As “The Office” begins its final season Thursday, recall these favorite scenes from episodes past.
By Jere Hester ••
“The Office” is set to go out of business after its upcoming ninth season. When that gets going at 9 p.m. Thursday on NBC, we’re hoping for more memorable moments from a show that’s provided plenty of them. Here's a look back at some favorites:
That’s What You-Know-Who Said
The first use of the show’s catchphrase, “That’s what she said,” came in an early episode in which Michael, under pressure to stop sexual harassment in the office, is goaded by Jim into spouting the juvenile rejoinder. You’ll find that exchange below, along with other that’s-what-she-said exchanges.
Michael tries to grab the spotlight during a company booze cruise, interrupting the craft’s dynamic captain (Rob Riggle) by breaking into a manic dance that’s as much an exercise in comedy as it is a pathetic plea for attention.
Michael dons a do-rag and role-plays a character straight out of an “Oz” parody in a misfired bid to make a new employee, an ex-convict, feel comfortable. The sequence also features perhaps Michael’s most overt overture to his young man-crush Ryan. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the creators of the original UK version of “The Office,” wrote the episode.
Jim and Pam’s Wedding Dance
“The Office” sneaks in the occasional sappy moment, perhaps none sweeter than the staff wedding dance down the aisle at Jim and Pam’s wedding. The dance, set to Chris Brown’s “Forever,” borrowed the gimmick from a viral video and lent an additional lightness to one of the series’ most touching events.
Dwight, after taking public speaking tips from Jim, accepts his “Salesman of the Year” award with an arm-waving, podium-banging speech inspired by Mussolini. “Blood alone moves the wheels of history!” Dwight tells an auditorium full of sales staffers.
Michael Meets David
Ricky Gervais reprised his David Brent character from the original UK version of “The Office” for this chance meeting with Michael outside an elevator during Carell’s final season. Michael and David discovered they have similar senses of humor and a penchant for offensive ethnic imitations.
Michael calls the office crying for help after he rises from bed and accidentally burns his foot on his George Foreman Grill. “I like waking up to the smell of bacon – sue me,” he says later.
Fire Marshal Dwight
Dwight, annoyed that his fire prevention lecture was ignored, locks the office and sets it ablaze – sparking panic and giving us perhaps the best extended physical comedy bit in the show’s history.
After Michael does his clumsy imitation of a racially charged Chris Rock routine, the staff is required to undergo diversity training. Michael hijacks the session and creates his own exercise in which staffers are forced to wear cards on their foreheads declaring a different race or ethnicity.
Carell’s last scene proved funny and poignant as we see – but don’t hear – him mouth his catchphrase a final time. Even stronger was his emotional goodbye from Jim, who tells Michael he's "the best boss I ever had." The big challenge, as “The Office” heads towards its series finale, will be to top this classy, bittersweet farewell.