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The Best Michael And Dwight Moments From The Office

For nine seasons, "The Office" made us laugh, smile, and cringe — sometimes all at the same time. The show still stands as one of our all-time favorite sitcoms, and we'd also go to bat for it having one of the best-ever ensemble casts. The series features a ton of great relationships, but one of the best and weirdest is the oddball hero worship Dwight offers Michael ... and the fluctuating tolerance, disdain, and affection Michael gives him in return.

These two have a lot of great moments, and we had trouble narrowing them down. We gave the task the same devotion Dwight gives bears, beets, and "Battlestar Galactica," and we dove into multiple seasons of interactions with the naïve confidence of Michael Scott. What we eventually wound up with was a selection of scenes that run the gamut from the funny to painful to sweet. They don't just encapsulate the best of Michael and Dwight, they're also a tour of some of the best episodes "The Office" has to offer.

Dwight recounts Michael's life-changing advice

It may feel like a throwaway joke, but "Business School" (Season 3, Episode 17) provides one of our favorite lines about Dwight and Michael's relationship. With Michael prepping for a guest presentation at one of Ryan's business school classes, Dwight throws in that Michael completely changed his life with one earth-shaking bit of advice: "Don't be an idiot."

The fact that Dwight took a generic brush-off as heartfelt advice is funny and even poignant, but what really sells the moment is Dwight's earnest explanation to the documentary crew. "Whenever I'm about to do something, I think, 'Would an idiot do that?' And if they would, I do not do that thing." He takes it so seriously that he somehow makes it sound genuinely helpful, and it's enough to make you think that it might be nice to live in Dwight's "Twilight Zone" world where Michael Scott is constantly dispensing deep wisdom.

A secret promotion

Emotional intelligence isn't always Michael Scott's strong suit, to put it mildly. Sometimes, though, he can muster up exactly the right gesture.

That comes in handy in "The Fight" (Season 2, Episode 6), when he needs to mend fences with Dwight after humiliating him in a dojo showdown that basically degenerated into schoolyard bullying and slap fights. (Why does Michael pin Dwight to the ground and hammer his fingers into him in a "typewriter" move? We don't know, and we suspect he doesn't either.) It's so embarrassing that it affects even Dwight's usually unshakable loyalty, and he slinks into the office to request that his emergency contact information be changed so that Michael is no longer listed.

Michael reaches out to him by the end of the episode, pretending that the fight was really just an elaborate test to see if Dwight is ready to be promoted from "Assistant to the Regional Manager" to just "Assistant Regional Manager." Good news: He is! Just don't expect to see any paperwork on that, Dwight, or any salary increase or official acknowledgment. It's almost like Michael made it up to make him feel better.

Staying with a friend for the night

"Dinner Party" (Season 4, Episode 13) is one of the best episodes of "The Office" — and also one of the most agonizing. Michael and Jan throw the most uncomfortable dinner party since "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" ... and Jim, Pam, Angela, and Andy are caught in the middle of it. The evening is a guided tour of a toxic and dysfunctional relationship, with the guests trying to stay polite even as they're watching their hosts come unglued. When Dwight crashes the party with his former babysitter on his arm, it doesn't even rank as one of the night's top surprises. How could it, when we're busy finding out that Michael has to sleep on a bench at the foot of the bed and Jan has talked him into three vasectomies?

Luckily, Dwight's affection for Michael shines a little light in all the darkness. Shortly after Jan hurls one of Michael's Dundies at his treasured (and tiny) flat-screen TV, breaking them both, the cops turn up to investigate all the noise, and they recommend that Michael stay with a friend for the night to get some time away from Jan. Dwight, of course, immediately offers to have him over.

Michael is less enthused, but ultimately, he takes Dwight up on it. After that kind of night, he needs the most loyal person in his life to look after him a little.

Dwight is the best audience

When Dwight wins a regional award for best salesman in "Dwight's Speech" (Season 2, Episode 17), Michael isn't really focused on celebrating his friend's victory. He just wants to remind everyone that he once won the same award two years in a row. He longs to be back in the spotlight. And at the awards ceremony, he gets his chance. Dwight gets stage fright, and Michael seizes the mic, but his speech leaves the audience bored, confused, and even offended.

Dwight pulls off an unexpected and hilarious triumph — one that involves channeling dictators — and Michael can't take watching his number two guy succeed where he failed. He slinks off to the hotel bar. When Dwight finds him there afterwards, Michael regales him with a barely formed anecdote ... and finds that Dwight is riveted and happy to listen. His eager attention gives Michael the boost he needs to restore his (slightly delusional) sense of self-esteem.

Dwight eviscerates Michael's condo dreams

Dwight doesn't get the upper hand on Michael all that often — as disconnected from reality as Michael is, he's still usually a little more plugged-in and socially savvy than Dwight — but when he does, it's glorious. Nothing shows that better than "Office Olympics" (Season 2, Episode 3).

Michael reluctantly brings Dwight along when he goes to close on his condo, and Dwight proves way more knowledgeable about real estate and the burdens of home ownership. Michael's excitement about his condo gradually melts away as Dwight points out things like carpenter ants and thin walls and cheerfully speculates that Michael's 30-year mortgage means a home health aide could eventually move into the spare bedroom.

Sorry, Michael, but you kind of deserve it, especially after you diss Dwight's beet farm. Come on, Dwight's pride in his working farm and the house he inherited from his grandparents is endearing! We're glad that Michael's plan to add Dwight as a roommate for the sake of the rent money quickly falls through. Dwight belongs on the farm.

Michael obeys the GPS

There's one Michael-and-Dwight scene that we can't think about without laughing, and that's in Season 4's two-part "Dunder Mifflin Infinity," when Michael decides to take his GPS directions absolutely literally, even when it means driving into a lake. It's a rare chance for Dwight to be the voice of reason, frantically trying to explain the concept of "bearing right" to his willfully obtuse boss, and we always love it when characters' usual dynamics get temporarily upended.

Let's face it, while Michael's social skills might be marginally better than Dwight's, Dwight's survival skills are absolutely better than Michael's. Sometimes that means he knows what to do in case of bear attacks, but more usefully, it can mean knowing not to drive your rental car into a lake, especially when you don't have all the insurance paperwork in order.

The later seasons of "The Office" are often broader than the earlier ones, and while there are times when that doesn't work for us, this isn't one of them. This is just comedy gold.

Dwight misinterprets a roast of Michael — twice

In the second part of "Stress Relief" (Season 5, Episode 15), Michael organizes a roast of himself to boost morale. If you've watched even a single minute of "The Office," then you know his employees have every reason to embrace this decision. Dwight is the sole exception. When the barbed jokes start obviously hurting Michael's feelings, Dwight steps in and seizes the mic to defend him because how dare they talk to their beloved boss that way!

Michael gets secondhand embarrassment from Dwight completely misunderstanding what a roast is, and he tries to get Dwight to stop talking. Unfortunately, in rejecting Dwight's protective gesture and then calling him an idiot, Michael goes too far ... and a tendency to go too far is something Michael and Dwight have in common. Dwight immediately turns on him and eviscerates him, saying, "You pathetic, short little man. You don't have any friends or any family or any land." Even for a roast, that's brutal, especially for someone with Michael's insecurities. It's also a gasp-inducing and amazingly characterized moment of vindictiveness. Of course Dwight would drag Michael for his lack of land.

'Your dentist's name is Crentist'

In "The Coup" (Season 3, Episode 3), we get a rare example of Michael being intimidating: That's what happens when you find your most devotedly sycophantic employee has gone behind your back to try to steal your job. After learning that Dwight's "dentist appointment" was really a covert meeting with Jan, Michael goes in for some downright devious mind games. He even fake-promotes Dwight for the day — fooling the whole office — and only yanks the rug out from under him after Dwight insults Michael's beloved company car.

Our favorite part, though, is Michael's not-so-subtle interrogation of Dwight after his return from the "dentist." Michael persuades Dwight to eat some peanut M&Ms and then asks in faux-confusion how that isn't causing problems with the crown Dwight had put in, and Dwight improvises with an explanation about a new kind of sealant. Not bad. He does less well when Michael asks about his dentist's name. We can practically see Dwight's mind go blank as he finally claims it's "Crentist."

It's an unbelievably fun scene, with Steve Carell getting the rare chance to act sinister and Rainn Wilson perfectly channeling Dwight's deer-in-the-headlights attempt to power through his own lie.

Celebrating how Ryan started the fire

At the end of "The Fire" (Season 2, Episode 4), schadenfreude brings Michael and Dwight together. After escaping the smoke-filled Dunder Mifflin building, Dwight has spent most of the episode flustered, angry, and hurt about Michael fawning over Ryan. Just because Ryan is in business school and planning on starting his own company doesn't make him any better than Dwight! He and Michael are supposed to be a team, and now Michael is spending the whole fire evacuation with the temp!

While Dwight is sulking in his car and listening to "Everybody Hurts," Michael is repeatedly failing to impress Ryan with his supposed business acumen. He can't take the hint that Ryan doesn't want to be his new best friend — at least not until he finds out that Ryan only pretended to program Michael's number into his phone. Ouch. It's the perfect time for Dwight to emerge from the smoky office building with the source of the fire: a cheesy pita that Ryan left in the toaster oven for too long. Both Dwight and Michael relish Ryan having made a silly mistake, and they promptly start mocking him to the tune of "We Didn't Start the Fire."

Dwight gets hurt going to rescue Michael

"The Injury" (Season 2, Episode 12) is one of the funniest episodes the show has to offer. It's hard to top Michael accidentally cooking his foot in a George Foreman grill. Michael takes his grilled foot very seriously, but no one else does ... except, of course, for Dwight, who rushes off to rescue him the moment he hears Michael needs help. He peels out of the parking lot so fast that he crashes into a pole and winds up with a severe concussion.

Michael doesn't reciprocate Dwight's devotion and care in this episode, and the most he can do is grudgingly accompany the woozy Dwight to the hospital and then try to stick his foot in the MRI while Dwight is getting a CT scan. Not your finest hour, Michael. (At least not to us — in Season 3's "Branch Closing," Dwight brings this hospital visit up as one of his favorite memories.) But Dwight's flailing attempt to save Michael from his seared and bubble-wrapped foot is just plain sweet, and we love that the concussion makes Dwight so loopy and amiable that he even pulls off one of Michael's signature "that's what she said" jokes — much to Michael's chagrin.

The 'Lazy Scranton' music video

You can always count on Dwight to go along with Michael's schemes, even when they involve over-the-top and ill-advised attempts at comedy. Naturally, then, he's the only other participant in Michael's "orientation" video in "The Merger" (Season 3, Episode 8). What better way to welcome the new Stamford branch employees to Scranton than with a parody video of the SNL rap "Lazy Sunday?"

"Lazy Scranton" is a cheesy, straight-faced tour guide to their fair city and their beloved office, one that enthusiastically recommends the Anthracite Heritage Museum and reminds people of the compact car slots in the parking lot. We wouldn't want to have to sit through it in an office meeting, but honestly, of all Michael's attempts to ease in the new employees, "Lazy Scranton" is by far the best and most harmless. It's an endearingly silly pop culture parody, and Dwight and Michael look like they had a lot of fun making it, and you know what? We find that kind of dorkiness charming.

Michael gets Dwight back from Staples

Michael may snub Dwight occasionally, but the one time it looks like Dwight is really gone for good, his absence hits Michael hard. He starts to realize the key difference between Dwight and Season 3 Andy Bernard: Dwight loves him, and Andy doesn't.

That's why it's so appropriate that Michael winning Dwight back from his new job at Staples plays like a scene out of a romantic comedy, with the two of them awkwardly meeting for the first time after a break-up. Michael admits that he was in the wrong, and as soon as he apologizes, Dwight starts extending some olive branches of his own. He points out that his job at Staples isn't exactly perfect: His boss isn't funny (i.e., not nearly as funny as Michael), and he can't wear any of his ties (oh no!). He's setting Michael up to ask him to come back, and Michael does — he even maybe allows that Dwight won't have to keep doing his laundry as penance for his actions back in "The Coup." 

When they celebrate with a high five and Dwight strips off his Staples polo on the way to the door, it's a triumphant moment for us all. The team's back together again, and all's right with the world.

Playing paintball together at last

In Season 2, Episode 10 — "Christmas Party" — Michael turns a regular Secret Santa gift exchange into Yankee Swap and doesn't miss the chance to insult Dwight's contribution to the pile: paintball pellets and the offer of two personal, one-on-one paintball lessons. Michael's derision isn't surprising since he often goes out of his way to belittle Dwight's interests.

All of that changes on Michael's last day at Dunder Mifflin, when he tries to give each of his coworkers the perfect going-away present or gesture. It's a mark of his real appreciation for Dwight's long-standing loyalty and friendship that Dwight gets two — and one of them is an invitation to go play paintball in the office parking lot. It comes as a huge surprise to Dwight, and Michael shows up ready to play, fully equipped not only with a paintball gun but with color-coded paintball armor. When it matters most, he knows how to go above and beyond and connect with the people who matter to him. It's not just a great moment between Michael and Dwight, it's also a wonderful bonus for fans with fond memories of that earlier Christmas episode.

Michael leaves a recommendation letter for Dwight

Dwight has a hard time dealing with Michael's decision to move to Colorado with Holly — especially since Michael didn't recommend him as his replacement. At the start of "Goodbye, Michael" (Season 7, Episode 22), he's still testy about it, and he's in no mood to be mollified by the recommendation letter Michael has written for him. When he reads it aloud for the cameras, he even pauses to sneer at the salutation, "'To whom it may concern.' Good, real personal. Thanks, Michael."

As he keeps reading, though, his face changes, and he starts getting more and more choked up. So do we. Michael's explanation that Dwight not only fulfills the dictionary definition of "supreme" but that he does it "as a sales executive, as a leader, as a man, and as a friend" makes it hard not to get emotional. For several seasons now, Dwight has fawned over Michael, and Michael hasn't always done much to show he reciprocates their friendship. This letter goes a long way towards making up for all that.

Michael returns to be Dwight's best man

One of the all-time best moments between Michael and Dwight doubles as one of the best moments between Dwight and Jim. It comes in the series finale, when Jim gives up his position as Dwight's "bestest mensch" at the last minute for the sake of the "best prank ever." He secretly invited Michael to come all the way from Colorado to serve as Dwight's best man.

There's nothing quite like the emotional payoff of seeing a silver-haired, happy, settled Michael Scott there when Dwight turns around. Having him back for Dwight's wedding is the cherry on top of a beautifully satisfying finale. It's great to catch up with him and learn about his kids — and the two cell phones he carries to store all their pictures — but it's even better to know that he came all that way for Dwight's sake. It's the ideal bit of closure for their long and sometimes tumultuous friendship.