‘The Office’: Steve Carell Says the ‘Dinner Party’ Episode Was ‘a Hard 1 to Shoot’

When will The Office stop being so iconic? Despite ending its seven-season run more than 10 years ago, it is still at the forefront of the cultural zeitgeist. But some episodes stand out more than others. While the average The Office episode has a fair amount of laughs with a bit of cringe, some are just more jam-packed than others — and one such episode, “Dinner Party,” wasn’t easy to film for all the right reasons, says star Steve Carell. 

Steve Carell says the ‘Dinner Party’ episode was a difficult episode of ‘The Office’ to film 

the office dinner party episode
Steve Carell as Michael Scott in ‘The Office’ | Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank

Carell claims “Dinner Party” wasn’t an easy episode to make. Not because the material was difficult to work with or the script wasn’t naturally funny. Just the opposite. The episode was so hilarious that the actors couldn’t get through it without breaking character and laughing. Carell told BuzzFeed the episode was “a really fun one to shoot.” 

“We were laughing a lot,” said Carell. The hilarious contents of “Dinner Party” made the episode hard to “get through,” but in the best way possible. There were so many good bloopers that outtakes from “Dinner Party” are readily available on YouTube. They’re a must-watch for any true Office fan. 

‘Dinner Party’ is one of the most infamous episodes of ‘The Office’ 

Topped only by “Scott’s Tots,” “Dinner Party” is probably the most cringe-inducing episode of The Office. In it, Michael tricks Jim and Pam into coming to his house for a dinner party. Andy and Angela tag along. From the get-go, Jan and Michael’s toxic relationship takes center stage. 

Michael shows Jim and Pam their bedroom, where he sleeps on a bench at the end of the bed instead of on the bed itself. (Apparently, the tiny bench was inspired by a real-life couple Paul Feig, the episode’s director, met once.) But the cringe doesn’t end there. Jan brings Jim into her’ workspace,’ where she shows him some candles she’s made. The scent? Bonfire. Later on the tour, Michael shows the gang his plasma TV. It’s hilariously small.

As the night goes on, things grow increasingly tense between Jan and Michael. They begin snapping at each other and putting their guests in the middle of their arguments. Eventually, Dwight, who was banned from the party by Jan, shows up. He brings his old babysitter as a date. The night devolves even further and ends with Jan throwing one of Michael’s Dundies at his plasma TV. Neighbors alert the police, and Michael goes home with Dwight for the night.

A toxic relationship may not sound like great material for a comedy show. And that may be why “Dinner Party” wasn’t well received when it came out. Over time, audiences have leaned into the cringe, and it is now a fan favorite. But it wasn’t the only beloved episode the cast had trouble filming. 

Steve Carell also had trouble filming ‘The Dundies’ episode of ‘The Office’ 

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Season 1 is generally considered the worst season of The Office, so the show needed to start the next season off on a good foot. And it certainly did just that.

“The Dundies” was another episode that was difficult for Carell to make. Not just because it was funny, but because he didn’t like its product placement. The episode features Michael hosting an office award ceremony at a Chili’s. Carell didn’t want to compromise any material by forcing brands and product placement into the series.

“I [was] very much against this because it changes the show,” he told The Office co-star Brian Baumgartner on his podcast The Office Deep Dive. “If we are serving a corporate master, there’s no way the show will be the same. I was dead set against it.” 

Fortunately, it all worked out, and the episode remains special for fans.