Second Look: The 20 most re-watchable episodes of ‘The Office’

the officeBY TROY PHILLIPS

Is there any better Netflix/On Demand fodder than an episode of The Office? There simply is not. Whether you’re doing work, killing time or trying to fall asleep, the dedicated staff at Dunder Mifflin always has your back.

Though the show stopped churning out new content last May, there is still plenty worth pulling from the old archives. Any longtime fan of the show is starting to rehash the old laughs and give old episodes another spin. Or six.

Note there’s a difference between classic moments and stand-alone hilarity. Some episodes have more staying power than others, and on that basis I’ve compiled my 20 favorite Office episodes worth watching again and again. Selections are made in chronological order, not by preference. My selections are more of the “filler” variety when looking at the plot arc of each season, and therefore they stand alone much more effectively than many of the two part escapades.

Note: We at Poor Scholars refuse to honor any content from the post-Michael Scott era.

1. Season one, Episode 3: Healthcare

The cast looks markedly more cohesive than in the first two episodes (not that they lacked cohesion to begin with) and the host of facetious diseases created are uproarious. Always get your Count Choculitis inoculations, kids.

2. Season one, Episode 5: Basketball

The office faces off against the warehouse in a friendly game of hoops. Every participant’s athletic tendencies match perfectly with their characteristics, making the contest all the more perfect.

3. Season two, Episode 1: The Dundies

Paper supply’s most anticipated awards night is not to be missed. Come to the fabulous Scranton Chili’s and see who receives accolades for “Whitest Shoes” and the ever sought-after “Hottest in the Office” (hint- the recipient is male).

4. Season two, Episode 10: Christmas Party

Nobody does Yankee Swap/White Elephant like Dunder Mifflin. At the time, the premier gift was a video Ipod, but in 2014 I might rather have the home-knitted over mitt, which comes compliments of Phyllis.

5. Season two, Episode 17: Dwight’s Speech

Whenever Michael travels, he always makes sure to bring a few wing men to cement his street cred. Dwight channels his inner autocrat while Michael rubs elbows with the higher-ups, much to their dismay.

6. Season three, Episode 8: The Merger

You’ve got to love the “them vs. us” dynamic in comedy, and no one does it better than a passive-aggressive Andy Bernard and an overly-confident Michael Scott. Spoiler alert, Big Tony Gardner can’t hang.

7. Season three, Episode 22: Women’s Appreciation

Phyllis is victim to flasher in the parking lot, but thankfully there is plenty of misguided testosterone waiting in the office to ease her pain. Michael’s bizarre love life becomes the real topic of concern after he takes the ladies under his employ to lunch at the Steamtown Mall.

8. Season three, Episode 23: Beach Games

Michael holds a Survivor-style competition to determine his replacement when he becomes sure a newly-opened corporate position is his for the taking. Andy spends the majority of the competition floating around the lake in a sumo suit.

9. Season four, Episode 9: Local Ad

Professional ad company be damned, the Scranton branch puts together a pretty damn good commercial and creates more than a few funny moments in the process.

10. Season four, Episode 10: Branch Wars

“Them vs. us” pops up again as Dwight, Jim and Michael go undercover to Karen Fillipelli’s branch to wreak some havoc. Of course, no operation can go smoothly without cutting a penis or two on the lid of a Coke can.

11. Season four, Episode 13: Dinner Party

Some of the greatest awkward television on the market, Michael and Jan give Pam and Jim plenty of food for thought. Dwight doesn’t receive an invite, but makes his way to the celebration anyway.

12. Season five, Episode 8: Business Trip

This episode feels like a vacation for viewers as much as it is for the characters involved. Michael discovers the wonders of concierge service and Oscar brings an egg salad sandwich on the plane, much to everyone’s dismay.

13. Season five, Episode 19: Golden Ticket

Michael’s golden ticket sales initiative backfires when all five of the coveted coupons land in the hands of a single client. Over the course of the proceeding scenes, Michael goes from zero to uninvolved to jealous bystander to hero. All in a day’s work.

14. Season six, Episodes 4 and 5: Niagara(1) and Niagara(2)

Alright, one two-parter made the list, but the Niagara episodes are a special exception. Jim and Pam’s future wedding is glaringly obvious by the end of the first season, and so it’s satisfying to see the many years of waiting come to fruition. Plus Michael and Dwight pick up chicks and Andy tears his scrotum, all brilliant supplements to the main course.

15. Season six, Episode 10: Murder

To distract everyone from the increasingly obvious failure of Dunder Mifflin, Michael sets up a bayou-based murder role playing game. No one does distraction like Michael Scott and his constituents; the company may crash and burn, but they’re hell bent (for the most part) to find out if Voodoo Mama JuJu or one of the many other colorful residents of Savannah done the crime.

16. Season six, Episode 12: Scott’s Tots

“Hey Mr. Scott, whatcha’ gonna do, whatcha’ gonna do, make our dreams come true!” If that dream was to own a premium laptop battery, those inner city children were dead right.

17. Season six, Episode 21: Happy Hour

Purely for the rise and fall of Date Mike, who launches pool balls into the air and will stop at nothing to convince his date he’s the greatest thing since card stock.

18. Season seven, Episode 3: Andy’s Play

Andy puts on a performance of Sweeney Todd at a local theater, but his boss and coworkers are the object of attention more often than not. How did Michael not land a role after reading off an entire episode of CSI in his audition?

19. Season seven, Episode 10: China

Michael fools Oscar just enough with a few rehearsed facts on China’s rise to prominence to set up an intellectual battle over coffee. In an attempt to topple Oscar’s know-all attitude, Michael is prepped by a few members of the office like Rocky Balboa training to fight Apollo Creed.

20. Season seven, Episode 21: Michael’s Last Dundies

Deangelo Vickers (Will Ferrell) takes a bit of the spotlight in what I deem as his funniest moments on the show.  The final iteration of the Dundies is a can’t-miss spectacle replete with changing loyalties, embarrassment and plenty of menial recognition. There’s even a heartwarming moment at the end to commemorate Michael’s run as creator/host of the beloved awards ceremony.

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