Two months and nine seasons later, I can now say I have watched every single episode of “The Office” and have zero regrets about the most intense binge I’ve ever done. If “Seinfeld” and “Friends” were the pinnacle of sitcoms in the late 90s/early 2000s, “The Office” was the first great comedy to come out of the mid-2000s/early 2010s. Its documentary format paved the way for some truly fantastic modern comedies (“Parks and Recreation,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” the first two seasons of “Modern Family”), and it’s the reason Mindy Kaling has her own show. To cap off my binge, here are my 10 favorite “Office” moments:
*Note: The finale of “The Office” is perfect, and this list could have been filled with 10 moments from that episode alone. But for the sake of fairness to the rest of the show’s 200 episodes, I decided to not include it.
1.) Stanley’s Heart Attack
“No no no no no no! Stanley, you will not die! Stanley, Stanley you will not die! Stanley, Stanley, Barack is president! You are black Stanley! I’m going to give him mouth to mouth.” If I ever have a heart attack, I hope Michael Scott is there to make it racist.
2.) The Scarn
“Threat Level: Midnight” is probably my favorite episode of the entire series. Pinpointing one amazing moment from Michael’s directorial debut is tough. There’s “Go puck yourself,” “Catherine Zeta-Scarn” and Darryl without a beard. But The Scarn dance takes everything to new levels of ridiculous. Michael knew that every great spy movie needs an anthem, and my god, he gave the people what they wanted. This was way better than “Skyfall.”
This covers Jim and Pam’s entire wedding weekend, from Jim accidentally revealing Pam’s pregnancy to her grandmother to Michael hooking up with Pam’s mom. Frankly, the infamous dance is cute, but not what makes this event classic. What elevates this into legendary status is Jim and Pam’s decision to get married before the wedding because they knew everything that could go wrong would. And, I mean, JIM AND PAM FINALLY GOT MARRIED. What more do you need?
4.) Michael’s Proposal to Holly
Doesn’t very little girl dream of being proposed to by a guy using a Yoda voice while being doused by sprinklers? I bet you Holly Flax did. Because she and Michael are perfect together. And if this proposal had gone perfectly, it just wouldn’t have felt right. These two are weird, and their proposal reflected that. Happy trails!
5.) Diversity Day
This episode really showed just how awful every member of the office was in their own special way. Along the way, Michael reenacted a famous Chris Rock bit, Kelly slapped Michael across the face, and Dwight showed off his sheltered upbringing in a classic case of clueless misogyny. Oh, and this gem of a line:
6.) Drunk Darryl Wipes Out
This is a small moment in the grand scheme of things, but man was it funny. Darryl was a character who was always hiding behind a thin, easily-penetrated layer of cool. Beneath the surface lay a weirdo with lots of personal problems, just like the rest of the office. But this was by far Darryl’s most vulnerable moment, when he went from drunk and angry to drunk, happy and crashing through a refreshment table. It was over-the-top in all the right ways and a reminder to watch your liquor at office parties…which is also kind of the underlying message of the entire series when you think about it.
7.) Jim’s Fake Proposal
Jim’s real proposal was pretty low key, especially when stacked next to Michael’s proposal to Holly. The real thing was fine and classic Jim, but this “proposal” was so much better. Everyone watching this episode for the first time must’ve held their collective breath (like I did) when Jim dropped to one knee. Pam’s face certainly sold her surprise. But then it turned out to be a classic Jim prank, and the fact Pam didn’t break up with him on the spot was proof their love was meant to last.
8.) Drunk Pam at the Dundies
Pam is always so prim and proper, you almost never see her let her hair down like this. Leave it to the Dundies to require enough alcohol to let Pam loose. This episode could also be considered the first time Jim and Pam kissed, albeit a schwasted Pam and an amused yet horrified Jim. I think they’d prefer to say casino night was their first official kiss, but in their hearts they knew it was Pam drunkenly slobbering over her future husband.
9.) Kelly Kapoor’s Greatest Line Ever
I relate to this line more than I care to admit. But this is by far Kelly’s best line from the entire series, and it sums her character up perfectly. I also have to assume it’s the moment some TV executive looked at Mindy Kaling and said, “I bet this girl could carry a show.” And the rest is beautiful sitcom history.
10.) Jim’s Hotel Prank
This was tough. Jim’s had some amazing pranks over the years, from sending Dwight faxes from the future to Bears, Beats and “Battlestar Galactica.” But Jim really outdid himself in Tallahassee, trashing his hotel room and framing Dwight for his “murder.” It really goes to show that when Jim applies himself, he can cause some serious havoc. And that for a guy with a wife, two kids and job, he always had way too much free time on his hands.
Bonus: Erin Doesn’t Get It
I needed an excuse to get Erin on this list, because she quietly became the show’s secret MVP with a romance rivaling Jim and Pam’s (before Andy ruined everything in Season 9). She’s at her best when being adorably blunt, and the way she just doesn’t see why Michael is attracted to Holly is Erin at her most Erin. This was the precursor to Ben Wyatt and his lack of appreciation for famous tiny horses on “Parks and Recreation.” As usual, “The Office” is the ultimate sitcom trendsetter.