The Office was a phenomenon, first in the UK, and then again in the US, because it tapped into the modern workplace’s almost Orwellian kindergarten atmosphere and just blew it up into an absurdity to which everyone could relate. The first season of the show was a six-episode experiment, and it wasn’t really until season two that it firmly found its legs and took off as one of the decade’s best sitcoms. One of the elements that was established right from the pilot, and remained my favorite part of The Office, was Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) torturing Dwight (Rainn Wilson).
Encasing Dwight’s office supplies in Jell-O in the pilot was good, but the brilliance of the prank war Jim and Pam would wage on Dwight’s paranoia first took off in the series fourth episode: “The Alliance”. When rumors of downsizing hit the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Dwight approaches Jim to form “an alliance”. Jim has no idea what this means, but immediately seizes on it as possibly the greatest gift anyone could have ever given him. It’s not as good as when Jim arranges for Dwight to receive daily cryptic faxes from his future self, but without the alliance, there could be no “Future Dwight”.