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Fans Will Never Get Over The Office's Iconic Fire Drill Scene

One of the major strengths of "The Office," even in the divisive later seasons of the NBC sitcom, is those downright ingenious "cold open" scenes before the credits roll. These sequences usually have nothing to do with the rest of the episode's main plot. Sometimes they only last 60 seconds, others take up more of the runtime.

Either way, the "Office" cold opens often resulted in some of the most memorable and funniest scenes on the series. Writer Michael Schur credited developer Greg Daniels with how they approached these gags: "It should just be a little bonus, bite-sized piece of comedy — the amuse-bouche before the meal," he said.

However, if a scene like Randall Park playing "Asian Jim" or Dwight Schrute's (Rainn Wilson) exercise ball is merely a small appetizer before a full episode, the extended fire drill cold open is like a full course in and of itself. Here's why fans on YouTube still adore this chaotic and hilarious "The Office" set piece.

YouTube commenters love Dwight's botched fire drill

The Season 5 episode "Stress Relief" may have originally aired in 2009, but even now, "The Office" fans can't get enough of Dwight Schrute's disastrous attempt to make his co-workers aware of fire safety procedures by, uh, starting a fire himself. One YouTube user, @iknowexactlywhoyouare8701, even declared it "one of the funniest scenes in television history."

@InfiniteLoopMusic wrote, "This scene literally has a separate fan base of its own" because it's apparently so popular even outside of the show's enthusiasts. This might be because of how frenetic the sequence feels even compared to other cold opens, with the Dunder Mifflin workers even knocking down a cameraperson in order to escape.

But what makes "Stress Relief" stand out is the escalating insanity of the situation, from Angela Martin's (Angela Kinsey) tossing of her cat Bandit into an open vent to Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) concluding, "The fire is shooting at us!" @iknowexactlywhoyouare8701 summarized why it still works: "This show is utterly genius. No laugh tracks telling you what's funny. Just silent chaos. It's perfect."

The other great Office cold open features Jim imitating Dwight

The "Stress Relief" fire drill scene is ranked at No. 1 in the Entertainment Weekly list of the 10 best cold opens from "The Office." But the glorious 90 seconds where Jim (John Krasinski) successfully impersonates Dwight armed with an $11 outfit is at No. 2, and fans on YouTube might also agree with this high ranking. @ksy4747 even called it "Simply the best moment in the entire show!"

Many commenters noticed the character reactions are what makes Jim's prank so good. @Nooptema writes in the comments, "Dwights [sic] reaction when he finally realizes what Jim is doing is beyond legendary." Similarly, several users point out Pam Beesly's (Jenna Fischer) silent, amused face when she sees what Jim is doing, until, as @IStealFries notices, "at 0:07 her expression changes to slightly disturbed cause he looks scarily similar XD [sic]."

The cold open wouldn't work either if Krasinski wasn't nailing his Dwight impression so perfectly, from his aggressive, clipped tone right down to the specific glasses he wears. "Identity theft isn't a joke!" Dwight angrily reacts when he finds out what Jim's up to, yet Jim's "theft" of his co-worker's style remains howlingly funny.