• Newsfeed

The 10 Best Pranks in the History of The Office

6 minute read

The new millennium has seen its fair share of compelling rivalries: Bush vs. Gore, Jay Z vs. Nas, Swift vs. Perry. Standing toe-to-toe with any of these frenemy pairings, though, are Jim Halpert and Dwight Schrute. The two longtime Dunder-Mifflin officemates were foes from the start, with Dwight resenting Jim’s lackadaisical attitude and Jim being annoyed by Dwight’s very existence. They’d eventually bury the hatchet — Dwight asked Jim to be the bestest mensch in his wedding, after all — but only after nine grueling years of open hostility, cruel words and an endless litany of pranks.

On the 10th anniversary of The Office, let’s take a moment to remember this epic battle of wits, which gave us big laughs over the years and provides great fodder for anyone’s real-life office hijinks. We’re still waiting for the perfect Thursday to trick a colleague into thinking it’s actually Friday.

10. Quad Desk


Season 6, Episode 19

Jim returns from paternity leave to find that Dwight has taken over his and Pam’s desks to form a sprawling workspace called “megadesk.” As revenge, Jim stacks the desks together to form an even more monstrous structure, “quad desk.” When Dwight sees that Jim has taken over his workstation, his primary concern, of course, is that you can’t call a three-desk structure “quad” anything. Silly Jim.

9. Pavlov Experiment

Season 3, Episode 15

Jim is a patient prankster. Over the course of several weeks he conducts Pavlov’s experiment, a classical conditioning exercise that trains dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell, on the unsuspecting Dwight. Each time Dwight hears the login chime of Windows XP, Jim feeds him an Altoid, and Dwight eventually comes to expect the treat. Even a man that can raise his cholesterol at will is susceptible to base biological impulses, it seems.

8. Jim puts Dwight’s stuff in the vending machine


Season 2, Episode 11

We learn that Jim is friends with the vending machine maintenance guy, who kindly helps him pull off a clever prank. Jim puts all of Dwight’s stuff — from his stapler to his beloved bobblehead dolls — in the vending machine alongside bags of chips and pretzels. Dwight decides he’ll just buy all his stuff back before he realizes his wallet is in the machine too. Jim’s a kind soul, though, so he hands Dwight a bag of nickels so he can get to work.

7. Jim puts Dwight’s desk in the bathroom

Season 2, Episode 6

When Dwight shows up in the morning, he sees his desk has vanished. Through a game of “hot-cold,” Jim leads Dwight to the bathroom, where his desk is set up right next to the urinals. Jim was meticulous here, arranging all of Dwight’s stuff perfectly and ensuring that his computer and phone worked perfectly. At least Dwight can still be productive.

6. Faxes to Future Dwight

Season 3, Episode 7

Before leaving for the Stamford branch of Dunder-Mifflin, Jim swipes some of Dwight’s stationery and proceeds to send him warnings from “Future Dwight.” Dwight, apparently convinced of his own future ability to send office memos across time, believes the faxes without question. The real victim here, though, is clearly Stanley.

5. Dwight gets his revenge

Season 7, Episode 11

By season 7, a lot of Office fans had realized Jim isn’t necessarily that great of a guy. So when Dwight snaps after a particularly demeaning attack — Jim throws a snowball at Dwight’s face — there’s a kind of catharsis in seeing Jim get a dose of his own medicine. Dwight plots out an elaborate series of physical and psychological revenge tactics, including dressing up as Pam to launch a surprise snowball attack. But the coup de grace comes at the end of the episode, when Dwight dots the Dunder-Mifflin parking lot with dozens of giant, eerie snowmen. As Jim blindly attacks the snowmen, seemingly descending into madness, Dwight looks on stoically from the office rooftop. Perhaps Schrute has really had the upper hand all along.

4. Dwight gets gaydar

Season 3, Episode 1

Following the accidental outing of Oscar, Jim mails Dwight a “gaydar” machine from the Stamford branch (it’s actually just a metal detector). Dwight seems confident in the device’s accuracy after it identifies Oscar as gay, but you can see him questioning his entire identity when he tests himself and gets the same classification.

3. Asian Jim

Season 9, Episode 3

In this perfectly-executed scheme, Jim and Pam enlist the help of their actor friend, Steve, to play Jim while he’s at the dentist. Steve’s Asian — and pretends Jim has always been Asian. “Hats off to you for not seeing race,” Steve says to an increasingly confused Dwight, who soon notices a framed photo of Steve, Pam and two Asian children resting on Jim’s desk. Pam helps pull it all off by letting Steve know she got them that special dinner reservation, and even gives him a peck on the lips. Some pranks are about inconveniencing Dwight — but this one is all about messing with his head.

2. Jim impersonates Dwight

Season 3, Episode 2

In Season 3, we learn that Jim can find inspiration for pranks just about anywhere. He explains that while shopping at a drugstore he happened upon some glasses that resembled Dwight’s, and then decided to really commit and buy a shirt, tie and watch to create a complete Dwight costume. Then, after showing up to work in the ensemble, Jim busts out his best Dwight impersonation. It takes Dwight about 45 seconds to realize what’s happening and then totally lose his cool. Later in the episode he retaliates by attempting to impersonate Jim.

1. Jim puts Dwight’s stapler in Jell-O

Season 1, Episode 1

The first episode of a television series is supposed to set everything up for us: tell us who the characters are and what they’re all about. So, naturally, the very first episode of The Office establishes one of Jim’s chief characteristics. He’s a total prankster — and his favorite target is his deskmate Dwight. After nine seasons of pranks and gags, Jim putting Dwight’s stapler in Jell-O remains a total classic. It’s a striking visual that Jim clearly put some — but not too much — work into, and, most of all, it infuriates Dwight. Though Jim ended up pulling off more elaborate and clever pranks later in the series, this will always be the one that started it all.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com