This is the second of a six part series Power Ranking all 185 episodes of The Office. Part three (120-91) will be posted tomorrow. See link 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.
150. The Convention (Season 3, Episode 2): At a convention in Philly Michael reunites with Jim, who previously left the Scranton branch after his advances were rejected by Pam at the end of Season two. After Michael tries to throw a party in his hotel room no one attends, Jim comes by and comforts him as Michael realizes they’re still friends. It was a dynamic we frequently saw during the show’s run—Jim appreciating Michael as a lovable sympathetic figure.
149. The Sting (Season 7, Episode 5): The Danny Cordway episode. Danny, who briefly dated Pam in the past is courted for a sales job by Michael. He and Jim set up a sting involving Meredith, who naturally blows it by trying to seduce Cordway. Meredith didn’t regularly get significant episode plotlines but when she did, such as here she took full advantage. We also get the first jam band session involving Andy, Darryl and Kevin, the band Kevin self-labels Kevin and the Zits.
148. Shareholder’s Meeting (Season 6, Episode 11): With the company in trouble, Michael is taken via first class limo to a shareholder’s meeting in New York City, where he tries to win over fuming employees with boisterous promises on the company’s behalf he can’t keep. Oscar gets a crack at talking to the company’s most higher-ups but gags, showing he wasn’t always as composed as brilliant as he wanted to appear. Meanwhile Ryan doubts Jim’s authority as co-manager, ultimately resulting in his desk being relocated in the closet. I guess Jim had a ruthless side to him after all.
147. Prince Family Paper (Season 5, Episode 13): We see the tender side of Michael when he refuses to give David Wallace a huge client list he and Dwight swindled from a family-owned paper company that treats Michael like gold. Michael’s benevolent actions are sporadic enough on the series that when he acts in that manner it’s impossible to not to step back and appreciate it. Also, the office debates on whether Hillary Swank is hot, which is funnier than it sounds
146. Costume Contest (Season 7, Episode 6): Not a great episode but hilarious cold opening where Stanley literally doesn’t notice a person or thing around him all day until the clock strikes five and it’s time to leave. You also see, for the first time Darryl excited about having a future in the company. Fortunately these overshadow the main plot line, focusing on why Danny never called Pam after a few dates in the past. I mean, who give a shit, Halperts?
145. Drug Testing (Season 2, Episode 20): We get a true glimpse of what a dick Michael can be when he pressures Dwight to sneak his urine into a tube so Michael can pass a drug test after its revealed he smoked a joint in the parking lot. Also noticeable in this episode is Pam ramping up her flirtation with Jim. No wonder Roy was often a terrible boyfriend and fiancé.
144. The Surplus (Season 5, Episode 10): Dwight takes advantage of giving Andy and Angela a tour of Schrute Farms as their potential wedding site to trick Angela into actually marrying him (Angela quickly annuls it.) Also a funny moment when Michael realizes there’s a bonus out there he can keep for himself and buys a huge fur coat, which gets soaked in fake blood the second he walks out of the store, tossed by animal activists.
143. Customer Survey (Season 5, Episode 7): A rare episode that stars Kelly, who writes up fake shitty customer service reviews for Jim and Dwight because they didn’t come to her birthday party. We also get some Pam art school drama as Jim overhears someone in New York telling her she needs to stay longer if she’s serious about art. There’s also more visual evidence that despite being engaged to Andy, Angela is still very much turned on by Dwight.
142. Broke (Season 5, Episode 25): Michael’s paper company is going broke, but not before David Wallace negotiates a buyout that results in Michael, Pam and Ryan all getting their jobs back at Dundler Mifflin while subsequently booting Charles, one of the series true heels back to corporate. This episode also demonstrated some of the great banter Jim and Dwight had throughout the show’s run.
141. Night Out (Season 4, Episode 15): Michael and Dwight go to the club in New York City Ryan frequents and it’s obvious that Ryan is influenced by drugs. Also, a hilarious moment as Toby finally tries to kick it to Pam and puts his hand on her knee. Clearly feeling the rejection announces he’s going to be moving to Costa Rica. Whatever, at least Toby wasn’t afraid to shoot his shot with Pam, which is more than I can say about Jim for the first 29 episodes.
140. Beach Games (Season 3, Episode 23): One of the show’s most memorable scenes as Pam walks across the hot coals barefooted before telling the office how she feels about a variety of things, including disappointment that her and Jim don’t hang out anymore. This episode also included a hugely underrated scene when Angela refused to help Andy as he was floating off in a lake. Bold prediction: I’ll get bitched at by many fans that this episode is far too low, and you’ll probably be right.
139. Dunder Miffin Infinity (Season 4, Episodes 3-4): Tons of moving parts here. Dwight tries to make up for euthanizing Angela’s cat by giving her a stray named Garbage, which may be favorite pet name of all time. Ryan’s now the boss and Kelly tries to restart their relationship, unsuccessfully until she lies and tells Ryan she’s pregnant. If you remember the episode, her shaking her head no at the camera instead of physically saying she was lying is pure gold. Pam and Jim must come out and announce they’re not a romantic couple following a Toby memo. Michael and Dwight try to win back old clients with fruit baskets.
138. St. Patrick’s Day (Season 6, Episode 19): Jo’s impressed by Darryl and gives him an office upstairs. Andy has his first date with Erin but she’s sick, so he goes to her place and her creepy foster brother is there. It features a solidly warm moment with Andy kissing a sick Erin on the cheek, and also a moment with Jo showing Michael respect after embarrassing him earlier in the episode.
137. Welcome Party (Season 8, Episode 20): Robert forces the office to plan a welcoming party for Nellie but it’s intentionally sabotaged. However, when Jim finds out past information about Nellie’s heartbreak he opens up to her and embarrasses a clown at the office party, much to Nellie’s delight. This is also the episode where Andy (with Erin now) breaks up with Jessica by initially telling her he’s gay to escape Jessica’s ire. By this season’s standards this was a pretty good episode.
136. The Boat (Season 9, Episode 6): Kevin learns the secret about Oscar and the Senator being gay and hilariously struggles to keep it quiet. Also, Andy sails off on the family boat for three weeks before selling it with his now alcoholic brother instead of Erin, which pisses her off. Kevin steals the show here and we can see that Erin is clearly tiring of Andy’s ways.
135. Dream Team (Season 5, Episode 22): For me The Office is often about moments and this episode contains a hilarious one. Jim tries to impress Charles by pretending he’s a soccer buff, but when they play in the parking lot a non-skilled Jim causes Phyllis to take a ball directly to the face. There’s another funny but also sad moment when Michael can’t get his own grandmother to invest in his paper company.
134. Gossip (Season 6, Episode 1): Michael inadvertently finds out through an intern that Stanley’s having an affair. To defuse it, Michael starts spreading a bunch of false rumors intentionally, but one of them is that Pam is pregnant, which in reality she is and gossip ultimately forces her to go public. Michael then makes things worse for Stanley by accidentally calling his wife (Terri) by the name of Cynthia twice when she calls the office. The episode ends with Stanley destroying Michael’s car with a tire iron. Good episode but for a season opener I always am hoping for a little more.
133. The Merger (Season 3, Episode 8): The Stamford branch is merged into Scranton, which leads to a cool moment as Jim and Pam see each other for first time in several months and she’s very excited. We also get an instant rivalry as Dwight and Andy instantaneously battle to be Michael’s “No. 3”. Shockingly, Michael’s welcome meeting doesn’t go great and one of the Stamford transfers (Tony) quits by the end of the first day. The Jim/Karen/Pam dynamic plus Andy vs. Dwight provides the show many promising future storylines.
132. China (Season 7, Episode 10): Michael says something right about China as a global power that Oscar gets wrong and the office runs with it, annoying Oscar by claiming Michael is smarter than him. They end up having a United State/China debate, which is very much (for Michael) like Adam Sandler in Billy Madison. Also, Andy is annoying Darryl by sending him too many texts as Andy’s quest for his admiration continues. Meanwhile, Dwight’s being unreasonable now that he owns the building, prompting Pam to lie about a potential place they could potentially rent for the office. In the end, Dwight let’s Pam have the win in that battle, showing a rare glimpse of Schrute compassion.
131. Grief Counseling (Season 3, Episode 4): The famous funeral in the parking lot for a dead bird scene we see replayed in show highlights (RIP, Ed Truck.) We continue to see that Andy is a total hot head. Hot headed Andy is the best Andy ever.
130. Body Language (Season 6, Episode 23): The bar manager Michael met a few weeks ago comes into the office for a sales pitch from Jim/Pam about printers (how many printers does a bar need?) and while there Michael makes several unsuccessful passes at her. The entire office warns him she’s not interested, but she leaves something in the office and when he runs out to return it to her, she tells him she is interested and makes out with him. No one believes him when he tells the office. Meanwhile, Kelly is accepted into the Sabre minority executive training program. At first Dwight is on board but changes his mind when Kelly says she wants to take over Sabre and make Ryan manager. Kelly’s unrelenting love for Ryan through this point of the series if one of the show’s more underrated secondary plotlines.
129. Viewing Party (Season 7, Episode 8): Gabe and Erin host a Glee viewing party at his house and Michael is furious at Kevin calling Gabe his boss. His anger intensifies when learning most around the office consider Gabe the boss. Michael sabotages the show, cutting off the cable wire outside. Michael does share a tender moment with Erin when he realizes she has no father figure. He also threatens to literally kill Gabe if he ever hurts her, which was hilarious. Gabe’s so creepy on this show that people shitting on him is actually humorous, even more so than Toby.
128. Gettysburg (Season 8, Episode 8): Andy takes some of the office staff on a field trip to Gettysburg for inspiration. After most abandon him, Darryl and Jim confront Andy and tell him that he should stop trying so hard to impress his coworkers. Meanwhile, Gabe finds himself enjoying the trip when he is mistaken as an Abraham Lincoln impersonator. Robert tasks the remaining employees with coming up with a new business idea for Dunder Mifflin and becomes convinced Kevin’s simple ideas are elaborate metaphors, which steals the show.
127. Work Bus (Season 9, Episode 4): This episode really seals it for me that Andy is not likable and has become a poor man’s Michael in his role as boss. He has a blooper video at the beginning of the episode to make fun of the staff playing softball while not showing any bloopers of his own, and when Toby comments on something innocently Andy snaps with a “why aren’t you murdered every hour” retort. That’s classic wanna-be Michael right there. Still, I’m a sucker for tender moments and this episode features solid ones between Jim and Dwight as well as Jim and Pam. Jim and Dwight’s warm moments are few and far enough between that when they happen, they feel more meaningful.
126. Boys and Girls (Season 2, Episode 15): Jan comes in for an women’s office seminar. During a meeting with the women in the conference room, she tells Pam about an art school opportunity in New York City. Jim encourages Pam to do it but Roy doesn’t like the idea and ultimately Pam doesn’t do it. Jim speaks out against it and Pam gets upset. At this point we’re really starting to see the obvious here— Jim’s in love with Pam while Roy totally takes her for granted.
125. New Leads (Season 6, Episode 20): We get the first kiss between Andy and Erin. That’s good enough for me to put this here.
124. The Seminar (Season 7, Episode 14): Andy hosts a seminar for small business owners with hopes of selling them paper and those he enlists for help (Kevin, Creed, Kelly) bomb badly. Michael and Holly pose as a greek couple and Michael inspires badly needed confidence in Andy. Also, Gabe competes with Erin in scrabble with winner watching movie of their choice. Gabe wins all the time and picks shitty movies. There’s no specific character or scene that makes this episode great, but everything combined makes it enjoyable.
123. Paper Airplane (Season 9, Episode 20): Not the most entertaining episode, but after a season where the Jim and Pam marriage is increasingly becoming more unlikeable we get an important breakthrough that makes us remember why we loved them in the first place. Throughout the episode Jim and Pam utilize new skills that they learned in couples counseling, pretty annoying to be honest. As Jim leaves the office to return to his Philadelphia business, he tells Pam he thinks the counseling habits are helping and that they should keep them up. After he leaves, Pam runs after him to give him an umbrella. Jim takes the umbrella and he embraces her, only to find she lacks the emotional conviction to hug him back. It flashes back to their wedding and clearly remembers she promised to love him in spite of any hardships. It makes her strongly embrace and kiss him. Clearly during the exchange he whispered to her the vows from their wedding. Honestly it’s one of the more underrated scenes of the entire final season.
122. Turf Wars (Season 8 Episode 23): This is ranked relatively high because it carries significance, which in this case is the beginning of the end for Robert California. Andy, recently fired prepares to make his comeback by temporarily forming his own rival paper company. Jim and Dwight work together to defeat a rival salesman who wants the suddenly (thanks to Robert drunkenly closing their branch) defunct Binghamton clients. Andy ultimately lands the huge client and offers it back to Robert in exchange for his job back, but California refuses and insults him. We then cut to Andy going into David Wallace’s house as show ends. The morale of this story is that when things aren’t going your way—start your own paper company. It worked for Michael and it’s going to work for Andy too.
121. Junior Salesmen (Season 9, Episode 13): David Wallace tasks Dwight with finding a part-time replacement for Jim because he’s increasingly at his other job. Dwight interviews several of his close friends for the gig, including his cousin Mose and they’re all hilariously terrible. Speaking of hilarious, Dwight nearly suffocating Clark with shrink wrap after Pam suggests they haze the new guy.
(Follow Patrick Moran on Twitter @patmorantweets