NBC’s perennial hit series The Office is set for a curtain call tonight after a nine-season run, and longtime fans are preparing to bid farewell to the officemates of Dunder Mifflin.
Even though Steve Carell’s cringe-tastic Michael Scott departed the show in 2011, the Peacock kept the ship afloat for two more seasons with new regional manager Andy Bernard and James Spader’s Robert California (who was a waste of space), not to mention lots more JAM drama.
A staple of the program has been the countless "cold opens," as they're known — short moments before the episode that help set a comedic tone for the next 30 minutes. Needless to say, The Office has perfected the art of the cold open.
As we close up shop at the Scranton branch for the final time, I’ve compiled a list of my five favorite cold opens, ranging from a case of identity theft to a classic musical surprise. (The Office’s series finale airs at 8 p.m. on WSMV-NBC. A series retrospective airs shortly before at 7 p.m.)
5. Happy Holidays, Dwight
The cold open has often been utilized to showcase the pranks of Jim Halpert on his deskmate Dwight Schrute. In this scene, Jim has gift-wrapped Dwight’s desk, in hopes of baiting the persnickety salesman to take a seat. Dwight scoffs at Jim’s efforts, but as usual, the joke ends up being on the beet farmer.
A vital part of Pam’s job as a secretary comes under fire as a new salesman offers a phone system upgrade — but the wise Jim decides to help "Fonze" Pam out of a tough spot.
3. A Cooked Goose for Everyone!
Another Christmas gem: the day Dwight decides to share a roadkill specialty with the rest of the office to honor the spirit of the season. The scene is a nice way to showcase the more bizarre moments of the series, with Jim’s fake approval of the dead goose a highlight.
2. Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica
Prankster Jim decides to mimic the demeanor and attitude of the regularly pranked Dwight. The further Jim gets into the ruse, the more hard-edged Dwight becomes, creating one of the show’s most memorable moments. It inspired a popular fan T-shirt.
1. Sweeney Todd announcement
In Season 7’s classic episode “Andy’s Play,” the folks at Dunder Mifflin are treated to a sneak-peek song selection from a production of Sweeney Todd that features Andy. The moment perfectly highlights the strength of the ensemble, with nearly every character getting a chance to showcase their reaction to the lunacy of what’s happening. (Zero in on Dwight.)