Here it is ladies and gentlemen – this is where The Office became one of the best comedy shows of all time. Rarely has a leap in quality between seasons been so enormous!
Before I rank every episode, here are a few of my related blog posts:
22 – Christmas Party
A fan-favourite episode, yet I have “Christmas Party” in dead last for the season. I can already tell die-hard Office fans are going to hate this ranking …
I just find the Secret Santa swap to be far too cringy and mean, and Michael is in a particularly cynical and unfunny mood all episode.
21 – The Carpet
The most filler episode in the entire season.
After someone leaves Michael a “present” in his office, everyone ends up swapping desks. Michael is in another cynical mood when he cancels the sales competition, Jim is caught between Ryan and Kelly, and when the “package” was revealed to be from Packer it just gets swept under the rug.
I almost put this last, but the voicemails that Pam left Jim made for an endearing end to the episode.
20 – Halloween
I know for a fact that a lot of The Office’s Halloween episodes down the line are lots of fun, so this one feels quite dull and mean-spirited in hindsight.
Michael has to fire someone, and all of the interactions end up being quite bitter. The saving graces are definitely Dwight’s costume and the mock firing between Jim and Michael – “Aaaaaaargh I’m gonna kill myself!”
19 – Take Your Daughter to Work Day
Not a bad episode, but not as funny as I would’ve wanted it to be. Michael’s realisation that he doesn’t have a wife or kids yet is good for his character development, but I feel more sad for him than amused.
The best parts are definitely Stanley yelling at Ryan as well as Michael choosing “LittleKidLover” as his dating profile username.
18 – The Fight
A bit of a filler / nothing episode in the grand scheme of things, but there were enough jokes in “The Fight” to keep me engaged.
The titular fight is fun, and the first half where Michael keeps phoning Ryan and not signing reports is funny.
17 – Boys and Girls
Michael holds a “Men in the Workplace” seminar to combat the women, and it goes as badly as you’d expect.
The warehouse gets trashed, the workers want a union, and Pam’s dreams of being an artist get encouraged by Jim.
16 – Valentine’s Day
Michael’s escapades in New York are definitely the best part of this episode – the Conan cameo is fun, his video in the board meeting is amazing, and you can tell Steve Carell is having a blast the whole time.
I also like the B-plot of Phyllis getting a mountain of flowers, and Michael and Jan share a secret kiss.
15 – The Fire
Office fans really love this episode, but “The Fire” is a little too small-scale for me to properly enjoy it.
The “who’d you rather” game is just as awkward as you’d expect, and Dwight rushing into the building to retrieve Michael’s phone – which was actually in his pocket all along – is a top moment.
14 – The Secret
To be fair, what did Jim expect to happen when he told Michael his big secret?
The updog cold open is fun, Dwight investigating Oscar’s “sick” day is fantastic, and Michael taking Jim to Hooters to get over Pam is a classically tone-deaf Michael idea.
13 – Dwight’s Speech
The stuff at the office is pretty good – the football cold open is alright and the fight over the thermostat is one that any office worker can relate to – but it’s the Dwight stuff that takes the cake.
Michael stalling the crowd is painfully funny, and I can’t believe Dwight’s fascist speech actually worked.
12 – Office Olympics
One of the best premises for the season, “Office Olympics” doesn’t necessarily have the jokes but it has the heart.
All of the office competing in make-shift events is lots of fun, and Michael buying a condo with Dwight’s accompaniment serves the laughs.
11 – Michael’s Birthday
You might say I’m hypocritical for putting “Michael’s Birthday”, one of his most cynical episodes, so high when I hated “Christmas Party” for that exact reason, but I think the dark humour works here.
He’s delightfully insufferable whilst Kevin waits for his skin cancer diagnosis, and I love how he keeps taking it out on Toby. This is also the return of Carol the realtor, setting up Michael’s next big love interest.
10 – Drug Testing
Dwight-focused episodes are usually some of the stand-outs of the season, and “Drug Testing” is no exception.
His interviews are amazing, and I love his breakdown when he’s forced to give Michael his urine (a sentence I never thought I’d write …). The sub-plots of Jim’s impressions as well as him getting jinxed also work well.
9 – E-Mail Surveillance
Like with many episodes of The Office, Michael Scott carries “E-Mail Surveillance” on his back.
He gets in a strop when he realises he wasn’t invited to Jim’s barbeque, his improv class shenanigans are hilarious, and meanwhile the Dwight / Angela relationship takes a definitive step.
8 – The Client
“The Client” has it all – a Tim Meadows cameo, the introduction to Threat Level Midnight, and a cute Jim / Pam moment where they watch the fireworks and share some music.
The other thing this episode has going for it is Michael and Jan – it’s always fun to see Michael actually excel at being a salesman, and their kiss at the end was a tease of storylines to come.
7 – Performance Review
Fun fact about that fitness orb cold open – it was supposed to deflate slowly, so when it popped immediately and Dwight thumped to the floor you can see Jim duck out of frame to hide his laugher.
“Performance Review” also has a classic Jim prank where he makes Dwight forget which day it is, and the suggestion box – as well as Michael’s delusion that Jan is into him – make for a great A-plot.
6 – The Dundies
A great season opener, “The Dundies” served as a better series pilot than the actual pilot ever did.
There’s a sub-plot about a rude message on the women’s bathroom wall, but the main attraction is definitely The Dundies itself – the humour is awkward, the Pam / Jim stuff is adorable, and it ends up being quite wholesome by the end. The kind of uplifting tone the first season was sorely missing.
5 – Booze Cruise
While “Booze Cruise” doesn’t necessarily have the jokes-per-minute ratio of some of the other strong episodes, the individual moments are what makes it stand out.
Dwight’s stuff in the vending machine is a great prank, Michael’s dance is amazing, Pam sets a wedding date, and Jim has a surprisingly tender heart-to-heart with Michael.
4 – Conflict Resolution
Michael thinks he can do a better job than HR of resolving employee disputes. That premise alone guarantees comedy gold.
The ID photos lead to chaos, Michael lists out the various pranks on Dwight and Jim starts to doubt himself, and at the end Jim considers a transfer to another branch.
3 – The Injury
I wouldn’t be surprised if many people had “The Injury” as their favourite episode of the season – the jokes-per-minute barrage is staggering, and the comedy gets turned up to eleven more times than not.
Michael burning his foot while cooking morning bacon is a classic Michael Scott blunder, him sticking said foot in the scanner is amazing, and Dwight’s concussion / personality change is definitely a highlight of the season.
2 – Sexual Harassment
“Sexual Harassment” is such a long, pleasing episode, one that always leaves me satisfied and smiling.
This episode boasts the first proper usages of Todd Packer, Michael’s hatred of Toby and the legendary “that’s what she said”. I also really like the scene where Dwight confides in Toby about female anatomy.
1 – Casino Night
The season finale, and easily one of the best episodes of the series. “Casino Night” has all of the comedy you could ever hope for, as well as a heaped serving of heart.
Michael does a legendary rant at Toby, Jim convinces Dwight that he has telekinesis, both Jan AND Carol turn up at Michael’s request, and the last scene where Jim and Pam kiss is one of the most feel-good moments in sitcom history.
Season Rating: A-
This season was a phenomenal step up from the first – not only have the characters and comedy found their footing, but the Jim / Pam will they / won’t they carries even the dullest of episodes.
Let’s look at the stats for the season:
- 3A (14%)
- 15B (68%)
- 4C (18%)
And the stats for the series so far:
- 3A (11%)
- 17B (61%)
- 8C (29%)
Aaaand that’s my list! You can check out some of my latest blog posts below:
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