Arguably one of the most beloved sitcoms in recent history – perfect for binge-watching, the ultimate comfort food TV show, and one of the first to introduce the “talking head” segments that has since proliferated on other successful sitcoms like Parks & Recreation and Modern Family, The Office gave us nine seasons where we watched regular office employees grow, evolve, and, occasionally, leave us forever.
With a series that long-running, there are bound to be some errors in continuity and instances where the plot or actions of certain characters make absolutely no sense. With different writers and directors at the helm in such a collaborative environment, certain things slip through the cracks – some minor, and some major.
While we certainly love the show, after multiple rewatchings, it’s hard to ignore the things that make no sense – thing you might not have caught the first or even third time watching the same episode! That doesn’t lessen our enjoyment of the series, but it does leave us with a few questions about the things that don’t add up – 21 things, to be exact.
Some mistakes can be forgiven, which is why we haven’t included things that changed from the pilot episode, but other mistakes happened a few seasons in. Did you notice any of these, or is there anything we missed?
21 Erin Stays In Florida
Following Steve Carell’s departure, The Office lasted for a couple more seasons, with weaker storylines. Case in point: Erin staying in Florida.
After most of the Dunder Mifflin crew heads down to the Sunshine State for the new Sabre store opening, Erin decides to stick around and take care of an elderly lady.
Frankly, however, the old woman seems to be quite capable of taking care of herself.
The whole premise felt a bit lazy and rushed to get her and Andy back together, and the episode where the two reunite (“Get The Girl”) is the lowest ranked of the entire series, with a 6.9 on IMDb.
20 HR Failure
Look, Toby Flenderson was never that effective in his role of the one-man HR department. Thanks to constant annoyance from Michael, Toby kind of sat back and let things happen. Things that included traveling salesman Todd Packer insulting much of the staff, Ryan and Kelly kissing in the annex, and pretty much the everyday antics of Michael.
We know it’s a TV show but Toby, as a liaison with corporate, should have had a little bit more power when it came to controlling some the HR issues that ran rampant across the series. Does it make sense that his time in HR was a complete joke? No, but it’s funny!
19 What Happened to Danny?
Speaking of traveling salesmen, Todd Packer was tasked with bringing Dunder Mifflin to the masses, but, in season seven's "The Sting", we’re introduced to a new traveling salesman, played by Timothy Olyphant.
After seeing major potential clients get poached by Olyphant’s charming Danny Cordray, Michael, Jim, and Dwight decide to take him for themselves.
Of course, Michael realizes that he now has two traveling salesmen, but that doesn’t stop him from keeping Danny on the employee roster. After a brief subplot about Pam and Danny once going out on a couple dates, we never actually see or hear from him ever again!
18 British 'Office' Meets American 'Office'
When the American Office first premiered, they were asked to shoot a pilot that was a remake of the British Office pilot. A remake that used the exact same script, we know that a lot of changes occur between a show’s pilot and its subsequent episodes, it doesn’t make any sense that a cold open in season seven saw Michael Scott meet his British counterpart, David Brent! (The two, naturally, hit it off.)
If either party were to watch the documentaries they both spent years filming and happened to see that identical episode, it would certainly be a trip!
17 Pam’s Cold Feet
Cell phones tend to eliminate the dramatics when it comes to movies and TV, but wouldn’t a phone call or email have been a great way for Pam to let Jim know that she had called off her wedding to Roy?
After sharing ones of the best kisses in TV history in the season two finale “Casino Night”, Pam tells Jim that she’s still staying with Roy.
But by season three, he’s moved to Stamford and she’s called off the wedding.
Obviously, some time has passed, but how is it that Jim has no idea that Pam is single until way later? Considering how gossipy Dunder Mifflin is, you’d think someone – perhaps even Pam herself – would’ve let him know, before her fire walk declaration!
16 Nellie As Manager
Easily one of the most irritating parts of the later seasons, we have Nellie Bertram come in as the new “manager” while Andy has run off to Florida to win back Erin.
Throughout the first couple of episodes with Nellie in Scranton, she sits in his office, gives the employees raises, and simply ignores any demands to leave. Enigmatic (and downright crazy) CEO Robert California allows this to happen, just because he’s vaguely interested! It doesn’t make any sense how this could happen, legally or within the company, and, frankly, wasn’t exactly a great way to endear us to the new character.
15 Kelly’s Character Switch
Pilot episodes are generally excused from continuity errors as a show moves on, but the entire first season of The Office (which was only six episodes) sees a great character shift for the Customer Service Rep Kelly Kapoor.
At first, we see Kelly as a quiet, modestly-dressed woman who slaps Michael across the face when he speaks to her in an Indian accent in season one’s “Diversity Day”.
Then, by the second season, Kelly has done a complete 180 in terms of personality and appearance.
Now, she’s all about bright colors, getting attention, and obsessing over Ryan Howard. While not entirely clear, it could be because actress Mindy Kaling moved from being a staff writer on the show to writing more scripts as the series progressed.
14 Andy’s Boat Trip
You may have noticed that some of these things that make no sense about The Office come up later on in the series, and this entry is no exception. In season nine, despite spending so much time and effort trying to win Erin back, Andy decides to leave his job, his friends, and his relationship to take a boat trip with his brother.
But that’s not the part that makes no sense. We know that Andy was gone for three months, during which time the Scranton branch saw some impressive growth, and yet, not a single employee tells CEO David Wallace about Andy’s absence and, when he does learn of his rogue manager, still allows him to stay on as a salesman!
13 Michael Scarn
Michael Scarn is arguably one of the best parts about The Office. The James Bond-inspired movie that saw Michael Scott take on his arch-nemesis, Goldenface, was first introduced to us via a script that the employees did a table-read for.
Finally, by the seventh season, we get to see the film in full.
However, with a doc crew around at all times, how did we never get some sneak-peeks leading up the full reveal? Admittedly, it makes for a better impact to see it all in one go, but if we’re looking at what makes sense on the show, this one certainly doesn’t!
12 Pam’s Two Moms
We first meet Pam’s mom in season two, when she visits her daughter at work and whispers to her that she want to know which one is Jim. Played by Shannon Cochran, this is the only time we see Pam’s mom – or at least, this particular actress playing her!
Fast-forward to Pam and Jim’s wedding in season six, and we meet Pam’s mom again – except this time, she’s played by Linda Purl, and given a name, Helene. Michael ends up having a brief relationship with Helene, much to Pam’s dismay, and Purl pops up a few times later in the series. However, the two different moms have never been mentioned (and we know for a fact that Pam has a dad!).
11 The Senator’s Disappearing Son
Dwight and Angela had a long, secret relationship, but there was a time when her husband, Senator Robert Lipton, seemed like a pretty good alternative! The (State) Senator was first introduced to us in season seven when he meets Angela at Dwight’s Hay Place in the Dunder Mifflin parking lot. We learn that he’s a widower and that he has one young son.
But, after that into, we never see the Little Lipton ever again!
This is especially interesting considering that Angela and The Senator get married and have their own child (later revealed to be Dwight’s) with no mention of his firstborn or their blended family at all!
10 Nick The IT/Graphic Design Guy
Recycling characters happens occasionally, but not usually as blatantly as it did for Nick the IT guy!
In season four’s “Job Fair”, we first meet Nick when he wasn’t called Nick, and is instead a guy who talks to Pam at the high school job fair about her interest in graphic design and the possibility of going to school in New York. Later, Nick comes into play again (this time with a name), as the IT guy.
Since Pam (and Nick) have no interaction that would suggest they recognize each other, it’s safe to assume that these are meant to be two entirely different characters played by the same actor.
9 Dwight Never Gets Fired
From shooting a gun in the office to faking a fire that almost sees Stanley die of a heart attack, Dwight did a lot of crazy things throughout his tenure on the show.
In fact, most of the things he pulled were so crazy, risky, and downright dangerous that it’s impossible to believe he wasn’t fired for them!
We know that he and Michael were BFFs and that Toby had virtually no power or control over them, but the fact that not a single employee – including those who don’t like Dwight very much – didn’t go over their heads to talk to corporate about his insane behavior is something that makes zero sense.
8 Ryan Gets Re-Hired
Speaking of bad behavior in the office, how about Ryan Howard? Initially hired as a temp, he quickly fell into Michael’s good graces and managed to get rehired by the company despite the fact that he was arrested for fraud and embezzlement.
When Michael creates his own paper company, Michael Scott Paper Company, he brings Ryan along, saving him from a life of spraying shoes at the bowling alley. Then, when the Michael Scott Paper Company is bought out, Michael insists that Ryan be hired on again – something that would make absolutely no sense in the real world! Despite Michael’s stipulations, there’s no way a major company would rehire someone who had proven to be such a liability in the past.
7 Kevin As An Accountant
Clearly, Dunder Mifflin had questionable behavior when it came to its hires, and that didn’t stop when it came to employing Kevin Malone as an accountant.
Throughout the series, jokes are made about Kevin’s intelligence (or lack thereof).
Towards the end of the show, we learn that he regularly fudged numbers and invented something called a “keleven” in order to get what he needed from the books. Finally, since he has an understanding of what a company needs to run efficiently, Dwight fires him when he’s made manager, but the fact that Kevin was able to skate by for so long has us scratching our heads.
6 Michael & Holly’s Wedding
Watching Michael and Holly fall in love and decide to move to Colorado together is one of the sweetest and most genuine parts of the entire series, which is why it feels like we were kind of shortchanged to never see their actual wedding or any of their kids.
Sure, it’s nice that we get that surprise appearance by Michael in the series finale, but it’s likely that the gang went and joined Michael and Holly when they finally exchanged “I dos” – except we never got to see it! Partly because we feel like we missed out, but also because it’s unlikely that the crew would miss filming it, this point of the show doesn’t quite make sense to us.
5 Who Worked At Dunder Mifflin First?
Timelines can get a little blurry the longer a show runs, and that’s true for The Office, even though so much of it was perfect.
It’s a chicken-and-egg dilemma when we hear in season four’s “Launch Party” that Jim fell in love with Pam when she showed him to his desk on his first day.
But wait – in season two’s “The Secret”, Jim confides in Michael that he first fell in love with Pam when she started working at the office, implying that he was there first. So, which is it? Who was a Dunder Mifflin employee first, Jim or Pam?
4 Pam Is A Volleyball All-Star
Pam is first written as an introverted, artsy receptionist who was a bit of a nerd in high school (at least according to her ex Roy). This fits when she talks about skipping gym class – including volleyball – by “faking PMS”, something she tells us in the season four's episode “Job Fair”.
However, just one season later, in the episode “Company Picnic”, Pam informs the doc crew that she played a little volleyball in junior high, high school, college, and even went to volleyball camp most summers! As per IMDb, writer Jen Celotta acknowledged this continuity error, saying that they screwed up, and usually try to be careful about those things.
3 Unreliable Footage
The doc crew may have been following the employees of Dunder Mifflin for nine years, even catching them when they weren’t aware that they were being filmed.
But there is still the issue of unreliable footage and a biased viewpoint when it comes to the finished product.
For example, in the finale, Meredith says that she has a bone to pick with how she was portrayed, because, throughout the duration of filming, she was actually getting her Ph.D. in School Psychology! Clearly, the film crew decided to omit some situations that they didn’t feel fit their main narrative, which leads us to wonder what else they left out!
2 Michael Misses The Panel
Michael Scott leaves the show in season seven, after proposing to Holly and deciding that the two of them will move to Colorado to help take care of Holly’s parents. As he’s leaving he tells the film crew to let him know if “this thing ever airs”. Of course, by season nine, we know that not only does the documentary air, it’s a huge success! There’s even a panel with all the employees afterward, but where’s Michael?
Considering that Steve Carell was the star of the show for much of its run – and was likely the lead in the fictional documentary series – it makes no sense that he would be absent from the panel, especially considering how invested he was in its making.
1 It Lasted Nine Seasons
The original British Office lasted a mere three seasons and 14 episodes, while its American counterpart was on the air for nine seasons and totaled 188 episodes! There’s no denying that the earlier seasons were definitely the best for the show, with a gradual decline and then a steep drop off following the departure of Steve Carell.
As the series progressed, characters grew and evolved, but some of them, like Andy and Jim, barely resembled the people we had been introduced to.
In all honesty, despite our love for the show, nine seasons was pushing it, and it was really on its last legs, with a few shining episodes sprinkled throughout.