Best Episode of the Office (US) Ever

Those who frequent this site know I like to talk the Worst Episode Ever of a number of TV shows. But at the end of the day I am not a Negative Nancy I am a Positive Patrick and as such it is only fair that I discuss the best episodes of beloved TV shows as well. In 2005, veteran TV writer Greg Daniels assembled a motley cast and crew to do the unthinkable, adapt the British masterpiece the Office for an American audience. In the outside world nobody had faith in this endeavor especially when the pilot episode was merely a less funny version of UK Office‘s first episode. But with time the those making this show began to find their groove and when the second season hit the elements which would make the Office a fan favorite began to fall into place. It started with having star Steve Carell make Michael Scott into a far more likable character. The rest of their cast also began to be fleshed out and the writers brought their A-game to each script. It was not long before the Office went from being the little show that could into a critical darling and eventually into a force of pop culture just as popular now as it was when it was at its peak. Granted the latter seasons saw the quality dip drastically but that did little to diminish the reputation of the sitcom as a whole. When deciding on what the best episode of the Office was I was torn between “the Dinner Party” and the one I ultimate chose, “the Injury” But ultimately I went with “the Injury” because while “the Dinner Party” is great this episode takes place in the actual office the show is named for.

A usual day in the Dunder Mifflin bullpen is interrupted when Michael Scott calls in incredible distress because he has burned his foot….on his George Foreman grill. While everyone else is amused by this unlikely turn of events, Dwight takes it upon himself to come to his boss’ rescue and in the process gets a concussion. This leads to delightful moments between he and Pam. Michael spends the day wallowing in agony as everyone else tries to go on about their business. Incensed that he is not receiving the pity he feels he is due, he calls a conference room meeting where a person with an actual handicap is forced to deal with Michael’s delusions. It all comes to a hilarious climax with a trip to the hospital to take care of the injured Dwight.

The management style of Michael Scott is to create a culture where everyone within Dunder Mifflin views the office as a familial environment. Of course if Phyllis, Jim, Angela, Stanley, etc are one big happy family then Michael is of course the patriarch who is to be loved and adored. Lacking friends and family in his real life, Michael has in a sense substituted his coworkers in the roles others should fill. The problem is nobody else in the office sees things this way. So when the branch manager gets hurt during an act of patented Michael Scott-stupidity his expectations that those in his professional life will rush to his aid are dashed. This leaves him both genuinely angry and hurt and everyone has to suffer for it. Of course being the gifted actor that he is, Steve Carell gives a top tier comedic performance in “the Injury”. The talking head where he explains how he grilled his foot is delivered to perfection, he is so matter-of-fact about how he has to cook himself bed and breakfast because he does not have a butler. He is hilariously exasperated that this is something he has to explain. During the memorable scene where he falls in the bathroom and desperately calls for Ryan to help him contains a good number of ad libs from the Golden Globe winner. As good as he is in this episode, Rainn Wilson is just as good as the Bizzaroworld Dwight. He is funny, flirty, and the total opposite of everything his character is supposed to be. I defy anyone not to crack up when he stares at Creed and calls him “Dad?”

This episode is the perfect example of the Office at peak form. Under the pen of credited writer Mindy Kaling every single joke lands to perfection. With a simple and ridiculous set-up Kaling weaves an entire hilarious episode with everything stemming from this single event. She understands the strength of each character and plays perfectly to that with how they react when the boss has his foot grilled in a George Foreman grill. Whether it is Michael being a drama llama or Jim filling just a tinge of jealousy that his crush and his arch-nemesis are now being buddy-buddy. Her script is packed with several lines which have ingrained in the memories of Office fans. Especially Stanley’s saying Michael’s bubble wrap cast looks like “Mailboxes Ect.”

If “the Injury” is not the funniest episode of the Office it is damn near close to it. Everybody from the cast and crew brings their A-game to this one. With the acclaimed sitcom seeing a recent resurgence in popularity this is one episode which is proving once again to be a favorite among a new generation of fans.