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The Office: 10 Best Episodes Directed By A Cast Member

The Office is one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, drawing rich and hilarious stories out of its depictions of everyday life at a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The series ran for nine seasons, catapulting its cast into stardom, and thereby launching several notable careers.

As The Office grew in scope and popularity, many of its actors expanded their contributions to the show. Over the years, several of the main cast members stepped behind the camera to direct episodes that have become beloved entries in the series’ run.


“Christmas Wishes” directed by Ed Helms

Ed Helms, who portrayed main cast member Andy Bernard beginning in Season 3, took the reigns for the Season 8 episode “Christmas Wishes.” In this episode, Andy, who has recently been promoted to regional manager, attempts to fulfill the holiday wishes of his employees, with predictably hilarious results.

While not a perfect episode by any means, Helms’s direction leads to yet another reliably good time for the audience, as the series attempts to fill the void left by Steve Carrell’s departure in the previous season. The runner between Jim and Dwight as they attempt to frame the other for pranks is the episode’s saving grace, with the characters’ friendly rivalry generating plenty of laughs.

“Lotto” directed by John Krasinski

John Krasinski portrayed salesman Jim Halpert throughout all nine seasons of The Office, also directing several episodes during that time. One such episode, “Lotto,” came early in the show’s eighth season, depicting the upstairs workers as they struggled to fill in for the warehouse staff, who quit their jobs en masse after winning the lottery.

Watching the Dunder Mifflin employees out of their element in the warehouse proves to be a surprisingly fun premise for an episode, with Krasinski capably adapting a somewhat larger-than-life premise in a way that still follows the show’s relatable stylings. Additionally, Andy’s storyline with Darryl does wonders in revealing Helms’s character to be one of The Office‘s most competent managers as he settles into his new position.

“Classy Christmas” directed by Rainn Wilson

The season 7 episode “Classy Christmas” marks the second time that Dwight Schrute actor Rainn Wilson helmed an episode of The Office. In “Classy Christmas,” Michael Scott trashes the office’s current holiday party plans when he hears that his ex-girlfriend Holly Flax is being transferred back to Scranton, leading him to excitedly (and wrongly) suspect that she is also now single.

Wilson’s direction helps bring to life the set-up for Michael Scott’s final arc on The Office while also delivering on the show’s reputation for delivering classic holiday episodes. The episode’s highlight undoubtedly comes in Jim and Dwight’s B-storyline in which the latter terrorizes his rival with guerilla snowball fight tactics.

“Sabre” directed by John Krasinski

John Krasinski’s directorial debut on The Office came in the form of the Season 6 episode “Sabre.” In this episode, the staff at Scranton must grow accustomed to the new policies put in place by Sabre, a printer company that has bought out Dunder Mifflin, leading Michael to seek advice from former CFO David Wallace.

John Krasinski had a major episode on his hands with “Sabre,” tasked with introducing a brand-new era of the show as Dunder Mifflin officially becomes a subsidiary of the titular printer company. Nevertheless, the actor-director rises to the task, not only delivering a memorable episode, but also a hilarious Sabre training video starring Christian Slater himself.

“Garage Sale” directed by Steve Carrell

Steve Carrell, who portrayed regional manager Michael Scott for the first seven seasons of The Office, had the opportunity to direct an episode that would have lasting effects on his character. In the nineteenth episode of Season 7, entitled “Garage Sale,” the office staff tries to sell their unneeded possessions, while Michael worries that Holly will have to move away again.

While the initial story of “Garage Sale” is able to stand by itself, it is in the episode’s final moments that it truly shines. Carrell expertly brings to life one of Michael Scott’s most wholesome moments as he proposes to the love of his life, creating a beautiful scene that Office fans won’t forget.

“Gossip” directed by Paul Lieberstein

Paul Lieberstein may be best known as the actor who portrays HR representative Toby Flenderson for all nine seasons of The Office, but his contributions are far more profound. Lieberstein was also a writer and executive producer on the series, as well as a frequent director of key episodes. One of his best episodes comes in the form of the Season 6 premiere “Gossip,” in which Michael spreads false rumors about his employees in an attempt to cover up one true rumor about Stanley Hudson.

By the time he took the reins of “Gossip,” Paul Lieberstein was already well-versed in directing. His skill shows in this episode, as he brilliantly demonstrates the chaotic confusion brought about by Michael’s schemes, as well as a memorable cold open featuring Michael, Dwight, and Andy attempting to engage in parkour.

“Michael’s Last Dundies” directed by Mindy Kaling

Prolific writer Mindy Kaling, who also portrayed Kelly Kapoor for the show’s first eight seasons, directed one of Season 7’s most emotional episodes in “Michael’s Last Dundies.” In this episode, Michael Scott attempts to pass the Dundies torch down to his successor, Deangelo Vickers, with mixed results.

Kaling makes this episode work despite its story being mostly set outside of the familiar walls of Dunder Mifflin. Her direction also proves invaluable in the show’s closing moments as the cast pays a surprise tribute to The Office‘s longest-running manager, marking one of the most memorable scenes in the entirety of the series.

“Broke” directed by Steve Carrell

“Broke” is the twenty-fifth episode of The Office‘s fifth season, which brings to a close the iconic “Michael Scott Paper Company” arc. As an episode that is a major contributor to Michael Scott’s story arc, Steve Carrell was appropriately given the reins to this installment of the season.

Steve Carrell manages to bring the climactic negotiation between the Michael Scott Paper Company and Dunder Mifflin to life in a way that is both tense and hilarious. As the story plays out, the audience can truly believe that Michael Scott’s most successful scheme ever would end with a buyout from David Wallace, something that could have seemed forced and unbelievable in the hands of an unskilled director.

“Scott’s Tots” directed by B.J. Novak

B.J. Novak may have portrayed Ryan Howard for much of The Office‘s run, but he also served as one of the show’s earliest writers. Novak made his directorial debut with the Season 6 episode “Scott’s Tots,” an infamous storyline in which it is revealed that Michael had promised to pay the college tuitions of a classroom of third graders ten years earlier, with no means to fulfill his lofty claim.

“Scott’s Tots” has been marked as one of the show’s cringiest episodes of all time, which was very clearly the intention of director B.J. Novak. As uncomfortable as the episode is to watch, fans can feel the building desperation within Michael Scott as he inches closer and closer to the inevitable conclusion of his overblown lie, resulting in one of the show’s very best stories.

“Money” directed by Paul Lieberstein

Paul Lieberstein directed several noteworthy episodes of The Office, but perhaps none more hilarious than the Season 4 two-parter “Money,” which also acted as his directorial debut. In this episode, Michael Scott struggles with his finances, leading him to take a second job at a telemarketing agency, only to be forced to quit when this job begins to affect his work performance at Dunder Mifflin.

“Money” is a tour de force in the show’s run, including everything that makes The Office great. Lieberstein’s finger is consistently on the pulse of the series, while also pushing the boundaries of what his episodes could look like. From the memorable shot of Michael and Jan’s feet as they sit upon a train car to the slow-burning reveal of Michael’s second job, to the expertly-shot who/whom debate in the conference room, every moment of “Money” is worthy of commendation, resulting in Liberstein’s nomination for an Emmy for his outstanding direction.

NEXT: 10 Possible Plotlines For A Reboot Of The Office

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