It has been almost 13 years since the first episode of the American version of The Office has aired on NBC. The program started as a reboot of the British comedy with the same title created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, but would move on to become a longer-running, and more successful series. Both versions are equally loved by audiences on both sides of the world.
Since 2005, The Office has turned into more than just a comedy series about white collar office workers at a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Office has become one of the most iconic series to date, with relatable quotes and a variety of memes for every situation. From displaying your love for bears, beets, and Battlestar Galactica, to sharing your personal disdain for a certain HR representative - The Office anticipates your meme-needs.
While many of the best jokes are punchy one-liners, others have gone on and on for seasons. No matter how often we rewatch the often dramatic stories revolving around Michael, Dwight, Jim and company, our favorite running gags remain the backbone of the series. So read on to revisit The Office: 20 Insanely Long Running Jokes.
20 That's What She Said
Michael Scott is the heart of the series. Without his often insensitive and downright inappropriate remarks, the show would not be the same. His remarks are completely out of place in a professional environment, but man do they make us laugh.
A fan favorite, and the longest running joke on The Office period is his remark “That’s what she said.”
Michael uses this line continuously throughout the series to add a suggestive undertone to the dialogue in the office. In the season two episode “Sexual Harassment,” the employees review the policies and find that Michael’s line is considered harassment. This prompts Jim to go on a tangent: “Wow, that is really hard. You really think you can go all day long? Well, you always left me satisfied and smiling”. There really was only one way for Michael to respond.
19 Jim's Pranks On Dwight
Throughout the years, the audience witnessed Jim playing countless pranks on his desk buddy Dwight. Jim has shown his true colors from the start, quickly establishing their rivalry in the pilot. His very first pranks included putting Dwight’s stapler in jello, but he later went on to put his entire stationery in the vending machine, and tricked him into thinking he was part of a CIA mission.
However, one of the best pranks occurs in one of the later seasons of The Office. In the season nine episode “Andy’s Ancestry,” Jim and Pam ask their asian actor friend, Steve, to take Jim’s place for a day. They go as far as replacing pictures to pull off this coup, and eventually manage to make Dwight question himself.
18 Angela's Cats
Everybody adores their pets, but Angela Martin takes the love she has for her furry friends a bit too far. Not only does she own at least 15 cats throughout the series, but she goes above and beyond to protect them - for example when she saved Bandit from the fire in the office in season five.
“If you pray enough, you can change yourself into a cat person.”
Her obsession with cats goes even further: she sells her engagement ring from Andy to buy Princess Lady, a $7,000 cat, and also names her son after her favorite cat, Philip. Angela has also freely admitted to liking cats better than people, and judges Oscar for being a dog person in season nine.
17 Michael's Hatred For Toby
In every office there is that one person you simply cannot stand. For Michael, that person is HR representative Toby Flenderson. All throughout the series, Michael bullies Toby into submission either by yelling at him, embarrassing him in front of the whole office, or even threatening to end his life. Michael’s harshest statement to date? “If I had a gun with two bullets, and I was in a room with Hitler, Bin Laden, and Toby, I would shoot Toby twice.”
Apparently Michael’s hatred of Toby relates to his agenda of making the office lame, but Toby never seems to respond to the hate he receives. For a short time, Michael is able to replace Toby as HR rep with Holly, who he promptly falls in love with. However in season five, Holly is transferred to Nashua and Toby returns.
16 Kelly and Ryan's Relationship
Most romantic relationships have their ups and downs, but Ryan Howard and Kelly Kapoor’s rollercoaster romance is a bit too much to handle. What initially started as a fling, at least for Ryan, would turn into one of the longest running gags of the series. Kelly has always voiced her interest in a more exclusive relationship with Ryan, while he would break it off on a whim as he saw fit.
Throughout the series the two break up and make up several times.
Ryan left for New York, then Kelly started dating Daryl, Ryan came back and they became a will-they-won’t-they couple, before Ryan left again for Thailand, and Kelly started dating Ravi. It is only in the final episode that they run away together.
15 Andy's A Capella Group
As if anyone could forget, Andy Bernard attended the Ivy League college Cornell, and during his studies was an active member of an a capella group. Not only does he constantly mention his vocal talent on the show, we even get a glimpse or two of the musical group. For one, Andy uses their services in season four to serenade Angela, and the season nine episode fittingly titled “Here Comes Treble”, focuses entirely on the group.
In this episode, Stephen Colbert guest stars as Broccoli Rob, a former classmate and member of the a capella group, who turns out to be Andy’s biggest frenemy. Prior to his appearance in the final season, Broccoli Rob had been mentioned several times, for example in relation to a rumor that Andy was gay.
14 Jim Staring Directly Into The Camera
Some television shows are very conscious not to break the fourth wall - The Office is not one of those. The program is very deliberately following the format of a documentary, with separate individual interviews for each staff member thrown into the mix.
No other occurrence has become such a staple of the series than Jim staring directly into the camera.
Urban Dictionary defines “The Jim Look” as an expression “usually seen when Michael does something ridiculous; or after a successful prank on Dwight; sometimes in look of desperation of normalcy.” Jim even gives his first stare into the camera as early as in the pilot episode after putting Dwight’s stapler in jello, and continues to do so throughout all nine seasons.
13 Assistant To The Regional Manager
Dwight K. Schrute is nothing if not persistent. He is ambitious, enduring, and hard-working, which has earned him the title of top salesman year after year. However, there is one thing that Dwight couldn’t seem to reach, career-wise. While being Michael’s right-hand man throughout the first few seasons of the series, he remains the Assistant TO THE Regional Manager, rather than the Assistant Regional Manager.
It’s an important distinction for both Michael and Dwight, as it indicates a much lower ranking, and it is frequently mentioned throughout the series. After Michael’s departure, Dwight served as assistant to a variety of characters including Nellie Bertram, Robert California, and even Andy, until he finally takes on the Regional Manager position for himself at the end of the ninth season.
12 Big Tuna
At the end of season two, defeated by Pam’s rejection and her decision to set a wedding date with Roy, Jim decides to transfer to the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin. He quickly makes new friends there, among them Andy Bernard. In the season three premiere, Jim brings along a tuna sandwich for lunch, which prompts Andy to give him the nickname Big Tuna.
This joke goes on and on throughout the years up until the final season.
Andy does modify his nickname for Jim at times, calling him “Wet Tuna”, “Canned Tuna”, “Tuna Turner”, or “Big Haircut” from the iconic episode in which Jim got a haircut. In the season eight episode “Garden Party,” Andy even gets his brother Walter to call Jim “Big Tuna."
11 Meredith's True Love
It doesn’t take the audience very long to realize that Meredith Palmer has a problem. While it is not explicitly stated in the first season, her alcoholism becomes more evident starting with the season two episode “Christmas Party,” in which Meredith gets drunk and goes too far in front of Michael. This trend continues in episodes such as “Booze Cruise” or “A Benihana Christmas.”
Her alcoholism has her co-workers worried, and Michael even goes as far as planning an intervention, and when this fails, tries to have her committed into a rehab facility. While Meredith’s addiction is not as fun a gag as others, it is an important personality trait of her character, and often lands her in unexpected yet comical situations.
10 The Dundies
Everyone loves awards shows, but no one loves them quite as much as Michael Scott. The Dundies are a night of fun and employee appreciation hosted by the Regional Manager himself. The Dundies are handed out once a year, and the audience is allowed to witness the ceremony once in season two, and once in season seven. However, they are often mentioned throughout the whole series.
To boost morale, everyone receives an award.
Some of the awards given out were the “Extreme Repulsiveness Award” to Toby, the “Whitest Sneakers Award” to Pam, the “Don’t Go In There After Me Award” to Kevin and, of course, the “Hottest in the Office Award,” which Ryan was able to secure six years in a row (from 2005-2010).
9 The Party Planning Committee
Without the Party Planning Committee, the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin would be a lot less cheerful. The Party Planning Committee is responsible for the successful execution of office events and parties, such as birthdays, Christmas parties, or anniversaries. The original core members of the Party Planning Committee included Angela, Phyllis, and Pam, but the women often found it difficult to agree on a specific theme, decoration, or even occasion.
In the season three episode “A Benihana Christmas,” Pam and Karen decide to form their own event-related group, the Committee to Plan Parties. After one very successful Christmas party, which included Karaoke and margaritas, the committee was disbanded. However, the original Party Planning Committee would continue to come together to organize events throughout the remaining seasons.
8 Schrute Farms
Beets are an important part of the show, especially in the iconic quote related to Dwight's beloved home and second source of income, Schrute Farms. The farm is owned and operated by Dwight and his cousin Mose. They use the land to grow beets, offer a bed and breakfast experience, and the farm even includes a slaughterhouse.
The three Bs best describe Dwight Schrute - “Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica.”
Schrute Farm is mentioned, and even visited frequently throughout the series, as Andy hosts a garden party there, and Dwight and Angela eventually tie the knot there. In season four, Jim and Pam actually do spend a night at the bed and breakfast, where they are introduced to the craft of table-making, watch Mose make wine, and work in the fields - it is an extraordinary experience, indeed.
7 Mose Schrute
Speaking of Schrute Farms, Dwight would be lost without his right-hand man. Mose is very quiet, rather socially awkward, and seems to have never left the farm. He often behaves in an extremely unnerving manner, and is described as a weirdo more than just once.
Mose appears in several episodes from season two to season nine, assisting Dwight in all sorts of shenanigans - from bringing a raccoon to the office to terrorize Holly as the new HR representative, to kidnapping Angela from her bachelorette party. Dwight even interviews him for a salesman position at Dunder Mifflin in season nine, but Mose’s fear of paper eventually costs him the job. Fun fact: Mose is played by The Office writer, and more recently, The Good Place creator Michael Schur!
6 The Scranton Strangler
Scranton may not be as safe a place as you had thought. The audience is introduced to Scranton’s most notorious criminal, the Scranton Strangler, in the series’ sixth season. To celebrate the birth of Jim and Pam’s daughter Cece, Andy gifts her with a copy of the daily newspaper of the day.
Unfortunately, the headline reads “Scranton Strangler strikes again.”
In the following season, Toby takes a leave of absence to as he was called to jury duty, which turns out to be for the Scranton Strangler case. The jury eventually finds the strangler guilty and passes a verdict that will end his days. The man’s real name, George Howard Skub, is only revealed in the show’s final season, when Toby voices suspicion whether the man was guilty or not. He visits him in prison, is attacked himself, and therefore finally accepts that the man was the criminal.
5 Dwight Calling Cece By The Wrong Name
Jim and Pam’s daughter Cecelia Marie Halpert was born on March 4th 2010, in the season six episode "The Delivery." She is named after Pam’s grandmother Cecelia, and Jim’s grandmother Marie. In the season seven finale titled “Search Committee,” Dunder Mifflin is looking to appoint a Regional Manager after Deangelo Vickers ends up in a coma. This prompts Dwight to make small talk with Jim, who is part of the committee interviewing candidates. He asks Jim about his daughter, who they lovingly call Cece, but confuses her name for Peepee.
Dwight once again gets Cecelia's name wrong in the season eight episode “Garden Party.” While working as an usher at Andy’s party, he announces the arrival of the Halpert family: “James! Pamela! And Peepee Halpert!”
4 Michael's Obsession With Ryan
Ryan Howard has won the award for “Hottest in the Office” several years in a row, which speaks for itself. From the start, it seems that Michael shows a particular interest in the young man, who is everything he himself would like to be - hip, good-looking, and full of promise.
Michael seems to live vicariously through him.
He also wants to become a mentor to him, and guide him towards success. Michael’s obsession with Ryan has many faces, from finding him attractive and wanting to sleep with him to being a loyal friend and protecting him fiercely. After Ryan joins corporate in a senior management role and spirals out of control, Michael is the only one willing to take a chance on him.
3 Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration
In season two of The Office, we are introduced to Bob Vance, of Vance Refrigeration. The company shares a floor with Dunder Mifflin, and attends their Christmas party where he meets Phyllis. He proceeds to court Phyllis, and they eventually tie the knot in season three. The couple is sickeningly sweet, which allows them to remain happy and in love throughout the whole series.
Bob Vance is one of the five owners of the businesses in the Scranton Business Park, and his profession is an important part of his identity. He only ever refers to himself as Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration - even during his wedding ceremony. Whether this is a tactic to advertise his company through the documentary, or simply what he wants to be remembered for is unclear.
2 The Clown Picture From Jim and Pam's House
In the season five episode “Frame Toby,” Jim reveals to the office that he bought his parents house as a wedding present for Pam, without consulting her in the decision. When he shows her the house, her facial expression is questionable. When Jim tells her he started converting the garage into an art studio though, she tells him she loves it.
One of the house's most noticeable features is a large picture of a clown.
Glued to the wall, seemingly integral to the structure, you'd think it would be with the little family forever. However, in the season seven episode “Garage Sale,” we see the scary clown picture in a corner of the warehouse. Two years after moving into their new home, Jim and Pam finally got rid of the clown!
1 Creed's Mysterious Identity
Who is Creed Bratton? Dunder Mifflin’s Quality Assurance Director is one of the most mysterious characters of the series. Throughout the years, the series offers its audience many contradictory and bizarre snippets of information about Creed. In season four, he reveals to have been a member of several religious cults, all the while developing kleptomaniac tendencies.
Creed also tries to fake passing away, lies about his age, and is in possession of a passport with the name William Charles Schneider. One of the most bizarre moments of The Office occurs in an Halloween-themed episode of season nine, in which Creed wears a blood-covered shirt, but claims to have forgotten it was Halloween. Who is this man really?
What was your favorite joke from The Office? Let us know in the comments!