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The Office, Photo: NBC The Office, Photo: NBC  

Top 9: Best episodes of ‘The Office’ [SLIDESHOW]

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Taylor Bigler
Entertainment Editor

After nine years, it’s finally time to say goodbye to the Scranton, Penn.-based Dunder Mifflin paper company.

It has been a long and oftentimes hilarious journey, but it is time for the employees of “The Office” to go.

While the first five seasons offered some of the best comedy television has ever seen, the last four have seen a slow drop off in quality. But that doesn’t mean we still don’t love Jim and Pam, Dwight and Angela, Michael, Stanley, Ryan, Meredith, Creed, Andy, Toby, Kevin, Angela, Kelly, Erin, etc., etc.

We took a look back at some of the best episodes of “The Office” — even though it was hard to narrow down one per season in some instances. (It wasn’t really a problem in the eight or ninth seasons. Just sayin.’)

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  • Season one, episode two: "Diversity Day." Michael does a racially insensitive Chris Rock bit and the whole staff is forced to undergo a diversity training session. Just seeing the word "Black" written across Stanley's expressionless face makes this the best episode of the first season.
  • Season two, episode 12: "The Injury." There are several great episodes from "The Office's" first full season, including "Dwight's Speech" -- when Jim plays a prank on Dwight that results in him reciting a Stalin speech-- and "Casino Night," when Jim and Pam kiss for the first time. But "The Injury" is a quintessential episode of the series that involves practical jokes, Michael's sheer ridiculousness and his weird pseudo-bromance with Dwight. It's one of the show's best episodes.
  • Season three, episodes 24 and 25: "The Job." Again, there are multiple episodes from season three that are all great -- including the episode right before the finale, "Beach Games." But "The Job" is great because Jim FINALLY makes a move on Pam. Michael, Jim and Karen all vie for a corporate position in New York office of Dunder Mifflin, and they all think that they got the job until they learn that Ryan also interviewed and got the job. Michael tries to break up with Jan, but can't after seeing that she got a boob job. Jim breaks up with Karen at the end of the episode and asks Pam out on a date. It's enough to melt the iciest of hearts.
  • Season four, episode 15: "Night Out." "Survivor Man," when Michael attempts to survive in the woods on his own, is a close runner-up, but "Night Out" is the best episode of this season. Michael and Dwight visit Ryan in New York, who is super friendly because of his cocaine habit, while the rest of the office is stuck in the building all night. Most of the greatest episodes are when most of the characters are in one room the whole time. Also, this one of Toby's greatest episodes, when he decides to move to Costa Rica.
  • Season five, episodes one and 28. "Weight Loss" and "Company Picnic." So this is cheating because this is technically three separate episodes. But we couldn't possibly leave out the first double episode of the season when Jim abruptly proposes to Pam in the rain and then ruins the company's weight loss competition, but we also can't leave out the final episode of the season when Pam finds out she is pregnant. These are two bookends for one great season. ("Business Ethics," when Dwight penalizes the employees for robbing the company's time is a close runner-up.)
  • Season seven, episode four. "Sex Ed." Once Jim and Pam got married and had a kid, the series started to falter. It happens to every show once the tension is gone. Unlike the first six seasons, season seven was less-than-stellar and there are actually only a handful of great episodes even though there were a ton of guest stars. "Threat Level Midnight," the debut of Michael's movie he has been working on since season one, is great because it brought back a lot of old characters. But "Sex Ed" is an episode free of any gimmicks or guest stars, and was just a plain old episode of "The Office." Michael has a cold sore and he learns that it is a form of herpes so he calls all of his former sexual partners to tell them. Andy holds a sex ed seminar to try and get a rise out of Erin. This episode is awkward, awkward, awkward, which is what makes some of the greatest "Office" episodes.
  • Season eight, episode four. "Garden Party." "The Office" really struggled once Steve Carrell left at the end of season seven. In fact, some of the season eight episodes are just plain terrible. But there were still a few moments of true greatness. The entire "Garden Party" episode saved season eight from being a complete failure. Andy has a fancy party at Schrute Farms to impress his parents, who love his younger brother (played hysterically by Josh Groban -- who knew?). In attempt to make it a classy affair, Dwight reads an etiquette book Pam jokingly gives him and hilarity ensues.
  • Season nine, episode 22/ 23: "A.A.R.M." The second-to-last episode of the series felt like it could have been the last. After a pretty painful season of Andy-centric episodes, this episode is finally without Andy and better for it. (No offense, Andy.) "A.A.R.M" was a sweet episode, especially if you are a Jim and Pam believer. After several tense episodes between the two, the Jim and Pam highlight reel was a really touching moment and it was nice to have a dose of that. Dwight and Angela finally get together, and Dwight and Jim finally do to. It was a great way to cap off the series, even though there is one more episode, we can be happy with this one.
  • Season six, episode 12: "Scot's Tots." While "Niagra," Jim and Pam's wedding weekend is one of the funniest episodes of the whole series, it gets a little sappy, plus it's technically two episodes. "Scots Tots" is equally hilarious if not as poignant. Michael had promised a group of 10 students that he would pay for their college tuitions. They are finally seniors in high school, but there is no way Michael can afford this so he gives them laptop batteries instead.

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