5. The Dundies - Season 2, Episode 1
If the first season of The Office has felt a little bit creaky and in the shadow of Ricky Gervais's UK version, then this was the moment that the show came out fighting with an identity of its own. Michael Scott takes the helm of the most important night of the year at Dunder Mifflin - The Dundies - handing out gongs for 'Busiest Beaver' (or, as it turns out, 'Bushiest Beaver'), 'Hottest In The Office', 'Tight Ass' and 'Don't Go In There After Me'. Michael's hip-hop intro, character skit as Ping and unquenchable love for the Dundies firmly established the character as a deeply-flawed but incredibly loveable comic hero.
Penned by Ghostbusters legend Harold Ramis, this instalment at the back-end of season three perfectly captured the ability of Steve Carell to blend the surreal, slapstick and empathy within the character of Michael Scott. After a trip to the warehouse, Michael is frustrated at the lack of potential pitfalls in the general office, so he attempts to highlight the dangers of stress and depression in a ludicrous staging of his own suicide. With the help of Dwight, some watermelons and a bouncy castle, he successfully pulls it off.
3. The Fire - Season 2, Episode 4
Another early episode from season two, which centred on Michael's 'passion' for Ryan 'The Temp'. While the games of Desert Island and Dwight's 'Everybody Hurts' breakdown are highlights, it's Michael barging past his co-workers during the fire alarm and his attempts to woo/train/buddy-up with his protegé that really make this one of the greatest ever Office episodes. It's one of the first times that Michael's desperation to be loved and hunger to find a kindred spirit, which underlies his whole character throughout the seven seasons, is fully exposed, He listens in awe at Ryan's chatter about business school and attempts to guide 'The Temp' with some bon mots of his own. It also features the classic "Ryan started the fire" outro, performed by Michael and Dwight, which makes this ep worthy of any list.
Only one thing could possibly hurt Michael Scott's feelings more than a snub from a Dunder Mifflin team-building event, and that's a snub from Ryan Howard. When Michael's nemesis Toby gets to head out on a wilderness adventure over him, Michael decides to go on a 'Survivor' trek of his own, only with a knife and some guidance from Dwight. Madness and hysterics in the woods ensue until Dwight finally intervenes when Michael attempts to eat some wild mushrooms. The episode also features the cuddly side of Michael as he returns to the office to relieve a stressed-out Jim. He may not always be loved, but without him to helm the birthday celebrations, Dunder Mifflin Scranton just isn't the same.
1. Threat Level Midnight - Season 7, Episode 17
Maybe it's because the episode is so fresh in our minds, but we couldn't think of any other that demonstrates the genius of Steve Carell anymore than this 25 minutes of comedy gold. It would have been a worthy send-off episode for Michael Scott and next week's finale has some going to match it. The head-blowing killing of Toby, Jim's turn as GoldenFace and the "Puck this!" line are just some of the highlights, but it's probably the impromptu 'Everybody do the Scarn' that really tickled us the most. The idea of making Michael's side-project movie into a whole episode was apparently Steve Carell's idea, so it's quite fitting that we should award this our 'favourite ever Michael Scott episode' tag.
Goodbye, Michael airs on Thursday, April 28 on NBC.
What is your favourite Michael Scott moment? Can The Office survive without Steve Carell? Share your opinions below