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It’s just a boiling-hot crucible of comedy.” To celebrate its 10th anniversary, we tracked much of the cast and crew for an oral history of the landmark episode. Writing ‘The Dinner Party’ Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg joined the “Office” writing staff in Season Two, penning memorable episodes such as “The Secret” and “Women’s Appreciation.” Gene Stupnitsky (co-writer): We kind of talked about “The Dinner Party” as Who’s Afraid of Jan Levinson-Gould? And just the world’s worst dinner party, the most awkward dinner party – with your boss.We had set it up earlier, where Michael kept asking Jim and Pam for plans, and they kept having excuses.
It’s that pressure-cooker aspect that heightens everything, plus the decorum of the dinner party, the sort of need to rise to a different sort of social construct, as opposed to just being co-workers in an office space.
A line would happen and the audience, along with the people at the dinner, would just kind of sit there and let it hang.
And so the rhythms of this episode are slightly different.
Jim has a talking head [where the actors speak directly to the camera], and he’s like, “I’m starting to think there was no work thing.” There’s a little bit of a grudging respect to Michael. Show a guy pushing a woman down the stairs.” I’m paraphrasing, but there’s something to that. We’re such huge fans of the British Office and we wanted to write an episode more in that tone.
Gene Stupnitsky (co-writer): There’s a quote, “How do you make someone laugh? Lee Eisenberg (co-writer): An episode like this lives a lot in the awkward pauses.