Got a question for Gene or Lee?

Do you have a question for the writers of last night’s episode, ‘Dinner Party’?

Submit your question for Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky here. They’ve graciously agreed to answer a few!

This post will be closed at 11pm Pacific Time tonight, so get your questions in today!

Remember, questions about ‘Dinner Party’ only. Thanks!

129 comments

  1. I don’t know if I missed something in the episode, but when Michael and Dwight were on their way home after the cops broke the fight up, what was the reasoning for Michael hanging out the window? Thanks and great episode!

  2. I really want to know about the backstory behind Hunter’s song. I heard you guys wrote the lyrics, so can you talk about what went into that? Thanks and I loved the episode! Welcome back!

  3. We found out in the live blog that you two wrote the words to that incredibly bad but funny song by Hunter, and the music is by Todd Fancy of The New Pornographers… is that who is singing it? Was it hard to get Melora Hardin to dance around like that? That song is so stuck in me and my girlfriend’s heads today, thanks a lot! If we turn up dead on the train tracks you’ll have yourselves to blame ha ha :)

  4. The Dinner Party definitely goes down as one of my favorite episodes! great work! i wanted to know how much of the ackwardness and tension was written into your script and how much the actors were able to portray while shooting? I love you guys. keep up the great work!!

  5. Who wrote/ performed Hunter’s debut smash single? I’m dying to know. Great episode, guys. Welcome back!

  6. When you wrote the “That One Night” song, did you expect that it was going to be so catchy that viewers would be singing it long after the episode aired? (Trust me, it’s still stuck in my head…)

    Also, who did the lovely vocal on the song?

    Thanks for your time!

  7. My question: I thought the new Pam “Don’t Call Me Pammy” Beesly wasn’t letting anyone walk all over her? She seemingly let Jan and Angela slam her in the kitchen… All that aside, thanks for writing, love love love the show’s return!

  8. Are there any hidden jokes in this episodes that a lot of viewers might not have gotten when watching it, like in the background or something like that? If so, can you give us a clue about what it is?

  9. Did Michael actually want to invite Dwight to dinner, causing Jan to put her foot down and say no? Or did he only say that when Dwight showed up to get back at Jan?

  10. Is Michael’s condo the same location as first seen in “Office Olympics,” or did the shadowy overlords at NBC-Universal construct a duplicate in a soundstage? Also, did the script include an exact pillow count for the quantity of pillows on Jan’s bed?

  11. I thought the episode was amazing!

    there was just one odd part where Jim was ready to leave Pam at the dinner party –

    after the party Why wasn’t Pam upset that Jim was going to abandon her?

  12. Did Michael call Dwight or did he just show up?

    Was Dwight’s date homeless or just waiting for a bus?

  13. How did you decide on who Dwight was bringing to the dinner party? I’m also curious on how much truth there was to her being his former babysitter and whether or not he just picked her up from somewhere.

  14. Were there a LOT of breaks during the dinner party scenes? lol especially when Jan was throwing things around…

  15. #2 – Dustin – I think Michael was hanging out the window because he gets carsick: like in the deposition. I think it happens especially when he’s nervous or upset/wound up. I THINK, lol.

  16. What scenes or lines (if any) were not included in the final cut of the episode that you especially wished could have been included?

  17. How long did it take to film all of the dinner party scenes and which one was the hardest?

    Fantastic episode! I managed to watch 95% without having to shield my eyes.

  18. Did Dwight actually have “carnal knowledge” of his babysitter or was he just saying that?

  19. Good show and wanted to know if the intent was to show how crazy Jan makes Michael? He seems to be getting more crazy and less believable, but if home life is such, that would make sense.

  20. The scene between Michael, Jim and Andy in the garage seemed kind of jagged editing-wise. Were Steve, John and Ed laughing a lot during the filming? There was also another quick bit of dialogue between Jim and Michael later that seemed like that too.

  21. First off, Loved the episode, gentlemen! Fantastic work!

    I heard that you were inspired by Viginia Woolf for this episode. Were there any other plays you considered or was this the only one all along?

    Again, welcome back, guys! We have missed you!

  22. is there any truth behind Jan’s suspicions about the fact that something (romantic) may have happened between Pam and Michael in the past? (besides the almost kiss in the Diwali episode) Pam was very defensive…but then again maybe just completely shocked and repulsed by Jan and Angela’s accusations?

  23. In your opinion, was Michael blowing the case for Jan in “The Deposition” one of the triggers that led up to Jan having a melt down in “The Dinner Party?”

    Thank you so much for your time. And thank you for being such creative geniuses!

  24. When Jim said he’d see Pam at home, was the intended implication that they are living together?

  25. The font on “Serenity” looked like the font Joss Whedon used for his “Serenity”. Homage or out-right theft?

    Did I miss a joke about Pam’s breasts last night? I thought you were contractually obligated to one Pam breast joke per episode?

  26. At the point where Jim has to choose between leaving Pam at the dinner party alone and rescuing his apartment, what was the intent of the writers? Some have said that perhaps Pam’s “You cant buy a new party” was really a euphemism for “leave me here and i’ll kick your butt” but others think he was just trying to cover up his lie, and would have found a way to bust her out as well. What was the writers intention in this scene?

  27. So how come the episodes you guys write always has Jan being completely insane? I mean, there ARE Michael and Jan fans out there. Not just boring wet blankets like Pam and Jim. We all would like our SANE Jan back please.

    Also do you guys remember when Jan ended her marriage because Gould didn’t want kids? I don’t think she OR Michael would change their minds about that. Any reason behind all of that ‘vasectomy’ talk?

  28. This is probably the episode most like the British version, with the “uncomfortableness” turned up to 10 (or 11 if you have Spinal Tap’s amps). Any feedback from Merchant or Gervais on this episode?

  29. Hey I was wondering where Jan grew up, from some of her mannerisms in last night’s episode, she seems like she is a jersey girl. I hope she is, I LOVE jersey girls. They are so hot. Thanks dudes!

  30. How come Angela was so mean to Pam this episode? Is it a call-back to something that happened before? Angela ganging up with Jan on Pam was cruel and cringe-worthy.

  31. First… I am so glad to have you back. This episode was pretty good, but very painful to watch. It seems as though all the beloved couples had a bit of a shake-down. Why is that?

    Is it just me, or did Andy have a sweater on, with another sweater tied around his neck, while also wearing a coat and scarf? Is there a special class at Cornell that you can take to learn how to pull that kind of stuff off? Angela does not appreciate Andy as much as he deserves.

  32. Does fun Angela exist? Loved her comments on the flower and the scene with the ice cream was perfect.

  33. Would Jim have really left Pam at that party by herself? Should we be calling him ‘Roy’ now? ;)

  34. Was this episode preparing us for a Jan/Hunter affair to come to light? “That One Night” sure seems to be about Jan…or she seems to think so, at least. :)

    Great job on a horrifyingly wonderful episode, babes!

  35. What was the backstory behind the cops saying “Not now Dwight”? And was Dwight’s date really his babysitter at one time?

  36. The Andy Warhol homage to Jan juxtaposed with the world’s smallest plasma TV for Michael was brilliant.

    How were these strong details conceived? Was it you or the props team?

  37. Did you feel any pressure for this episode to be as good as it was being that it was the new first episode aired post-strike? Did you need or want to make any significant changes to the script once you starting filming?

  38. Thanks for taking your time to answer our questions, Gene and Lee. You’re gentlemen and scholars!

    On to my question: If you could invite anyone to your own dinner party, who would you invite and does that have an affect on how you wrote this episode?

    Thanks again! :)

  39. Thanks to both of you for writing such an interesting and original piece of work. It was witty, cringe-worthy, and hysterical all at the same time!

    Question (s).

    What was the most challenging aspect of writing this episode?

    Did the original script change a lot due to the strike, or was it kept relatively intact? I know a lot of changes are made in general, but I was wondering if any significant changes were made due to the length of the hiatus.

  40. Did you guys shoot this episode exactly as you were planning to before the strike, or did you have to make some changes in order to address the shortened season/story arcs?

    Thanks for your time! Love your work!

  41. Very strong return, we got a good sense of where everyone stands with each other and an unfortunate yet entertaining look into the disfunctional relationship between Michael and Jan.

    My question is, were any of the events that transpired in ‘Dinner Party’ taken from experiences either of you have had at a dinner party of your own?

  42. Did you guys really collaborate with Todd Fancey of The New Pornographers for the song? If so, how did that come about?

  43. #44 – I’m a font geek too, I noticed that. “Papyrus,” if anyone is interested.

    My question: How much leeway did you give the actors to improvise their own scenes? I read the script for “Gay Witch Hunt” the other night (the one packaged with the S3 DVD from Target) and it seemed pretty bare-bones. Are most scripts, like Dinner Party, typically that vague, or was this one more carefully constructed?

  44. You did shoot a talking head of Jim where he admits he would never ever have left Pam at the party? Please tell us it had to be cut but we will see it in a deleted scene? Pretty please???
    Sorry, that’s two questions (or 2 1/2).

  45. What is the reasoning or purpose of writing Michael and Jan to be so over the top in this episode? Is this the dramatic ending for those two?

  46. What was your favorite scene from the episode? In the sense of how each actor brought your writing to life.

  47. WHY did Angela agree to having dinner at Michael’s? I can imagine a scene with her fighting with Andy, not wanting to spend time with Michael and her other co-workers. Do you imagine that Michael did something extreme to convince her?

  48. Isn’t Jim being a bit insensitive by stealing Jan’s CD, when he was understanding about Jan’s breakdown in season 3 (and kinda told Karen off for it)?

  49. You guys usually have Michael comment on Pam’s breasts in your episodes in some form. I didn’t notice it in this episode. Was it cut or are you moving on from this running gag?

  50. Thanks for the awesome episode last night! Especially love the “babe” gag. And Angela smashing the ice cream onto Andy’s car.

    Here’s my question: Why did y’all decide to throw in the whole “Michael telling Jan that Pam and him had dated” thing? If she really felt threatened by her, why would she be okay with Pam coming over? So she could flirt with Jim? My mind is boggled.

  51. You guys are awesome great episode..

    Was Jim really going to leave Pam or did I just get that wrong?

  52. Was that really Nick D’Agosto singing That One Night? Because it was perfect. Annoying at first, then endearing at the end.

    Great job writing the episodes… I won’t tell Paul/Mindy/Justin/Mindy/BJ & Co. you’re my favorites! :)

  53. Are you guys done with the Jan painting, if so can I have it? I assume they’re not going out anymore after last night.

  54. Was it hard to imagine the inside of Michael and Jan’s condo, given their complex characters?
    I just want to say that their house was why this episode to me was so funny, I really got an insight to Jan’s inner madness.

  55. Who was the lady that Dwight brought? I was confused. But that was a fantastic episode ya’ll, thank you so much!

  56. Oops, I thought of another question, if that’s okay…

    You guys wrote the lyrics to Hunter’s song, “That One Night” (hilarious, btw). Was that the first time you’ve ever ventured into songwriting?

  57. Why is Jan so completely different from the Jan back in season two? Was her over the top behavior in The Dinner Party a breaking point to get her back to the (somewhat) sane Jan she used to be? Please, I want that Jan back!

  58. Are the writers responsible for any of the set decoration, or is this just something done by the prop folks? I often wonder if I am reading too much into the details I notice.

    For instance, I noticed the Le Creuset cookware that Jan was using in the kitchen, and I also noticed that the boxes for said cookware were right on top of all the other stuff in the garage. Which I took to mean that Jan had purchased this cookware specifically for this party (it must have been new, seeing as the boxes weren’t buried in the garage, but right on top), hoping it would impress her guests (Le Creuset’s not real cheap, you know).

    I see this kind of stuff as little hidden nuggets of information about the characters, and sort of imagine it being placed there purposefully by the writers as a prize to those of us willing to rewatch episodes looking for “more”. Tell me I’m right, or burst my bubble, I don’t care! I just need to know!

  59. when jim is about to leave to check on his “flooded” apartment, he said to pam ” i’ll see you at home.” are they living together? thanks : )

  60. Why were the POVs of Michael and Jan omitted from the episode? It was kind of weird to not see Michael talking to the camera :)

  61. I loved the Andy Warhol-esque paintings of Jan above the staircase! And the 50 million designer pillows on her bed! What was your favorite stage prop for this episode?

  62. I do not understand why Jim would actually leave Pam at Michael’s house. Please explain.
    Great episode, except I missed the whole office aspect with all of the other characters. They make up a huge part of the show, too.

  63. Why did you choose not to include Michael and Dwight’s ultimate party lists scene in the episode? Isn’t it those ridiculous moments that make the show the funniest?

  64. Are Pam and Jim living together?!?!? I shrieked when I heard the quote “Pam, I’ll see you at home.” Am I overanalyzing?!

  65. Did your inspiration for the ways in which Jan and Michael interacted come from the characters themselves, or from your observations of some real couples (or both)? Are there a lot of people who use terms like “babe” in the way most people would use the word “moron?” Because I was under the impression it was just my brother and his fiance that did that (except they use “dear,” which I think is worse. Actual quote: “Dear, can you shut up and let me finish my sentence?”) Great episode, and thanks for taking questions.

  66. Who wrote the Michael line about the wine having a “oak-ey after-birth”? Funniest line ever in the show! My husband and I will be quoting that one for the rest of our lives! Thanks!

  67. Out of curiosity…did Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? happen to influence your writing? If you’re familiar with the play, lasts nights episode had many similar themes. Michael & Jan pretty much break down as do George and Martha. Just wondering. Theatre guy here : )

  68. What other options did you have as Dwight’s date, or did you always know you wanted it to be his old babysitter?

  69. Did you initially write Jan’s emotional/in-her-own-world slow dancing, or was that improv or added later? It was such a wonderfully awkward bit of the episode.
    By the way, I just want to say how much I loved the Dinner Party. That was absolutely the very best worst dinner party I’ve been to! I hope you guys are really proud of this episode. It was stunningly good. At my office today, people could not stop talking about how funny, horrifying, relatable and clausterphobic it was.

  70. When Jim told Pam that he would see her at home does that mean that they are living together?

  71. What made the two of you decide on candle making for Jan’s fledgling business?

  72. What spurred Angela’s negativity in this episode? I know that since the Sprinkles mishap there was more tension between her and Dwight and seemingly less between her and others, such as Pam, so was this more an opportunity to get back to the heart of Angela’s true personality?

  73. Why have you turned Jan into a psycho?! In writing this episode, was there ever a point where you thought maybe you’re taking her a little too far into crazy territory? It feels like her character, originally so strong and intelligent, has been sacrificed for the sake of a joke. She was hard to watch last night.

  74. This episode is one of the few not to contain most of the supporting cast (except in the cold open), or even the office.

    Would you have wanted this one to be an hour-long episode so you could have developed a background story at the office before/after the party?

  75. Awesome episode, guys! It gets better with every watch!!

    Did Andy know about the party beforehand? Cause when Michael was making a big stink about “working late” in the cold open, Andy didn’t seem too phased by the whole thing, which made me think he was in on the plan all along…

    Thanks so much! Glad you’re back!!

  76. A few more questions (I was comment #71, just a helpful bit of information):

    1) Dwight isn’t ACTUALLY dating Beth Grant, is he?

    2) Jan gave off the impression that Hunter’s song was written about her. Was it, or am I just an observant and slightly obsessive viewer?

    And lastly…

    3) When will these questions be answered? (This one is best clarified by Tanster)

    Thanks!

  77. What were your intentions behind the scene with Jim trying to leave the party? Did you want to show something specific to viewers?

  78. hEy.. Loved the episode!
    I know you wrote the lyrics to one night, i was curious if the song was based on a romantic experience either of you had “one night” ? :)

    Thanks!

  79. Hey guys! I really loved the episode! it was so uncomfortable in a good way. Jan acts very different in this episode and silly… I was wondering where this came from? I live in Jersey, all the chicks here are crazy fun like that.. maybe Jan grew up here!!?
    what ya guys think?

    Jersey James

  80. Why was Andy so silent during the party? He is never quiet. Is it possible that the party was so extremely uncomfortable that even he felt odd?
    Also, I just wanted to say that one of my favorite parts was Angela smearing the ice cream on his car. Classic.

  81. It seems hinted that Jan and Hunter had a relationship beyond boss and employee with her obsession with his music and the choice of the song. Would you care to comment one way or the other?

  82. hey guys!

    loved the episode. i know you guys wrote the lyrics to “that one night.” i’m just wondering what inspired the lyrics?

  83. I absolutely love the fact that Jim was ready to leave Pam there to fend for herself! It reminds me of when my husband and I joke that if zombies were attacking he would shove me toward them as he was running for it.

    Don’t you think this shows that Jim and Pam are more comfortable with each other (and less like new couples who hang all over each other)? I guess one could say it’s showing one of Jim’s character flaws, which also refreshing (we often only see the “good side” of Jim).

  84. I am so happy now that The Office is back!!! Thanks for a great episode…Are we to believe Pam and Jim are living together now? And are there any outtakes from this episode, and will we see them on Season 4 DVD? Please add more commentaries to the DVD…really enjoy the background on the EACH episode. Thanks again – you’re the BEST!

  85. What did Michael win his Dundies for? Did he award them to himself or were they given to him when Ed Truck was his boss?
    which one did Jan throw at Michael’s precious plasma tv?

    great episode. thank you for bringing my favorite show back! glad you are now getting what you so richly deserve!

  86. Hi, I have a couple questions:

    Was the woman that Dwight brought with him to the party really his “former babysitter”?

    and… in the scene where Jim almost ditches Pam at the dinner party, did you really envision that he would have left her there, or did you mean it to be like he was just messing with her?

  87. Gentlemen (can I call you gentlemen)?

    I loved how scary real the fighting between Jan and Michael was. I was especially delighted that you kept it real by having Jan use the F word. Even though it was bleeped, it was obvious what she was saying. Did you have a fight getting it past Standards and Practices? It felt so real and authentic, but was surprising on a network show. Thanks for everything!

  88. Was “oaky afterbirth” the only description Michael ever gave or were there other options? I love that line…

  89. hey boys…
    :) thanks for all the laughs! last night was excellent… i loved the song you’s wrote … were the lyrics based on a passionate night for either of u???
    do tell….

    Krys

  90. I know you shoot a lot in the SF Valley when you’re not on the set and I like trying to pick out the locations. The hot dog stand at the end with Jim and Pam has me stumped. Where is that? And in what town was Michael’s condo?

  91. Did your original script contain all those “babes” or did they just keep adding them in at every chance they could? Either way, I thought it was hilarious.

    So glad you’re back!!!

  92. i loved the episode, but i have some questions about jim’s character. i watched the deleted scene with the two of them hiding from jan and eating and that mixed with him almost leaving her and standing by while she was mocked makes me a little confused. why did you have jim behave like that? was he just trying to be funny and was pam, in your minds, really angry? i would just like to know the reasonings behind many of his scenes.

  93. Were any of the cast (the ones that only appeared in the cold open) a little disappointed that they couldn’t participate as much in the hype of returning post-strike? Angela blogged that the cast was getting together to watch Dinner Party, and I just wondered if any of them were bummed that they were barely in this new episode, since it was such a “big deal”.

  94. Awkward. Uncomfortable. Hilarious.

    Thanks Gene and Lee for a great episode. So one question remains: did the theme in last nights dialog arise from your own fondness of calling each other babe? The use of that joke really helped solidify the forced closeness Michael and Jan were trying to pull off and in turn drove home the awkwardness from that tension. Loved it.

    Thanks again for the hilarious episode, babe.

  95. Is there a FULL version of “That One Night” that we can download? I seriously want it to be my wedding song. That would be the greatest thing ever.

  96. Was that really the guy that played Hunter singing “That One Night?” Thanks!

    I love “The Office!!”

  97. Why did you get a coffee truck at the end of the week? Do you think you’re better than the rest of us? Are you trying to show us up?

  98. Fantastic, Gene and Lee! This was probably one of the most awkward and laugh-out-loud episodes. I love when Jim screws with Michael during Charades. It’s hilarious!

    Questions:

    When Jim said “Pam, see you at home,” was that alluding to the two of them living together, or just to the fact that they stay over a lot?

    Was Jim actually going to leave Pam there? I definitely think Pam saying “You can buy new things,” was her way of telling Jim that if he left her, he’d be in “trouble.” I kind of think that Jim would have left, but more as a joke. I also think he probably would have tried to bail her out soon after he left.

    Was the song (still humming the tune! and it’s making my day a little brighter!) alluding to a “special” night between Hunter and Jan? And is that why Michael has never seemed to like Hunter?

    I really want to see Dwight and Angela get back together too! And, for that matter, Jan and Michael.

  99. Was there any inspiration for “One Night” ? And are you guys aware of how AMAZING you made Angela this week? Thank you, truly.

  100. Why did Jim want to leave Pam? Is this a set up for something or are we reading too much into it?

    I believe he was just uncomfortable and was going to find a way out for her eventually.

  101. Gene and Lee: As someone who doesn’t live or die for the Jam moments (*yawn*), I guess I’m wondering why you’re continually wrecking the Michael-and-Jan relationship?

  102. Is ‘That One Night’ going to be on a soundtrack? It really needs to be. At least, it should be on the Season 4 DVDs. Amazing!

  103. First, I thought this episode was hysterical and brilliant. I have to preface by saying that — what a wonderful nod to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf! But on that note, I have to ask… from your creative perspective, how do you see Michael and Jan? From the episode Money, it would seem that Michael and Jan (when things are good) are really, really sweet. But from The Dinner Party, it would seem there are few redeeming qualities to that relationship. So… do Michael and Jan actually love each other? Have they ever?

  104. Gene and Lee,

    Hilarious episode — all the makings of an instant classic!

    Question: Why the candle business for Jan? I would’ve liked to see her creating some sex toys, but I guess that would be over-kill on the awkwardness.

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