The fifth season of The Office was a super-sized endeavor. From its massive, twenty-six episode run (which helped make up for a writer’s strike-shortened fourth season) to a season-concluding story arc about the Michael Scott Paper Company to a bonus episode length with “Stress Relief” airing after the Super Bowl, everything about the fifth season of The Office was bigger.
But was it better? Thanks to a compilation of user ratings on IMDB, the ratings for each episode of The Office‘s fifth season can be seen. Some of the installments rank as some of the show’s best ever, but there is a strong consistency throughout.
10 “Heavy Competition” – 8.7
“Heavy Competition” is an episode that comes roughly around the halfway point of the season, wrapping the Michael Scott Paper Company arc. In it, Charles Miner (Idris Elba) has a stranglehold over the manager position at Dunder Mifflin, which leads to a petty office war between Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute. Dwight eventually turns his back on Michael and proclaims his loyalty to Dunder Mifflin, but not without stripping naked in the parking lot to show that he is not wearing a wire.
The end of the episode does show how savvy Michael is as a salesman and proves that there might be more for Dunder Mifflin to worry about than initially thought.
9 “Golden Ticket” – 8.7
“Golden Ticket” is an episode that shows Michael at his most insufferable. After a plan to act like Willy Wonka and give golden tickets out to customers backfires, Michael tries to pin the blame for the idea on Dwight. But when David Wallace actually ends up loving the idea, Michael tries to wrestle the credit for the idea back from Dwight. It shows how petulant Michael can be and the entire final confrontation is among the show’s most uncomfortable.
However, it does have the hilarious line when Michael rushes to the warehouse and calls out to Darryl, “Hey, idiot!” Darryl, hilariously, remarks, “Start over.”
8 “The Duel” – 8.7
In terms of Angela Martin’s character arc, “The Duel” is a sad episode. By the ending, she is neither engaged to Andy nor involved with Dwight. Her manipulative methods have left her with nothing. Granted, Dwight and Andy acted far from saintly in their actions. No one is right, but everyone is miserable after Andy and Dwight duel for her affections. In the show’s run, however, it has gone down as one of the defining episodes for Andy Bernard.
In an even funnier aspect of the episode, David Wallace seeks Michael’s insights into how the Scranton branch is so profitable. Of course, Michael takes an ounce of praise and runs a mile with it, but his responses have become iconic meme fodder for a generation.
7 “Michael Scott Paper Company” – 8.7
“Michael Scott Paper Company” is a bridge episode in the fifth season arc, but it also has a slew of standout moments. Michael foolishly cooks pancakes in a flat rectangle shape to look like paper. Jim is forced to uncover what a “rundown” is, after Charles asks for one. Also, in one of the show’s best musical moments, Dwight and Andy perform a duet of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” to impress Erin, the new receptionist played by Ellie Kemper.
Speaking of reception, though, Pam comes into her own as a salesman in her new paper endeavors by closing the first sale of the Michael Scott Paper Company.
6 “Cafe Disco” – 8.7
“Cafe Disco” is one of the sweetest episodes of season five for The Office. Not sure what to do with the space previously used for the Michael Scott Paper Company, Michael decides to turn it into a disco cafe. (Sorry, that’s not even close. That should read: “cafe disco.”) At first, no one wants to dance with Michael, but Phyllis eventually gets the ball rolling and everyone ends up having a great time, all thanks to Michael. Even Angela dances a little!
But the heart of the episode comes when Jim and Pam, who were planning to elope and get married in Ohio, decide to stick around at Cafe Disco instead. They decide that they want a real wedding and they have a dance with their coworkers, even if John Krasinski looks a little awkward doing it.
5 “The Surplus” – 8.8
Whenever Michael has even an ounce of power in the office, it’s bad news. That’s what happens in “The Surplus” when he has to decide between getting new chairs for the office or buying a new photocopier with the excess funds. First of all, the entire scene when Oscar explains what a surplus is to Michael is downright hysterical. But so is the rivalry that forms between Jim and Pam when they come down on opposite sides of their goals.
Meanwhile, Dwight shows off Schrute Farms’ barn as a potential venue for Andy and Angela’s wedding. It makes for a humorous cameo from Mose Schrute, but it also makes for a surprising development when Dwight marries Angela behind a thin veil of German.
4 “Weight Loss” – 8.8
“Weight Loss” is the super-sized season premiere of the fifth arc of The Office. It sees Ryan and Jan come back to Dunder Mifflin in surprising ways, but the main focus is Holly, who comes into her own as a character, following her introductory episode in season four. It is also funny to see how everyone handles their weight loss goals differently, with Kelly eating a tapeworm and Stanley exercising in secret.
But the best part of the episode is obvious. With Pam now in art school in New York, she meets Jim at a rest stop halfway between the two of them. There, he gets down on one knee, tells Pam that he can’t wait anymore, and proposes marriage. Hooray for Big Tuna!
3 “Company Picnic” – 9.0
“Company Picnic,” on the other hand, is the finale of season five of The Office. It contains another seminal moment for the relationship between Jim and Pam as the end of the episode reveals that they are going to be having a baby!
Of course, the rest of the episode is great, too. It is always charming (if not a bit painful) to see Michael and Holly back together. However, this episode will always go down as a mystery as the viewers never learned if Scranton or New York won the company volleyball tournament.
2 “Broke” – 9.2
“Broke” is an episode of The Office that was directed by Steve Carell. It brings the Michael Scott Paper Company story arc to an end, but boy, is it an absolute whirlwind of an episode. David Wallace comes to Scranton to negotiate a buyout of Michael’s company, but a number of hurdles pop up along the way.
Jim has to save Michael’s efforts from a prying, spiteful Dwight. Ryan and Pam have to play along as Michael lobbies for jobs at the Scranton branch again, rather than a simple lump sum. It is insane that he manages to pull this off and it might be a testament to how no one like David Wallace could exist in real life. But it is fun to witness all the same.
1 “Stress Relief” – 9.7
“Stress Relief” is the highest-rated episode of season five and that is a no-brainer. It’s one of the all-time most beloved episodes in the show’s run and features myriad iconic moments from the show. But what are some of these moments?
“Stress Relief,” of course, begins with the fire drill put on by Dwight in a moment that has gone down as one of the funniest in the history of workplace comedies. However, the episode continues to build and build, with hilarious David Wallace meetings and a hysterical safety meeting that ends with Dwight cutting the face off of a dummy. The episode culminates in two roasts (of Michael and of the office) and it goes down as an all-timer in television history.
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