The Office was an American TV show that ran from 2005 to 2013. It was a spin-off of a popular British TV show, also called The Office. The show was centered around the happenings of a mid-range paper company called Dunder Mifflin. It featured an ensemble cast, lead by the iconic character of Michael Scott—the clueless general manager of the company.
While famous for its engaging characters and snappy dialogue, it was also famous for its unique “confessional” style of narrative, with characters giving asides to the cameras. Without further ado, let’s revisit a few of the best episodes:
“Diversity Day” was an episode from the first season. The first season got mixed reviews—and deservedly so. While it was a very short season, it was fairly uneven and still trying to find its footing. This episode was the best of the bunch.
The episode opens with Michael Scott in hot water with corporate because of a racist joke he told that was very poorly received by his employees. Unwilling to toe the corporate line on race relations in the workplace, Michael schedules his own diversity seminar that goes awry very quickly. The episode ends with the diversity and tolerance seminar going as planned.
This was a very funny episode, showcasing the interesting characters that make up the ensemble cast while keeping the focus on the blunders of Michael Scott. The general annoyances that the characters have with one another—as typical co-workers in a small business—are inflamed by the petulant and tone-deaf behavior of Michael. Like most seminars and consciousness-raising events in corporate life, the diversity day was about dollars and cents—ones that Michael costs the company when he disrupts the workplace.
“The Injury” was an episode from the second season, which was by far the best season of the series. Every episode was crisp, fresh and highly entertaining. “The Injury,” in particular, was one of the best episodes.
The episode begins with Michael calling Pam, informing her that he needs a ride to work because he accidentally grilled his foot on a George Foreman grill. In a rush to go pick up Michael, Dwight inadvertently has a collision in the parking lot, giving himself a concussion. The rest of the episode features an aggrieved Michael, childishly nursing his superficial injury, while Dwight eventually has to go to the hospital to get treated for his concussion.
“The Injury” is a hilarious bit of comedy and while not particularly clever, it works because it plays on the extraordinarily immature mentality of Michael, as he expects to be waited on hand and foot because of his injury. Michael’s inability to appreciate his own conduct and Dwight’s injury drives a good bit of the comedy, as does his employees’ amusing treatment of him.
The episode took a slightly different arc than other episodes, as it showed a softer and more sympathetic side of Michael Scott at the end.
The episode is—obviously—about Michael’s salespeople, Phyllis Lapin. In order to get six weeks for her honeymoon, Phyllis decides to include Michael in the wedding party. As expected, it goes disastrously, with Michael eventually getting bounced by Dwight from the party. By the end, Michael inadvertently redeems himself by finding a senile relative of Phyllis’ that had gone missing from the party.
While the episode was certainly funny, it showcases how lonely the lives of men like Michael Scott truly are. For all of his crass showboating and shallow ignorance, Michael is a sympathetic character because of how lonely his existence is. His aborted attempts at connecting with others has left him quite alone, as even the unlikable character of Dwight has a “date” at the wedding, while Michael does not.
Gay Witch Hunt
“Gay Witch Hunt” is the first episode of the third season. It involves Michael accidentally outing one of his employees, an accountant named Oscar. The episode involves Michael’s bumbling attempts deal with this faux pas. The climax of the episode is reached when Michael calls one of his infamous meetings and Michael backs himself into a preposterous situation with Oscar.
One could certainly advance the argument that the episode amounts to little more than the celebration of sexual degeneracy, but the episode is more about Michael’s inability to keep his nose out of the business of others.
When faced with Oscar’s homosexuality, Michael takes it upon himself to “help” Oscar, instead of simply moving on. This episode displays the show’s sharp acting and hilarious dialogue, without taking a preachy tone to its politically incendiary content.