My favorite episode of The Office is “Dinner Party.” Apparently that’s a popular opinion, which surprised me when I first found that out. Now, though, it’s been normalized. The Office is one of the most-popular shows in the United States. People watch it on repeat on Netflix. Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey have a massive podcast about the show. Every other person mentions it on their dating profile because it’s considered a safe show to say you like. A lot of those people apparently love the cringefest that is “Dinner Party.” That made me start thinking about what my second-favorite episode is.
For some shows, that is clear to me. The Simpsons? “Homie the Clown.” The Office? I’m not so sure. I really like a few of the Christmas episodes, especially “A Benihana Christmas.” “Café Disco” is just pure silliness and joy. I do enjoy a few of the big event episodes like “Casino Night” and “Beach Games.” For now, though, I think I’ve settled on the episode “Initiation.” There are three really good storylines in this episode from early in the third season. This was when Jim was at the Stamford branch. In this episode, him and Karen are fighting over who gets stuck with a squeaky chair. Meanwhile, Dwight takes Ryan out on a sales call but takes him through an “initation” first. Oh, and it’s Pretzel Day.
This Ryan and Dwight storyline is so fun, and not just because we get to see Michael Schur as Mose, and all Mose appearances are appreciated. I do like how it ends with them joining forces and connecting, mostly to throw eggs at a building and then have a drink together. Pretzel Day is one of those events The Office does that I really dig. It’s so banal. People in the building get a free pretzel. However, the employees are get so excited for it, especially Stanley. Stanley has a talking head where he talks about how he hates going to work 99 percent of the time, but when Pretzel Day rolls around, it’s just magic. That’s one of the “reflective of real life” storylines the show did less as it went on.
“Initiation” doesn’t have many of those incredibly hilarious or indelible moments. However, it’s just such a well-oiled machine. There aren’t really any false notes. All three stories are really good and well balanced. They are all funny and have their moments. Plus, Mose is in it. I think “Initiation” is my second-favorite episode of The Office. At least for now.