Even with 201 episodes airing (and re-streaming), TV lovers know you can never get enough of Greg Daniels’ Emmy-winning sitcom for NBC.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2022 and has been updated several times since then.
It’s hard to believe it took network TV audiences more than a full season to absorb the searing brilliance of Greg Daniels’ “The Office.”
On March 25, 2005, the pilot episode of the mockumentary about a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania, debuted to just over 11 million viewers in the United States. The show did not receive immediate acclaim, with many TV critics arguing that the so-called remake did not prove itself sufficiently in Season 1.
Yes, the historical NBC sitcom at first seemed like little more than a spin-off of the popular British series created in 2003 by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. But for audiences lucky enough to catch the show in the streaming era, knowing that and its myriad talents (Mindy Kaling! BJ Novak! Rainn Wilson! John Krasinski!), Dunder Mifflin’s lovable goofs will have us reeling.
Eight years and a total of nine seasons, “The Office” continues to develop its uniquely charming voice to become an engaging, clever, laugh-out-loud comedy with watchful weekly viewers. It received 42 Emmy nominations and five wins, including the 2006 Outstanding Comedy Series statuette. The comparison with its British counterpart is lacking.
For many decades and for most shows (especially half-hour comedies), these performances were the pinnacle of prime-time success. Since the advent of binge-viewing, however, basic series have benefited from younger viewers who can experience art on a timeline independent of broadcast. As such, “The Office” has become a cross-generational landmark for TV lovers.
The best “The Office” episodes endure because they capture what made the series so universally rewatchable: an unmistakable mix of sweetness and cleverness that rewards long-distance roadies with a charming transition and some of the best one-liners ever written. (For starters, see “I’m Not Superstitious; I’m Just a Little Incredulous…” and “Identity Theft Is No Joke, Jim!”)
From first kisses and furtive glances to outrageous pranks and surprise promos, here are the 25 best episodes of “The Office.” (Note: For ranking purposes, two-part episodes were counted as a single part.)
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