This is the third of a six- part series Power Ranking all 185 episodes of The Office. Part four (90-61) will be posted tomorrow. See links at the bottom for previous entries (185-151 and 150-121).
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.
120. Hot Girl (Season 1, Episode 6): After Michael & Dwight shoot their shot, overwhelmingly unsuccessful with purse salesperson Katie we see Jim, increasingly annoyed with Pam (perhaps) unknowingly toying with his emotions, leaves the office with Katie. This certainly catches Pam’s attention. It’s a good episode in that we see Jim, the budding homewrecker interested in someone else other than the engaged Pam. Also, some may forget that Kate is played by Amy Adams. This of course is in 2005, when Adams was a star but she wasn’t yet the mega star she’d soon become.
119. After Hours (Season 8, Episode 16): This is the episode down in Tallahassee where Cathy tries to seduce Jim—not cool but is foiled with Jim attaching himself to Dwight—very cool. This episode also carried some significance, with both Darryl learning Val has a boyfriend, and Erin informing Ryan it’s her intention to remain in Florida instead of returning to Scranton.
118. Women’s Appreciation (Season 3, Episode 22): After someone flashes Phyllis in the parking lot, Michael takes the office women out to lunch and there he rants on Jan treating him like shit. The girls convince him to break up with her, which he does, via voice mail just as she’s walking into the office. I’ll say this several times through the remainder of this countdown — Jan was an insanely underrated part of this show’s success through the first four seasons. Her dynamic with Michael was essential to his development.
117. The Cover Up (Season 6, Episode 24): The office convinces Michael his new girlfriend (Donna) is cheating on him. We find out she is indeed cheating, but the twist is that it’s with Michael because she’s actually married. Also, in the beginning of the plot that leads to changes later on, Andy raises questions about Sabre after a printer catches fire but no one takes it seriously. Later during making a video another printer catches fire in front of a stunned Darryl, who didn’t believe Andy previously.
116. Business Ethics (Season 5, Episode 3): The episode where we learn Meredith has been sleeping with a client in exchange for company discounts and coupons to Outback Steakhouse. Holly’s going by the book and at this point we don’t like her very much, at least I certainly don’t. More importantly to the success of this episode, Michael learns during the cold open that Jim and Pam are engaged and we get the Michael Scott reaction we’d come to expect.
115. Two Weeks (Season 5, Episode 21): This is the episode where Michael, who quit and is on his two week notice, decides to start the Michael Scott Paper Company. He goes around secretly trying to get people to join but keeps getting rejected. Ultimately in a Jerry McGuire moment, Pam goes with Michael. Underrated funny moment where Charles, sent from corporate shows how clueless he is about those in the office, as he has Kevin answer phones and while placing Stanley in charge of productivity.
114. The Meeting (Season 6, Episode 2): We see the worst of Michael after Jim has a private meeting with David Wallace, which makes Michael nervous he may lose him. Naturally that puts him in sabotage mode. When David tells Michael if Jim doesn’t get promoted to his job as regional manager, with Michael the newly appointed Northeast regional manager, Jim will accept an offer from elsewhere to leave the company. Ultimately they’re named co-managers, with Jim running day to day and Michael big picture. Comical Dwight moment as he screams in anger upon learning Jim is now his boss.
113. Suit Warehouse (Season 9, Episode 11): Clark returns from his stint as Jan’s sexual assistant and Dwight enlists his help. The two pose as a father and son for a sales pitch to a big client. In what was one of the show’s more underrated line in series history, Clark says “women reach their sexual peak at whatever age Jan was last week.” We also have a game-changer as Darryl travels to Philadelphia with Pam to interview at Athlead and gets the job. Meanwhile, Pam starts to fear her family may have to leave Scranton.
112. Last Day in Florida (Season 8, Episode 18): When Robert California reveals to Jim he hates Nellie’s business plan but will instead fire Dwight as consequence, Jim swings into action to save Dwight’s job, physically restraining him from getting to the meeting that would see his dismissal. Jim eventually delays him long enough and Packer—who takes Dwight’s place at the meeting with California—unknowingly becomes the sacrificial lamb. Andy learns that Erin isn’t returning to Scranton and decides he’s driving to Florida to get her back. Darryl and Toby hilariously compete to sell Kevin cookies. I loved Jim saving Dwight from giving fired. Like I’ve already said multiple times—their kindness to each other is spread out enough that it’s never not enjoyable.
111. Initiation (Season 3, Episode 5): It’s Stanley’s favorite day of the year, Pretzel Day! Also, Jim talks to Pam on the phone for the first time since leaving the Scranton branch—a much anticipated moment for viewers. Dwight messes with Ryan during this episode but who cares— Stanley’s love for Pretzel Day and the Jim/Pam moment make this episode a winner.
110. Lice (Season 9, Episode 10): Not many episodes where Pam comes off less likeable than this one, where she doesn’t take accountability for bringing lice into the office, ultimately leading to Meredith being blamed and shaving her head. We also see her borderline stalk Jim with phone calls to Phillly while he’s wooing a dream client, “Dr. J” Julius Erving. It’s not particularly funny but important in that is sets the stage for some major Pam and Jim beef in the coming episodes. What is indeed funny is Angela continuing to do bad things to Oscar after finding out about his affair with the Senator. We also get more Plop and Erin flirtation, though when Erin senses Plop is trying to kick it she physically hides from him near the end of the episode. I dunno, I always thought Plop deserved better.
109. Product Recall (Season 3, Episode 21): Not a great episode as a whole, but this is where we get the classic Jim impersonation of Dwight. “Beers, Beets, Battlestar Gallatica” leading to Dwight to declare that identity theft is not a joke. We also have an underrated Dwight impersonation of Jim at the end while Andy also discovering he’s been dating a high school girl, which is really creepy. I probably should have this one ranked higher if we’re being honest.
108. Whistleblower (Season 6, Episode 26): Jo comes to office when the media breaks news of faulty Sabre printers because of a leak in the office. We find out eventually via the IT guy the leak is Andy, although Daryl, Pam and Kelly also all talked to people with direct relationships to the media. Ultimately Michael takes the bullet for the company and reads a statement to the media, much to the delight of Jo. Michael hints as a reward he’d like Holly transferred back and Jo says she’ll see what he she can do about it. For a season finale it’s a pretty weak but the IT stuff was hilarious plus bringing Holly back into the mix comes with plenty of significance.
107. Garden Party (Season 8, Episode 4): The episode where Andy hosts a party at Schrute Farms to try and impress his parents with everything going entirely wrong. I enjoyed the office showing empathy towards Andy while having a better understanding of why he tries so hard to win the affection of his parents. They turn the party into a BBQ after the other guests leave, which is pretty cool. Also, the semi-recurring ritual of Kevin wearing his toupee to certain events is awesome and continues here.
106. The Fire (Season 2, Episode 4): Ryan teaches Michael what he’s learning about business school and it’s making Dwight jealous. We also see the return of Katie (Amy Adams) and she’s now dating Jim, much to the low-key dismay of Pam. This is one of Dwight’s first breakthrough episodes, first saying to the camera “I hope a war goes on forever, and Ryan gets drafted” and then later putting a spin on the Billy Joel classic by singing “Ryan started the fire!” Man, this is another one I probably have ranked too low.
105. Blood Drive (Season 5, Episode 18): The episode where Pam and Jim, while at lunch with Bob Vance (Vance Refrigeration) and Phyllis discover they’re banging it out in the bathroom. It’s Valentine’s Day and Michael, depressed over Holly gone throws a Lonely Hearts mingle, where Dwight talks to a girl and tries to make a paper sales pitch to her—absolutely hilarious.
104. Halloween (Season 2, Episode 5): Faced with a mandate from Jan at corporate to fire someone by end of the day, Michael fires Creed, but Creed talks him into firing Devon instead. Also, Pam hurts Jim’s feelings a bit by suggesting he should pursue a job in Maryland—one of the first signs of the series we see she can be sort of a bitch, even if unintentionally.
103. Fundraiser (Season 8, Episode 22): The auction episode thrown by Angela’s husband, the Senator where Dwight puts bids on every single item, thinking it’s a game he can win by bidding the most accurate value. His reaction to winning everything and learning he’s now supposed to pony up for all is splendid. For me this is one of Dwight’s stronger episodes of the series as well as Nellie, who’s starting to become far more likeable than she did earlier in the season.
102. The Coup (Season 3, Episode 3): There’s some good plot movement in this episode. Angela convinces Dwight to talk to Jan and try to steal Michael’s job, which considering how much Dwight worships him demonstrates how strongly he feels about her. Jan tells Michael about Dwight and he hilariously convinces Dwight he’s been demoted. Also, without actually saying it we get a camera visual strongly suggesting Karen has a thing for Jim in Stamford.
101. Chair Model (Season 4, Episode 14): Michael has broken up with Jan and wants to date again. Pam reluctantly tries to set him up with her landlady and the meeting is a hilarious disaster, as Michael has no attraction to her whatsoever. Meanwhile, Jim hints at Pam he’ll propose to her out of the blue someday, and then starts teasing her like he’s about to. He tells the camera at the end of the episode he’s not joking and reveals ring he bought her one week after they started dating. Kind of psychotic if you ask me. This episode is about 15-20 spots higher than it would’ve otherwise been on the strength of Michael calling hysterically Oscar an “Oscar Meyer Weiner Lover.”
100. Here Comes Treble (Season 9, Episode 5): After inviting his former college a cappella group “Here Comes Treble” to perform for the office during a Halloween party, Andy gets angry when he hears his college friend Broccoli Rob (played by Stephen Colbert) is telling a different story about the group. This episode contains a solidly funny moment with Nellie dressed as “Sexy Toby” for Halloween, which attracts Toby to stalker level. In addition we get a pair of meaningful moments— Jim and Pam fighting over his new job after Jim invested $10k of their money, and Oscar realizing the documentary cameras busted him kissing Angela’s husband, the Senator. By the way, this is one of the few episodes where Andy is manager that I didn’t despise him.
99. The Alliance (Season 1, Episode 4): Michael donates to a Walk-a-thon charity Oscar is pitching, not knowing the $25.00 he signed up for is actually per mile walked and not a flat fee. Michael trying to get out of it is funny, as is Jim tricking Dwight into thinking he’s in for Dwight’s office alliance. In a noteworthy scene, we see Roy almost go after Jim after seeing him get a little touchy feeling with Pam near her desk, marking the first time we sense the Jim & Pam friendship may become a problem for her engagement.
98. Pool Party (Season 8, Episode 12): Not a particularly meaningful episode but by Season eight standards one of the better ones. Robert hosts a pool party at his mansion and Erin decides to try and make Andy jealous by feigning attraction to Dwight. Andy was considering proposing to his girlfriend Jessica but doesn’t, especially after he loses the ring. Pretty underrated if not entirely uncomfortable scenes, first with Robert getting naked at the pool and another with Robert, Ryan and Gabe being bombed near the end and continuing to party all through the night.
97. Koi Pond (Season 6, Episode 8): Michael falls into a koi pond and we learn Jim didn’t try to catch him from falling in. I’ve probably watched the Youtube clip of Michael’s fall into the pond and subsequent struggle to get out a billion times. This episode also had solid anti-Toby moments and a nice bonding moment with Pam and Andy as they went on sales calls together. It’s also here where Andy confides in Pam that he has a thing for Erin.
96. The Duel (Season 5, Episode 12): 17 days after the rest of the office found out Angela’s cheating on Andy with Dwight, Andy still doesn’t know of the affair. Michael’s the one who finally tells him, which leads to a confrontation. Dwight proposes a duel with winner getting Angela, who’s extremely turned on by two men fighting over her. Ultimately they agree Angela has hurt them both. They come back upstairs (they were dueling in the parking lot outside) and Andy immediately gets on his phone to cancel his wedding cake in front of her, while Dwight tosses the bobble-head she bought him three seasons prior for Valentine’s Day in the trash.
95. Sex Ed (Season 7, Episode 4): Michael has a cold sore and a few people in the office convince him it may be herpes, prompting him to call his former lovers to advise them to get checked. I wouldn’t say this episode is filled with laughs but it was great to see some former recurring characters brought back, including Jan, Helene and Carol. Holly talks to him by phone, telling him his problem was him thinking their relationship was more than what it was. This REALLY bothers Michael and you get the sense he loved Holly far more than the others. It was episodes like these that made you root for Michael.
94. The Flight (Season 2, Episode 6): Michael & Dwight square off in a Dojo. While there, Jim & Pam have a physically playful moment that gets awkward. Jim, stop pushing it, bruh. This episode is known for a fantastic Michael Scott quote, saying ““Would I rather be feared or love? Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me, and I think I proved that today at the Dojo.” There’s also a funny (perhaps cruel) exchange with Michael and Toby after Toby says he wants to go home and Michael reminds him that Toby has no one to go home to.
93. Traveling Salesperson (Season 3, Episode 13): Still vying for Michael’s acceptance, Andy throws Dwight under the bus, planting in Michael’s head the idea that Dwight has betrayed him again. In reality Dwight drove to corporate to help Angela out of a mistake she made and rather than make their relationship public he chooses to quit Dunder Mifflin. At this point we learn how deeply Dwight cares about Angela. Also, Phyllis tells Karen that Jim used to be hung up on Pam, which to this point Karen had no idea.
92. Launch Party (Season 4, Episodes 5-6): One of my favorite moments during what I consider a generally underwhelming season, Dwight successfully proves to Angela technology is no match for him as he outsells the computer after Ryan’s Dunder Mifflin Infinity launch. This episode also contains a noteworthy moment that ultimately became a major story line, as Andy decides he’d like to pursue Angela, very much to Dwight’s disappointment. Also props here to Dwight and Michael holding an obnoxious pizza delivery guy hostage for not giving a pizza coupon discount, and lastly Michael embarrasses Ryan in front of every Dundler Mifflin branch watching his launch party via the internet.
91. Andy’s Play (Season 7, Episode 3): Many hated this episode but I don’t agree. Hilarious scene right at the top as Andy comes in with the cast of Sweeny Todd and performs a number in the office, while Dwight grabs a knife like he may get attacked. Andy has a role in Todd Sweeney that bombs, in part because he’s distracted hoping Erin will show up for the play (she does but not until the very end because she’s babysitting the Halpert’s kid). Also, a classic dickhead Michael episode as we learn he auditioned for play and didn’t get the part. It leaves him disgruntled and he hilariously gets busted booing the lead character.
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