The Office is beloved for many things, but it’s cold opens are some of the funniest moments in the series. Which are the best, and which fell flat?
A cold open is a way to get viewers thrown into a scene without much of an introduction. There’s no explanation to what’s going on, it’s simply happening as viewers are connecting the dots. Cold opens typically occur before the show’s opening credits, and no one does them better than The Office.
The cold opens on The Office instantly prepare the viewers for what’s about to happen in the episode. And after nine seasons and over 200 episodes, The Office has some of the most iconic cold opens in mockumentary history. However, fans didn’t find every cold open as hilarious as it was intended to be.
10 Best: “Nepotism”
Lip dubbing became a big deal after the release of Vimeo; an app that allows viewers to create and edit their own videos. The Office jumped on the lip dub fad in the episode “Nepotism.” The cold open begins with Andy in the elevator singing “Nobody But Me” by The Human Beinz.
The cameras follow him into the office where his coworkers have jumped on the bandwagon and are also singing and dancing along. The video was highly choreographed and involved magic, Creed on guitar, Dwight with a knife, and a classic argument between Kelly and Ryan mid-song. It was one of the most upbeat cold opens The Office had.
9 Worst: “Lice”
In “Lice,” the entire episode revolved around Pam’s kids giving her lice, which she then passes on to those at the office. Jim had been spending more and more time in Philadelphia leaving Pam exhausted and tired. But before the storyline unfolded, Jim was in the breakroom with Kevin and Darryl talking about sports when he bit his lip.
He tried to ignore the pain and the annoying lisp that transpired but it became so annoying to him that he freaked out on camera and left the office for the day. Watching Jim become so upset over something so little was very out-of-character for him. Fans also didn’t find the bit funny in the least.
8 Best: “Stress Relief”
“Stress Relief” has one of the most talked-about cold opens in the series. When the office ignores Dwight’s meeting on fire safety, he puts them to the test by simulating his own fire. He cuts all the phone lines and heats the door handles so that his coworkers think there are flames on the other side of the door.
By the time Pam saw smoke coming from under the door, the office became panicked. They were trapped like rats. Windows were broken, vending machines were shattered, cats were thrown… Dwight eventually blew a horn and told everyone it was a test but it was too late. The office was shocked and Stanley suffered a panic attack from fear. Despite the horror of it all, it is hands down one of the funniest cold opens.
7 Worst: “Diwali”
Thanks to Michael’s ignorance, “Diwali” was one of the most awkward episodes. He had no idea what Diwali was and assumed it was a costume-themed holiday after seeing Kelly dress Ryan in a kurta.
In the cold open, Michael pokes fun at Ryan for wearing a “dress” but after everyone compliments Ryan and learns about Diwali, Michael becomes jealous. He’s all of a sudden interested in Kelly’s religion and is upset that Kelly didn’t buy him a kurta as well. Overall, the cold open was a flop.
6 Best: “Frame Toby”
It was one of the best days of Michael’s life when Toby quit Dunder Mifflin to live a new life in Costa Rica. The office could finally be fun again! But in “Frame Toby,” Toby decided Costa Rica wasn’t for him and came back to Scranton.
In the cold open, Kelly grabbed a few brownies and told the group she was bringing them back for Toby. Michael thought Kelly was kidding. He assumed Toby was still in Costa Rica. But when he went back to the annex, he found the one and only Toby back at his desk. The only thing Michael could say was “no, God! No, God. Please, no!” at the top of his lungs. The moment became an instant GIF and a memorable moment in the Michael vs. Toby saga.
5 Worst: “The Convict”
At the start of “The Convict,” Pam is seen talking to Hannah and her baby boy. Michael sees the commotion and says “May I?” to Hannah. She assumed that Michael wanted to hold her son but he instead hid under a desk and started talking as if he was the baby.
He compared the moment to the movie Look Who’s Talking where viewers hear what the baby is thinking and feeling. Its humor fell flat, however.
4 Best: “Andy’s Ancestry”
There’s nothing better than watching Jim and Dwight prank each other. Dwight is far more gullible than he realizes and is often left in the dark with Jim’s jokes.
In “Andy’s Ancestry,” Jim and Pam had their friend Steve (who’s an actor) pretend to be Jim. Steve—as Jim—strolled up to his desk, said hi to everyone, and started his day. Dwight was confused why this imposter was pretending to be Jim. But when Dwight saw the family picture with this new Jim in it, and Pam walked up to him and kissed him, Dwight was suddenly convinced that he had gone crazy.
3 Worst: “The Client”
At the start of “The Client,” Pam grabs Michael’s dry cleaning and sees his jeans among his clothes. She tells the cameras how much Michael loves his jeans and that he created casual Fridays as a way to show off in his jeans.
As silly as it was seeing Michael parade around in his jeans, casual Fridays never seemed to stick. There were plenty of Friday-based episodes after this episode and the gang were still in their business casual clothes. Whatever happened to casual Fridays?!
2 Best: “The Injury”
In “The Injury” cold open, Pam receives a phone call from a panicked Michael Scott. He’s screaming in agony because he had just burned his foot on a George Foreman Grill and can’t walk or drive. Dwight overhears the conversation and runs to the rescue.
But on Dwight’s exit from the parking lot, he hits a pole and vomits uncontrollably on his car. He had a concussion and didn’t realize it. Between Michael’s relationship with bacon in bed to Dwight’s concussion — it made the perfect cold open.
1 Worst: “Todd Packer”
In “Todd Packer,” the episode opens with Dwight eating canned goods in the breakroom. He told the camera crew that he has a well-stocked survival shelter, but the food has a shelf life and is going bad. The only way for him to eat it all was to bring it into the office.
Clips flashed by of him eating eight-year-old tomatoes… the entire situation was very on-brand for Dwight, but overall random and not that funny.
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