It’s important for a season of television to open with a strong premiere episode. The Office was based on a British series that consisted of two six-episode seasons around the turn of the century, and with writing as sharp as Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s and so few episodes getting made every year, there was no dead weight. The U.S. remake, on the other hand, consisted of just over 200 episodes across nine seasons. There was more room for failure, and as a result, some season premieres were better than others. So, here is Every Season Premiere From The Office, Ranked.
9 Season 9: “New Guys”
The ninth and final season of The Office begins with two new guys – Pete (Jake Lacy) and Clark (Clark Duke) – being hired to work at Dunder Mifflin. Since Pete is thin and handsome and Clark is dorky with glasses, they’re called “the new Jim and Dwight” by everyone in the office. It’s not a very complex premise for an episode and it doesn’t really even lead into a plot. It’s clear from the season 9 premiere episode that the show was running out of steam, the writers were running out of ideas, and it was time to call it quits.
8 Season 1: “Pilot”
The pilot episode of The Office basically reused the script from the first episode of the original series written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. A few lines of dialogue were tweaked to “Americanize” it, but not enough changes were made to set it apart. The character of Michael Scott is virtually unrecognizable in the pilot.
It started off with Steve Carell being forced to imitate Ricky Gervais’ portrayal of David Brent, rather than being allowed to use his own comedic rhythms to make the character work for him. The same goes for the rest of the show’s cast, frankly.
7 Season 8: “The List”
In the season 8 premiere “The List,” Robert California becomes the new CEO of the company and Andy takes over as regional manager. This was the kick-off for the first season not to feature Michael Scott, so there was no way it was going to satisfy fans. The premise of a mysterious list written by Robert that divided the employees into two unlabeled columns was an interesting one, and led to some great character moments as they tried to figure out why they were placed into the columns they were placed into or what the columns meant, but it wasn’t an all-time classic episode.
6 Season 3: “Gay Witch Hunt”
The season 3 premiere comes with some interesting revelations following the bombshell moments of the season 2 finale. After Jim and Pam kissed, it’s revealed that Jim transferred to the Stamford branch and Pam broke off her engagement with Roy. The actual plot of the episode revolves around Oscar’s homosexuality being revealed to the office, and Michael’s attempts to seem okay with it only ending up offending Oscar more. The episode is best remembered for its hilariously awkward kiss scene between Michael and Oscar, which is an all-time classic Office moment. Apparently, this kiss wasn’t scripted and Steve Carell improvised it.
5 Season 7: “Nepotism”
Evan Peters guest-starred as Michael’s nephew in the season 7 premiere “Nepotism.” He’d been hired as an intern at the Scranton branch and everyone was disappointed with how terrible he was (getting orders wrong, losing salesmen’s clients etc.), and they were even more disappointed to find that Michael had hired him as a favor to his sister. As the episode progresses, the issue of nepotism is discussed in some detail, all culminating in a hilarious climax where Michael bends his nephew over Andy’s desk and spanks him. Without that ending, this season premiere wouldn’t have been anywhere near as great.
4 Season 4: “Fun Run”
This episode opens with one of the most hysterical moments in the history of The Office: Michael pulling into the parking lot and telling the camera, “I feel very blessed” before suddenly hitting Meredith with his car. Meredith is diagnosed with previously unnoticed rabies when she gets to the hospital, so Michael hosts a "fun run" around Scranton in order to raise some money for rabies research. He becomes more obsessed with the theatrics of the event – the giant check, the nurse to accept it, the photo ops etc. – than the charitable cause itself, which is the source of a lot of comedic steam.
3 Season 6: “Gossip”
In the first episode of The Office’s sixth season, Michael becomes upset that he doesn’t get any of the office gossip at the water cooler, so he seeks out some dirt on his employees. At first, he thinks he’s simply heard a juicy story about Stanley being at a nightclub, but he later discovers that he’s stumbled upon Stanley cheating on his wife. After telling everyone and realizing it’s none of his business and he shouldn’t have done it, he decides to spread a bunch of fake rumors about his staff so that they forget about it, but that only lands him in more trouble. It’s a quintessential Michael Scott story.
2 Season 2: “The Dundies”
The season 2 premiere gave us our first glimpse of Dunder Mifflin’s annual inter-office awards ceremonies held at Chili’s. It was also the first time we saw the tragic underlining of Michael’s character. When the guys at Chili’s make fun of him in the middle of the awards show, he feels really disheartened and the rest of the office feel bad for him, so they rally behind him and renew his faith in the Dundies.
In its second season, The Office still hadn’t totally found its feet to differentiate it from the British original and become something truly special, but this was a promising start.
1 Season 5: “Weight Loss”
The fifth season kicks off with the two-parter “Weight Loss,” in which corporate has offered extra vacation days to the branch that can lose the most weight. Everyone has their own reason to want the vacation days, while the actual ethics of a corporate incentive for weight loss are explored throughout the episode. Meanwhile, Michael’s romance with Holly begins to blossom, and Jim and Pam have decided to put off their engagement while Pam attends design school in New York, but Jim proposes to her anyway, in the rain. It’s one of the most beautiful moments in the show’s history.