NBC's smash hit sitcom The Office captivated
audiences as it unfolded in a nine-season run from 2005 to 2013. And now, we’re breaking
down exactly what happened during the show, so let’s dig deep into the
entire story of The Office. Let's kick things off at the beginning, shall
we? The story of The Office begins in 2005, when a film crew from PBS arrives at the
Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin paper company to make a documentary about the
shifting landscape of American office life. There they meet Michael Scott, a former paper
salesman who's risen through the ranks to become the regional manager of the branch, and
the various characters who populate his staff.
Though the documentary crew perhaps didn't intend
to stay long, they are quickly sucked into the various shenanigans around the office, including
the wild ideas of top salesman Dwight Schrute and the obvious flirtation between salesman Jim
Halpert and receptionist Pam Beesly. At the beginning of their tenure, the crew documents
the hiring of new temp worker Ryan Howard, and perhaps sensing that there's much
more drama to mine, they end up staying at Dunder Mifflin Scranton through major change
after major change for the next nine years.
Rumors soon begin to swirl throughout the company
that downsizing may be coming in the near future. Health care plans are slashed, and
Michael lets employee Devon White go on Halloween through a bungled,
painful display of incompetence. In spite of this, Michael tries his
best to increase company morale through less-than-successful means, which include
a haphazard basketball game between the office and warehouse workers, an impromptu
birthday party for alcoholic Meredith Palmer, and a botched Christmas gift exchange. Perhaps
the best boost for the employees' attitudes comes in the form of an undercover
reading of Michael's screenplay, Threat Level Midnight, along with a
healthy dose of office-based Olympics. Around this time, Michael buys a condo
and begins juggling a complicated pair of relationships with his realtor, Carol Stills,
and his superior, Jan Levinson.
Meanwhile, beet-loving salesman Dwight Schrute and
uptight accountant Angela Martin begin a secret relationship, and by January 2006,
Jim breaks up with his girlfriend, Katy. Not long after this, Michael reveals to corporate
that he's been in a "relationship" with Jan, although he manages to explain that it
wasn't serious enough to warrant termination. And as spring turns to summer, Jim finally
expresses his feelings to Pam and kisses her. However, she stays with her fiancé,
warehouse worker Roy Anderson — although they break up soon afterward — and Jim takes a
job at the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin. Back in the Scranton office, Ryan
the temp finally goes full time.
Michael kicks off the fall of 2006 by outing
and then kissing gay accountant Oscar Martinez, who gets a three-month paid vacation as a result. The manager follows this up by dramatically
shepherding the office through grief counseling after receiving news of the unexpected
death of former manager Ed Truck. This all leads to a crescendo late in
the year when Jan informs Michael that the Scranton branch is being closed.
However, when the Stamford manager, Josh Porter, ditches his managerial duties for
a job with Staples, the script is flipped, and Scranton ends up absorbing the Stamford branch,
bringing Jim back to Pennsylvania in the process.
"We did it!" "We did it!" The merger of the two branches is a rough one, and
by early 2007, Andy Bernard and Karen Filippelli, who also happens to be Jim's new girlfriend, are
the only original Stamford employees remaining. Later, Pam's ex-fiance Roy is fired when he
tries to assault Jim after learning that he kissed Pam. Dwight is also framed by Andy and
fired, although he's quickly rehired afterward. This period of time also sees a lot of
drama in the relationship department. Carol breaks up with Michael, who steers
into the relationship with Jan as a result. Salesman Phyllis Lapin [LAP-in] also
ties the knot with Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration and heads off on a six-week
Soon after the wedding, Michael interviews with CFO David Wallace to replace
Jan at the corporate office, but ultimately, that job goes to Ryan Howard, who becomes
the youngest VP in the company's history. In the aftermath of Ryan Howard's promotion,
Jim breaks up with Karen and finally hooks up with Pam. Angela privately breaks up
with Dwight after he mercy-kills her cat, and she begins dating Andy openly. Michael
continues to date Jan, who helps him organize a charity "Fun Run" to raise funds for rabies
awareness after he hits Meredith with his car. Yes, those two events are connected. "Turns out Meredith has been exposed to rabies, which is like 10 times worse than
a little crack in your pelvis." Meanwhile, looking to make a splash, Ryan
attempts to launch a company website called "Dunder Mifflin Infinity." The site goes
live in October 2007, but six months later, it's dead in the water, and Ryan has been
arrested for misleading the shareholders.
As Dunder Mifflin struggles, Jan sues the company,
unsuccessfully, for wrongful termination. She also bankrupts Michael, and then the two break up
after throwing the world's worst dinner party. "Oh good, I'll be your first customer." "You're hardly my first." "That's what she said!" Throughout the chaos, Jim and Pam's fledgling
relationship soars. Jim attempts to propose to Pam in early 2008, but Andy steals his thunder by
proposing to Angela first at the farewell party for Toby Flenderson — the HR rep who's leaving for
Costa Rica. Toby is replaced by Holly Flax, who immediately hits things off with Michael, because
the two are just so perfectly dorky together. The rest of 2008 is fairly quiet
as far as the office is concerned. The biggest events are the return of Ryan
Howard as a temp and the transfer of Holly Flax to the Nashua branch after David Wallace
discovers that she and Michael are dating. This effectively breaks the couple up, although
the two are still interested in each other.
Jim and Pam's relationship also comes under
serious pressure for the first time when Pam leaves for three months to attend art school in
New York City. Jim proposes to her while she's away, and eventually, she returns after failing
to complete the course. Not long after this, Jim buys his parents' house without telling
Pam and then surprises her with it as a gift. As the year wraps up, things take a major turn.
Despite the fact that she's engaged to Andy, Angela has been having an affair with Dwight, but that all comes crashing down when
Phyllis exposes Angela's infidelity. And early in 2009, the two salesmen duel
with each other over their coworker.
However, by the time it's over, both combatants have
decided to bitterly break things off with Angela. In early 2009, Michael and Pam go on
a Dunder Mifflin lecture circuit where Michael reveals his masterfully dramatic recipe
for success to everyone who will listen to him. Afterward, David Wallace hires Charles Miner
to fill Ryan's old job. Charles immediately clashes with Michael, who quits after one
day of working with the new supervisor. Having little experience outside of the paper
market, Michael decides to start his own paper company and convinces Pam and Ryan to join
After a short run of artificial success, the trio uses the Michael Scott Paper Company
as leverage to get jobs back at Dunder Mifflin. Pam is promoted to sales, while Erin
Hannon stays on as the new receptionist. After this, Pam and Jim discover they're going to
have a kid as they tend to an injury Pam received at a company picnic. They manage to keep the
pregnancy a secret until the fall when the rumor-mill accidentally leaks the information. In
the interim, Dunder Mifflin closes their Buffalo, Camden, and Yonkers branches, and it's clear
the company is on the way to bankruptcy. In the fall of 2009, Jim and Michael are made
co-managers in order to spread out the increased workload caused by all of the branch closings.
The dynamic duo lead the office through the ensuing months, during which Dunder Mifflin goes
under and is bought by the printer company Sabre.
As Dunder Mifflin tanks, Jim and Pam's
relationship reaches new heights as they get hitched in Niagara Falls, a deliberately-planned
destination wedding they hope their coworkers will skip. But despite the distance, the
entire office tags along for the ride. Once Sabre CEO Jo Bennett and her lackey, Gabe
Lewis, arrive on the scene, Jim quickly returns to sales, and Michael resumes sole command on
the Dunder Mifflin managerial throne. The affable Darryl Philbin is promoted during this time as
well, and he begins to fulfill his duties from the office rather than the warehouse. In March 2010, a
very pregnant Pam spends an entire fearful day at the office before being talked into going to the
hospital where she gives birth to Cecelia Halpert. With the heavy days of perpetual
downsizing behind them for the time being, the Scranton office enters a
period of relative stability. Toby returns from Costa Rica and Pam, who's
miserable in sales, creates the position of "office administrator" out of thin air, and
then awards it to herself as a promotion.
As 2010 draws to a close, Toby spends a chunk
of time out of the office serving as a juror on the case of the Scranton Strangler. This leads
to Holly temporarily returning as a fill-in, giving Michael the chance to convince
her to date him once again, and soon, the two love birds are back together. Early 2011
sees the over-the-top romantic couple get engaged and then move away together to Boulder, Colorado,
where they plan to help Holly's aging parents. "Hey, will you guys let me
know if this ever airs?" The departure of Michael Scott leaves the office scrambling,
yet again, to fill the void. Initially, Michael trains Deangelo Vickers to replace him. However,
soon after taking the job, Deangelo is seriously injured while performing a basketball stunt,
and the office finds itself leaderless again.
Sabre CEO Jo Bennet swoops in to the rescue and
offers Dwight the position of acting manager for the time being. But Dwight finds himself relegated
back to the bullpen after accidentally firing a loaded gun in the office. Jo then sets up a
search committee, which finally settles on the uncomfortably eccentric Robert California
as the new regional manager. He promptly convinces Jo Bennet to give him her own job
and then hires Andy Bernard as his replacement. As 2011 plays out, Robert California
plays mind games with his new staff and puts unreasonable pressure on Andy
to push the office to overperform. Andy, on the other hand, takes some time to
acclimate to his new position of authority, initially struggling to handle crises
— like the warehouse workers winning the lottery and all quitting at once.
begins dating Jessica, one of the few repeat characters in the show that actually works
outside of the office and the greater story. In the meantime, Cathy Simms is hired as a
temp to replace Pam while she's on maternity leave with her second child, Philip.
Angela gives birth to her first child, who's also named Philip and who she claims to
have had with her husband, Senator Robert Lipton, yet another extracurricular character from outside
the office who met Angela back in late 2010. In early 2012, Dwight leads a team from Dunder
Mifflin Scranton down to Tallahassee, Florida, where they work in the Sabre headquarters for
three weeks on a project led by Nellie Bertram. The group is tasked with designing a new
retail store for the printer company. However, the entire situation goes south when Robert
California deliberately nixes the idea, and soon everyone finds
themselves back in Scranton. It's during this time that Andy ditches Jessica, heads to Florida to fetch ex-girlfriend Erin, and
reignites a relationship with the receptionist. However, when the couple returns to Scranton,
Andy finds he's been usurped by Nellie, who's taken the manager position on the grounds
that Andy had abandoned his responsibilities.
Not long after this, Jo Bennet
liquidates the entire Sabre company, just in time for David Wallace to
return to the scene as a new investor. He reinstates Andy as the manager, while
Nellie is allowed to stay on as an employee. In late 2012, Andy receives news that his family has gone bankrupt, which leads to him
taking an undisclosed three-month break so that he can sail the family yacht to the Caribbean in
order to sell it.
Upon his return, a justifiably angry Erin breaks up with him and starts dating
the new customer service rep, Pete Miller. While all that drama is happening, Jim starts
to work part-time after going "all in" on his own sports marketing company in Philly, a business
called Athlead. This new focus quickly escalates, and by early 2013, Jim and Pam's relationship
is under serious strain. They begin attending marital counseling, and eventually, Jim
realizes that he can't continue dividing his time between Philly and Scranton. He returns
to Dunder Mifflin full-time late in the spring. This all coincides with Andy Bernard's third and
final abrupt departure from the company when he quits in order to pursue an acting career.
In his wake, Dwight at long last is truly, unquestionably crowned as the regional
manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton. Plus, it finally comes out that Angela's
son isn't the senator's but Dwight's.
In May 2013, PBS airs the documentary that's
been "ten years in the making." The Scranton office is officially no longer being watched
by a documentary crew around the clock. Over the following year, new regional manager Dwight
Schrute makes several changes, including rehiring Devon and firing accountant Kevin Malone, who
buys his own bar. Plus, salesman Stanley Hudson finally retires to a hideaway in Florida, where he
spends his time alone, carving wooden figurines. A year after the documentary airs, the film
crew catches up with everyone in order to gather bonus footage for the DVD release. Dwight and
Angela are officially married during this time, and Michael Scott arrives as a surprise guest at
the wedding, revealing that he's very happy living his life with Holly and their kids in Colorado.
We also learn that Pam has been plotting to sell the Halpert house and move her family to Austin,
Texas, so Jim can resume his career with Athlead.
With everyone's lives officially moving forward,
many in directions other than the office, the epic tale of America's favorite
workplace finally comes to an end. Check out one of our newest
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