Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top 5 The Office Cold Opens

Currently on the rebound after a slump in form, The Office has no doubt invigorated the use of several goldmine sitcom laughter schemes.

Along with other recent comedies like our old pal Arrested Development, they've helped influence other shows with things like multi-camera use, lack of laugh track, overlapping dialogue and the now-ubiquitous mockumentary style.

But more than any of these, The Office can lay boldest claim to a golden era resurgence of one artistic TV license: the cold open.

We will now celebrate the best of the best from this sitcom's teaser files. And as you'd probably expect, Jim's antics against Dwight rule this ranking. Each bit is listed by episode title and season/episode number.

Honorable mentions: Dwight follows a curious red wire on his computer (Prince Family Paper - S6E12), Dwight gives a surprising karate demonstration (Murder - S6E10), Dwight tries to give superior Jim a demerit (Women's Appreciation - S3E22), Kevin "brings" his prize chili to work (Casual Friday - S5E24), Jim has Dwight playing hot/cold to find his missing desk (The Fight - S2E6), Jim makes Dwight his Pavlovian Altoids Dog (Phyllis' Wedding - S3E16), Michael gets a little gum in is hair and Dwight applies a very thorough peanut butter "rinse" (Night Out - S4E15), Michael "laps the field" in a radar speed trap sign race (The Duel - S6E12), Michael shows up for his New York interview a day early (The Job - S3E24), Pam is affected and then concerned by Michael's DVD choices (Money - S4E4), Stanley stunningly takes Michael's push-up challenge to get out of work (Happy Hour - S6E21), Toby's surprising return crashes Michael's mood fast (Frame Toby - S5E9)

#5 - "Moroccan Christmas" (S5E11)

The best of several fine cold opens involving Jim playing games with Dwight's desk, this bit was a real Christmas surprise wrapped in pretty paper.

#4 - "Product Recall" (S3E21)

Jim comes to work in character as Dwight, who cries identity theft. Apparently, identify theft costs just 11 bucks.

#3 - "Booze Cruise" (S2E17)

This classic does not involve Dwight's desk, so much as everything on and in it. Jim puts it all in a vending machine, but is at least kind enough to bring a sack of nickels for the suddenly poor butt.

#2 - "Branch Closing" (S3E7)

Even while slumming it in Stamford, Jim finds a way to get Dwight. This time, "Future Dwight" faxes a dire warning to Mr. Schrute. Caught up in it by happenstance, something tells me Stanley was not initially interested in believing he'd give thanks later.

#1 - "The Cover Up" (S6E24)

Call me a softie for PB&J, but they are indeed a special couple. What is more romantic than new parents that will expend such great effort for such a subtle laugh and end up willingly side-by-side in a blinking Morse Code firefight? It is beyond excellent to see them pulling cold open pranks together now. We want more... can we get Dwight's entire desk in Jello?

- Greg Seltzer


Paul Poenicke said...

Waiting for the silly season to start up so we won't have to read posts about the Office.

Steven Streff said...

The opening segments on The Office are some of the best moments. My favorite though (don't think it is considered a cold opening), was the on from Stress Relief in Season 5, when Dwight started the fire in the office.

jay said...

This is the best one: