While Jim Halpert was integral to nearly every iconic moment in The Office, there’s one early episode in particular that stands as John Krasinski’s favorite. The Office, which premiered in 2005, was an American remake of the hit British comedy series of the same name helmed by Ricky Gervais, and Krasinki’s character was a central pillar of the show’s success. However, despite his prevalence in the show, Krasinki’s favorite episode actually wasn’t one in which he played the most prominent role.
While the overall premise of a workplace mockumentary filled with drama, office insensitivity, interoffice romances, and ridiculous schemes from the British version was implemented in The Office (U.S.), it quickly separated itself as a classic that stood on its own. John Krasinski, now known for his directorial pursuits with the hit A Quiet Place horror film series, rose to fame as Jim Halpert – a leading character across all nine seasons. Jim was best known at Dunder Mifflin for continuously pulling pranks on his deskmate Dwight Schrute as well as egging on Michael’s outrageous plans. While many fans pin episodes like “Dinner Party,” “Stress Relief,” and “Beach Games” as their favorites for their memorable bits and premises, The Office’s cast tends to lean toward some of the more underrated episodes that mean more for their characters’ arcs and the show as a whole.
Although The Office ran for 9 seasons with John Krasinski as a main cast member for each installment, his favorite episode goes all the way back to the beginning: season 1, episode 2, “Diversity Day.” Krasinski told Steven Colbert in a 92Y Talk interview (via People) that “Diversity Day” holds a special place in his heart for reasons other than its comedy or iconic moments, as he felt it was the episode that truly allowed The Office to break away from its British predecessor. The Office’s pilot episode was essentially a carbon copy of the premiere from The Office (U.K.), so it wasn’t until “Diversity Day” that the American series was able to become its own entity.
“Diversity Day,” written by B.J. Novak, sees Dunder Mifflin’s office undergo diversity sensitivity training after Michael insensitively imitates a Chris Rock comedy routine. A diversity consultant is brought in, but Michael takes matters into his own hands by creating a workshop game in which each employee is assigned an ethnicity or race, and must guess what group they are by how their coworkers treat them. The episode overall dealt with racism and stereotypes, especially the prejudices and insensitivity of Regional Manager Michael Scott. Krasinski explained that two particular gags from the episode helped make “Diversity Day” his favorite: When Mr. Brown, a Black man, introduces himself and Michael says “I will not call you that,” and when Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) slaps Michael across the face after racistly mocking Indians. Krasinski clarified that these two moments made him believe nobody would watch the show, but that he understood The Office was “really good” and they were “part of something special.”
Considering the backlash that this episode continues to receive, John Krasinski’s favorite The Office episode is pretty controversial. While “Diversity Day” typically stands as a fan-favorite episode, it was removed from Comedy Central’s airing lineup for a marathon of The Office in September 2021. A specific reason for its removal wasn’t given, but many fans surmised that Comedy Central misunderstood that the entire point of The Office’s episode. “Diversity Day” was crafted to mock and satirize people who are completely oblivious to political correctness (a.k.a, Manager Michael Scott’s entire persona), while pointing out that many corporations’ diversity seminars are typically feeble attempts to feign anti-racism without any real progress. “Diversity Day” truly proved The Office was an original take on the British series, and even gave fans the iconic Michael line of “Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘If you are racist, I will attack you with the North.’”