with her. He gets a horse in parking lot and makes the most Ryan’ish “I love you speech” to Kelly. I mean, it’s littered with some of the best skepticism you’ll hear from a man thinking he’s in love. Kelly rejects his speech but then makes out with him anyway, because of course she does. By late season standards, this episode is pure gold.
44. Classy Christmas (Season 7, Episodes 11-12): Toby’s on leave for jury duty on the Scranton Strangler case, which brings Holly back to the office. Michael ‘s through the moon excited but quickly becomes despondent upon learning Holly now lives with her boyfriend back in Nashua. Jealous and angry, he destroys her Toy Story doll. Upset, Michael tries to leave the party early but Pam comes out to stop him, telling him Holly is giving AJ an ultimatum to propose to her, which brings hope to our ever-loving hopeless romantic. Also, Senator Lipton shows up for Xmas party with Angela and Oscar almost immediately realizes he’s gay. This episode also contains one of the better installments of the Jim vs. Dwight rivalry, as they have an ongoing snow ball fight that a much heavier committed Dwight convincingly wins. This episode even has one of the more lovable Jim/Pam later season moments, when Pam makes Jim a comic book for a Christmas gift that nearly moves him tears.
43. Frame Toby (Season 5, Episode 9): Michael, still heartbroken from Holly breaking up with a few episodes prior, has no idea Toby’s back from Costa Rica and is horrified to see him. That’s where we get one of the most iconic memes/gifs/clips in The Office history featuring Michael’s “please God no” rant. Michael and Dwight try to frame Toby for weed, which backfires and a guilt-ridden Michael admitted it was a framing. Also, Jim reveals to Pam he bought his parents house for them while Ryan breaks up with Kelly, saying he’s going on a trip to Taiwan. It wasn’t the greatest 22 minutes of episodic television as a whole but Michael’s reaction to Toby is a top 10 all-time series moment that still dominates internet memes and gifs today.
42. Office Olympics (Season 2, Episode 3): Jim and Pam hold the Office Olympics. Flonkterton! Tons of other stuff going on– Michael buys a condo which along with Dwight features hilarious negotiations. Also, Angela is on to Jim having feelings for Pam. We also get Dwight’s first-ever reference to his Shrute Farms. This was a packed and memorable episode.
41. Basketball (Season 1, Episode 5): Michael thinking Stanley would be good at basketball because he’s black was one of the season’s funniest moments, and his reaction to how terrible he actually was is equally amusing. During the office versus warehouse basketball game, Jim dominates as the Jim/Roy rivalry continues to simmer— I suppose much to the low-key delight of Pam. Also worth noting that this is the first episode we see Dwight as a featured character.
40. The Target (Season 9, Episode 8): Angela goes to Dwight for help/vengeance after learning the Senator is having an affair with Oscar. Dwight hires his friend to break his kneecaps, but Dwight is unaware it’s Oscar who’s the target. Dwight ultimately thwarts the attack with a pipe in a parking lot. Angela confronts Oscar in parking lot and blames him for making the Senator gay. She kicks his knee and says “you were supposed to be my friend” before storming off. It was an poignant moment if you invested the time getting to know these characters. Angela is absolutely brilliant in this episode and I maintain that while the show suffered post-Michael as a whole, Angela became one of the most compelling and entertaining characters. Her “Jazz is stupid! I mean, just play the right notes” while crying to Dwight is one of the most underestimated lines of the series.
39. Fun Run (Season 4, Episodes 1-2): At the conclusion of Season three Jim asks Pam on a date, of which she accepts. As we pick up here, they’re together and in love but haven’t told the office of their relationship. Of course, the signature part of this season premiere is Michael hitting Meredith with his car. Refusing to accept blame, Michael learns while Meredith is in the hospital that she has rabies and ends up hosting the “Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure”, the coolest name for a charity event ever. Naturally the employees are hardly enthused but we get some funny moments from several people cheating as well as Pam and Jim holding hands while walking. There’s also a significant development that turns the tide of the Angela/Dwight relationship, as Angela asks him to stop by her house to care for her ailing cat and Dwight ends up euthanizing it by putting the cat in the freezer. For the time being, this would end their secret romance.
38. Booze Cruise (Season 2, Episode 11): We get our first legit tease that Jim’s about to go all-in on Pam. Michael brings the staff on a booze cruise and Jim, despite having his girlfriend Katie with him is about to make his move on Pam. Just as he’s about to tell Pam how he feels, a drunken Roy grabs the mic to announce it’s time for he and Pam to set a date for their wedding. Jim’s visibly frustrated and in coldblooded fashion (very un-Jim-like) breaks up with Katie. At this point of the season we start to see a shift, with Jim going from crushing on his coworker to visibly frustrated his feelings aren’t coming to fruition.
37. The Negotiation (Season 3, Episode 19): This is a significant episode with many moving parts. Roy, who in the previous episode learned Jim previously kissed Pam at casino night, leading to his explosive reaction and subsequent Pam breaking up with him (again) shows up at the office to attack Jim. However, Dwight derails him with pepper spray. The wittiest moments of the episode are Angela not there to see what happened but getting noticeably turned on by Oscar and Karen’s testimonial of the events. Also, Jim sees Dwight making out with Angela. Another funny plot sees Darryl helping Michael negotiate a raise that takes them to corporate in New York City. Also, Andy returns during the last scene, fresh back from anger management and Dwight pepper sprays him in the face, resulting in Toby to take all his weapons. Man, that’s a lot of shit going down in just a half hour.
36. Weight Loss (Season 5, Episodes 1-2): This is primarily ranked this high because we finally get the moment we’ve been waiting a (very) long time for–Jim proposes to Pam! It happens in the middle of the episode and not in elaborate fashion, during a rain storm in front of a gas station, but whatever. Also, Ryan returns back to the office but as once again a temp. That’s quite the fall from grace for the former boss and creator of Dunder Mifflin Infinity. We also have Angela and Dwight hooking up in the warehouse, with Phyllis blackmailing Angela to take over the party planning committee (remember—Phyllis caught them together at the end of last season and Angela’s currently engaged to Andy.) We also learn Toby breaks his neck zip lining in Costa Rica in just his third day there and has been in the hospital for five weeks. Very solid season premiere with the historic Jim proposal.
35. Double Date (Season 6, Episode 9): Michael, still dating Pam’s mom Helene, goes to lunch with Jim and Pam for Helene’s birthday but freaks out when learning she’s just turned 58 years old. He then breaks up with her at lunch and tries to bribe Pam with a raise but in lieu of financial compensation, Pam wants to punch him in the face after work. She doesn’t ultimately punch him but does slaps him in the face, producing an incredibly funny Michael moment that sees him limping afterward. Meanwhile, Dwight buys donuts for office so everyone will owe him a favor, but Andy keeps doing favors back and they go back and forth doing favors for the entire episode. For being this point of the series it’s some of Michael’s best work. His terrible reaction to finding out Helene turned 58 should be on any list of most underrated Michael Scott moments.
34. The Whale (Season 9, Episode 7): One of the better episodes of the final season and the star is unmistakably Dwight. He’s tasked with selling paper to a major account to an unknown woman—revealed to be Jan Levinson from the Scranton White Pages. The women of the office try to teach Dwight how to interact with women, which is basically a laugh every 10 seconds. Seriously, Phyllis and Pam trying to train Dwight is comedic gold. Dwight wisely brings in Clark to the Jan meeting to help sell her paper because he knows Jan loves youngsters. Angela fears the Senator is cheating on her and enlists Oscar to help spy on him at his fitness class. Angela (rightly) grows suspicious of Oscar and as they’re hiding under a table so the Senator doesn’t see them, he calls Oscar. Obviously this leads Angela knowing the affair is with Oscar. We also have several of the guys grow mustaches at the urging of Toby, including Plop until the second Erin doesn’t like it.
33. Happy Hour (Season 6, Episode 21): Oscar convinces Darryl to get a Happy hour going because he likes Matt from the warehouse. We see Pam show up for the first time in two episodes, way happier than normal to see everyone after being stuck at home with her baby so often. What makes this episode amazing is Pam semi-hooking up her friend with Michael and when he realizes it’s actually a date, he goes into full idiot mode. DATE MIKE is in the house! A bar manager disrespects him but as it turns out, they hit off right away and he blows off Pam’s friend completely—hilarious stuff. Meanwhile, Andy doesn’t want everyone knowing he and Erin are dating so he treats her like shit (she is on board initially) to throw off the scent. Later on though, he grabs a microphone and announces they’re dating. We also get Angela, mad that Dwight is with Isabelle bringing up the sex contract with threats to sue him.
32. Michael’s Last Dundees (Season 7, Episode 21): This episode has both the humor and emotion perfectly blended that made this series so special. It’s hilarious with Michael zingers and office reactions throughout the Dundies, and emotional when they sing a goodbye song to Michael in the conference room, who’s clearly fighting back real life tears. This was Michael’s second-last episode and knowing so gives you all the feels. Bonus points for Erin’s hilarious breakup with Gabe on the mic after winning a Dundie and saying “We should break up. I’m not attracted to you. I just cringe when you talk.” I could watch this episode for 9, 986,000 minutes and never get bored. That’s like watching Die Hard 80,000 times.
31. Michael’s Birthday (Season 2, Episode 19): It’s Michael’s birthday but that gets overshadowed by a Kevin cancer scare, which naturally agitates Michael and makes him act horribly (and hilariously) selfish, probably the worst we’ve seen from him through this point of the series. There’s also a great scene with everyone from the office ice skating at a rink and Michael drills Toby with a hard check into the boards, really cementing Michael’s hate for Toby. That comes on the heels of earlier in the episode where Michael wouldn’t let Toby have one of his donuts. Yep, Michael officially hates Toby and the interactions between the two going forward were as good as any element of the show.
Follow Patrick Moran on Twitter @patmorantweets