In 2003, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s original and groundbreaking The Office concluded, ready to be duplicated by other countries, ready for all discerning snobs and television critics to denounce as inferior and as affronts to humanity. Two years later, we met Michael and Jim and Pam and Dwight and Ryan for a six-episode season. The American Office with the inexplicably good reviews got a renewal. Steve Carell was in 40 Year Old Virgin over the summer. We then met Phyllis and Stanley and Creed and Kelly and Darryl and Toby and heard that this show shoots way more material than they can ever fit to air. We watched as they were tasked to air twenty eight episodes a season. We saw them become the last anchor of the legendary NBC Thursday Night Comedy Lineup. We complained after Steve Carell left us, after some of us grew tired of him. We stuck around for its final, creatively ambitious, manic final year. We watched as the show’s universe collapsed on itself and are pleased that they just might come out of the rubble alive and still be funny, 201 episodes later, with one more to go.
Which leads us to this question: What happens when you put two Office fans together to create a combined list of their favorite moments from the show? You get a list of over one hundred scenes, debates about when Andy went from annoyingly cute to downright grating, and a bitter dispute over whether the Michael Scarn dance in season 7 is more memorable than Mose running alongside Jim and Pam’s car in season 4. In the spirit of The Office’s series finale episode this Thursday, we forced ourselves to choose the 47 funniest, most heartbreaking, and/or most cringeworthy moments from all nine seasons, from the earliest to most recent.
Michael’s Chris Rock impression in “Diversity Day”
Roger: In regards to Kevin not nailing Mr. Rock’s cadence and messing up the joke, yes. In regards to everything else, no he does not and how is he not punched in the face? (Thank you Kelly.)
Michael has no surprise at the end of “Health Care”
R: According to Paul Lieberstein at Paley Fest, the final scene was scripted as “the longest pause in television history.” It ultimately went two and a half minutes, so long Steve Carell broke into a sweat from the awkwardness of the situation. Shouldn’t have cut a second.
M: I also like to yell out JIBBITY BLOO BLOO when I feel awkward or put on the spot.
Jim makes Michael say “That’s what she said” in “Sexual Harassment”
M: Consider this representative of every TWSS in the series.
Michael has a gun in every improv scene in “E-mail Surveillance”
M: We have to include Ken Jeong’s singular Office appearance. I also wish Erik Voss were here to explain how blasphemous of an improv performer Michael is.
R: Ironically, Erik couldn’t be here because of a tragic improv gunfight gone horribly wrong.
Creed mistakes poop for soup in “The Carpet”
R: The show never got too Creed crazy. Just the right amount of absurdity.
M: Never change, Creed. Never change.
Stanley yells at Ryan in “Take Your Daughter to Work Day”
M: I like when Stanley gets mad and I like when Ryan gets yelled at, so this is the best of both worlds.
R: It should be noted that he did not stutter.
Michael confuses Kevin’s “negative” diagnosis in “Michael’s Birthday”
R: Kevin was still an engaged, former professional poker champion who could look like the smart one once in awhile back then.
Jim interrogates Dwight about his pot use in “Drug Testing”
R: In fact no, I did not remember this scene. I arrest myself.
Jim tells Pam his feelings in “Casino Night”
M: This scene is still as electric as it was when it aired. If only the chase could last forever…
R: Very revealing there, Megh.
Pam, Ryan and Kevin recount movies instead of reveal actual traumas in their lives in “Grief Counseling”
R: For some reason my 5th grade class got to see a sneak preview of The Lion King and I was blown a-way. Dammit I’m Ryan.
Jim plants “Lovefool” by the Cardigans in Karen and Andy’s heads in “Initiation”
R: Jim didn’t discriminate in his douchery.
Stanley likes Pretzel Day in “Initiation”
R: Stanley makes me sad.
M: What is your own personal Pretzel Day, Roger?
R: That is between me and my God, Megh. And it is Free Slurpee Day.
Michael as Prison Mike in “The Convict”
R: Michael’s first day with the employees from the recently shutdown branch had to be especially terrible.
Dwight tests Ben Franklin in “Ben Franklin”
M: I’d love to see a video of Andy Daly’s Office Ben Franklin hanging out with Tracy Morgan’s 30 Rock Ben Franklin before I die.
R: This is my favorite clip. If this were a Vine, they would shut Vine down, because it couldn’t possibly be topped.
Michael buys Pam’s watercolor painting in “Business School”
M: This is my favorite Office moment ever, and I’m too verklempt to comment on how this is Michael at his best or another example of Jenna Fischer’s killer acting.
R: Directed by Joss Whedon, fwiw.
Jim mimics Dwight in “Product Recall”
R: What possesses a man to wear a dress shirt that is the color of mustard on a regular basis?
M: It’s not just mustard. He mixes it up with your yellows, your Dijons, your spicy browns.
Pam’s post-coal walk speech in “Beach Games”
M: Pammy reaches enlightenment. And don’t call her Pammy.
Ryan sets up Creed’s blog www.creedthoughts.gov.wwwcreedthoughts
M: Not sure whether to be thankful or enraged at Ryan for what he did here.
M: No, that’s child’s play compared to what Creed must really be writing. I’m no fool.
Jim asks Pam out at the end of “The Job”
R: One of the most disgustingly adorable final scenes of a season finale ever. We all flew on the wings of love that summer.
M: There’s no glorious-sounding music right? Why do I hear this happy song in my head?
R: Actually unlike every other YouTube clip of Jim and Pam, there is no music.
The Dunder Mifflin “People Person Paper People” jingle in “Local Ad”
M: Speaking of happy songs. And ringtones I need to make for myself.
R: Man is Craig Robinson underrated. His “What’s rap?” is almost as good as the time he convinced Dwight the four time MVP’s name is LeJon Brames.
Jan listens to Hunter’s music in “Dinner Party”
R: Couldn’t not have an awkward Jan moment. I thought they fleshed out her character pretty well, save the Clark Duke awkwardness.
M: So wrong, so right, all night, all right, ohhh YEAH. (Sorry, Hunter’s music is just so captivating.)
Jim proposes to Pam in “Weight Loss”
M: The moment we were all waiting for (or dreading, depending on how you view post-marriage JAM). Directed by Paul Feig, who also made episodes like “Niagara” and “Goodbye Michael” so heartbreakingly memorable.
Dwight gives birth to a watermelon in “Baby Shower”
R: Rainn Wilson was fearless for nine years.
M: I love how Andy deals with the pressure.
Dwight talks about the perfect crime at the end of “Frame Toby”
R: Wilson was a big part in making Mr. Schrute a likable, multi-faceted weirdo. When he got his promotion last week I was genuinely happy for the guy, and Dwight is fictitious and once shot a gun in the office.
Toby returns in “The Surplus”
R: I don’t know why I love it when characters unjustifiably hate another character, but I do.
Dwight starts an actual fire in “Stress Relief”
M: This is a cold open that gets its money’s worth.
R: This was the episode that aired right after the Super Bowl. FOOTBALL! FIRE! AMERICA!
M: Also cats.
Michael’s Jerry Maguire/The Graduate moment at the end of “Two Weeks” with Pam
R: This really worked out for Pam. I had forgotten and really like how shameless The Graduate homage was.
Andy and Dwight sing “Country Roads” in “Michael Scott Paper Company”
M: Another great musical moment made even better by Dwight’s German translation.
R: This is proof that Mumford & Sons used to own a television.
Angela taps her feet in “Cafe Disco”
R: Michael’s victory over Angela. That foot tapping is basically sex for her.
Oscar’s painful Southern accent in “Murder”
M: For a brief moment, Oscar takes Michael’s title as most cringeworthy Office character.
R: This was such a dumb episode but it featured this and Michael accusing Creed of murder.
Hide admits that he purposely botched his Japanese boss’ heart surgery and fled to America in “Happy Hour”
R: I love how this never came up again.
Stanley doesn’t notice anything in “Costume Contest”
R: I can’t believe this was in season seven. This a top 5 cold open.
M: There’s a thin line between noticing and caring. Go Stanley.
Toby confronts God in “The Christening”
M: At the Office wrap party in Scranton, Paul Lieberstein said he’ll edit a Toby scene out before any other character, so even the actor who portrays Toby hates Toby. Poor guy.
R: Toby is the Scranton Strangler right?
Ryan starts WUPHF in “WUPHF.com”
M: In Ryan’s words, “it’s not a digital rape whistle. WUPHF is about fun.”
Where’s your jet pack, Zuckerberg?” from “The Seminar”
R: Jim told his friend in grade school he was too dumb to hang out with, which lead to a man with a long memory to utter my favorite line of the whole series. Really.
Creed’s Loch Ness Monster presentation in “The Seminar”
M: It’s a legitimate question.
“The Scarn” in “Threat Level Midnight”
R: I initially thought showing the movie was a mistake and there was no way it would live up to everyone’s imagination, but for once in my life I was wrong.
Michael proposes to Holly in “Garage Sale”
R: This is the only moment of the whole series that made me cry, for whatever reason.
M: Maybe it’s because it’s adorable and Michael totally deserves a rad lady like Holly? Side note: I have cried more than I’d like to admit while rewatching these scenes.
R: I think it’s because he finally got what he wanted, not only finding a woman that finds him funny, but everybody in the office was his friend (at least begrudgingly) and all took part in the proposal.
Dwight reads the recommendation letter in “Goodbye, Michael”
R: And all Dwight ever wanted, besides the man’s job, was Michael’s approval. The little zoom in is a bit of a cheat, but whatever.
Jim and Michael’s last scene together in “Goodbye Michael”
M: John and Steve have an intense conversation with their eyes here. The show gave Michael such a great sendoff.
Gabe tells Andy to shut up in “Search Committee”
M: This is how I felt about Andy all last season.
R: And the first two thirds of this season. Actually 85 percent of the series.
Kevin’s alphabet from “Search Committee”
R: I feel so bad for Brian Baumgartner having to use that Cookie Monster voice for almost an entire decade. Then again, he’s been properly compensated. Never mind.
M: Who do you think is more intelligent: Erin or Kevin?
R: Well, Erin isn’t Kevin, so Erin. I’m just glad that Erin isn’t Homer Simpson dumb in the final season.
Jim frames Dwight for his murder in “Tallahassee”
R: Might be the best Jim prank of all.
M: It was much needed during that dragging Tallahassee arc.
Hipster Erin AKA Tabitha in “Test the Store”
M: On second thought, the Tallahassee arc brought us Florida Stanley and Hipster Erin, so it was worth it.
R: I love how far behind the times the Scranton group always seems to be, like when they discovered Parkour and did that lip dub a couple of years after it was hip (Krasinski recently revealed to the world that he’s actually a lip dub genius). Also Tabitha is a great name.
Ryan woos Kelly on the horse in “Angry Andy”
R: What. A. Tool.
M: Yeah. They’re perfect for each other.
Dwight and Angela ask Toby about homosexuality in “The Target”
M: God bless Toby.
Drunk Darryl passes out in “Dwight Christmas”
R: This is why I didn’t say Craig Robinson’s humor was understated earlier. The man has range. And a sick spin move.