Over the years, The Office has become largely known for its absurd stunts, the outrageous hijinks of Michael Scott and the rest of Dunder Mifflin's staff, and its sharp one-liners. But sometimes, the laughs the show offers are more subtle. So it's time to shout out The Office's best background jokes, which you may not even catch until your second or third rewatch.
So while some people might judge you for watching and rewatching The Office, these jokes are definitive proof that this is a sitcom that keeps paying off, even when you think you know what's coming. While the series might shine in its most iconic moments, hitting its viewers square between the eyes with comedy, part of the cleverness of The Office is that, under all kinds of layers, there's always something you're likely to notice that you never caught before.
It makes the marathon rewatch sessions all the more fun, because something in the background is always waiting to throw you off your game, even years after the show finished producing new episodes. In honor of The Office withstanding the test of time with these hidden-in-plain-sight jokes, take a look at some of the very best ones.
1Creed Takes Dwight's Gun — "Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager" (Season 7, Episode 24)
In the episode when Dwight is the acting branch manager following Michael's departure, he struts around the office with a revolver in his belt holster, eventually accidentally firing off a round right next to Andy's ear. In yet another quick-as-a-flash moment, Creed takes the gun from Dwight and is for some reason trusted to keep it for the rest of the episode, never to be seen again with it. Let's be real, though, Creed definitely knows how to work that gun.
2Creed & The Printer Toner — "Dunder Mifflin Infinity" (Season 4, Episode 2)
Everyone remembers when Creed shows up with dark hair one day, but there's one detail that might have slipped your mind — this also happens on the same day that Michael notes that the printer ink is missing from the printer. The camera does pan over to Creed for a quick second as he avoids making eye contact with anyone, suggesting that this is how he actually dyed his hair, but it's a blink-and-you-miss-it moment.
3Jim Got That Clown Painting Down — "Garage Sale" (Season 7, Episode 19)
When Jim buys his parents' house for Pam, there's a pretty unfortunate painting of a clown in one of the hallways, and Jim is unable to get it to come down, suggesting that perhaps it's necessary to the structure of the house. But eagle-eyed Reddit user u/NightTrainDan spotted that the same painting ended up at the garage sale much later in the series, so thankfully they managed to get it down.
4Michael Puts Sugar In His Soda — "The Surplus" (Season 5, Episode 10)
This is another joke that's in plain view but not exactly explained, making it all the more hilarious. When the camera comes over to him, Michael is pouring sugar into his soda, which could very well explain why he tends to be so wired.
5Dwight Is Growing A Beet At His Desk — "St. Patrick's Day" (Season 6, Episode 19)
During Season 6's "St. Patrick's Day" episode, it's clear that beside Dwight's desk on a filing cabinet, he's brought his beet farming to work. There's obviously a beet in a small pot, and it appears as though he even has a heat lamp helping it grow.
6Michael's Italian Flag On St. Patrick's Day — "St. Patrick's Day" (Season 6, Episode 19)
Poor Michael — he just wants to be a part of the celebrations on St. Patrick's Day, and he still somehow manages to make himself look like a fool. On a day meant to celebrate Irish culture, Michael places an Italian flag on his desk, likely not knowing the difference, as pointed out by Ayy_2_Brute on Reddit.
7Creed's "That's What She Said" — "Here Comes Treble" (Season 9, Episode 5)
Still covered in blood (through no fault of Halloween, mind you) Creed delivers a silent but funny "that's what she said" after Clark sets him up perfectly while interacting with the Cornell a cappella group.
8Creed Is On The Chinese Restaurant's Thief Board — "The Search" (Season 7, Episode 15)
When Dwight is searching for Michael, he stops at a local Chinese restaurant. He discovers Michael was indeed there, but he's been banned after not being able to pay for his meal. The camera pans to the wall of thieves, where Michael's photo is featured, but below it, if you can believe, is none other than Creed's picture.
9They Can't Escape Jo — "Ultimatum" (Season 7, Episode 13)
Once Jo takes over the happenings at Dunder Mifflin, it's impossible to escape her watchful eye. This is especially apparent when some of the show's characters are at a bookstore, and Jo's books are visible on a shelf behind them, as Redditor Kanel0728 pointed out.
10Some Desktop Backgrounds Changed To Water After The Koi Pond Incident — "Koi Pond" (Season 6, Episode 8)
This is another that was mentioned by a fan on Reddit, this time by user IlBear — some of the office employees change their desktop backgrounds to aquarium scenes after Michael takes a dip in a koi pond and comes back soaking wet. It's a subtle way to mess with the manager, but it's definitely something Jim would have a chuckle about.
11Angela's Background Is A Photoshoot Of Her & Her Cat — "Local Ad" (Season 4, Episode 5)
R.I.P. Sprinkles. Angela obviously loved the cat, and it's apparent not only in how she reacts to its inevitable death, but also in terms of how she chooses to decorate her desktop. As friendlyfable pointed out, Angela apparently has had some professional photos done with her cats, and they're visible on her computer screen's background if you look closely — you can also check out the episode's stills, which clearly show it.
12Michael Still Has His Broken Plasma TV From The Dinner Party — "Dream Team" (Season 5, Episode 22)
Jan threw something at Michael's beloved, tiny plasma screen TV during the horrifyingly awkward dinner party at their house, but he was still not ready to give it up. Episodes and episodes later, the plasma screen can still be seen above Michael's new TV, just as much a part of the wall as it ever was, as Reddit user thecheat420 pointed out.
All of these tiny, seemingly insignificant details make The Office all the more charming, and keep it interesting as well as endearing for those of us who continue to watch. There's likely plenty more where these low-key jokes came from, so keep your eye out as you embark upon your next marathon.