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The Only Episodes Of The Office That Meredith Wasn't In

Meredith Palmer is clearly an Office mainstay. While not necessarily one of the characters in the spotlight, she brings a certain wonky je ne sais quoi to the show that makes it what it is. Played by improv veteran Kate Flannery, Meredith is best known as the unassuming office drunk — the one who manages to take things a little too far when it comes to social norms, whether it's wearing a tube dress (and accidentally flashing her coworkers) on the "Casual Friday" episode or setting her hair on fire at the office Christmas party ("Moroccan Christmas"). There's a reason why it's nearly impossible to imagine The Office without Meredith. It turns out that the character has appeared in almost every single episode of the beloved comedy.

Meredith appears in all but one of the show's 200-plus episodes, and bits of her personal life are revealed throughout. Viewers (and the rest of the office) find out, for example, in the episode "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" (Season 2, Episode 18) that she has a bratty son named Jake. There are also mentions of her divorce in Season 1 of the show, though the topic isn't covered in any more depth than that.

So which episodes of The Office is Meredith glaringly absent from? The answer isn't as clear-cut as you'd think.

It depends on which Meredith you're talking about

Technically, the character Meredith appears in every episode of The Office except for "Dunder Mifflin Infinity," which is technically a two-part episode airing over one night. However, Kate Flannery is glaringly absent from the very first episode of the series. That's right — another actress plays Meredith in "Pilot," which aired on March 24, 2005 and was filmed six months before the season's second episode. 

According to Screen Rant, there was still a lot in flux during the filming of the pilot episode, and the character of Meredith hadn't been fully developed. The woman sitting in Meredith's seat in this episode is played by Henriette Mantel, whom you may recognize as the actor who played Alice in The Brady Bunch movies. By the time they filmed the second episode, "Diversity Day," Mantel had been replaced by Flannery.

It's hard to imagine any other actress playing Meredith, or to picture the show without her hilariously inappropriate office antics. As it happens, her character was nearly eliminated altogether after season four premiere "Fun Run," where Michael accidentally hits Meredith with his car. While she ends up being sent to the hospital with a broken pelvis, she almost met a far worse end when several writers lobbied for her to get killed off, according to the Office Ladies podcast. Ultimately the writers went against the idea, deeming it a bit too dark a turn for the generally lighthearted comedy.

Luckily, Meredith made the cut in the writers room, going on to appear in every future episode but "Dunder Mifflin Infinity," giving fans an ample serving of Flannery's impressive gags and stunts, and contributing to the show's incredible ensemble cast. We're awfully glad she survived.