Blogs, TV/Movies

The Definitive Ranking of Every Cold Open in The Office

Everyone knows that The Office is one of the greatest TV shows of all time. That’s not really up for debate at this point. What has been up for debate is what is the greatest Office “cold open” of all time? For those who don’t know, a cold open is the scene before the theme song plays which is usually a self-contained joke that’s not related to the episode. Well now we can finally end that debate. This is the definitive, 100% fact-based ranking to end all rankings of each cold open in The Office. If you disagree with anything in this ranking, then I’m sorry that I had to be the one to break it to you that your opinion is wrong.

Some episodes don’t have a cold open at all, most of which are either in season one or the second half of a two-part episode, so I’ve left those out of the list entirely.

175. Nepotism (Season 7, Episode 1)

I know what you’re probably thinking. “But this one is actually funny! The characters are all doing wacky, zany things! Some of the cold opens don’t even have jokes in them!” All of this is true, but no other cold open actively made my ears bleed. Not only is the song god-awful, but it’s louder than a desperate toddler screaming because his parents took away his favorite toy. I’m sure the guy who chose the volume for the theme song even thought it was a little much.

174. The Fire (Season 2, Episode 4)

173. Conflict Resolution (Season 2, Episode 21)

Neither of these had even a single joke in them, which should reiterate just how bad that song is.

172. Junior Salesman (Season 9, Episode 13)

The perfect example of how the quality of the cold open can be entirely unrelated to the quality of the episode. One of the best episodes of the later seasons unfortunately begins with awful Pam-Jim drama and a single joke from Meredith of all people.

171. Manager and the Salesman (Season 6, Episode 16)

This one would be much higher if it wasn’t cross-promotion so shameless it would make Disney blush. The Olympics isn’t exactly some niche event you need to advertise for.

170. Crime Aid (Season 5, Episode 5)

169. After Hours (Season 8, Episode 16)

168. Halloween (Season 2, Episode 5)

167. The Client (Season 2, Episode 7)

166. Valentine’s Day (Season 2, Episode 16)

165. Koi Pond (Season 6, Episode 8)

164. The Banker (Season 6, Episode 14)

This one is somehow only 41 seconds long. I guess they went full vacation mode for the clip show episode.

163. The Convict (Season 3, Episode 9)

162. Business Ethics (Season 5, Episode 3)

161. Garage Sale (Season 7, Episode 19)

160. The Target (Season 9, Episode 8)

159. Jury Duty (Season 8, Episode 13)

158. Special Project (Season 8, Episode 14)

157. Angry Andy (Season 8, Episode 21)

156. Training Day (Season 7, Episode 20)

The post-Michael Scott era was rough.

155. The Lover (Season 6, Episode 7)

154. The Carpet (Season 2, Episode 14)

153. Niagara (Season 6, Episode 4)

152. Diwali (Season 3, Episode 6)

151. Two Weeks (Season 5, Episode 21)

150. Doomsday (Season 8, Episode 6)

This one is proof they knew the right volume to use for a song to be funny and not annoying.

149. The Boat (Season 9, Episode 6)

148. The Seminar (Season 7, Episode 14)

I can appreciate them paying homage to the original UK Office, but this one just doesn’t really do it for me.

147. Office Olympics (Season 2, Episode 3)

146. Christmas Party (Season 2, Episode 10)

145. The Coup (Season 3, Episode 3)

144. Gay Witch Hunt (Season 3, Episode 1)

Funny, but it’s definitely brought down by the fact that it’s way too long. This is kind of a running theme for the season openers.

143. Take Your Daughter To Work Day (Season 2, Episode 18)

142. Dream Team (Season 5, Episode 22)

141. The Delivery (Season 6, Episode 17)

140. Goodbye Michael (Season 7, Episode 22)

139. Safety Training (Season 3, Episode 19)

138. Beach Games (Season 3, Episode 22)

137. Dunder Mifflin Infinity (Season 4, Episode 2)

136. Dwight Christmas (Season 9, Episode 9)

135. Christmas Wishes (Season 8, Episode 10)

Not the best, but it does mark a drastic jump in quality from the first entries on this list.

134. The Search (Season 7, Episode 15)

133. The Chair Model (Season 4, Episode 10)

132. Heavy Competition (Season 5, Episode 24)

131. Double Date (Season 6, Episode 9)

130. Moving On (Season 9, Episode 16)

129. Test the Store (Season 8, Episode 17)

128. New Guys (Season 9, Episode 1)

Another season opener dragged down by the length. Kevin and the turtle solo would’ve been top tier (Flanderization aside).

127. Money (Season 4, Episode 4)

126. The Inner Circle (Season 7, Episode 23)

125. Spooked (Season 8, Episode 5)

124. Stairmageddon (Season 9, Episode 19)

123. Lice (Season 9, Episode 10)

122. The Convention (Season 3, Episode 2)

121. Dinner Party (Season 4, Episode 9)

The prime example of why cold opens should be standalone scenes. Even though it is setting up one of the greatest episodes in the history of television, it’s still just a mediocre setup.

120. Fundraiser (Season 8, Episode 22)

119. Gettysburg (Season 8, Episode 8)

While I’m all aboard the Pam hate train, I do think Jim gets too much of a pass for kind of being a dick too. He’s complicit in a lot of her late-season awfulness.

118. Customer Survey (Season 5, Episode 7)

117. Get the Girl (Season 8, Episode 19)

116. Blood Drive (Season 5, Episode 18)

115. St. Patrick’s Day (Season 6, Episode 19)

114. Vandalism (Season 9, Episode 14)

113. Welcome Party (Season 8, Episode 20)

112. The Cover Up (Season 6, Episode 24)

111. The Sting (Season 5, Episode 7)

110. Sabre (Season 6, Episode 15)

109. Todd Packer (Season 7, Episode 18)

108. Trivia (Season 8, Episode 11)

Bonus points for being the exact opposite of the season 7 song.

107. Paper Airplane (Season 9, Episode 20)

106. Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager (Season 7, Episode 24)

Another cold open that would’ve been top tier with more selective editing. They should’ve just let Dwight be the focus and moved on.

105. The Promotion (Season 6, Episode 3)

104. The Job (Season 3, Episode 23)

103. The Negotiation (Season 3, Episode 18)

102. Andy’s Play (Season 7, Episode 3)

101. Pool Party (Season 8, Episode 12)

100. Finale (Season 9, Episode 23)

99. The Merger (Season 3, Episode 8)

98. Job Fair (Season 4, Episode 13)

97. Broke (Season 5, Episode 25)

96. Promos (Season 9, Episode 18)

This one was pretty uncomfortable to watch with my parents as a 14-year-old.

95. Launch Party (Season 4, Episode 3)

94. Whistleblower (Season 6, Episode 26)

93. Free Family Portrait Studio (Season 8, Episode 24)

92. Customer Loyalty (Season 9, Episode 12)

91. Michael’s Last Dundies (Season 7, Episode 21)

90. Boys and Girls (Season 2, Episode 15)

89. Grief Counseling (Season 3, Episode 4)

88. New Boss (Season 5, Episode 20)

87. Branch Wars (Season 4, Episode 6)

86. Cafe Disco (Season 5, Episode 27)

85. The Whale (Season 9, Episode 7)

84. Happy Hour (Season 6, Episode 21)

83. Survivor Man (Season 4, Episode 7)

82. Business School (Season 3, Episode 16)

81. Roy’s Wedding (Season 9, Episode 2)

80. Last Day in Florida (Season 8, Episode 18)

79. A Benihana Christmas (Season 3, Episode 10)

78. Local Ad (Season 4, Episode 5)

77. Secret Santa (Season 6, Episode 13)

76. Michael Scott Paper Company (Season 5, Episode 23)

75. Business Trip (Season 5, Episode 8)

74. Christening (Season 7, Episode 7)

73. Suit Warehouse (Season 9, Episode 11)

There’s just not much to say about most of these cold opens. They’re all perfectly fine.

72. Sex Ed (Season 7, Episode 4)

The perfect introduction for Nate: the most underrated character addition in the show.

71. Company Picnic (Season 5, Episode 28)

70. The List (Season 8, Episode 1)

69. A.A.R.M (Season 9, Episode 22)

Another spot that marks a pretty drastic jump in quality. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that there’re very few cold opens from seasons 8 and 9 left.

68. Mrs. California (Season 8, Episode 9)

67. New Leads (Season 6, Episode 20)

66. Viewing Party (Season 7, Episode 8)

65. The Secret (Season 2, Episode 13)

Michael yelling “Gotcha!” with such enthusiasm might be the most under-appreciated line in the entire show.

64. Drug Testing (Season 2, Episode 20)

63. Dwight’s Speech (Season 2, Episode 17)

62. Did I Stutter (Season 4, Episode 12)

61. Initiation (Season 3, Episode 5)

60. Mafia (Season 6, Episode 6)

59. Classy Christmas (Season 7, Episode 11)

58. Ben Franklin (Season 3, Episode 14)

57. The Return (Season 3, Episode 13)

The rare case of when setting up the episode actually makes a cold open funnier. Andy’s ringtone and ensuing freakout are iconic.

56. Prince Family Paper (Season 5, Episode 13)

55. Scott’s Tots (Season 6, Episode 12)

54. Costume Contest (Season 7, Episode 6)

53. Employee Transfer (Season 5, Episode 6)

Look! Pam can be funny too!

52. Lecture Circuit Part 1 (Season 5, Episode 16)

51. Secretary’s Day (Season 6, Episode 22)

50. The Deposition (Season 4, Episode 8)

49. Work Bus (Season 9, Episode 4)

48. PDA (Season 7, Episode 16)

Daryl’s single tear kills me every time.

47. Pam’s Replacement (Season 8, Episode 7)

46. Night Out (Season 4, Episode 11)

45. Women’s Appreciation (Season 3, Episode 11)

44. The Farm (Season 9, Episode 17)

43. Turf War (Season 8, Episode 23)

42. Ultimatum (Season 7, Episode 13)

41. The Meeting (Season 6, Episode 2)

40. Goodbye, Toby (Season 4, Episode 14)

39. WUPHF.com (Season 7, Episode 9)

38. Lotto (Season 8, Episode 3)

37. Here Comes Treble (Season 9, Episode 5)

36. Body Language (Season 6, Episode 23)

35. The Duel (Season 5, Episode 12)

34. Stress Relief Part 2 (Season 5, Episode 15)

This is the only part 2 in the entire series to have its own cold open, and it was definitely the right call. I’ll also take this opportunity to go ahead and crown this the best two-part episode in the history of television.

33. The Surplus (Season 5, Episode 10)

“I’ll be six” Is another candidate for the most under-appreciated line in the entire show.

32. The Chump (Season 6, Episode 25)

31. Counseling (Season 7, Episode 2)

30. Threat Level Midnight (Season 7, Episode 17)

On its own, this one isn’t great. But it’s impossible to consider this one entirely on its own. I mean come on, it’s Threat Level Midnight.

29. The Incentive (Season 8, Episode 2)

28. Garden Party (Season 8, Episode 4)

Someone should’ve gotten the American Vandal guys to come investigate.

27. Baby Shower (Season 5, Episode 4)

26. Shareholder Meeting (Season 6, Episode 11)

25. Frame Toby (Season 5, Episode 9)

There’s admittedly really only one joke, but it’s such an iconic joke that it catapults this cold open into the top 25.

P.S. If you don’t use this as your death noise in every video game that has mods, then you should be questioning all of your life choices.

24. China (Season 7, Episode 10)

23. Phyllis’s Wedding (Season 3, Episode 15)

22. Andy’s Ancestry (Season 9, Episode 3)

21. Tallahassee (Season 8, Episode 15)

If this cold open was just Jim’s prank, it would easily be in the top 10.

20. Back From Vacation (Season 3, Episode 11)

19. Casino Night (Season 2, Episode 22)

Just an incredible sequence of Jim pranks. Spoiler alert: there are many more to come.

18. Traveling Salesmen (Season 3, Episode 12)

Boobs

17. Email Surveillance (Season 2, Episode 9)

I’m not entirely sure if this would be cancel-worthy in 2020, but I’m thankful it wasn’t in 2006. It’s objectively hilarious.

16. Cocktails (Season 3, Episode 17)

15. Branch Closing (Season 3, Episode 7)

14. Michael’s Birthday (Season 2, Episode 19)

13. The Fight (Season 2, Episode 6)

The first recorded Jim prank earns its spot on this list, even if it’s only for the legacy it left behind.

12. Booze Cruise (Season 2, Episode 11)

11. Moroccan Christmas (Season 5, Episode 11)

10. Performance Review (Season 2, Episode 8)

Admit it: you’ve always wanted to pop an exercise ball when someone’s sitting on it. Every human being alive after the invention of the exercise ball has wanted to. That’s why living vicariously through this scene is so satisfying.

9. Search Committee (Season 7, Episode 25)

This is what happens when you let your stars be stars. The showrunners channeled their inner Ty Lue and let Creed carry the team on his back. Consider this ranking as the official petition to rename Scranton to Great Bratton.

8. Golden Ticket (Season 5, Episode 19)

By far the most underrated Jim prank of the entire series. Good things happen when you let your three best major characters shine.

7. Murder (Season 6, Episode 10)

Perhaps no scene sums up the personality of Dwight Schrute better than this one. Completely unfounded arrogance? Check. Deep knowledge about something archaic and useless? Check. Absolute disregard for the wellbeing of his coworkers? Check. Also, people being hit in the balls will never not be funny.

6. Casual Friday (Season 5, Episode 26)

In case you have just been skimming this list Buzzfeed style, I’ll let this entry act as another reminder: LET COLD OPENS STAND ON THEIR OWN. This is a mediocre episode at best, but Kevin’s famous chili is incredible. It has become a mainstay of pop culture for good reason and will continue to be relevant long after the rest of the show fades into history (Like the rest of Casual Friday already has).

5. Gossip (Season 6, Episode 1)

Like Kevin’s famous chili before it, “Parkour!” will be part of the cultural lexicon until the end of time. It also bucks the trend of season-opening cold opens being extended exposition dumps, going the extra mile to become transcendent.

4. Fun Run (Season 4, Episode 1)

This is how you open a season. Keep the background info short, only tell the audience what they absolutely need to know, and almost commit vehicular manslaughter. It’s not that hard.

3. The Injury (Season 2, Episode 12)

Dwight’s concussion and Michael grilling his foot: Name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.

2. Product Recall (Season 3, Episode 20)

“Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.” Never have four words summed up a show so perfectly.

1. Stress Relief Part 1 (Season 5, Episode 14)

It really couldn’t have been anything else. The writers knew they had to follow Super Bowl XLIII with something great. The lead-in would provide them with the largest audience the show would ever get. They only got one shot to not miss their chance to blow. And they delivered. If the Dinner Party is the greatest episode of all time, the fire drill is the best five minutes in television history. There’s nothing I can say that would do this scene justice. Words cannot describe that kind of chaos. Just do yourself a favor and go watch it again, right now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s