With around 200 episodes in the Office repertoire, a few were bound to be, shall we say, not as good as the others. Whether it’s lack of plot progression, overly cartoonish antics, or just plain unfunny, here are episodes that fans will think about skipping during their Office marathons.
How did I get this list – Fact: it would be impossible to make a list everyone agreed on, plus The Office was just really solid the first 3 seasons so it’s hard to pick “bad” episodes. I tried to be as democratic as I could and consulted the “Survivor Polls” and posts over at Officetally.com. This list is comprised of the bottom two episodes from Season 1 and the bottom three from Seasons 2 and 3. Go to the bottom of the post to vote!
The Pilot ep 101
I wouldn’t go so far as to say you should completely skip the very first episode, but if you’re new to The Office, or trying to recruit a friend to watch, you may want to put it aside for later. The pilot is basically an Americanized version of the first UK Office episode, causing many critics to initially write off the show as another failed British adaption. Even viewers who haven’t see the UK version are sure to be put off by the dull colors, the lack of secondary character development, and the “meanness” of early Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute.
Saving grace: Despite being one of many elements copied from the UK version, it’s hard not to smile during the “Stapler in Jello” scene.
Hot Girl ep 106
There was nearly no Season 2 after the low ratings of this Season 1 finale. The main plot line is rather thin (hot girl visits the office, seriously, that’s about it) and there’s not really any secondary plot to fill out the episode. Michael comes off as too desperate when he buys a thousand-dollar espresso machine to impress the Katy the purse girl, and having the thick-calf-ruddy-cheeks-loving Dwight be interested such a conventionally attractive and feminine woman feels odd.
Saving grace: Jim and Pam’s commentary as Dwight looks at purses guarantees a giggle from me every time. It’s also fun to see a pre-“Enchanted” Amy Adams as Katy the purse girl.
The Carpet ep 214
A prankster leaves a pile of something incredibly stinky in Michael’s office. It’s kinda funny, but it’s also kinda gross. Michael is more annoying than usual as he is out in the main room for the day. Todd Packer doesn’t even appear on camera and somehow there’s still too much of him. Also, Jim being back in the Annex for the day means no interaction with Pam or Dwight, and really no episode is complete without that.
Saving grace: Jim listening to Pam’s messages at the end of the episode is extremely sweet. Also we finally get some development of Kelly’s character in this episode, and she’s, like, totally awesome.
Dwight’s Speech ep 217
There’s nothing particularly bad about this episode, the only thing I find that makes it not-so-great is the main story lines are somewhat disconnected. Of course I know this episode is about Dwight’s surprisingly successful dictator-like speech, but I always have trouble recalling what the other story lines of this episode were. It doesn’t help that in this episode Jim books a trip to Australia (to avoid Pam’s wedding day), and then it’s never mentioned again.
Saving grace: The conference room scene with the office giving Jim destination suggestions is pretty great.
Take Your Daughter to Work Day ep 218
It’s probably a good thing this isn’t a popular episode because yikes what an overly long title. Even the acronym, TYDTWD, is cumbersome to type out. Anyway, there really isn’t anything particularly bad about this episode, which as the title suggests is about kids visiting the office for the day. On it’s own it’s fine, but when stacked up again all the other great episodes of Season 2 it’s just not as strong. Really the only thing wrong with TYDTWD is that it’s a bit forgettable (even with that acronym).
Saving grace: Michael’s unlikely bond with Toby’s daughter is funny and very sweet.
Diwali ep 305
Typically The Office is best when it stays in the office. Episodes that take place out of the office are pretty hit (Dundies, Booze Cruise) or miss, and unfortunately Diwali just falls on the “miss” side. My problem with this episode is many of the plot points aren’t well explained. Do they really have such an elaborate Diwali celebration in Scranton, PA? Why exactly do Jim, Andy, and Karen need to stay so late again? And what on earth possesses Michael to propose to Carol? (Plus what makes Carol stick around until ‘Benihana Christmas’?)
Saving grace: The conference meeting with ‘culturally explicit images’ is pretty good stuff.
Ben Franklin ep 315
To love The Office is to appreciate it’s awkward, uncomfortable moments, but Ben Franklin had a few too many to truly be enjoyable. It’s borderline painful to watch Pam’s awkward conversation with Jim, and you can feel her confidence plummet when Karen calls her and Jim’s kiss “no big deal”. Meanwhile, the “bachelor party” in the warehouse just gets weird.
Saving grace: The “bachelorette party” with the Ben Franklin impersonator has it’s moments. Also Michael telling Fake Ben Franklin that he’s kind of a sleaze bag is ridiculous and hilarious.
Phyllis Wedding ep 316
There’s nothing new about Michael needing to be the center of attention, but he’s completely out of control in his attempts to make every aspect of someone else’s wedding all about him. It’s disturbing to see Phyllis rip off all of Pam’s wedding ideas with no remorse, and just plain depressing to watch Pam feel so lonely and dejected that she falls back into ex-fiance Roy’s arms.
Saving grace: The cold opener with Jim’s Pavlovian experiment on Dwight is pretty solid. And Dwight and Angela are cute.
So there we are, the bottom 8 of Seasons 1-3 . Now it’s time to vote! Please select which of these were the worst of Season’s 1-3. If your least favorite is not in the list, go ahead and list it in “Other” (make sure it’s from these seasons! There will be polls on Seasons 4-6 and 7-9 posted later!)