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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.
Going into its fourth season, The Office had strong ratings and serious momentum, despite a looming writers’ strike that would eventually shut down most of Hollywood (including a good chunk of that season of The Office).Despite some huge differences with her new boyfriend – she was an accomplished, Type-A corporate executive, he an affable doofus – Jan moved from New York to Scranton and into Michael’s cheesy condo.The dinner party was Jan and Michael’s attempt to show off their happy home; instead, they showed off how utterly dysfunctional their relationship was.Greg Daniels (executive producer/co-creator): In the very beginning, the episode was called “Virginia Woolf” in my notes, and the idea was to have Jim and Pam have this super-uncomfortable night seeing all the awkwardness of Michael and Jan’s relationship and watching it melt down in front of them, in a comedy version of the Albee play.Lee Eisenberg (co-writer): We set it up so in the cold open Michael pretends there’s an emergency.