This is the fourth of a six-part series Power Ranking all 185 episodes of The Office, today featuring 90-61.
Part five (60-31) will be posted tomorrow. 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.
90. The Manager & The Salesperson (Season 6, Episode 16): Jo makes a trip to the office and demands the end of co-managing amongst Michael and Jim, forcing one to go into sales. Michael originally goes into sales after learning there’s more money to be made there, but hates it and schemes to become manager again. Meanwhile, Andy decides to give Erin a Valentine’s Day card as a way of asking her out. However, to avoid public suspicion he gives one to everyone in the office and Kelly accidentally gets the romantic card intended for Erin. Kelly publicly kisses Andy, which while giving Kelly a funny shining moment also low-key saddens Erin. Bonus points for Dwight and Ryan, who conspired against Jim thinking that they helped lead to his ouster as manager, the reality of course being Jim preferred sales all along.
89. The Lover (Season 6, Episode 7): Pam finds out Michael’s dating her mom and goes nuts, causing major fights and awkwardness in the office. Clearly Pam doesn’t think Michael’s good enough for her mother. We also see Michael kind to Toby for maybe the first time, using him for advice but ultimately trashing him just moments later. Toby also gets yelled by Dwight simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite only appearing in just a few scenes, Toby is the episode’s MVP. In fact, it’s one of his funnier Toby episodes of the entire series.
88. Training Day (Season 7, Episode 20): This episode features the debut of short-lived Michael Scott successor, DeAngleo Vickers. After an awkward but hilarious initial meeting where they hit it off, almost immediately Michael’s jealous of DeAngelo doing things his own way. He’s also annoyed that DeAngelo is quirky like him and the office is trying to kiss his ass for favorable early impressions. While ultimately the DeAngelo character flopped, this episode featured a lot of his best moments, such as not liking Jim and Pam’s baby while loving the antics of Andy, who resorts to physical comedy when his jokes fall flat — to the point he pours hot coffee on his pants and (at DeAngelo’s urging) eats soap. This episode also contains an importantly story arc where Dwight learns Michael lied and didn’t recommend Dwight for the soon-to-be vacant regional manager position.
87. New Boss (Season 5, Episode 20): While this isn’t a laugh out loud episode it’s definitely a gam-changer. Michael’s eager to throw himself a 15th anniversary party at the office but new corporate regional VP Charles Miner won’t allow it, even going as far to disband the party planning committee. Also notable is Jim, generally loved by everyone in corporate getting off to a rough start with Charles after he busts Jim pulling a prank on Dwight. Meanwhile, Kelly and Angela are quickly obsessed with Charles and most importantly, Michael drives to New York and after feeling patronized by David Wallace, quits the company. Like I said—game-changer in the arc of Dundler Mifflin and also the foundation of the Michael Scott Paper Company.
86. Take Your Daughter To Work Day (Season 2, Episode 18): Not monumental by any means but a typically solid early season episode. As the office participates in bring your kid to work day Michael digs up a video of himself as a kid and it’s extremely embarrassing. Meanwhile, Jim starts distancing himself a bit from Pam, in part because he doesn’t want her pending wedding to Roy rubbed in his face, and without her being outward about it the distance makes her sad. Clearly this was a young lady that was having trouble figuring out what she wanted.
85. The Inner Circle (Season 7, Episode 23): This was the first episode without Michael Scott and while it didn’t necessarily maintain, did get the post-Michael era off to a promising start. DeAngelo’s inner-circle contains all guys. The ladies complain of DeAngelo being sexist and when Jim casually brings it up to DeAngelo he gets booted from the circle. DeAngelo claims he can dunk a basketball from the free throw line and when Jim suggests he proves it at the warehouse. DeAngelo’s severely injured when the backboard falls on him and just like that his Dundler Mifflin career is over. This was the final of Will Ferrell’s four episodes on the show.
84. Promos (Season 9, Episode 18): Everyone’s happy and eager when promos for the documentary air on the internet, but the enthusiasm quickly dwindles when they learn how much contentious footage was shot. While everyone panics about their secrets being revealed, Pam realizes how much the relationship between her and Jim has changed through the years. Pam visits (documentarian cameraman) Brian and confides in him her belief that Jim’s feelings for her have started to fade some and Brian agrees. After Brian admits essentially everything that happened over the last nine years was caught on film, Pam angrily leaves, realizing everyone’s privacy has been violated. It’s a noteworthy episode in that it’s the first time the cast realizes the extent to what has been filmed during the past several years.
83. Local Ad (Season 4, Episode 9): When Dundler Mifflin agrees to a Dundler Mifflin commercial Michael tries to produce one himself. However, corporate airs their own. Jim saves the Michael Scott director’s cut and the office approvingly watches it, which by the way is excellent. Meanwhile, Andy keeps giving Dwight details of his courtship with Angela, oblivious to Dwight being in love with her. It’s a rare episode to see Dwight at his most vulnerable.
82. The Delivery (Season 6, Episodes 17-18): Tons of moving parts with this two-parter. Pam gives birth and quickly learns sound sleeping will be hard, even while still at the hospital as Pam struggles with breastfeeding. Also, Dwight prepares a business contract for Angela to have a baby with him. Upon Pam’s request Dwight goes to her house to retrieve an IPod but notices mold and tears up the kitchen. Pam’s friend Isabelle stops by (Dwight hooked up with her at the Halpert wedding) and they hook up again. Dwight ends up reluctantly signing the contract between himself and Angela. Finally, Andy asks Kelly on a real date and she agrees. Like I said—lots of moving parts.
81. New Guys (Season 9, Episode 1): We enter the final season with a ton of changes. For starters there’s two new guys, Clark (Dwight Jr.) and Pete (Plop). We learn Dwight is not father of Angela’s baby. We learn Jim was offered a job with a startup company (Athlead) he helped birth in high school but says no because the company is based in Philadelphia. However, later Jim calls them and tells them he’s all-in, of which Pam knows nothing about at this point. Also, we learn Andy was gone for a month when David Wallace sent him to a camp for leadership. There’s more— Kelly moved to Ohio with her doctor boyfriend and Ryan also ended up moving to Ohio to basically stalk her. Oh yeah, Andy still doesn’t like Nelly and tells her he’s going to make her life hell (even though he showed her compassion at end of last season.) Lastly, a phone call we see from Oscar reveals he’s having an affair with Senator Lipton. A lot of unpacking in this final season premiere.
80. Mrs. California (Season 8, Episode 9): This episode guest starred Maura Tierney as Mrs. California and she was excellent. Robert commands Andy to not give his wife, Susan, a job in the office despite giving her the impression he’d love to have her work at the company. After an amusingly confusing interview, Andy relents and gives Susan a job and California is furious. After Susan eventually learns the truth, she and California have a major fight. The comedic tension and confusion between Robert and Andy is excellent stuff, some of the best of Season eight.
79. Search Committee (Season 7, Episodes 25-26): With DeAngleo in a coma and Creed temporarily in charge exclusively because of seniority (hilarious moments with him too) Jo tasks Jim, Gabe and Toby to interview candidates for the vacant managerial job. The candidates include Robert California, another guy who promises a great business plan but won’t reveal it unless he’s hired (Will Arnett), a weirdo (our introduction of Nellie) as well as Andy, Darryl and Dwight getting interviews. The Dwight interview is hilarious as it starts and ends with him being asked if he’s ever shot a gun in the office. Also, Andy’s interview is fantastic as Gabe hates him after Erin dumps him. Meanwhile, Angela announces she is engaged and almost immediately the office thinks her fiancé (Senator Lipton) is gay. Dwight in particular was amazing in this season finale.
78. Golden Ticket (Season 5, Episode 19): One of the best cold opens in series history featuring the KGB face slap joke—we will ask the questions! Moving on, thinking it’s a great marketing idea Michael randomly puts five ‘Golden Tickets’ in five separate boxes entitling them to 10% off their purchases for one year. However, they all end up with their biggest client (Blue Cross), which gave them 50% off their business. Thinking he’s in big trouble, Michael tells David Wallace it was Dwight’s idea. David shows up to the office and reveals the idea was brilliant and instantly Michael wants to receive all the credit.
77. Branch Closing (Season 3, Episode 7): Jan informs Michael the Scranton branch is closing. However, after Jan finds out Josh leveraged the merging to a better job at Staples they end up closing Stamford instead. Just think, folks— were it not for Josh there’d be no Scranton branch to speak of by the midpoint of the third season. Shit, Josh may be the real MVP of The Office. Meanwhile, Jim accepts the “No. 2” position at Scranton and we see Karen admit she’s into Jim on camera. Oh boy, it’s going to be on.
76. Baby Shower (Season 5, Episode 4): Michael throws a baby shower for Jan but we learn she’s already had the baby and didn’t tell him, while generally still treating him condescendingly. Despite seeming uninterested in Michael at this point, Jan still tells Michael to not date Holly. At the end of the episode, Michael gives Holly a nice hug in the end and she smiles. Yep, she definitely wants him. Michael says on camera he didn’t feel much when he held Jan’s baby but felt something when he held Holly. This was a solid episode that would setup the peaks and valleys of Michael and Holly’s relationship.
75. Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1): The historic very first episode of The Office. Jan arrives from corporate in New York and tells Michael that the branch is potentially downsizing and wants him to keep it under wraps. Of course, Michael soon tells the entire office. While the episode in itself hardly moves the needle, the nostalgic factor going back and watching is overwhelming. Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam, Angela, Kevin, Oscar, Phyllis, Stanley, Ryan, Creed, Roy and Jan all are shown in the first episode as well as four unnamed employees in a conference room meeting. There’s no Toby, Kelly, Meredith or Daryl in the original pilot. This is ranked higher more for sentimental reasons. I mean, who doesn’t start their binge of This Office and get excited seeing the first handful of scenes?
74. The Secret (Season 2, Episode 13): Big developments in this episode. First, back on the Booze Cruise episode Jim confided in Michael his feelings for Pam. Michael spills the beans to most of the office so Jim tells Pam he formerly had a crush on her before someone else gets the chance to. However, Michael tells Pam that Jim’s crush is current and not just past. Also, we officially find out Oscar is gay after Dwight investigates Oscar calling in sick, catches him with another guy but only strings together Oscar was feigning illness. Obviously we see an embrace that undoubtedly shows Oscar is gay.
73. Lecture Circuit (Season 5, Episodes 16-17): Pam and Michael go on a company lecturing tour, which includes a stop Karen’s branch. There, Karen and Pam make nice and we learn Karen is pregnant and married to a dermatologist she met at a bar. Pam and Mike go to surprise Holly in New Hampshire but while at that office, Michael learns she now has a boyfriend who works with her at the branch. Michael sees a file on her computer named “Michael” and copies it onto a disk. Pam reads and quickly deletes it, telling Michael she still has feelings for him (we never learn if that’s true but I suspect Pam was just comforting him.) Also, Angela bought a new cat for seven grand, using the money from selling Andy’s engagement ring she never gave back to him—-kinda messed up if you ask me.
72. Health Care (Season 1, Episode 3): Mandated from corporate to decrease employee health care, Michael forces the task off to Dwight, who takes it seriously. Jim, emerging as a habitual prankster by this point discloses preexisting conditions such as “Count Chocalitis”, “Government Created Kill Nano Robot Infection” & “Hot Dog Fingers.” This is the first time we get a big glimpse into the Jim vs. Dwight dynamic that would often dominate the show.
71. The Return (Season 3, Episode 14): Dwight, having previously quit rather than get Angela in trouble in the previous episode, is now working at Staples. Andy’s driving Michael crazy around the office and out on a sales call, which makes Michael miss Dwight. After Angela eventually confesses to Michael the reason Dwight drove to New York was to save her from an accounting error. This moment and the previous episode truly shed light on how much Angela means to Dwight. Michael gets Dwight to come back to Dunder Mifflin. That storyline was cool but what makes this episode a real winner is Pam & Jim’s pranking Andy by hiding his phone, which leads him to losing his temper and punching a hole in the wall. Andy’s then is sent off to anger management. If that wasn’t enough, Jim, now dating Karen admits to her he still has feelings for Pam.
70. The List (Season 8, Episode 1): The eighth season, a highly anticipated one with Michael departed begins with lots of major changes. Robert California is now CEO, having taken over for Jo Bennett. Andy is the branch manager while Pam and Angela are both pregnant. Here we Robert accidentally leaves his personal notebook at Erin’s desk, and she notices it contains a list of Scranton’s employees on two columns with a line down the middle. Concerned about what the list means, the employees pressure Andy to ask Robert about it. Robert is offended by Andy’s inquiry, assuming that he snooped through his notebook. While brushing the list off as “doodles” he conspicuously moves Andy’s name from the left column to the right. Later that day, Robert invites the employees on the left column to lunch: Jim, Dwight, Darryl, Angela, Kevin, Phyllis, Toby and Oscar. The “right-siders” console themselves with a pizza party, despondent but happy with Andy sticking up for everyone. This episode works for me in large part because it’s one of the precious few times I enjoyed Andy’s character once he became manager.
69. Business Trip (Season 5, Episode 8): Michael, Oscar and Andy travel to Canada for a company presentation and Michael hooks up with hotel concierge. As the episode concludes Michael’s mad at David Wallace on the phone over sending Holly away and hangs up on him. In New York at art school, Pam finds out she needs to stay for another 12 weeks and while Jim is supportive but upset, Pam comes back home because she misses Pam and apparently doesn’t care about following her dreams anymore? Ryan’s continuous attempts to win Kelly back pay off as he gets her to break up with Darryl. However, as soon as he sees Daryl totally cool with the breakup, it’s clear Ryan’s annoyed with her again. His shell-shocked body language upon realizing he’s again back with Kelly may be his best work of the series. He’s masterful at desiring her only when she doesn’t reciprocate the feelings.
68. Nepotism (Season 7, Episode 1): Gabe’s now dating Erin and in underrated moment Erin says on camera she accepted his overtures thinking she had to because Gabe was the boss. I mean, she convincing enough that you legitimately believe she thinks had no other choice. Also there’s a new intern (Luke) who nobody likes and is terrible at his job, but it’s Michael’s nephew. Michael eventually spanks him and when Gabe tells Michael his punishment is counseling with Toby or termination, Michael silently (and hilariously) ponders for several seconds. By the way, Dwight now owns the building. The stuff with Michael and Toby is great as always. Loved this episode, although I was taken back seeing Erin with Gabe after the previous season ended with Erin acting affectionately with Andy.
67. The Chump (Season 6, Episode 25): Despite the fact both he and the entire office knows his girlfriend (Donna)is married to someone else, Michael’s remarkably cheerful even after learning of the news.. Dwight and Angela have an arbitrator work out their baby contract and they agree to a settlement of having sex five times at Angela’s discretion. It leads a hilarious scene with Dwight trying to hurt his own nuts so he can’t get her pregnant. This episode contains one of the show’s all-time greatest disrespect digs, where Michael tells Toby if he had two bullets with Toby Bin Laden and Hitler in the same room that he’d shoot Toby twice.
66. Christmas Wishes (Season 8, Episode 10): A lot of fans think this is the weakest of all at the Christmas episodes but I vehemently disagree. Andy attempts to make everyone’s Christmas wishes come true. Erin, upset about her unrequited feelings for Andy, drinks too much at the party and tells Andy her Christmas wish is for Andy’s girlfriend (Jessica) to be dead. Not metaphorically but physically dead and buried in a grave. While admittedly cynical I couldn’t help but laugh my ass off at drunk Erin’s nastiness towards the situation. We also have an underrated plot line where Dwight and Jim are ordered to stop pranking one another or they will lose their Christmas bonuses, which results in them pranking themselves and trying to frame each other.
65. Sexual Harassment (Season 2, Episode 2): An iconic episode in that we get our first-ever “that’s what she said” reference from Michael. We also get a Michael quote on Toby that hammers home his hatred for his HR rep, saying “Toby is in HR, which technically means he works for corporate, so he’s really not a part of our family. Also he’s divorced so he’s not a part of his family.” We also get our first discrepancy of the series, as Pam’s mother appears—-totally not the same woman we’d see later on again starting in Season six. Plot holes!
64. Company Picnic (Season 5, Episode 28): At the corporate picnic we get Michael and Holly reunited for a sketch comedy skit (which totally bombs.) Michael wants to tell Holly he loves her but ultimately doesn’t, in large part because her boyfriend is at the picnic. During the volleyball game Pam injures her ankle and a trip to the hospital for a quick x-ray stunningly reveals she’s pregnant. Jim and Pam are having a baby! In a scene not talked about much but significant, Dwight’s friend Rolf berates Angela relentlessly and Dwight gets mad, much to Angela’s quiet delight. Clearly she still has strong feelings for him. This was a solid season finale—the next step in the Pam & Jim evolution as well as strong evidence that Michael and Holly still had chemistry and that relationship wasn’t going to over.
63. Moving On (Season 9, Episode 16): Angry over Erin and Pete (Plop) now dating, Andy tries to make their life hell by not only bringing back Erin’s ex, Gabe but also hiring Pete’s ex-girlfriend for marketing as well. Gabe in particular was hilarious in what I believe is his final episode on the show. Meanwhile, Pam interviews for a job in Philadelphia but her potential new manager is way too much like her old one, Michael Scott. We also see Dwight get Angela to help give his old and sick Aunt Shirley a bath, where Dwight is awe-struck by Angela’s tender side and it leads to some great moments between the two.
62. Valentine’s Day (Season 2, Episode 16): In my opinion the best of all the Valentine’s Day episodes. Angela gets Dwight his own bobblehead and he responds by giving her a key to his house. We also learn Kelly and Ryan hooked up the night before and he’s immediately regretting it. Never hook up with a girl like Kelly the day before Valentine’s Day! Last and certainly not least, Michael’s in New York City for a corporate meeting and we see the first appearance of new CFO David Wallace. Jan’s impressed with Michael’s performance at the meeting and kisses him near an elevator out of nowhere. Clearly she’s smitten by him and the hookup a handful of episodes prior won’t be a one-time thing.
61. Test the Store (Season 8, Episode 18): At the Sabre store opening in Florida, Dwight attempts to put on a theatrical presentation to impress Nellie. After a shaky start, an impromptu speech—originally supposed to be delivered by Ryan, he unravels and ends up bailing, Jim does the speech and impresses the critical crowd. Nellie names Dwight vice president. Andy’s embarrassed after receiving a black eye in the parking lot courtesy of a little girl. This naturally results in heavy office ribbing. During a presentation Kelly attacks Toby (not for real), and Andy gets smacked in his “good” eye and is now sporting matching black eyes. Erin takes a walk with an old, lonely woman which would become the person she stays with to care for in Florida. Bonus funny moment: Creed slaps Meredith and takes off during Toby’s self-defense class. By Season eighth standards this was actually a great episode.
Follow Patrick Moran on Twitter @patmorantweets