‘The Office’ Christmas Episodes: Why This Embarrassing Holiday Episode Is the Worst in TV History

With office Christmas parties in full swing, it’s a good time to reflect on the holiday episodes of the television series The Office. The show focuses on a team working in a suburban office in Pennsylvania, so it’s no surprise there’s been an episode or two surrounding Christmas parties. While most are great, one Christmas episode turned out to be so embarrassing that it qualifies as the absolute worst holiday episode of a TV series in the history of television.

‘The Office’ features episodes surrounding Christmas parties

Over nine seasons of The Office, seven of them focused on a staff Christmas party. Episode 10 of season 2 titled Christmas Party saw Michael (Steve Carell) breaking corporate policy to buy alcohol for the staff after the annual party was on its way to disastrous boredom.

Moroccan Christmas was the title of the season four, episode 10 holiday show. In this episode, Angela (Angela Kinsey) was blackmailed by Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) into doing work for the yearly party. Michael then turned the whole event into an intervention after Meredith (Kate Flannery) got drunk and set her hair on fire.  

Another Christmas party happened during season six, episode 13. Michael got upset when Jim (John Krasinski) promised Phyllis that she could be office Santa during Secret Santa. Sadly, the office party was overshadowed by some bad news from David Wallace (Andy Buckley).

Episode 11 of season seven was titled Classy Christmas. Michael threw an elaborate Christmas party to celebrate Holly’s (Amy Ryan) temporary return to the Scranton branch. He was disappointed to learn that she still had a boyfriend.

In Christmas Wishes, episode 10 of season eight, Andy (Ed Helms) tried to make that year’s Christmas the best ever by granting each person’s holiday wishes. Robert California (James Spader) chose that year to drown his sorrows at the office Christmas party.

In the final season, episode nine was dedicated to the annual office Christmas event. In Dwight Christmas, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) put together a Dutch-themed party which he ended abruptly because Jim had to leave for his other job. In the meantime, Erin (Ellie Kemper) sought comfort from a co-worker after receiving a disappointing text from Andy.  

The worst Christmas episode of ‘The Office’

Episode 10 of season three was titled A Benihana Christmas. This episode first aired on December 14, 2006.

Trouble brewed among the members of the party planning committee resulting in the office having two competing Christmas parties; a margarita/karaoke party in the break room hosted by Karen (Rashida Jones) and Pam (Jenna Fischer), and one organized by Angela in the conference room. 

Michael wasn’t interested in celebrating as he had just broken up with his girlfriend, so Andy decided to take him out to forget his troubles. Along with an entourage consisting of Jim and Dwight, the men end up at Benihana Restaurant. Here, Andy aids Michael in getting slightly drunk and then convinces him to ask out their Japanese waitress.

The embarrassment comes when Andy and a drunk Michael escort two Japanese waitresses from the restaurant to Angela’s Christmas party. During the party, Michael, who is now extremely drunk, confuses his date with Andy’s saying that all waitresses look alike, barely catching himself before saying that all Asian people look alike. 

How does the episode end?

The Office
L to R: Rainn Wilson as Dwight Shrute, Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly, Steve Carell as Michael Scott, B.J. Novak as Ryan Howard, John Krasinsky as Jim Halpert | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

Michael then goes into the kitchen where both of the waitresses are and tries to discretely ask aloud which is his date. When she acknowledges herself, Michael marks her arm with a marker. This stereotypical reference contributed to this episode of The Office qualifying as the worst Christmas episode ever to air.

The waitresses wind up leaving the party and Michael is back to his depressed state. Jim comes up and gets him to laugh at the whole situation saying that what he had with the waitress was nothing more than a rebound, a fun distraction.

Even though the episode ends on a more positive note, the whole thing was in poor taste. It riffed on an age-old racist stereotype about minorities looking the same.