It has been nearly six years since The Office aired its last episode, but as luck would have it, it was just the end of one phase and the start of a new one.
Obviously, the show would have a busy second act thanks to syndication, with Comedy Central in particular having shouldered that load in recent months. However, it’s been Netflix who has really breathed new life into the show in the past year or so.
In 2018, when news started making the rounds that the streaming service was in danger of losing Friends, it was reported that (despite what people thought), the sitcom wasn’t their most streamed show: The Office was and it wasn’t even that close.
Thanks to the millions of people streaming the show on Netflix, a whole new generation of fans have discovered The Office, while at the same time, those of us who experienced the show in real time, are able to jump back in whenever and wherever we chose.
A quick aside: wouldn’t it be great if you could create playlists on Netflix? For instance, if you’re a big Office fan, you could create a playlist of 10 or so of your favorite episodes that you could have on stand by. I have mentioned this plenty of times in a variety of mediums and Netflix has yet to act. It’s very discouraging.
Anyway, why are we here? We are not here to simply sing the praises of The Office. That’s easy to do. The Office is great; probably the second best sitcom ever after Seinfeld.
We are here instead to determine which character on The Office would make the best drinking buddy. Imagine this scenario: you’ve found yourself with a night to kill in lovely Scranton, PA, you want to go out for a few drinks—whether it’s at Poor Richards, Cooper’s or Bernie’s—and your only choice for someone to roll with you is someone from Dunder Mifflin. Who do you pick?
Now I realize this is somewhat subjective and everyone handles their business differently, so I’m going to try tackling this as objectively as possible. Also, I’m sticking with the 30 most prominent characters from the show. Sadly that means Mose, Amy Adams’ purse-selling character, and Deangelo Vickers aren’t making the cut.
30. Todd Packer
This is easy.
Todd Packer was the worst, something even Michael eventually realized and that’s saying a lot because Michael was damn near obsessed with the Pack Man, Scranton’s biggest William Hung fan. I can’t even imagine a scenario where I’d be down to grab a drink with that dude.
Well, actually I could. It would have to involve me drinking for free. Even then, it’d be a stretch. I would definitely fake a phone call at some point and bail on him.
29. Robert California
You remember him, right? He was the guy who was hired to replace Michael but then talked himself into a higher level job, leaving Andy in charge. He was kind of strange and was never really as funny as we hoped.
As far as being a drinking buddy goes, he would totally encourage you to rip absinthe and then disappear in the night, leaving you to your own devices, which are terrible devices because you know, THE ABSINTHE.
28. Angela Martin
The last thing I need when I’m out drinking is someone there to disapprove of my actions.
I can do that myself, thank you very much.
27. Gabe Lewis
One semester in college, I took a Japanese film class. It was interesting, albeit stressful. Things are very serious in Japanese films. I’d watch one and instantly feel like I had somehow dishonored my family. It was heavy.
It would also be the one thing I could talk to Gabe about, which is troubling because I’m sure he would have a lot to say about Japanese films whereas I pretty much just said all I can about Japanese films.
26. Toby Flenderson
Toby was a nice guy. He meant well, and again, was a nice guy but he was also kind of a downer. I don’t want to do anything with a downer, let alone do some drinking with one.
Oh God. That sounds like the worst.
Just picture hanging out with Toby. He starts talking about spending time in Costa Rica, something that is most of the time a great thing to talk about. Then he talks about zip-lining in Costa Rica, which is again, a dope thing to talk about. Then he starts talking about breaking his neck while zip-lining and spending time in a Costa Rican hospital AND OH GOD MAKE IT STOP!
Again, Toby, good dude. But no. No way.
25. Oscar Martinez
I was going to rank Oscar higher, but then I remembered the “actually” thing.
I don’t need someone fact-checking me when I’m drinking (or really at all for that matter). I’ve reached the point in my life where my facts are either facts or facts enough for me. It’s a good feeling.
24. Stanley Hudson
Stanley might actually be a sneaky good hang. I don’t really have anything to back this up; it’s just a feeling I have. 43% of the time my feelings are almost accurate and you can’t argue with that kind of science.
Actually, you could, because…
SHUT THE HELL UP, OSCAR! THIS IS WHY NO ONE HANGS OUT WITH YOU!
23. Clark Green
Clark came along at some point towards the end of the show’s run. I don’t know what he did at Dunder Mifflin and I honestly couldn’t tell you one memorable thing he did during his time on the show.
Yet, with that being said, let’s go drink beers, Clark Green. I’m sure that it’ll be fine and I won’t regret it at all and I won’t remember it the next day. Which is fine. You are destined to be forgettable, Clark Green, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Embrace it. Cherish it. No one else will. Kind of a gift and a curse situation.
22. Jan Levinson
We’d drink cocktails, we’d make snide comments about other people at the bar, we’d talk the candle game and that would be it. Just a simple, pleasant night that we all walk away from with our dignity intact.
It’s not as if Jan’s been known to cause a scene or anything.
21. Meredith Palmer
Bear with me.
If you were in town for just one night, didn’t know a soul and were looking to have some drinks, why wouldn’t Meredith be one of your better options? She would most likely know some real towny spots with cheap beer and wouldn’t shy away from some shots if the night took that kind of turn.
Sounds like a winner to me.
Play some darts? She’d be down. A game of pool? She’d be down. Do donuts in a parking lot in her minivan? She’d be down. It’s hard to find a negative here. Well, until you remember that Meredith is a little bit of a wild card and realize that you could just as easily end up in the middle of Lake Wallenpaupack in said minivan.
20. Kelly Kapoor
Kelly talks a lot. Like, a lot. So I could see how she could maybe be ranked lower.
However, sometimes someone who talks a lot can be kind of entertaining and perhaps on your one night in question, you don’t feel like talking. Kelly would then be perfect because she’d do all the talking. Then you get a few beers in you and start messing with her—like incorrectly saying the names of Sex in the City characters—and boom, endless entertainment as she continues to correct you.
If she starts talking about Ryan though, it’s all over.
19. Holly Flax
Hmm. I don’t know. 19 feels like the perfect place for Holly and that’s all I have to say about that.
18. Ryan Howard
Ryan would definitely be down to hang out, provided he can pick the place and provided you are doing the paying, which sounds kind of terrible.
Should Ryan be ranked lower? And, wait a second, wasn’t Ryan kind of the worst?
Wouldn’t he just spend the whole night talking about his trip to Thailand or the time he spent in New York or his latest social media venture? Wasn’t there a spell where Ryan went full hipster and aren’t hipsters super obnoxious nine times out of ten? I’m going to be honest: I don’t think Ryan should be sitting here at 18.
Of course, while I would love to go back and redo the rankings up until this point, in the spirit of Ryan—who was super lazy and always looking to cut corners—I’m going to just shrug my shoulders and move on.
17. Erin Hannon
I mean, can we talk about stuff like this all night?
Because if so, I am totally in!
16. Jo Bennett
Jo wasn’t around for too long, but she was around long enough to make me think that she’d be fun to hang out with. I appreciate a straight-shooter, which Jo certainly was.
Let’s hang out, talk about college football, and make jokes about buying the establishments we’re drinking in. Man, talk about a hell of a good night, huh? I would 100% be down to argue with places about whether or not Jo could bring her dogs in.
15. Andy Bernard
I wrestled with this one. Why? Because I like Andy. I don’t know how you couldn’t like Andy. Well, unless you loath suck-ups and acapella heads. If that were the case, then I could certainly see why you wouldn’t like Andy.
My issue here is that whether you like the dude or not, I think we can all agree that Andy is a lot. He’s extra. I can’t really deal with extra and I don’t really want to spend a night hanging out with extra. Hanging out in the proximity of extra is fine, but hanging out solely with extra is not.
For instance, I was once at a bar in Baltimore on karaoke night and this dude started singing “Come Sail Away” by Styx. And when I say he was singing, my dude was SINGING. It was as if he had waited his whole life for this very moment. The best part was that he really used the space. He was running all over the place, singing the entire time. It was fantastic; a night I still remember and think about several years later.
Yet as fun as that experience was, it would have been decidedly less fun if when the song was over, the guy came over and sat with us because we had been hanging out with him. I don’t want to sound judgmental or anything but I want to enjoy an experience like that from a distance, not from up close. That’s how I feel about Andy and the idea of hanging out with Andy.
Also, “Come Sail Away” is only a great song for two-thirds of it.
14. Charles Miner
Okay, there’s a decent chance you don’t remember Charles Miner. Miner, played by Idris Elba, came in during the fifth season, replacing Jan and Ryan as Michael’s boss.
We didn’t get a lot from Charles but I think we got enough to determine with some confidence that if pressed, you could do a lot worse than him when it comes to finding a drinking buddy.
He likes soccer. I like soccer. Soccer is fun to talk about. That’s enough for me.
13. David Wallace
My dude likes a good glass of scotch and if things get boring, even if it’s at his own house, he has no problem bailing to go play basketball. Now, I’m terrible at basketball and all things being equal really shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a hoop. But I do get bored easily and appreciate someone who has a ready-made exit strategy.
12. Phyllis Vance
Hold on a second. At this point, you could easily question the decision to rank Phyllis here. That’s fine. As noted earlier, we all would most likely approach this situation differently.
But—and this is a big but—I think Phyllis could be a lot of fun to hang out with. We’d drink some white wine, talk about American Idol or some random show on CBS, and she’d probably offer to knit me a sweater and there’s no way I’m saying no to that.
She might not be a flashy pick but she’s a mighty sound pick and I’m standing by it.
11. Michael Scott
I give you Exhibit A:
And Exhibit B:
I rest my case.
Although, as my wife pointed out, he would probably offer to pay for drinks and I would probably take him up on that. So, you know, it’s not a total loss. Hence being ranked 11th.
10. Dwight Schrute
You know what I like to do when I’m drinking at a bar? I like to talk about random things. You know who could endlessly talk about random things? Dwight effin’ Shrute, that’s who.
Let’s do it, Dwight. Let’s talk about bear attacks and the history of the Pennsylvania Dutch and agrotourism and beets. Yes! Let’s talk about beets, Dwight. I don’t know a damn thing about beets but get some beers in me and I am totally down to learn more about them.
I am also totally down to hear Dwight say any of the following things while out drinking with him:
“I am fast. To give you a reference point I am somewhere between a snake and a mongoose… And a panther.”
“I grew up on a farm. I have seen animals having sex in every position imaginable. Goat on chicken. Chicken on goat. Couple of chickens doing a goat, couple of pigs watching.”
“I wish I could menstruate. If I could menstruate, I wouldn’t have to deal with idiotic calendars anymore. I’d just be able to count down from my previous cycle. Plus I’d be more in tune with the moon and the tides.”
“No, don’t call me a hero. Do you know who the real heroes are? The guys who wake up every morning and go into their normal jobs, and get a distress call from the Commissioner and take off their glasses and change into capes and fly around fighting crime. Those are the real heroes.”
I’m sorry, but if someone were to say any of those things when you are drinking, it’s easily going to be the funniest thing you’ve ever heard. Dwight might not think so but who the hell cares?
For one night and one night only, I would be stoked to hang out with Dwight and then I would live the rest of my days telling anyone who would listen about this bizarre dude who I spent a night drinking with in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
A night spent with Dwight would truly be a gift that keeps on giving.
9. Creed Bratton
Talk about a night spent with a wildly fantastic freak show.
I would think that if you went out for some drinks with Creed any of the following could happen: you get arrested, you bail on your bar tab, someone else gets arrested, you end up at a quarry, you find yourself on stage at an open mic playing Crosby, Stills, and Nash songs, you end up again at a quarry, you sell some fake IDs to local teenagers, quarry again, you kill a man and assume his identity, and either start or join a cult.
Find me something wrong with doing any of those things*. I dare you.
*except starting a cult, which seems problematic
8. Pete Miller
Pete, like that fella Clark, joined the show at the start of its final season, and like that fella Clark, I don’t remember much about him. He seemed fine, though.
Wikipedia tells me that he was a Red Sox fan and that’s all I need to know. Let’s hang out and talk some Mookie Betts, Pete!
7. Roy Anderson
Roy going after Jim was totally not cool. However, it was maybe a little justified.
I’m not condoning his actions; I’m just saying that he should be cut some slack. His engagement had ended, he punched a mirror (which has to be super painful), and then he and his brother lost that choice jet ski money. Dude was raking up L’s left and right.
So let’s look beyond that and admit that Roy was a decent guy and having some beers with someone that is generally considered a decent guy has always been a good move.
Also, if you want to do a snorkel shot, Roy will literally drop everything to cheer you on. True friend right there.
6. Nellie Bertram
Who’s Nellie? That’s a good question.
I have no idea but I remember her being kind of fun and a little bit of a loose cannon. I love a good loose cannon. Who doesn’t?
Probably Angela, which is yet another reason why she was ranked so close to the bottom.
5. Pam Beesly Halpert
Oh, Pam. Guys, we love Pam. Sure, it was a little short-sighted on her part to quit Dunder Mifflin and join the Michael Scott Paper Company but who among us hasn’t acted impulsively once or twice in our lives?
A night spent drinking with Pam would no doubt be delightful and would probably be filled with some wonderful conversations (although if you end up at a Chili’s, all bets are off).
We’ve all acted impulsively once or twice in our lives and we’ve all felt God in a Chili’s.
4. Kevin Malone
Let us for a moment say that on our night out in Scranton, we just want to blow off some steam. We want to vent, we want to spout off some weird-ass opinions and thoughts on a variety of subjects. On this night we are not much for listening, but we are very much for getting some things off of our chest. Wouldn’t Kevin be perfect in that situation? I sure think so.
Or let’s say this night was one of those nights where you just want to sit at a bar and stare mindlessly at whatever game is playing on the television in front of you. I think Kevin would be great in that situation too.
I’m not sure how well-suited he’d be for trivia night, but no one is perfect.
Kevin is damn close, though.
3. Karen Filippelli
Karen, a.k.a. The Other Woman.
By all accounts we should have hated Karen, as she came along just as we were all fully engulfed in the “will they or won’t they” emotional roller coaster that was Jim and Pam. We only met Karen because a heartbroken Jim dipped out on Scranton and moved to Stamford.
On paper, we had every right to straight up loathe her. But we didn’t. Instead, we all kind of liked her. It was a very confusing time. You know, like your teenage years or those first few Sunday nights after Game of Thrones ends.
There was a realness to Karen but there was also a coolness, which studies have shown is a lethal combination. Those same studies very clearly outline the indisputable fact that Karen would be a good hang. I bet she would have some interesting thoughts on pop culture and sports and probably even politics.
I will never question Jim’s decision to choose Pam over Karen, just like I will never question my decision to rank Karen over Pam.
2. Darryl Philbin
Not only would Darryl be fun to hang out with, it would also be educational.
Bonus: Darryl was always super cool. So if we’re keeping score, he would teach us something and would be super cool. I’m not sure you could ask for anything more.
1. Jim Halpert
Our man Jim is the ideal drinking buddy for whatever stage in life you might find yourself (providing you’re of legal drinking age, of course).
Young Jim, who we met early on, could run with you as you are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, fresh out of college and slogging your way through your first real job.
Late 20s Jim would be there for you as you are struggling to come to terms with what life is actually like and whether or not that post-college job is just that or perhaps something more.
Then there’s Relationship Jim, who completely understands you when you just need a dude’s night, but at the same time appreciates that you are perfectly happy with your lady friend.
After that it’s New Husband Jim quickly followed by New Dad Jim, the perfect companion to share stories with while drinking fewer beers than you would have a couple years earlier because you know, babies get up super early.
Finally, there’s Full-Fledged Dad Jim, who is down to grab a beer after work, watch the first half of a basketball game and call it a night at a reasonable hour because you both have work in the morning.
A Jim for all seasons, a Jim for all the stages in your life.
Jim Halpert, ladies and gentlemen.