“Dinner Party” is often held up—rightly—as one of the enduring highlights of NBC’s The Office, an anxiety rollercoaster of cringe comedy that mixes some serious darkness into one of the funniest scripts the show ever produced. Forcing relative-normals Jim and Pam into close quarters with their most annoying co-workers (and shining way too much light on the hilariously toxic details of the Michael-Jan relationship), the episode is the closest the show’s U.S. incarnation ever got to its U.K. predecessor, at least in terms of sheer human misery on the screen. And it turns 10 years old this week, which, obviously, means its oral history time.
It’s a good one, too, courtesy of Rolling Stone, and talking to series creator Greg Daniels, writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, director Paul Feig, and most of the episode’s cast (besides Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson) about the fourth-season masterpiece. A lot of the conversation is about how much time the entire cast spent breaking during takes—Michael’s tiny plasma TV was apparently a real scene-killer—but there’s also quite a bit of conversation about the ways the 2007-2008 writer’s strike impacted the episode’s production. (Feig, for instance, only got to direct “Dinner Party” because the strike scrambled the show’s schedule so badly.) There’s even an extra treat for fans of Jan’s former assistant Hunter, and his musical ode to the night she may or may not have “made him a man”; an alternate version of “That One Night,” courtesy of The New Pornographer’s Todd Fancey, who recorded the original song.
And hey, even if all it does is remind you to go watch “Dinner Party” for the first time in a couple of years, there are worse (albeit probably less amusingly cringe-y) ways to spend a Saturday afternoon, right?