Every day there’s a new show on some OTT platform that everybody’s raging about. There are either dragons or some time-travel sci-fi mirch masala or a female-centric drama that’s usually pegged as the next ‘Gone Girl’. The latest trend is the much-tweeted about crime-drama series about a serial killer who already has too many shows dedicated to him. And when there are so many options, you know what happens? I get overwhelmed and go back to the same 7 shows I have watched at least 700 times each. And one of those is The Office (US).
While I could list all the shows that I’ve watched several times, (trust me, there are LOTS. I have a problem) the one that stands out for me is The Office. Oh so basic, amirite? Well, that might be the case but there’s no denying the fact that the sitcom was the perfect blend of good comedy writing, wholesome characters, some drama (well, not Succession-level drama but still) and relatability.
The show has reached a level of success where you can’t escape it in daily life. You’ll see a Michael Scott going “NO NO NO!” GIF in your WhatsApp group the next time you cancel a plan. Or the next person you come across on Hinge is going to be looking for the Jim to her Pam. Or the 50 dudes who are all about “Bears. Beats. Battle Star Galactica.” So here’s a little something to get you started. And soon you will be part of our cult. Soon. Or not. Regardless, you’ll enjoy the show. And Winter is here anyway. Curl up and get on with that binge session!
Gay Witch Hunt (Season 3, Episode 1)
Before Michael Scott (Steve Carell) evolved into the loveable oblivious dope that he is, his character heavily relied on pushing the boundary to the point where it was uncomfortable to witness the cringe. There are multiple instances that come to mind including when he breaks out his alter-ego Prison Mike—the guy who had to fight away the dementors in prison. But this season 3 premiere takes the cake when we’re talking about “Michael goes too far” moments.
The boss quite literally drags one of his employees—Oscar Martinez—out of the closet before conducting a meeting to… educate fully grown adults about homosexuality?
The Injury (Season 2, Episode 12)
It was early on in the second season of the show that the writers had to pivot from the UK version’s source material and come up with their own. It’s during this time that the Michael Scott we know and love was formed. One of the many instances where Scott thinks he has come up with an ingenious idea is showcased in this epic 20-minute episode. How do you burn your foot while making bacon? And how does your rescue squad end up getting a concussion? All your questions will be answered. Just watch.
Diversity Day (Season 1, Episode 2)
Steve Carell recently said that he doesn’t think The Office would be as successful if it were released today given the current sensibilities. This episode encapsulates that statement. A masterclass in how NOT to behave in the office, this episode from the show’s first season is directly inspired by the UK edition. We see Scott in top-notch non-PC form taking over a diversity seminar. Jim (John Krasinski) is too busy trying to close a deal. And Dwight (Rainn Wilson) is just being Dwight.
Here’s a little taste of the chaos from a season 6 episode that has similar energy.
Stress Relief (Season 5, Episodes 14 & 15)
Peak chaos is achieved in this two-parter from season 5. In one of the most memed scenes from the show’s history, Dwight does something that is so quintessentially Dwight that it gives Stanley a literal heart attack. Cut to, everyone is talking about stress relief. And what’s the solution? That’s right. A good ol’ fashioned comedy roast. Of Michael Scott. Because he’s the centre of everything in his universe.
Michael Scott Paper Company (Season 5, Episode 23)
“It’s Britney, bitch,” says Scott at the beginning of the episode. And to keep true to the statement he goes ahead and “does it again”. Does what? He quits his job for one of his altruistic escapades and starts his own paper company. Well, what could go wrong when you have Michael “Prince of Paper” Scott, receptionist Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) who has zero sales experience and intern-turned-CEO-turned-intern Ryan Howard (BJ Novak) on the team? Turns out, a lot. Especially when Idris Elba is putting his economics degree (please tell me you got that Wire reference) to good use at Dunder Mifflin.
This episode proves that even though Scott might make stupid decisions, he’s always looking out for his people. Watch the episode to know what we’re talking about.
Business School (Season 3, Episode 16)
TV shows have had a long-running history of having characters who just fall ass-backwards into extremely lucky situations. Case in point—Charlie Harper from Two and a Half Men, Kramer from Seinfeld, Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother and… Michael Scott. Is there any other way to put it after the trainwreck of a speech he gives in front of a room full of Business Studies students? Not to forget the genius who invites him in the first place—Ryan Howard. He’s made many stupid decisions throughout the show, including the one where he’s fired for fraud, but this one has a special place in the Hall of Fame.
Gossip (Season 6, Episode 1)
“Parkour!” One of the best cold opens from the show’s run, believe it or not, the episode gets even better. In classic fashion, Scott goes ahead and creates a problem for himself which never existed in the first place. All to get the approval of some lousy interns. And what follows? A series of lies to cover up this potentially life-altering gossip, which he started in the first place, about one of his employees. We can’t do this one any justice. It all culminates into a complex game of 2 Truths and a Lie.
Garage Sale (Season 7, Episode 19)
While the show has always given us maximum LOLs per minute, they also sneak in some “awws” from time to time. And this one is even more wholesome given that there are four people who are helping Michael with his marriage proposal. It’s especially difficult when they’re trying very hard to keep his mind from wandering off into “will you marry me?” written in gasoline territory.
While this is happening, Dwight is on a special mission at the garage sale. I often wonder how weird/amazing/annoying will it be to have an actual Dwight for a colleague.
Dinner Party (Season 4, Episode 9)
Michael’s relationship with his ex-boss Jan Levinson is as dysfunctional and toxic as it gets. And in this episode, the writers slowly but surely strip off the many layers to showcase the problems with this couple. An awkward dinner is the perfect setting for them to discuss their many problems in front of their coworkers. Jan’s candle making, Michael’s interior design choices and the many vasectomies that led to the golden dialogue, “Snip, snap! Snip, snap!” We can’t give any more away. So pull out those plasma screens and get watching!
All episodes are available to stream on Netflix.