Dinner Party (The Office)


Dinner Party (The Office)
"Dinner Party"
The Office episode
Dinnerparty.png
Michael shows Jim and Pam his bed during the tour of his condo.
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 13
Directed by Paul Feig
Written by Lee Eisenberg
Gene Stupnitsky
Featured music "That One Night" by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (lyrics) and Todd Fancey (music)
Production code 413
Original air date April 10, 2008
Guest stars

Beth Grant
Steve Seagren
Gary Weeks

Episode chronology
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"The Deposition"
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"Chair Model"
List of The Office (U.S. TV series) episodes

"Dinner Party" is the thirteenth episode of the fourth season of the American comedy television series The Office—the show's sixty-sixth episode overall.[1] Written by the writing team of Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky and directed by Paul Feig,[2] the episode originally aired on NBC on April 10, 2008.[1] Guest stars in the episode include Beth Grant, Steve Seagren, and Gary Weeks.

The episode focuses on a dinner party thrown by Michael, the regional manager of the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the Dunder Mifflin paper company, and his girlfriend Jan, the former Vice-President of Regional Sales at the Dunder Mifflin corporate office in New York City. Attending the party are the couples of Jim and Pam, and Andy and Angela, as well as the uninvited Dwight along with his childhood babysitter. The party ends when Michael leaves with Dwight on the advice of two police officers who respond to a domestic disturbance call following a loud argument with Jan.

Contents

Plot

Michael Scott (Steve Carell) succeeds in his attempts to invite Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) to join him and his girlfriend Jan Levenson (Melora Hardin) for dinner at his condominium after Jim had previously turned him down nine times. He also invites Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) and Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey), but excludes Angela's former boyfriend Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), much to Dwight's dismay. On a tour of the condominium, Jan shows the workspace from which she runs her candle-making home business. Jan's dominance in the relationship is apparent from the living arrangements; Michael sleeps on a small bench due to Jan's "space issues", and his sole comfort is a very small "plasma television", which he bought for $200. It is also later revealed that Jan had Michael undergo a vasectomy, only to later have it reversed and then reversed back again. Throughout the evening, Jan plays a song titled "That One Night" by her former assistant, Hunter (from his CD called "The Hunted"), the lyrics of which imply that Jan may have taken Hunter's virginity.

In the kitchen, Jan quietly confronts Pam with a false assumption that Michael and Pam had once dated, while Michael attempts to get Jim and Andy to invest in Jan's candle-making business for "only $10,000". Jim's attempts to get himself and Pam out of the increasingly uncomfortable evening are unsuccessful. Dwight arrives, uninvited, with his own food, wine glasses and his former babysitter (Beth Grant) as his date (Dwight describes the relationship as "strictly carnal."). The feud between Michael and Jan escalates, culminating in Jan's destruction of the television using one of Michael's beloved Dundie Awards. Under the advice of responding police officers (Steve Seagren and Gary Weeks), Michael agrees to spend the night with Dwight, although it was at this moment that Jan becomes remorseful of her actions. Jim and Pam share a warm moment together eating take-out food in their car, repeatedly calling each other "babe" in a mockery of Michael and Jan; Jim also puts on Hunter's CD, which he stole from the condo. In Andy's car, Andy attempts to flirt with Angela by leaning in and tasting her ice cream cone, she responds coldly by smashing the ice cream on the outside of the door. Jan is seen trying to fix the broken Dundie Award.

Production

The Writers Guild of America was on strike for 100 days causing production of The Office to go on hiatus for four months.[3]

"Dinner Party" was the eighth episode of the show written by the team Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. It was the sixth episode to feature Paul Feig as director. The episode was the first original episode of The Office to be broadcast since the episode "The Deposition" on November 15, 2007, due to the effects of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.[4][5] The Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike at 12:01AM Eastern Standard Time on November 5, 2007.[6][7] Filming of The Office immediately halted on that date, as Steve Carell, who is a member of the WGA, refused to cross WGA picket lines.[8] Members of Writers Guild of America, East and Writers Guild of America, West voted to end the 100-day strike on February 12, 2008.[9] Writers were allowed to return to work on the same day.[10] The WGA allowed for show runners to return to work on February 11,[11] in preparation for the conclusion of the strike. The show runner for The Office, Executive Producer Greg Daniels, returned on the February 11,[12] while the show's writers returned to work on February 13.[10]

If not for the writers' strike, this episode would have completed filming successfully during the week of November 5, 2007. Also, a Christmas episode would have been produced and aired, but that script was discarded as the strike lasted past the 2007 holiday season, the time of year when the potential episode would have aired.[13]

The song featured in the episode supposedly written by Jan's former assistant, Hunter, was written by the episode writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (lyrics) and Todd Fancey of The New Pornographers (music). The song was sung by Fancey.[14]

Reception

"Dinner Party" brought in an average of 9.2 million American viewers,[15] which was the highest total audience since the fourth season premiere episode "Fun Run".[15] This episode achieved a 4.8/12 in the key 18–49 demographic,[15] meaning that 4.8 percent of 18–49 year olds were tuned in at any given moment and twelve percent of all 18–49 year olds watching television at the time were tuned in. The episode ranked in eighth place, in the 18–49 demographic, among all programs on television, which aired during the week of this episodes original broadcast.[16]

The episode has been met with critical acclaim since it has aired and is considered one of the best episodes of The Office by critics and fans. Travis Fickett of IGN wrote that "This is one of those great episodes of The Office that is hysterical and difficult to watch at the same time. Only this time, it's not because of something Michael is doing that makes you wince. It's because of what's happening to him."[17] He ultimately gave the episode a 8.9/10.[17] Jay Black of AOL's TV Squad said that "[he] was happy The Office was back" but "the only thing [he] worried about was whether it'd still be good" after the writers strike.[18] M. Giant of Television Without Pity graded this episode with an "A."[19] Aubry D'Arminio of Entertainment Weekly said that her favourite moment of the episode "was when Jan popped on that song by her former assistant, Hunter."[20]

Jack Rodgers of TV Guide wrote that "on the one hand it’s a hilarious, brutally awkward look at the relationship (and apartment) from hell, a train wreck that you just can’t keep from staring at. But it’s also a study of four couples: one hideously dysfunctional (Michael and Jan), one loving (Jim and Pam), one mismatched (Angela and Andy), and one, ahem, "purely carnal" (Dwight and babysitter).".[21] The A.V. Club reviewer Nathan Rabin praised the episode for it's "sheer squirm-inducing awkwardness".[22] He ultimately gave the episode an A.[22] Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky's writing in the episode was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series in 2008.[23] "Dinner Party" was voted the fourth highest rated out of 24 from the fourth season, according to an "Survivor" episode poll at the fansite OfficeTally.[24] It was later named the sixth best episode of the series after "Goodbye, Michael", "The Injury", "Niagara", "The Dundies" and "Casino Night", according to an episode poll by OfficeTally.[25]

References

  1. ^ a b "04-10-2008 09:00 PM The Office — "Dinner Party"" (Press release). NBC Universal Media Village. http://nbcumv.com/listing_detail.nbc/nbc-20080410210000.html. Retrieved 2008-06-13. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Dinner Party". Paul Feig (director); Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky (writers). The Office. NBC Universal. NBC. 2008-04-10. No. 9, season 4.
  3. ^ "The 100-Day Writers’ Strike: A Timeline". The New York Times. 2008-02-12. http://tvdecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/the-100-day-writers-strike-a-timeline. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  4. ^ "11-15-2007 9:00 PM The Office — "The Deposition"" (Press release). NBC Universal Media Village. http://nbcumv.com/listing_detail.nbc/nbc-20071115210000.html. Retrieved 2008-06-13. [dead link]
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2008-02-14). "NBC renews series, announces premieres". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2008-04-13. http://web.archive.org/web/20080413172036/http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3if908f8e7990b715738fd1460067e3828. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  6. ^ Cieply, Michael (2007-11-05). "Writers Begin Strike as Talks Break Off". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/05/business/media/05strike.html?_r=1&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  7. ^ McNary, Dave (2007-11-04). "WGA goes on strike". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117975364.html?categoryid=2821&cs=1. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  8. ^ TV Guide Staff. "Office Closing: Carell, Others Won't Cross Picket Line". TV Guide. 2007-11-07. http://community.tvguide.com/blog-entry/TVGuide-Editors-Blog/Wga-Post-Strike/Office-Closing-Carell/800026773&. Retrieved 2008-06-13. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Writers Guild Members Vote to End Strike" (Press release). Writers Guild of America, West. 2008-02-12. http://www.wga.org/subpage_newsevents.aspx?id=2775. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  10. ^ a b Littleton, Cynthia; McNary, Dave (2008-02-12). "It's official: WGA strike is over". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117980829.html?categoryid=13&cs=1. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  11. ^ Littleton, Cynthia; McNary, Dave (2008-02-10). "Showrunners back to work Monday". Variety. http://www.variety.com/VR1117980626.html. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  12. ^ "Pencils Down Means Pencils Down". Writers Guild of America, West. http://www.wga.org/subpage_member.aspx?id=2529. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  13. ^ Daniels, Greg (2008-04-10). "Strike effect". NBC. Archived from the original on May 25, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080525033413/http://blog.nbc.com/theoffice/2008/04/strike_effect.php. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  14. ^ Lee and Gene answer ‘Dinner Party’ questions
  15. ^ a b c Levine, Stuart (2007-10-07). "Fox wins competitive Thursday". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117983896.html?categoryId=1296&cs=1&query=ratings. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  16. ^ "NBC ratings results for the primetime week of April 7—13" (Press release). NBC Universal Media Village. 2008-04-15. http://nbcumv.com/entertainment/release_detail.nbc/entertainment-20080415000000-nbcratingsresults.html. Retrieved 2008-06-13. "The Office ranked #8 among all programs on television this week in primetime's key demographic of adults 18–49." [dead link]
  17. ^ a b Fickett, Travis (2008-04-11). "The Office: "Dinner Party" Review". IGN. http://uk.tv.ign.com/articles/865/865971p1.html. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  18. ^ Black, Jay (2008-04-11). "The Office: "Dinner Party" - Video". AOL's TV Squad. http://www.tvsquad.com/2008/04/11/the-office-dinner-party/. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  19. ^ Giant, M. (2008-04-10). "Dinner Party". Television Without Pity. http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/the_office/dinner_party.php. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  20. ^ D'Arminio, Aubry (2008-04-11). "The Office Recap: The Last Supper". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20190749,00.html. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  21. ^ Rodgers, Jack (2008-04-10). "Episode Recap: "Dinner Party"". TV Guide. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080516000600/http://community.tvguide.com/blog-entry/TV-Show-Blog/Office/Office-Episode-Recap/800037281. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  22. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (April 10, 2008). ""Dinner Party" | The Office | TV Club | TV". The A.V. Club. http://www.avclub.com/articles/dinner-party,12916/. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  23. ^ Complete List of Nominees for 2008 Emmys Yahoo!, retrieved July 17, 2008
  24. ^ "Survivor Poll: Season 4". OfficeTally. http://www.officetally.com/officetally-survivor-poll-season-4. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  25. ^ "The Office All-Time Fan Favorite Poll, 2011". OfficeTally. http://www.officetally.com/the-office-all-time-fan-favorite-poll-2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 

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