The Office is no 30 Rock in terms of its celebrity guest appearances, and we’re actually pretty thankful for that. But when the show announced last week that Will Ferrell has been cast as another branch manager “who arrives from the home office and proves to be just as inept as Michael Scott,” we’ll admit, we were pretty excited. After all, The Office has a pretty good track record with how they use their guest stars — even the super duper (yes, duper!) famous ones. Check out 10 of our favorite guest stars in Office history below and study up before Ferrell takes on Dunder Mifflin.
Rob Riggle of The Daily Show was one of the first big stars to make an appearance, with his stint on Season 2’s “Booze Cruise” as Captain Jack. Michael, being Michael, naturally butted heads with Jack over who held rank: captain of the ship or captain of the office. Tough call!
Judd Apatow regular David Koechner made a few appearances beginning in the second season as Dunder Mifflin’s on the road salesman Todd Packer, Michael’s obnoxious friend who never hesitates to tell an offensive joke. Especially one that offends Jim.
Steve Carell’s real-life wife Nancy made appearances as Carol, one of Michael’s love interests between Seasons 2 and 3. Michael kept doing typical Michael things to Carol — proposing on the third date, Photoshopping himself into her family photos — so the two didn’t exactly scream “made for each other,” but it always was fun to giggle between commercials about how those two are, like, totally married in the real world!
Unlike Amy Adams, who played Jim’s other not-Pam girlfriend in the first season, Rashida Jones’s Karen was actually allowed to have a personality. And it was kind of an awesome one! Unfortunately for Karen, the cute Call of Duty sessions she shared with Jim when he relocated to the Stamford office weren’t enough to keep them together long beyond the show’s third season. You know, when Pam came back into his life. Poor Karen.
In Season 4, Kevin “Wheelchair Kid from Glee” McHale made a before-he-was-famous guest appearance as the pizza boy Michael held hostage over an invalid coupon. And he was not in a wheelchair!
Jack Black and Cloris Leachman
In a special Super Bowl special Office episode during the fifth season, Jack Black and Cloris Leachman, made a heavily-promoted appearance as actors in a soap opera Andy was watching, which had Black playing Leachman’s boy toy. Jessica Alba was also in the production-within-a-production, but the best part by far? Andy sobbing at how beautiful the show was.
We certainly couldn’t imagine a woman who could deal with all the crazy that is Michael Scott, but the writers of The Office did us a solid in creating one for us. Amy Ryan started appearing in Season 4 as Holly Flax, the only woman in the world as endearingly out of it as our main man Michael. We think we might just be more invested in seeing this couple get their happy ending than we were for Jim and Pam.
Kathy Bates joined the cast as the cold-blooded head of Sabre, the printer company that bought out Dunder Mifflin. Her dynamic with Michael was always good, but we’re mostly glad her arrival also signaled the permanent introduction of her nervous assistant Gabe into the regular cast. His Lady Gaga was one for the record books.
Deadwood‘s Timothy Olyphant brought some unadulterated hunkiness to Dunder Mifflin as new travelling salesman Danny Cordray — which not only gave Meredith and Kelly something to ogle, but also provided Jim and Pam a plotline for a change (something rare and new for new, post-baby seasons!), since Pam and Danny had gone out on a date years prior.
We knew Gervais’s David Brent of the UK Office would eventually have to have a run-in with his American counterpart. Last Thursday, they finally did, perhaps now that Steve Carell’s days left on The Office are numbered. They may have only had a few moments together, but it was enough to satiate our wildest, trans-continental Office fantasies.