The Office series finale airs May 16 on NBC as the comedy ends its nine-season run. We picked the nine best episodes that defined the series.
The documentary film crew that set out in 2005 to chronicle life at the Scranton, Pa., branch of the Dunder Mifflin paper company has all the footage they need.
For better or worse, The Office ends its nine-season run on NBC May 16 and will leave us with some brilliant work and characters that will resonate for years. Michael Scott (Steve Carell), Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) reflected and influenced how we perceive our workplaces.
To honor the occasion, our Party Planning Committee picked nine classic episodes — still airing regularly in syndication on TBS and other local networks — that define the series:
The Injury (Season 2)
Michael burns his foot on a George Foreman grill, while Dwight suffers a concussion that temporarily gives him a likable personality. The series found its groove in Season 2, and this episode stands as one of the all-time best.
That’s What He Said: “So, most nights before I go to bed, I will lay six strips of bacon out on my George Foreman grill. Then I go to sleep. When I wake up, I plug in the grill. I go back to sleep again. Then I wake up to the smell of crackling bacon. It is delicious, it’s good for me, it’s the perfect way to start the day. Today, I got up, I stepped onto the grill and it clamped down on my foot. That’s it. I don’t see what’s so hard to believe about that.” — Michael
Initiation (Season 3)
Visits to Dwight’s beet farm were ripe for comedy and usually made for hilarious appearances by Dwight’s cousin Mose. This episode had Dwight trying to haze Ryan by forcing him to take on Mose in a wrestling match.
That’s What He Said: “And just as you have planted your seed in the ground, I am going to plant my seed in you.” — Dwight
The Merger (Season 3)
There’s tension between employees from Stamford and Scranton when the branches merge, and Michael’s efforts to unite the staff further alienate the former Stamford employees.
That’s What He Said: “I’m always thinking one step ahead, like a carpenter that makes stairs.” — Andy
Fun Run (Season 4)
The best example of Michael’s misguided exuberance clashing with the employees’ indifference might be when he organized the Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure.
That’s What He Said: “While I eventually puked my guts out, I never puked my heart out.” — Michael
Dunder Mifflin Infinity (Season 4)
Jim and Pam’s relationship gets outed, newly promoted Ryan tries to bring the company into the digital age, and Michael demonstrates the dangers of technology when he blindly follows his GPS directions and drives into a lake.
That’s What It Said: “Make a U-turn, if possible.” — the GPS navigation system in Michael’s rental car as it slowly submerges
Michael Scott Paper Company (Season 5)
Michael has left Dunder Mifflin to start his own paper company, headquartered in a closet, and he’s taken Pam and Ryan with him as employees. On the verge of packing it in, Pam lands the company’s first client.
That’s What He Said: “Maybe the Michael Scott Paper Company was a huge mistake. I should leave. I should go and start my own paper company. That’ll show ’em.” — Michael
Café Disco (Season 5)
Michael converts the Michael Scott Paper Company office into a coffee bar/dance club, which becomes the world’s hottest office-park daytime disco. It’s a rare episode in which Michael actually manages to unite the staff in something genuinely fun.
That’s What He Said: “You all took a life here today. The life of the party.” — Michael
Niagara (Season 6)
With friends and family causing chaos at their Niagara Falls wedding, Jim and Pam sneak away to have a private ceremony before the festivities.
That’s What He Said: “What an awesome party. The best wedding I’ve ever been to. I got six numbers. One more would’ve been a complete telephone number.” — Kevin
Goodbye, Michael (Season 7)
Moving to Colorado to be with Holly, Michael (for once) tries not to make a big production out of his leaving. Pam meets him at the airport to say goodbye in one of the series’ most emotional moments.
That’s What He Said: “Oh, this is gonna feel so good getting this thing off my chest. … That’s what she said.” — Michael handing his wireless microphone to the documentary crew
Photo: 2012 NBCUniversal, Inc. Credit: Chris Haston/NBC