The Office is a show known for its cringe-worthy comedy and is chock-full of funny episodes. However, one of these episodes stands above the rest. Most fans would agree that it is the most hilarious episode of the show.
RollingStone called it “the most brilliantly excruciating episode of The Office.” 2018 marked the tenth anniversary of the airing of the episode. Most of the cast, the writers, and the director gave an oral history on what it was like to film it and the process of creating ‘The Dinner Party.’
What is ‘The Office’ about?
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The Office is a show about the everyday lives of the workers at Dunder Mifflin. This paper company struggles to stay in business.
By no means are their work lives boring since the office manager, Michael Scott, regularly causes issues or crosses boundaries. He rarely wants to do any real work, but views himself as successful and all-knowing.
The show is based on a British show with the same name. Both shows are filmed in a mockumentary style.
After season one, the American version of The Office struggled in the ratings, but by season four, it gained strength. It is now one of the most beloved shows of all time.
‘The Dinner Party’ episode
The Dinner Party takes place during the fourth season. Up to this point, the show took place with the confines of the office space. This episode gives viewers and the characters a rare glimpse into Michael’s home life.
When the episode starts, Michael announces that a work issue has come up, and everyone will have to stay late, so they should cancel their plans. Then, he says there is no issue, and everyone is free to go.
He then asks Jim and Pam if they would like to come to his house for dinner. Ever since Jim and Pam have become a couple, Michael has expressed interest in having dinner with them. So Jim thinks Michael tricked them, but since they don’t have any plans now and can’t make any excuse, they agree. Another couple from the office, Angela and Andy, also agree to come.
When Jim and Pam arrive, they are greeted by Michael’s girlfriend, Jan, who lives with him. Jan used to work in the corporate section of Dunder Mifflin, but was fired.
In this episode, everyone learns that Jan has become a candle maker and trying to sell them. Jan also thinks Pam and Michael had a relationship, which adds awkward comedy.
Throughout the episode, the comedy and jokes slowly build and then really takes off once everyone arrives for the party. There is also tension between Jan and Michael as their relationship is unraveling.
After a while, Andy and Angela come and witness more awkwardness. Then, Dwight crashes the little party with his date, which used to be his babysitter. While at the dinner table, tensions continue to rise. The party ends with Michael and Jan yelling at each other and Jan throwing an award at Michael’s prized, small flat-screen TV.
NBC accepted the original script without making any changes
The two leading writers of the episode, Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky are fans of the British version of the show and used it for inspiration. They wanted to show a dark comedy, and that’s what they achieved.
After the episode is written and everyone has a table read, the network has to give notes and sign off on the script. Stupnitsky mentioned that most scripts are rewritten, but he thought this was only one that didn’t get a rewrite. All NBC had to say about this script was that it was really dark. They didn’t have any notes for changes.
There were many great hilarious moments throughout the episode. The writers had a hard time with editing, and Stupnitsky said it was the hardest part. The director of the episode, Paul Feig, won a Directors’ Guild Award for it, and he said outside of his work on Freaks and Geeks, it is his proudest work.
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