The Office: Dinner Party

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

A warm welcome back to me, to you, and to this wonderful show. I missed me. I missed you. And I missed YOU, show.

There's a dinner party at Jan & Michael's, and we're all invited. Try to contain your excitement...

So Michael has coerced Jim & Pam and Andy & Angela (possibly these two were not coerced but agreed willingly) into this dinner party at Jan & his (Jan's & his? I can never get that one straight) house. Dwight is extremely upset at not being invited because Michael & Jan don't have enough wine glasses, and completely breaks down in tears in an interview. It's almost heartbreaking.

There is a tour. Andy Warhol of Jan on the stairwell wall! Jan makes candles! Smelly ones! Michael sleeps on a bench at the foot of the bed! Michael & Jan end every sentence with a chippy "babe"! Andy & Angela arrive! So much awkwardness! Jan informs them something has to braise for three hours still, so... there will be plenty more of the awkwardness. She pops in a cd by her old assistant Hunter – you remember Hunter, right? – who is calling himself "The Hunter." Bahaha! His music is terrible and totally about Jan, who dances around the living room like a loon and tries to get Jim to join. He is not having it.

Oh, Charades! Goody. Only... Andy is talking as he acts out his clue. What the hell kind of Charades is this? Apparently it's the kind where you talk out the clue. I don't know. Maybe it's some twisted combination of Charades and Taboo? I'm lost. Michael & Jan are fighting a lot, some more, again.

Jim tries to make a run for it, saying he got a message from his landlord that his place is flooded. His attempts at rescuing Pam too are thwarted by Michael, and her initial appreciation at Jim's knight in shining armour antics quickly turns to panic and then to blazing (if temporary) hatred as she tells Jim that he sure better not be leaving this party here all by itself and that he can "buy new stuff, but money can't buy a new party." Michael latches onto this logic and won't let Jim leave.

Oh, the awkwardness. Jan tells their guests how Michael crashed through the sliding glass door because he thought he heard the ice cream truck (the gaping hole is now covered by a tarp). It's just so SAD, this horrible life Michael has got for himself with this horrible, crazy woman. Pam, like me, needs more wine.

Unfortunately, Pam's wine hunt takes a nasty turn when Jan joins her, dragging Angela along, and starts talking about when Pam used to date Michael. Oh, don't worry, Pam is just as flummoxed as you. She gets even more deer-in-the-headlights as Angela jumps in, saying she sees the way Pam looks at Michael at work. GAH! I would die. I would crawl under the kitchen table and die. As much as it sucks when someone teases you about a boy you actually like, it is a hundred times worse when they do it about someone you can't stand, especially when they appear to believe it and you know any protestations will only convince them further. Oh, Pam. I feel your pain.

Michael, meanwhile, has taken Jim & Andy out to the garage, sat them in some giant hands, and is attempting to convince them to invest in Jan's candle-making company. Andy's in. Jim's incredulous.

And then... Dwight & someone with wrinkles and a bun show up (his old babysitter, with whom he now has a "purely carnal" relationship, we find out later. Yummy). Dwight brought his own wine glasses. Michael & Jan fight. Can I just abbreviate that from now on? In this particular fight, it comes out that Michael has had a vasectomy, a vasectomy reversal, and another vasectomy, at Jan's behest. Jim is STUNNED; absolutely wide-eyed. And it just goes downhill from there, people.

Dinner doesn't go any better, with Jan in tears, Dwight & Angela sniping at each other, and Michael worried Jan might be poisoning his food, which he shares in confidence with Pam, who becomes somewhat concerned that she, as Michael's Imaginary Former Lover, might be the one eating tainted food. Michael & Jan... well, you know. Melora Hardin is playing the shit out of this vengeful, crazy bitch stuff, I tell you what. Babe.

The fighting escalates until finally, Jan hurls one of Michael's Dundies at his 13-inch, $200 plasma screen TV, completely shattering it. Michael takes it even further past too far, yelling at her about her lack of employment, and she runs crying to the bathroom. Everyone decides to head out as the cops show up, called here by a neighbour. The cops send Michael home with Dwight so that he'll be safe from his crazy girlfriend.

Jim & Pam eat burgers outside a drive-thru as Jim shows her The Hunter's cd, which he totally stole. Babe. For you, babe. They lip-sync along as we montage to Dwight driving with Michael hanging out the passenger side window like a dog, to Andy & Angela unpleasantly eating ice cream, to Jan attempting to glue the smashed Dundie back together, and back to Dwight, with Michael fast asleep in the car beside him.

And with that, I'm not sure how I felt about the return of our beloved show. It had some potentially classic moments, but it's so agonizing to watch the torture that is Michael's home life. There wasn't much of a spirit of fun around this episode – I hope they regain that soon, because they're headed into Debbie Downer territory fast here.

Tags: The Office, Melora Hardin

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Original Comments Posted (3)

metal2000 says...

It was so dark and awkward and uncomfortable -- and hilarious! This is the only episode so far to really capture the pain it was to watch the BBC version of The Office, and while overall I'm happy that the NBC version has gone down its own path, it really made for some great comedy.

It was too bad that it basically had nothing to do with the ACTUAL "office", which meant no Creed, but I thought it was a nice change-of-pace that brought more laugh-out-loud moments than usual.

Apr 12, 2008 6:44am

Ariana says...

That's great for you, because you LIKED that about the UK <i>Office</i>. I didn't. I find it almost unwatchable in its cringeworthiness.

Apr 13, 2008 12:36am

Ariana says...

Ohh, why can I not edit my comments? Bah. Richtext, not html... got it.

Apr 13, 2008 12:37am

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