“When in doubt, choose sitcoms”, that’s always been my motto. They are quick to watch, fun to enjoy, and easy to get into. You can call me a slowpoke, as I just started The Office last autumn and spent seven months going through all 9 seasons. It could have been faster, but after several episodes, I decided that this was the show to enjoy properly, not some mediocre stuff to kill time. Until now, I have finished this series for exactly one year, so I guess it’s about time to pay my most favorite sitcom some homage.
Halfway through the second season, I made my mind: The Office was my cup of tea. Watching the show was like enjoying a multi-flavored ice cream: Even though The Office was running for 8 years, it felt like the scriptwriters never ran out of ideas. Each episode offered unique comedy situations, all of them were hilarious, witty, and charming in their own way. Just like a Redditor said, “you will never know what to expect before starting one”.
What is so good about The Office, you ask? How did this series, as old as the hills and freaking lengthy, get nominated for more than 42 Emmy Awards? Well, you are asking the right person! I can talk with you about The Office all day!
Doesn’t it sound exciting? – Source: Giphy
Table of Contents
Why Is The Office The Best Show Ever?
The first thing about the show is that it’s totally relatable.
Yeah, I know that understanding viewers is important for all genres. However, The Office is a mockumentary, which depicts fictional events but presents itself in the form of documentaries and allows characters to interact directly with audiences through the screen. Hence, this aspect becomes even more crucial.
Every character, from timid Vance to persistent Dwight Schrute, would talk to you, ask you questions, and look at you as if you were a part of them. This will turn out to be awkward and cringe if the characters’ personalities and language sound fake, but The Office nailed this concept.
Next thing is, The Office is well-balanced.
Despite being a comedy, there are a lot of emotional moments that will touch your heart, and despite there are many emotional moments, it is still a comedy. If you never watched the show before, take a look at this scene. I believe that the scene alone worths a million of Oscar:
First Aid Fail – The Office
This is one of the most beautiful scenes in the series, filled with love and feelings, and of course, Michael Scott’s inappropriate jokes. No surprise though since he’s that type of Sagittarius after all, just kidding lol. The point is, unlike most sitcoms, The Office will go all the way to build really deep moments between characters, with a touch of humor to remind audiences that it is still a comedy. Within this one single scene that lasts for roughly 234 seconds, you can go through all kinds of emotions and still feel satisfied in the end. That’s The Office.
Last but not least, The Office has an extremely clever way to show the interconnectivity between each season: Ongoing jokes.
A lot of them contribute to the legacy of the show: Michael’s famous quote “That’s what she said”, the consistently horrible yet emotional Dundie Awards, Jim’s high jinks, and so on. Until now, whenever I heard the “That’s what she said” joke, I still think of our Michael Scott. And of course, the meme is just as popular as the phrase itself:
I believe our grandchildren will still use this – Source: Meme Generator
Above are just some of the things that give The Office an overall rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. I can keep going on and on and on about how awesome this show is, but you won’t have time for that. You have to see it for yourself.
Best Season Of The Office – All Seasons Ranked From Worst To Best
As much as I love the show, let’s admit that The Office could not maintain the same tone and quality throughout 9 seasons. That’s inevitable for any long-running show out there. I’ve been avoiding thinking about this for quite some time, but now is time to evaluate each season and decide which one is the best season of The Office.
Below is the ranking of all the seasons, from worst to best, based on their ratings on IMDb, critic scores from Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic, and of course, my personal opinion.
Shortlist Best season of The Office from worse to best:
Season 8 (2011 – 2012)
After the departure of Steve Carell, it came as no surprise that season 8 struggled with ratings, but that’s not the only problem. Seemed like The Office’s scriptwriters also found it hard to fill the void Michael Scott left when they rehashed a plot that was already used when DeAngelo was still manager.
The Office Season 8 – Source: Vulture
There were hardly any outstanding episodes like previous seasons because the plotline itself was already confusing. It mostly surrounded the failure of Sabre store which involved Pam’s maternity leave support and Kathy trying to woo Jim. To me, this is the cheapest way to create dramas between our dearest sitcom couple.
Film critic Andy Greenwald wrote on Grantland that “it’s hard to imagine The Office getting any worse”. His opinion seemed to be a mutual opinion, as season 8 only gained an overall rating of 44% on Rotten Tomatoes. That makes it the worst season of The Office.
However, there were still some sparks. Characters like Pan, which were the soul of the whole series, still shared with us small yet emotional moments. Those reminded audiences why they felt so attached to these people in the first place. Robert California was a quirky addition to the plotline. They didn’t really know what to do with this character, but James Spader was a talented young man who knew exactly how to act on his own.
Season 9 (2012 – 2013)
Season 9 suffered from the loss of half the original cast members. There were only John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and Rainn Wilson remained, and they rounded out the show with new faces. The plot was still all over the place: After evolving from an obnoxious kiss-up with anger issues into an, errrr, endearing dork, Andy struggled in his role as manager and ended up being a jerk. That was a sad turn of events since many viewers were ready to love him. The storyline between Jim and Pam was messed up too: The way it ended was too heartbreaking for the overall tone of The Office.
Fans of this couple won’t appreciate season 9 – Source: Vulture
Old fans of the series still had some relief, though: After all the horrible things Andy did to her, Nellie was finally treated with kindness. Erin tracked down Peter in the end, and their relationship was a sweet compensation to what happened between Jim and Pam.
Season 9 achieved a rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, 64 on Metacritic, and 7.9 on IMDb. There were more heartwarming episodes than season 8, and most critics agreed that it was a fair way to end the series. However, others argued that with the plot and the absence of some original casts, season 9 has lost the overall tone of The Office.
Season 1 (2005)
The first season of The Office was only 6 episodes, and the idea was simple: A documentary crew filming the daily activities of officers at a paper company. Just by reading this, you shall know that the idea was not enough to attract anyone. Furthermore, it was an adaption from British The Office which was aired in July 2001. Comparisons were inevitable. According to movie critic Heather Havrilesky, the problem with this season was its awkwardness. “A staple of the original, rarely works on American TV”, she wrote.
The Office Season 1 – Source: Screen Rant
Since it was the first season, the crew had a hard time adjusting the original plot to suit American audiences. Some of the jokes were triggering in the US, such as the race guessing game. What kept viewers watching were the characters. The childish competition between Jim Harper and Dwight Schrute was downright amusing,
Season 1 received a rating of 62 on Metacritic and 69 on Rotten Tomatoes, slightly higher than season 9. For me, though, I place it higher because it did a fairly good job setting the tone for the following seasons.
Season 6 (2009 – 2010)
In this season, Jim was promoted to co-manager, which is why I placed it here. Considering Jim’s character development, this turn of events didn’t make any sense and messed with the overall plotline.
The Office Season 6 Trailer
Other than that, season 6 turned out fine with the wedding of Jim and Pam. Any fan of The Office would root for this couple, which helped it earn favorable reviews. Another interesting twist was letting Michael date Pam’s mom. This was regarded as “the exact way to humanize Michael” by critics. Overall, the season managed to balance comedy and heart-touching moments in a way that made it an all-fan favorite. Still, some questions arise on IMDb, wondering how much steam The Office had left at this point since most major conflicts were solved.
Season 6 received a rating of 8.2 on IMDb, 78 on Metacritic, and 73% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Season 7 (2010 – 2011)
This was the last season with Michael Scott before Steve Carell left the show. It was clear that Sabre’s new leadership recognized Darryl’s expertise in company problems, so they promoted him and gave him an office upstairs. It meant more Craig Robinson for the fans, which was greatly applauded. Erin and Gabe officially became a couple this season, which set up the ground for comedy. Holly was back, and Michael tried to convince himself that she was his significant other, but she had someone else.
Season 7 was the last season with Michael – Source: Mashable
Fans all knew that Michael and Holly would end up with each other, but the way The Office executed things was still very sweet. Critics were impressed with the exit strategy for Steve Carell. According to them, it showed a lot of compassion both characters and the casts had at the departure of a core face. Still, they gave harsh criticisms to Will Ferrell’s dismissal arc. That harmed season 7’s critical reception in general.
Despite everything, this season still landed in satisfaction. It proved that other cast members were capable of carrying the whole show even without Carell. That surely deserved a rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.3 on IMDb.
Season 2 (2005 – 2006)
After the first season, which created some controversies, The Office started to develop its own characteristics and set itself apart from the British version in season 2. It had a brilliant start with the opening episode, “The Dundies”, and gained a strong fanbase. Since then, The Office was able to maintain tremendous success until the departure of Steve Carell.
The Office Season 2 – Source: Prime Video
The second season mainly focused on the love between Jim and Pam. Some characters didn’t have much chance to shine in season 1 (Jan * cough * Levinson * cough * Gould) but were given more screentime in season 2. Another thing I really loved about this season was Michael’s romantic relationship with his stunning boss. It provided audiences with plenty of hilarious moments.
Relationships might seem a bit complicated at first, but in the end, they were handled neatly. According to Entertainment Weekly, season 2 was the best season of The Office. It received many praises from critics, most mentioned how well the show diversify itself from the original material.
Season 2 scored 100% percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.4 on IMDb, proving its place among fans and movie critics. It was a cool ride, but in terms of plot, I still think it’s a bit weaker than some other seasons.
Season 5 (2008 – 2009)
As you see season 5 in the top 3, can you guess my favorite couple? Yes, I’m a die-hard fan of Michael and Holly. Season 3 officially introduced the relationship between them, and ever since then I was hooked. Other couples were going through major changes: Dwight and Angela slept with each other, even though Angela was engaged to Andy. Meanwhile, Jim made up his mind and asked Pam to marry him.
Shout out to all Michael and Holly’s fans out there! – Source: Screen Rant
Critics favored the Michael Scott Paper Company arc because it allowed Carell to show off his comedic range as a comedian. At the same time, it also provided a much-needed change of pace and environment to help combat the late-season fatigue that often plagued long-running sitcoms. Thanks to this balance, season 5 was marked as the second-highest rating. It received a perfect 100% rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 8.5 on IMDb.
Season 3 (2006 – 2007)
Audiences soon realized the central conflict of season 3 when Jim was seen working in another branch after being rejected by Pam in season 2. Even though Pam couldn’t keep up with her marriage to Roy and she shared mutual feelings with Jim, neither she nor Jim dared to confess. Jim didn’t want to be rejected again, and Pam was simply, well, shy. Fortunately, all of these were solved at the end of season 3.
The Office Season 3 – Source: Reddit
Scriptwriters did a great job writing Pam’s arc, and Jenna Fischer pulled it off brilliantly, which makes season 3 my second favorite. According to movie critic Tad Friend, this season possessed a “near-perfect grasp of tone”. This is what made a TV comedy series successful. It received a rating of 92.5 on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 8.6 on IMDb. Judging from this, we can say that while critics prefer season 5, viewers love season 3 just a bit more.
Best Season Of The Office – Season 4 (2007 – 2008)
For me, season 4 is the best season of The Office. It is also another season that didn’t receive much critical acclaim from critics yet was greatly appreciated by fans.
The Office Season 4 – Source: Deen Of Geek
The season consisted of many long episodes. When Ryan Howard got his dream promotion, he basks in a newfound arrogance. As a couple, Michael and Jan were causing havoc in each other’s lives. Michael Scott could be a lot of things, but his loneliness was what kept him sympathetic despite all of his mistakes.
Critics paid more attention to how the show struggled to maintain dynamics between couples, while fans were excited with all the relationship developments. Just like movie critic Maureen Ryan expressed in the Chicago Tribune, “despite its up and down when it’s on the game, it’s terrific”. Michael might be unlikable for his insecurity, ignorance, and dimwittedness. However, the loyalty and sincerity he showed, in the end, melt the hearts of audiences. This season also gave fans “Dinner Party”, which was the most favorite episode of all time.
The fourth season received a rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.6 on IMDb.
Best Season Of The Office – Conclusion
Above is my opinion about the worst and best season of The Office. Of course, your impression might be different, so just leave a comment below if you agree or disagree with the ranking!
Since 2005, a number of sitcoms sharing the same format as The Office was aired. Being someone who has watched plenty of sitcoms, though, I can confidently say that only a few of them reached the creative peak as this show did. In most of its seasons, especially the early ones, The Office crew showed us how to maximize comedy aspects and storytelling of every frame. Hence, although the last few seasons couldn’t live up to the franchise’s initial success, it still left viewers with the most beautiful memories about television comedy.
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