My freshman year of college I had multiple people telling me that I needed to watch "The Office." Being the stubborn person that I am, I ignored them and went about proclaiming that nothing was better than "Parks and Recreation," the other hit, NBC mockumentary I was obsessed with my first semester. Now, a month into my junior year of college, I'm happy to say that I have watched and re-watched all 201 episodes of the NBC sitcom. As a self-proclaimed super fan, I thought it would be fitting for my first article to dive into, and rank, all nine seasons of "The Office". WARNING: If you haven't finished the series, there WILL BE SPOILERS in this article. *cue theme music*
9. Season 8 (2011-2012)
Best Episode: Tallahassee, episode 15
Favorite Moment: Jim setting up an elaborate crime scene to convince Dwight and Erin that he "got mixed up with some bad apples."
There are many people who believe that "The Office" should have ended after Michael left. While I don't agree with those sentiments, I can certainly understand why some people might feel that way when it comes to this season. I, for one, firmly believe that there is no such thing as a bad episode of "The Office." However, many of the episodes in this season come very close. The introduction of characters such as Robert California and Nellie Bertram did not really add interesting to the series, and California was not the most likable character to grace "The Office" screen. It was clear the writers were trying hard to be funny, whereas the first seven series seemed to just have the comedy come naturally. The loss of Michael was just too big of a hit to the show and this season shows that.
8. Season 7 (2010-2011)
Best Episode: Goodbye, Michael, episode 22
Favorite Moment(s): The cast serenading Michael after his last Dundies or the talk between Michael and Jim before Michael leaves for Colorado.
It honestly kills me having to rank Season 7 so low because I personally love this season. The "Michael Scott farewell" season has so many good moments full of raw emotion between characters. My favorite moments, listed above, are some of my favorite television moments of all time. However (there's always a however, I know I stink), there are just a bunch of bad moments that outweigh the good. The Gabe/Erin relationship is a sour point for me (Erin and Andy all the way), the reappearance of Todd Packer is always sickening, and the Deangelo Vickers saga (Will Ferrell's three episode guest appearance) was just disappointing. Once again, due to the sentimentality it's one of my favorite seasons, but in the grand scheme of things, I have to put it lower down on my list. Also, shout to Threat Level Midnight because this country deserves a hero like Michael Scarn.
7. Season 9 (2012-2013)
Best Episode: Dwight Christmas, episode 9
Favorite Moment(s): The Jim and Pam DVD or Michael's return for Dwight's wedding.
Season 9 is all about wrapping up story lines of the main characters and there were some hits, but a lot of misses. I must say that Andy Bernard has my favorite character arc of any character ever. Andy started out as my least favorite character when he appeared in Season 3, managed to become my favorite character through Seasons 5-8, and then completed his arc to become my least favorite in Season 9. Jim and Pam start to become frustrating towards the end, Jim in particular. However, the wrap up of smaller characters such Angela, Oscar, Creed, and Kevin were absolutely incredible and helped save this season from the bottom two. This season was a lot better written than its predecessor and "A.A.R.M." and "Finale" are two of the finer episodes of the series.
6. Season 5 (2008-2009)
Best Episode: Stress Relief, episodes 14/15
Favorite Moment(s): The CPR scene during "Stress Relief" or Pam finding out that she is pregnant in the season finale.
Season 5 is a good season of "The Office." However, good doesn't mean interesting. I don't have much to say about this season because this is probably the season I remember the least about. The Michael Scott Paper Company story line is fantastic, the Michael/Holly relationship is interesting, and we find out Pam is pregnant (woot woot!). Other than that there are just not many interesting things going on.
5. Season 1 (2005)
Best Episode: Diversity Day, episode 2
Favorite Moment: Pam falling asleep on Jim's shoulder at the end of "Diversity Day." Adorable.
I love Season 1 of "The Office." It's the beginning of what would go on the be one of the greatest shows of the late 2000's/early 2010's. "Diversity Day" and "Basketball" are still two of my favorite episodes of the entire series. The moment we are introduced to Jim and Pam we are instantly drawn to them as a potential couple, Dwight is a perfect balance of annoying, quirky, and likable, and Michael Scott's uncomfortable sense of humor and excellent narration skills (it is a mockumentary after all) set the show up for success almost instantly. Loses points because it's only six episodes long and the first episode is almost the exact same as the U.K. version.
4. Season 6 (2009-2010)
Best Episode: Niagara, episodes 4/5
Favorite Moment: Michael telling the kids in "Scott's Tots" that he can't follow through with his agreement to pay their college tuition. Uncomfortable Michael Scott at its finest.
Season 6 is so much better than people give it credit for and I will stand by that statement any day of the week. Jim and Pam get married, Jim and Pam have a kid, Michael Scott dating Pam's mom and the hilarity that ensues with that, Michael ruining a bunch of kid's lives, Andy is reaching the peak of his character arc... I could go on for days about the under appreciated aspects of this season. With great episodes such as Niagara, The Delivery, Gossip, Koi Pond, and Scott's Tots, it's hard to believe this season is not as high up on most other rankings I've read. It loses points for introducing Saber, though. I love Kathy Bates. She is one of my favorite actresses whether it's "The Waterboy" or "American Horror Story," I love her. But Jo Bennett and Gabe are two of my least favorite characters to ever stumble onto my laptop screen and it really tanks the second half of the season for me.
3. Season 4 (2007-2008)
Best Episode: Dinner Party, episode 13
Favorite Moment: Jim and Pam's first overnight trip to Schrute Farms and the hilarity that ensues.
Season 4 is a great season of "The Office." Jim and Pam are FINALLY dating after three seasons of torture, we get introduced to Holly, we see the downfall of what happens when you're only interested in somebody because of their boobs (*cough* Michael *cough*) and we see Ryan have, what I consider to be, the best single-season character arc in the entire series. With a dynamite season premier and finale, great episodes along the way such as, "Money," "Branch Wars," and "Dinner Party," Season 4 offers a lot of great moments. Loses points for only being 14 episodes - thanks a lot, Writers Guild Strike.
2. Season 3 (2006-2007)
Best Episode: Beach Games, episode 23
Favorite Moment(s): Michael showing up to Pam's art exhibition, Michael kissing Oscar, and Jim FINALLY asking Pam on a date.
Season 3 is an excellent season. My favorite moment of this entire series happens when nobody, other than Roy, shows up to Pam's art exhibition except for Michael. It is such a touching scene and sincere gesture on Michael's behalf and it's really the first time we get to see that side of him. There are so many great moments and episodes in this season that it would make this, already lengthy, article even longer than it needs to be. You're probably asking, "Why is this ranked second if you have nothing but love for it?". Simple: Karen Filippelli. She rounds out my bottom five least favorite characters from "The Office," along with Gabe, Jo Bennett, Todd Packer, and Charles (the new Regional VP in Season 5).
1. Season 2 (2005-2006)
Best Episode: Casino Night, season finale
Favorite Moment(s): Pam kissing Jim after the original Dundies, the tea pot, Jim convincing Dwight to use Hitler and Mussolini as influences for his speech, Jim telling Pam he's in love with her.
Season 2 is a superb season of "The Office." It boasts the best episode of the entire series, "Casino Night," it has so many good Michael Scott moments, Jim and Pam moments, and Dwight moments, and we really start to see the emergence of these secondary players in the show. This season is such a strong reminder as to why Jim and Pam are my favorite TV couple of all time. I could list what my favorite episodes from the season are, but realistically it's two-third's of the season - another testament to how strong of a season this actually is. This season is truly "The Office" at its finest. It got Steve Carrell his first out of SIX Emmy nominations for his portrayal of Michael Scott, it won the Emmy for "Outstanding Comedy Series," and most important of all, it was the season that won the show's way into our hearts.
If you made it through all of this, kudos to you. This was a lot longer than I originally intended it to be, but once I get going about this show I just can't stop. I love being told that I'm wrong, so if you disagree with anything that I said here feel free to drop me a line in the comments section, or on Twitter at @charlitos22.