Revisiting The Office & The Dinner Party


Apparently, yesterday was the 10th anniversary of one of the funniest episodes of The Office: “The Dinner Party.”

To commemorate the occasion, Rolling Stone published an oral history of the episode, with interviews from several cast members including John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, as well as episode director Paul Feig,[1] and show-runner Greg Daniels.

I’ve written about The Office before.

That post almost three years old, and in the time since writing it, we’ve probably re-watched The Office 3-4 times. While that may seem crazy to you, know this: I could watch this show over and over again. It’s my happy place.

The first time through, The Office was for me what it is for most people: laugh out loud funny. Steve Carell is just an incredibly funny guy to watch.

You may have stumbled upon casting sessions during the early stages of the show. Several other actors tried out for the part of Michael Scott. And while I’m sure the other actors would have done a decent job portraying the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin, Scranton, nobody else could have been Michael Scott as well as Carell. [Perhaps to his disdain?], Steve Carell is Michael Scott.[2]

But my subsequent viewings of The Office were more nuanced. Sure, the show is a comedy. There’s no changing that. But there are also some really heartfelt moments that sort of get glossed over the first time through.

Remember “Business School,” when Michael goes to Pam’s art show?

Get's me every time 😭
Get’s me every time 😭

Or what about the time when David Wallace apologizes to Michael for his involvement in Jan’s deposition?

We love David Wallace!
We love David Wallace!

Or in “China,” when Dwight feels sorry for Pam and gets her to [lets her] force him to raise the office standards?


Watching it the second time through, especially, it was clear to me that The Office wasn’t just a comedy: it also had some tender moments that endeared me to the show.

For me, the super funny episodes and story arcs are eclipsed by the emo/family motifs. But I’m just a softy, I guess 😏

  1. Feig also directed many other important episodes, such as:

    • “Office Olympics”
    • “Halloween”
    • “Performance Review”
    • “E-mail Surveillance”
    • “Survivor Man”
    • “Dinner Party”
    • “Goodbye, Toby”
    • “Weight Loss”
    • “The Surplus”
    • “Moroccan Christmas”
    • “New Boss”
    • “Dream Team”
    • “Niagara”
    • “Goodbye, Michael”
  2. Remind you of anyone?