Melora Hardin Says Dinner Party Scene Was Jan’s Best Moment On ‘The Office’ and Explains How Jan Is Complicated

Michael Scott’s personality on The Office was strange enough on his own. Add in a girlfriend and things were even crazier. Scott eventually found the ying to his yang with a human resources manager at the same paper company he worked for. But before he met his one true love, he had an on-again-off-again relationship with another co-worker, Jan Levinson, played by Melora Hardin.

'The Office' Michael and Jan
Steve Carell as Michael Scott and Melora Hardin as Jan Levinson on ‘The Office’ | Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

The chemistry between Michael and Jan was undeniable but their relationship was contentious at times, with Jan emasculating him along the way. In spite of their differences, Hardin enjoyed living out Michael and Jan’s odd love story and revealed why the popular dinner party episode was her character’s best episode. 

Melora Hardin as Jan on ‘The Office’

Jan is an executive at Dunder Mifflin who eventually enters into a romantic relationship with Michael. Jan is stern, slightly odd, and demanding – especially in her relationship with Michael. 

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As their relationship progresses, she develops a soft spot for Michael and tries to morph into more of a passive woman and becomes more dependent on him. 

No one at Dunder Mifflin thinks that the relationship between Michael and Jan will last. They believe Jan is controlling, uses Michael, and tries to change him. Jan and Michael eventually split and she has a daughter, who at one point Michael steps in to try and help raise. He soon learns that he’s better without Jan.

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Jan returns throughout the series several times, always in a new position of power either at Dunder Mifflin or for a rival company.

Melora Hardin loved the dinner party scene on ‘The Office’

One of Jan’s most notorious episodes is the infamous dinner party. Michael and Jan host a dinner party at his beloved condo that several of his Dunder Mifflin colleagues attend. Everyone soon discovers the power dynamics within Michael and Jan’s relationship up close and personal, making for an awkward evening.
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Jan’s behavior becomes more erratic as the night progresses. From her admitting that she redecorated Michael’s home – to her tense interactions with Michael – their guests becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

Jan famously destroys Michael’s flat-screen television in the scene by throwing a trophy at it, something Hardin said she nailed during all three takes in an interview with The Today Show. 

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“The dinner party episode was the best episode for Jan. We had three TV screens so I had three chances,” she said. “Did I hit it once? Yes. Did I hit it twice? I did. Did I hit it three times? Yes, I did,” she said with a laugh.

Melora Hardin talks about the complexities of Jan on ‘The Office’ and why her and Michael’s relationship was her favorite

Though many viewers would prefer Michael’s relationships with characters like Holly Flack or Helene Beesley, Hardin says it’s hard to deny that despite the weirdness between Michael and Jan that they worked as a couple. 

“There’s something about Jan and Michael that’s very charged. I think they had a lot of sexual chemistry, the two of them in their kind of awkwardness,” she explained. 

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Moreso, she says that Jan’s tough exterior, which was a turn off for some viewers, was the reason why Michael loved her as it reveals the complexities of the character.

“I really hate when people walk up to me and say, ‘Jan’s such a b**ch,’” she said. “I’m like, clearly you weren’t watching very closely because she’s so much more than that. She has her [b**ch] moments for sure but I think she’s really complicated and super funny and I loved playing her.” 

Hardin admitted that Jan has been one of her most favorite characters to play and is thankful for her time on the iconic show.