‘The Office’: Jenna Fischer Believes This Season 1 Classic ‘Is 1 of the Best Episodes We Ever Did’

It’s hard to pick a favorite episode of The Office, but Jenna Fischer once called a season 1 classic “one of the best episodes we ever did.” There were a lot of great episodes over nine seasons, but Fischer had her reasons for why this one is deserving of her high praise.

The Office Season 5 cast pose as their characters
‘The Office’ cast | Mitchell Haaseth/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

‘The Office’ season 1 had this strong episode

During a November 2019 episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who played Pam and Angela, discussed the first season’s fifth episode, titled “Basketball.” The episode featured a basketball game between the office employees and the warehouse workers.

“Oh, this is early days of The Office,” Kinsey shared. “Michael was super cringy. Oh my God. He was so like, first of all, he would just accost you. He just walks up and swats you with a newspaper. He’s like ‘Pam!’ Whack!”

Fischer confirmed, “He would come up to my desk and I would flinch.”

Before they got into the details of the episode, Fischer shared, “First, I want to say, that is my personal opinion, that ‘Basketball’ is one of the best episodes we ever did.”

Jenna Fischer explained why she loves the ‘Basketball’ episode

Fischer likely has many favorite episodes, but said of the “Basketball” episode, “I absolutely love it. I think it is so good.”

“One of my favorite scenes in this episode is the one where Dwight follows Michael into his office and tries to convince him that he should be part of the basketball team,” she continued. “And they get in this exchange that is so wonderful. Michael says ‘No. Not after what happened at that pickup game.’ And then Dwight is like, ‘I apologized for that.’ He’s like, ‘I vouched for you. I vouched for you in front of Todd Packer.'”

Fischer and Kinsey noted how it’s interesting that fans don’t really know who Todd Packer is yet. “Now, here’s the amazing thing about this show is that we’ve never met Todd Packer,” Fischer said. “He’s only been mentioned one other time, which is in the pilot, when he calls in on speakerphone while Michael is having a meeting with Jan.”

Kinsey agreed, explaining how the show’s writers were so talented. “We just jumped in the middle of these people’s lives, you know, we don’t tell backstory and the audience just has to catch up,” Kinsey said. “And I love that. I love all these little nuggets and this episode in particular has a lot of little nuggets. You see these dynamics that then play out years later.”

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The episode also provided some often quoted moments, Kinsey noted. “The ‘Basketball’ episode I think has some of the best quotes of the whole first season. So many good ones,” she said. “You have one of the best ones that really I’ve seen on T-shirts and coffee mugs.”

Fischer explained how she would sign one Michael Scott quote on her headshots back then. “’Please don’t throw garbage at me.’ I love it,” she said. “I feel like it sums up Pam’s entire relationship with Michael. The fact that she has to say the words ‘Please don’t throw garbage at me’ to her boss, just … It says it all. “

“Everything she’s had to endure is all in that one line. She’s been working there for probably three or four years now. Three or four years of garbage thrown at her head,” Fischer added.