The Most Important Episodes Of 'The Office'

Voting Rules
Vote up the episodes that mattered the most to the series overall.

There are few things in life as critical as deciding which are the most important Office episodes - or what shows like The Office you're going to watch to fill the void it leaves when you finish. This groundbreaking comedy series brought office hijinks into the mainstream and it also gave viewers the gift of "that’s what she said." You probably have a favorite season of The Office and are aware of the episodes with the most cringe-worthy moments and the ones with the most emotional stories. But these are the most important episodes, the ones that defined the series. 

Over the course of nine seasons, The Office introduced us to some of the weirdest and most lovable characters in television history. Even The Office characters that didn’t get a lot of screen time inspired far out fan theories, while deskmates like Jim and Dwight changed us as people. Admit it, you never really thought about beets until Dwight brought them to your attention. If there was an episode of The Office that changed your life, it was probably one of these. (And if you're a fan of the British version, check out our list of the funniest episodes of The Office (UK).

Photo: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

  • 1
    334 VOTES

    Goodbye Michael (Season 7, Episode 22)

    Goodbye Michael (Season 7, Episode 22)
    Photo: NBC

    If you weren't in tears by the end of this episode, then you need to get your eyes checked, because "Goodbye Michael" is a doozy. Michael commits to leaving Scranton forever a day earlier than he's led his employees to believe, so he spends the rest of the episode giving personal goodbyes to everyone. 

    Along the way, he plays paintball with Dwight, tells Erin that she doesn't need Gabe or Andy, and shares an intimate off-mic conversation with Pam that really underlines the fact that this was the final time we'd see Michael Scott in any major capacity. 

    Michael officially leaving The Office marked a huge change for the series as a whole. He was the emotional center of the series, and the show never really recovered from his departure.

    334 votes
  • 2
    298 VOTES

    Casino Night (Season 2, Episode 22)

    Casino Night (Season 2, Episode 22)
    Photo: NBC

    Has there been a season finale as crazy as "Casino Night?" Sure, nothing catches on fire and nobody loses a limb, but Jim and Pam FINALLY kiss. After a night of gambling with the proceeds going to "Afghanistanis with AIDS," Jim and Pam find themselves in the dim light of the office where they share a kiss before the episode cuts to credits. 

    As if that weren't stressful enough, Michael manages to invite both his realtor, Carol, and Jan, his boss with whom he recently shared a kiss. Watching Michael severely bungle any chance at a romantic life with either of these women (or so the audience thinks) is difficult. 

    Along the way, Ryan also has to order the most embarrassing drink in history for Kelly, a Seven and Seven with eight maraschino cherries, sugar on the rim, and blended. At least you know what to drink at your next Office theme night.

    "Casino Night" created lingering questions for the audience, and it proved the show had more to offer than a lanky guy looking into the camera and shrugging. 

    298 votes
  • 3
    293 VOTES

    Niagara (Season 6, Episodes 4 And 5)

    Niagara (Season 6, Episodes 4 And 5)
    Photo: NBC

    When Jim and Pam finally tie the knot, it's a culmination of one of the greatest television love stories of all time. While lesser shows would have rushed the love story of their main characters, it took three seasons for these two to actually get together, and they spent two seasons making everyone sick with their love. By Season 6, it was time to bind them in holy matrimony. 

    This two-parter has pretty much everything you could want out of The Office: romance, Michael acting like a jerk, Dwight hooking up with one of Pam's friends, and a weird bit with Kevin where his shoes are thrown out by the hotel staff for being disgusting. There's even a recreation of a YouTube video that will make you tear up in spite of the fact that it's one of the cheesiest things the show has ever done. 

    293 votes
  • Dinner Party (Season 4, Episode 13)
    Photo: NBC

    In what is essentially a hilariously cringe-worthy one-act play, "Dinner Party" takes the main cast out of the office and locks them in Michael and Jan's condo during the world's worst dinner party. After they get tricked into attending the dinner, Jim and Pam not only have to suffer the dense passive-aggressive anger of their boss and his girlfriend, but they have to do it with Andy, Angela, Dwight, and Dwight's childhood babysitter. Yikes. 

    As intensely stressful as this episode is, it introduced fans to the amazingly bad song by Jan's former assistant, Hunter, and it gave us a look into just how terrible Michael and Jan's relationship really was. Like your favorite horror movie, this is an episode you'll want to watch over and over again - even if it's through your fingers. 

    302 votes
  • The Dundies (Season 2, Episode 1)
    Photo: NBC

    Season 2 starts with "The Dundies," an episode that centers around Michael Scott's office awards show that he hosts at Chili's. There are only a few problems - Dunder Mifflin is refusing to pay for drinks and food, no one in the audience cares about the awards, and the townies heckle Michael Scott mercilessly. 

    In spite of the setbacks, or rather because of them, this episode pops off in a way that no prior episode could. We get to see how the employees of the Scranton branch care about each other more than they want to admit when they eventually band together and try to have a good time. 

    Finally, the Office writers gifted the audience with both the concept of "second drink" and "drunk Pam." 

    257 votes
  • The Merger (Season 3, Episode 8)
    Photo: NBC

    Season 3 starts with a major shock to the system - Jim is no longer working at the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin. After his failed kiss with Pam, he takes a higher salaried position in Stamford, breaking up two of the greatest television duos of all time. The break doesn't last for long; Stamford folds and Jim returns to his old stomping grounds with new employees in tow.

    The episode brings Jim and Pam back together - as well as Jim and Dwight - and introduces new staff who aren't used to Michael Scott's special management style. Most of the employees bail after Michael makes them sit on an elevated platform above the Scranton crew, but even those that stick around still leave before the season is done. 

    It's clear by the end of "The Merger" that as weird as Michael is, the employees of the Scranton branch are just as warped as their boss for putting up with him. 

    226 votes