Lee and Gene answer ‘Dinner Party’ questions

Q. 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? | Father G.I

A. Gene came up with this. It makes me laugh every time I see it (which is now probably about 20).

Q. I was wondering if you actually broke that plazma tv, or was it a prop? | Kevin

They put a protective plastic cover over the TV and then just let Melora rip. I think the shot of her hitting the plasma was the first or second take.

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

A. I know that there was much debate online about Jim trying to leave Pam, but that’s probably my favorite scene. I also love Andy’s “Thought about it. I’m in.”

Q. Was Jim really going to leave Pam? | Courtney

A. Maybe. But the reason we think the scene works is that you get a sense of the playfulness of them as a couple. We never viewed it as Jim being a jerk — after all, he did try to bring her with. That exchange was meant to be a little chess match between them with Pam coming out with a checkmate. If he had actually left her, well, that’s a different story …

Q. Are the writers responsible for any of the set decoration, or is this just something done by the prop folks? | dying star

A. We have production meetings, where each little thing (from the look of the food to the size of the wine glasses to the type of flowers Andy brought) is discussed. Like every part of the show, it’s incredibly collaborative, so we would walk the set with the designers and Paul and suggest things. I believe the pillows on the bed was a later addition …

Q. 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? | andy

A. We don’t think Jan is a psycho the way Javier Bardem is a psycho in “No Country for Old Men.” We just think that she’s a deeply unhappy woman who has been in psychotherapy for years now. We’ve mentioned that she’s been suing her family members in Cocktails and, remember, this was the episode that was supposed to air right after The Deposition. Basically, Michael cost her seven figures. On top of that, she was a career woman who lived in New York who is now reduced to selling candles in Scranton. Take all that and put it together and you have a recipe for disaster at a dinner party (no pun intended).

Q. Did your original script contain all those “babes” or did they just keep adding them in at every chance they could? | JerseyGirl

A. I believe that every ‘babe’ was scripted.

Q. 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? | thespitz

A. We want the crew to like us the best. Yes. And yes.

Check out more Q&As in the Episode Q&A Archive. Essential reading for every Office super fan!


  1. thanks so much for answering these, guys! and tanster for setting it up… really informative & fun!

  2. Stuff like this makes me love the internet.

    It’s always great to see fan questions answered in such a friendly manner.

  3. That was a fun read. Thanks Tanster and writers!

    I loved the scene where Jim was leaving because it just seemed like Pam was mad she hadn’t thought of it first. This was a great episode. :)

  4. Tip of the hat to Lee and Gene for doing this. It adds something to hear more about what was intended.

  5. Where else can you get this kind of material from the people behind your favorite show? Thank you Gene, Lee, and Tanster.

  6. How awesome would it be if we had this for every episode??

    Thanks so much for doing this guys, it added so much to the episode.

    [from tanster: i would love it, too. i’ll work on it. :) ]

  7. Yay! Thank you Gene and Lee for answering my question! And the rest of the questions you answered. I love getting insight into the show like this. I appreciate the time you took to do this for us fans.

    Thanks to you, tanster, as well, for putting this all together. This made my night!

  8. Wow! Gene and Lee, thank you SO much for taking the time to answer these. What a fantastic look behind the scenes to give us even more appreciation for the quirky genius minds that come up with these episodes. We love you! We want more! Please let’s do it again…*twss*…soon!

  9. Thanks Gene and Lee.
    What great info!
    Good job fellow tallyheads for asking fantastic questions. :) I myself came up blank.

    [from tanster: i agree, stephanie. excellent job, tallyheads!]

  10. Haha I hadn’t noticed that about the pictures of Jan with other guys. Brilliant.

  11. thanks for answering them! I especially like the one that pointed out Andy’s wardrobe, hilarious! and now i get why Jan is extra crazy, it makes more sense if you think of this episode as after the deposition

  12. Thank you so much Gene and Lee for taking time to indulge us. That’s one of the many things that I love about this show and all of those who are a part of it. Fans just don’t get this kind of access very often, and it just really enhances the viewing experience. Also, great job with the questions Tallyheads!

  13. I assume the last question was from Justin Spitzer, gyno-extraordinaire.

    [from tanster: one would assume. i should email this person and make them answer a security question. ;) ]

  14. Thanks for your answers. They really did address a lot of questions we Office watchers had about the episodes. I really liked this episode. Especially the part when Jan smashed the TV with the Dundie. That was priceless.
    Keep up the awesome work!

  15. Thank you, Gene and Lee, for taking the time to answer these questions. I (and I’m sure the rest of the Office-fans, too) really appreciate it.

  16. A longer version of “That One Night” is going to be available next week?! Awesome! Can’t wait!

    Thanks so much Gene and Lee! Loved the episode!

  17. love the inside jokes/info/banter….keep it coming, love!!! You have my vote on doing this each episode…

  18. was Jan really on her way to a seven-figure settlement? i never thought so. obviously Michael didn’t help her chances but i thought it was a very remote possibility at best.

  19. Tanster, thank you so much for setting this up! And I agree with #10, having this for every episode would be awesome.

  20. Thanks for this. I still hate what they’ve done to Jan, though. I miss corporate, semi-together Jan. She doesn’t have to be perfect, but the dinner party was nearly a telenova without the sex.

  21. I wonder if anything ever comes out about Jan and Hunter’s relationship…or if the song is the only thing that shows something did happen. Poor Michael, so clueless.

  22. Re: 30. Whoops! Telenovela, I meant. I need more caffeine.

    But since I’m here again: “Serenity by Jan” probably wasn’t a nod to Joss by the writers, but whoever made that prop and used that font must’ve been a fan!

  23. Thanks Lee and Gene for taking the time to answer our questions, and for Tanster for setting it up! I love hearing about the small details that we might not immediately pick up on, like the Soloflex AND a Bowflex.

  24. Phlob (comment 16) said everything I wanted to say and better than I could, but I just wanted to say thanks, Tanster for setting the whole thing up. I appreciated the insights.

    Also, kudos to the question askers for asking such great questions. I hope we get the chance to do this again.

  25. Loved the behind the scenes stuff! The set decoration questions were great…we rarely get insight into what set decoration choices were made and why, so this was great! Any way we can do this for the rest of the season? It will help tide us over until S4 is released on DVD! Thanks Tanster!! :)

  26. That was great! Thanks for answering the Tallyhead questions (which, might I add, were very good questions). Well done.

  27. Thank you to Lee, Gene, and Tanster for this – as everyone has said, it’s so great to get a behind-the-scenes take on the show. Hope we can have more of these in the future, perhaps for the season finale at least? :)

  28. Thanks tanster, this is awesome! I love learning what the writers were thinking and how they view stuff and about the behind the scenes stuff! Great Stuff!

  29. This is great. Thank you. Now I’m going to have to watch this episode, again. Oh darn. My friends and I were all wondering about Hunter’s song and Dwight’s babysitter.

  30. It was great that they addressed the Jim leaving Pam behind issue. It was intended, as I suspected, to be just part of their chess game…well played Pam! They’ve always had a push-pull type of relationship, so it’s great that they still challenge each other. Life would get boring if they didn’t…

  31. I agree #42 (Kev). That Jim and Pam exchange never really bothered me… I feel that even if he had left, they might have had an argument, but she would have forgiven him and completely understood. (Although why they didn’t just say Pam drove is beyond me…) But I’m glad they settled that for others out there who were concerned. Nothing to worry about :-)

    Thanks Gene, Lee, and Tanster!

  32. Wow, this shows how awesome the writers and [not to forget] tanster are. A really informative and fun read. Things like this makes me want to see the episode all over again (and I’ve already seen it 3 times). If you could arrange for this to be done after each episode I would be forever grateful tanster (as if I’m not already :))

  33. Wow, awesome questions and responses! I loved this episode the most upon second viewing, because it was great to look out for the smaller details. I just adore the amount of care that goes into each episode – every little piece of background set is so well done!!! Makes for great “Trivia” for hardcore fans like us! haha. I’m going to have to check out Andy’s wardrobe again – I did notice the Country Club Sweater-around-the-shoulders look, but didn’t notice the whole ensemble as being so hilarious! I love Andy, hahaha.

  34. Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, two of my favorite writers for this the office as they almost always include a healthy dose of cleavage jokes. (I’m almost positive they had a hand in Jan’s wardrobe decisions.)

    To read more about them click on my link.

  35. REALLY really cool. I’m glad they cleared up the Jim and Pam thing…I thought it was supposed to be playful, but a lot of my friends thought that Jim was being a jerk.

    And I’m SO glad that that song really is about Jan. I can’t wait to hear the whole thing!

  36. I’m going to have to rewatch the episode again to see if I can spot the pictures of Jan with other men. Without this Q&A I never would have caught it.

  37. Wow! That was really cool. I really like to appreciate the small jokes, and I’m glad they shared a few of the subtle jokes. Next time I watch it, I will have to be on the look out for these. Thank you so much Gene, Lee, and Tanster!

  38. Awesome! Thanks!

    By the way, you can see the plastic on the arms of the chair in Jan’s “office”

    I re-watched the episode this morning.

  39. This just made my day!! I’m so glad they answered my question. To be honest i wouldn’t think they’d answer it, but I’m so glad they did!!! :)
    Thanks a bunch for answering our questions Gene and Lee! And thank you so much Tanster for setting this up!

    #10 – OMG that would be awesome! If we had this for every episode…yay!

  40. Lots of thanks to Lee, Gene and Jennie! This is great!

    Also, I just have to say that it cracks me up that so much doom and gloom gets read into every little moment that Jim and Pam aren’t all lovey dovey with each other.

  41. Darn, I used to call my husband ‘Babe’ naturally and now I say it and feel like laughing. Oh well, small price to pay. Loved the episode but love it even more when we hear all these inside details. Thanks!

  42. Sweet! Those questions were much better than mine. Very informative! :)

  43. I loved this! It’s so cool to get this kind of insight after watching an episode. I hope it can happen again in the future!

  44. This was great, thanks to Lee, Gene and Tanster. And wouldn’t it be great if we could always have this after an episode!

    I am glad to see that Lee and Gene have confirmed the playful side of Pam and Jim’s relationship. I loved the scene where Jim was trying to get them out of there.

  45. That was such a fun read! tanster, thanks for arranging this kind of stuff for us! It’s like having DVD extras after every episode.

  46. Now I will watch a 3rd time to catch Jan and her boyfriend photos (didn’t catch the first 2 times around.) Also to listen to Hunter’s song again :> HA HA

    Loved the Q & A interview! Thanks!

  47. this is great. and that “controversial” Jim and Pam scene might have been my favorite.

  48. Wow, this is so awesome =D Very cool! Interesting, I’ll have to go back and see if I can catch some of this stuff xD (the pictures!)

  49. This was so cool! Thanks for setting this up Tanster and thanks to Gene and Lee. I loved this episode and the behind the scenes stuff is such a bonus. I love the care that goes into the tiny details–Andy’s multi-layered preppy ensemble, the pictures of Jan with different men, the zillions of pillows on the bed, etc. It’s one of the many things that makes the show really special. It was great to hear that there was a ton of breaking. How the actors kept it together long enough to complete the episode is beyond me. Just the way Jan scampered over and grabbed the Dundie before she threw it still has me laughing. Sadly, “That One Night” has been stuck in my head for 5 days now. Grrr!

  50. Thanks, Lee and Gene!
    I’ll have to rewatch the episode to catch the photos.

  51. Haha I love that someone asked whether or not Dwight’s date was really his old baby-sitter or a homeless woman. There was some debate on that on my site (and on the couch right after the episode!)

  52. I love the care that’s put into every detail. It makes the episodes infinitely re-watchable. You always pick up something new.

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