Space Ramblings

The Office 4×13 Dinner Party episode review

The Office does Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf as Jim and Pam and Andy and Angela come over to Michael and Jan’s house for a dinner party that goes pretty much the expected route. Michael and Jan have always been somewhat of a dysfunctional couple but the writers had sent Jan way too far around the bend a year ago already and by now she’s nearly in a state of full blown psychosis.

So true to the Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf type of narrative, the dinner party consists of Michael and Jan bickering in increasingly obvious ways while trying unsuccessfully to hide the whole mess beneath a thin veneer of domesticity, as Michael shows off his 9 inch Plasma TV and Jan’s candlemaking business, which she recruits him to get Jim and Andy to invest in. It’s a very unhappy home and halfway through dinner Jan has a CD of a love song written by her former assistant Hunter who may have written a song about a one night stand with her, it’s a short route from there to the Dundie being thrown at the TV, a police complaint and Michael going off with Dwight.

I can well believe that s04e13 had a great table reading but it’s a weak episode, taking place mainly outside the office and involving a limited number of the cast. Like a lot of The Office’s episodes, it manages to make you uncomfortable but that’s about it. The talents of most of the cast are wasted and Michael and Jan’s unfathomable relationship ran out of mileage even before it started.

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