The 30 Best ‘The Office’ Episodes, from ‘Casino Night’ to ‘The Alliance’

·2 min read

It’s hard to believe it took network TV audiences more than a full season to pick up on the burning brilliance of Greg Daniels’ “The Office.”

On March 25, 2005, the pilot episode of a mockumentary series about a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania debuted to just over 11 million viewers in the United States. The show wasn’t immediately acclaimed, with numerous TV critics arguing the so-called remake failed to adequately justify itself in Season 1.

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Yes, the history-making NBC sitcom seemed at first like little more than a bastardization of the popular U.K. series, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant in 2003. But for audiences lucky enough to binge the show in the streaming age, already knowing what it and its myriad talents (Mindy Kaling! B.J. Novak! Rainn Wilson! John Krasinski!) would become, the lovable goofs of Dunder Mifflin had us at jello.

Over eight years and a total of nine seasons, “The Office” would steadily develop its singularly charming voice to become an endearing, astute, laugh-out-loud comedy with vigilant weekly viewers. It earned 42 Emmy nominations and clinched five wins, including the statuette for Outstanding Comedy Series of 2006. Comparisons to its British counterpart fell away.

For many decades and for most shows (particularly half-hour comedies), these accomplishments were the pinnacle of primetime success. Since the advent of binge-viewing, however, staple series have enjoyed the benefit of younger viewers experiencing art on an independent timeline from broadcast. As such, “The Office” has become a cross-generational landmark for TV lovers.

The best “The Office” episodes endure because they capture what has made the series so generally rewatchable: its unmistakable blend of sweetness and smarts, rewarding long-haul fans with a charming through-line and some of the best one-liners ever written. (See “I’m not superstitious; I’m just a little stitious…” and “Identity theft is not a joke, Jim!” for starters.)

From first kisses and stolen glances to outrageous pranks and surprise promotions, here are the 30 best episodes of “The Office,” including “Murder,” “Business School,” “Money,” and more. Please note that, for the purposes of this ranking, two-part episodes have been considered as single installments.

[Editor’s note: This article was initially published in August 2022 and has been updated multiple times since.]

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