Bears. Beets. Battlestar Gallatica

Counting down Neena’s top 11 The Office intros.

The Offices popularity has grown during the pandemic thanks to amazing intros.

courtesy NBC

The Office’s popularity has grown during the pandemic thanks to amazing intros.

Have you ever wondered which of The Office opening scenes is worthy of rewatch after rewatch? Well, in true Michael Scott fashion, I’ve decided to list what I consider to be 11 of the best cold opens, at least in my opinion. Why 11, you ask? Any true Office fan would know that he couldn’t be forced to choose just 10 if the fate of the world depended on it.   

11. Kevin’s Famous Chili (Season 3, Episode 26) 

“It’s probably the thing I do best” 

While this clip may be short, the rarity of Kevin Malone’s hilarious monologues combined with the even rarer display of his mysterious talents make this iconic cold open worthy of the top 11. The fact that, by laying a voiceover on top of his feeble attempts to shove the chili back in the pot, its value to Kevin is embellished so much so that he considers its creation his most valuable skill gives the scene an even greater sense of satirical irony. While this confident assertion certainly helps, I also consider the simplicity of clumsy people tripping at the most imperative moments to be the peak of comedy all on its own.

10. The Devil Wears Prada (Season 4, Episode 7) 

“Get me Armani…on the phone!” 

Michael’s hidden identity as a film aficionado makes an appearance in this episode, as this cold open primarily features him and Pam recreating the infamous relationship between Meryl Streep and her assistants — which Michael unsurprisingly adopted after his deep love for both the actress and being “the boss” (despite his ignorance in regards to inherent lowliness of his own position). His lighthearted attempts to mimic the stone cold nature of Miranda Priestly are hilarious and cute as Pam sarcastically plays along with Michael’s joke—until of course, he starts watching Million Dollar Baby under the persona of Frankie Dunn—which makes this scene a fan favorite and one of my favorite interactions between them as manager and receptionist.

9. Knock Knock (Season 5, Episode 19) 

“The KGB will wait for no one!”

Although I have some very small doubts about the problematic parts of this joke in regards to the current political climate, I prize the comedic timing of this scene too much to knock it off the list. In my opinion, it perfectly exemplifies the core nature of Michael’s immense hypocrisy and its ability to consistently create amusing situations that end with Dwight being hurt in some way or another. In this case, he was slapped by Michael and Jim, and laughed at by his most valued judge. The classic intro begins with a simple, though extremely unprofessional and annoying Michael joke, and slowly cascades into a series of progressively contentious knock-knock joke situation that displays the comical double standards and banterous relationships between Jim, Dwight, and Michael that make up an essential part of the show’s early appeal.

8. Best Intro Ever (Season 7, Episode 1) 

“This is how you build a business. This is how you make it in this country” 

I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this unpredictably musical scene of this show. Although the catchy song has me singing along as I watch my favorite characters dance as they never have before, their individual roles in the scene perfectly exhibit their unique traits in the most perfect way. However, I could never choose a favorite character in this clip, so I figure I should let you decide for yourselves:  

  • Michael performs bad magic tricks with the unshakable confidence of the most talented magician in the world
  • Dwight jumps disruptively onto Phyllis’ desk, bites off her teddy bear’s head,  and unsurprisingly pulls out a knife to wield in front of the camera with no regard for his surroundings
  • Jim and Pam are being adorable throughout the video, as always, with coordinated lyrics and cute couples’ dancing
  • Kelly and Ryan fight over his overzealous and ridiculous attempts at success, which he defends with the above quote to display his business “expertise” 
  • Creed displays another unpredictable talent, or atleast what might be his best, as he pretends to stroke an electric guitar along with the song
  • Stanley is predictably pessimistic and full of sarcastic comments as the cameraman runs hurriedly past him
  • Close opposites of Stanley, both Andy and Erin’s optimism is almost too much to bear as their smiles never wane in the slightest 
  • Kevin and Meredith, as he wears her like a backpack, happily coordinate their dualistic lyrical section with “unique” written methods     

7. Toby Returns (Season 5, Episode 9) 


Introducing the prospect of Toby’s return from a satirical discussion over a simple plate of brownies in the break room, featuring each character’s own small comical quirks, this cold open’s contrast between their typical dialogue and Michael’s unsurprising meltdown at Toby’s arrival is what makes it so different and unexpectedly funny. His inexplicable hatred for this HR rep is out in full display when he realizes that his blissful Toby-less world has finally come to an end after his vacation to Costa Rica ended—hence his hilarious toddler-like meltdown featuring the above quote. This humorous transition was so perfectly executed by Steve Carell, going from the oblivious and joking side of Michael’s personality to the dramatic and deeply irrational side of this spectrum.

6. Domestic Bliss (Season 4, Episode 1)

“This is why I do it. This is what I have to come home to.” 

The image of Michael’s home life, which we rarely get to see in the show’s infancy, explains so much about his work disposition and makes this scene such a classic. This cold open, and its exhibition of Michael’s sarcastically bright outlook on what seems to be a rather dismal situation in and out of the office—after not getting the job at Dunder Mifflin Corporate, and being married to the thus laid-off, depressed Jan—is hilarious of its own accord. However, despite Carell’s physicality and pure expression of the realities of adult life, the best part of this scene comes on quite suddenly. This, of course, is meant quite literally as Michael’s driving monologue is similarly disrupted by the impact of Meredith’s body sliding over his car windshield. It may seem sad and horrible in actuality, but I can’t help laughing in both shock and at his facial expression after the fact.

5. Michael’s Injury (Season 2, Episode 12) 

“I tried hopping, Kevin, and I bumped my elbow against the wall and now my elbow has a protruberance.” 

I don’t even know where to begin. This famous scene has earned its reputation for a reason. Although the beginning seems slightly awkward and normal, where Michael’s simple dilemma is dramaticized to the point of an office frenzy, as per usual, it only gets funnier as it progresses. After receiving a frantic phone call from Michael, who explains in a monologue how he happened to burn his foot on a George Foreman grill (which is ridiculous in itself), the cast seems apathetic to help him despite his desperate calls to Pam and Ryan for driving assistance—until Dwight walks in. Combining the aforementioned frenzy with Dwight’s exasperated sprint to help, in which he hits a pole, loses his bumper, throws up on the back of his car, and drives off crazily, it’s become one of the most admired cold opens of all time.

4. Dwight Gives Birth to a Melon (Season 5, Episode 4)

“Andy, do you want to have my baby?” 

This cold open, while not nearly as popular or well-known as the others on this list, is what I consider to be the epitome of the show’s satirical content. Michael, who is preparing for the birth of Jan’s baby despite their lack of relation, recruits “baby expert” Dwight to act as a pregnant woman in preparation. Of course, this procedure will be over-the-top and quickly become disastrous as they both view it with complete seriousness that makes me laugh every time. Accompanied by Jim’s classic explanations on the office white board, rampant with sarcasm and self-amusement, this scene comes together so beautifully in the perfect sequence of increasing chaos as Dwight goes into labor with a slippery watermelon amongst hilarious, extremely disruptive screams from both Michael and the “mother-to-be.”

3. Hardcore Parkour (Season 6, Episode 2) 

“Technically they are doing parkour, as long as point A is delusion and point B is the hospital.” 

I’ve concluded that the algorithm for a great cold open is as follows: the inherent stupidity of pop culture movements + the classic trio of irrationality and their complete lack of self-awareness = disaster, probable injuries, and something tragic to laugh at. This cold open follows that to a tee, with Michael, Dwight, and Andy insanely dashing through the office pursuant of the internet trend namd “parkour,” or rather in a fashion only displayed by complete lunatics and these three characters in the rare event that their office shenanigans collide. From Jim’s simultaneous commentary on their goals to the chaos that they encounter along the way—which eventually leads to unknowingly empty fridge containers and a hilarious conclusion where Andy probably got a concussion—this cold open never fails to make me fall down in a fit of laughter.

2. Jim Impersonates Dwight (Season 3, Episode 21) 

“Identity theft is not a joke, Jim. Millions of families suffer every year.” 

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. Although these seemingly unrelated words may appear strange, they have become one of the most recognizable quotes of pop culture and an element of the most memorable skit in this show. Although the premise may sound inherently juvenile, where one character plays consistently child-like, simplistic pranks on the other in the midst of a long feud, the production and impossibly straight-faced execution by Rainn Wilson and John Kransinki as the constantly embattled Dwight Schrute and Jim Halpert makes this scene so funny. Everything about Jim’s impersonation screams comedy: the calculator watch, the briefcase, the bobblehead, and his consistency down to the unison complainant shout. I find Jim’s practical jokes to be the best satirical content of the show itself, including but not limited to his jello molds and the constant moving of his desk to random places around the office. 

I prefer to think this episode was made even better by the end clip, showing a retaliatory strike by Dwight as he comes dressed in a poorly-made Jim outfit and a vaguely mocking but even more laughable imitation of his desk mate:

1. Fire Drill (Season 5, Episode 14) 

“Today, smoking is gonna save lives” 

Despite the hilarity and laughable chaos that you’ve seen in these other cold opens, absolutely nothing can top the very definition of these tropes as seen in Dwight’s infamous fire drill. As always, his overzealous attempts to impress Michael go way too far; this time, he is inspired to simulate a real fire as the office safety manager, which creates an unruly scene as the cast runs around and panics like chickens with their heads cut off, not realizing the drill element. As Oscar climbs through the ceiling for help, Angela throws her drawer cat through said ceiling amidst a fit of screams, Michael incites panic and then throws a variety of office appliances at the window in an attempt to escape, and Stanley quite literally has a heart attack, the resulting mayhem is without a doubt my favorite cold open, if not overall scene, of the show.