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The Office Stars Reveal Their Favorite, Funniest Cold Open of All Time - and the Pick is Unanimous

“Today, smoking is gonna save lives!”

By Benjamin Bullard

You just knew that Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) would be at the center of the demented cold open that even the stars of The Office (streaming here on Peacock!) can claim, more than a decade on from the hit show's finale, as their all-time favorite intro.

How to Watch

Watch every episode of The Office on Peacock.

Consumed by a persnickety penchant for enforcing the rules at all costs, Dwight and his domineering drive to scare the staff into taking fire safety seriously provided the literal spark that ignited the insane free-for-all at the start of “Stress Relief,” the 14th episode of the NBC comedy classic’s fifth season. The Office clip below explains it best, but Dwight basically stages a fake office fire just to test everyone’s reaction… and of course (because it's Dwight!), he stages it just a little too well.

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Watch The Office cold open that still leaves the stars in stitches

As Dunder Mifflin’s resident cat-crazed staffer Angela, The Office star Angela Kinsey flagged the fire drill gone oh-so-horribly wrong at the start of “Stress Relief” as her absolute favorite among more than 200 episodes through the show’s nine seasons. Speaking with Mashable, Kinsey joked that the scene and its “intricate dance” of controlled, “absolute mayhem” chaos just has a funny way of staying stuck in her memory.

"I will never ever forget watching the fire drill cold open in the 'Stress Relief' episode,” Kinsey recalled. “Dwight has locked us all in the office to teach us how to survive a fire, and it's just absolute mayhem from start to finish. Everything about that opening we rehearsed with our camera operators and our crew, and it was like learning a really intricate dance. On ‘action’ every single little thing had to happen. It was like a domino effect.”

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The scene definitely put her character through the wringer: Panicked at the thought that the building’s burning down around her, Angela snatches office kitty Bandit from the bottom of a drawer and flings the feline toward a waiting Oscar (Oscar Nunez) in the ceiling. “Save Bandit!” she shrieks frantically… only to watch her fluffy (and probably resentful) cat companion crash through another set of ceiling tiles nearby.

Kinsey isn’t the only The Office star who claims Dwight’s ill-conceived fire safety nightmare as her favorite cold open scene. In the same conversation, Jenna Fischer (who played Pam Beesly on the show) confessed she was right on the same wavelength as her Dwight-tormented costar, saying the fire drill scene, “hands down,” remains her favorite.

RELATED: All About The Office's Fire Drill Episode: How "Stress Relief" Made For One of the Wildest Scenes

It only makes sense that Kinsey and Fischer have similar tastes when it comes to The Office’s wildest moments. After all, the duo has found a big online audience as the present-day hosting team for the Office Ladies podcast, where they break down classic comedy moments from the show.

But there’s something just a little bit extra about a cold open scene that begins with Dwight callously lighting a cigarette (“Today, smoking is gonna save lives!” he exults) — and then chaotically culminates with a round-trip ceiling tour for Angela’s prized office cat. Kinsey shared that the scene even contains an onscreen blooper involving an unscripted tumble from camera operator Randall Einhorn, who somehow got caught up in the fracas and ended up head over heels.

“We ran into Randall on accident and he fell over with the camera, did sort of a somersault, and just kept going,” said Kinsey. “We left it in. That was not planned.”

Relive Dwight’s devious fire drill dust-up by watching the Season 5 “Stress Relief” episode on Peacock, where all nine seasons of The Office — including every hilarious cold open — are now streaming.