If you’ve been on the internet at all in the last 10 years or so, you know that The Office is a cultural staple.
It’s full of side-splitting bits, quotable moments, and wholesome character arcs, so it’s no mystery why it’s so widely beloved. Some episodes are so iconic, in fact, that if you haven’t seen them it’s worth taking a few minutes to educate yourself. Whether you’re a newcomer or a veteran viewer like me, here’s your comprehensive list of the most essential episodes of The Office.
10. FUN RUN (SEASON 4, EPISODES 1 AND 2)
So Michael puts on a charity 5K to raise awareness for a disease that’s already been cured. He also eats an entire bowl of fettuccine Alfredo beforehand. Hilarity ensues.
9. DUNDER MIFFLIN INFINITY (SEASON 4, EPISODES 3 AND 4)
This episode is iconic for two reasons: the lake, and the turtles. Just watch it, you’ll know what I mean. Both are equally astounding and hilarious, and definitely make this episode worth coming back to again and again.
8. CUSTOMER SURVEY (SEASON 5, EPISODE 7)
We get Kelly’s crazy antics. We get Jim and Pam with the world’s tiniest Bluetooth. We get Dwight and Angela’s crazy affair. But what really makes this one hit home for me is the mock phone call between Jim and Dwight. “OUR PRICES HAVE NEVER BEEN LOWER!” Amazing.
7. PRODUCT RECALL (SEASON 3, EPISODE 21)
This episode features the most famous and probably the best cold open. Here we see one of Jim’s best pranks—his impersonation of Dwight—and get one of the most popular quotes in the show: “Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.”
6. THE DUNDIES (SEASON 2, EPISODE 1)
A clear look at how crazy and awkward Michael can be, sure, but it also shows how much he really cares about his job and the people he works with. And drunk Pam is everything.
5. NIAGARA (SEASON 6, EPISODES 4 AND 5)
There are so many great Jim and Pam moments (those deserve their own list, honestly), but this two-parter trumps them all. It’s a sweetness overload that blows all of our relationship expectations out of the water and cements PB&J’s place as one of the best fictional couples of all time. All of their co-workers dancing down the aisle is a pretty great moment, too.
4. THE INJURY (SEASON 2, EPISODE 12)
Because who doesn’t sleep with a George Foreman grill next to their bed? Normal people. This episode features the best of man-child Michael and a concussed Dwight, and it’s an important episode with great goofs and so many quotable scenes.
3. THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT (SEASON 7, EPISODE 17)
Michael’s James Bond ripoff/parody/homage that he wrote, starred in, and produced himself. We get appearances from the entire office as various members of the cast, although nothing will beat Jim as the villain Goldenface in a speed skating suit. It only gets better every time I watch it.
2. STRESS RELIEF (SEASON 5, EPISODES 14 AND 15)
The first five minutes of this episode might be the best in television history. Absolute chaos ensues when Dwight decides to run the office through a hyper-realistic fire drill, which somehow results in a cat falling through the ceiling. And don’t even get me started on the CPR training class. Seriously, don’t miss this one.
1. DINNER PARTY (SEASON 4, EPISODE 13)
Babe, this is hands down the best episode of the show, babe. Not only does it have some of the funniest bits that still make me laugh every time, but this is some of Steve Carrell’s best acting as Michael Scott. It’s also a perfect encapsulation of The Office‘s unmatched balance of the uncomfortable, realistic, and ridiculous. A must watch.
What did you think of our list? Did we forget any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments!