It's hard to believe, but it's been 10 years since The Office aired the iconic Season 4 episode "The Dinner Party." During what are probably the most hilarious 22 minutes in TV history, Michael hosts a dinner party that quickly goes wrong when his relationship with Jan implodes in front of Jim, Pam, Andy, Angela, and Dwight (and his former babysitter). To celebrate the 10th anniversary of "The Dinner Party," the episode's stars, writers, and director recalled the process of making the infamous episode and revealed some major secrets about The Office that even the biggest Michael Scott fan probably does not know.
After spending nine seasons with the employees of Dunder Mifflin (and then Sabre, and then Dunder Mifflin again), fans know all about Jim and Pam's relationship, Andy's a cappella group, and Dwight's ventures with Schrute Farms. It may seem like it's impossible for fans who have watched The Office countless times on Netflix to learn anything new, but there are still plenty of behind-the-scenes secrets even the show's most dedicated fans will find surprising. No matter how obsessed you are with The Office, I guarantee these Scranton secrets will blow your mind in all the right ways.
1. John Krasinski Wore A Wig In Season 3
Jim's hair in the early days of the show is, um, something. I mean, it's super cute that he's so floppy and lovable, but have you ever heard of a comb, dude? As it turns out, Jim's hair wasn't as effortless as he always made it seem. During Season 3, Krasinski was also shooting Leatherheads, and he had to shave his head for the role. When he returned to The Office for the second half of Season 3, producers made him wear a wig to maintain Jim's just-rolled-out-of-bed look. This is primetime TV, so of course the wig is pretty good, but if you look closely, you may be able tell that his hair is fake.
2. Dwight Sent Stanley To The Hospital Twice
Viewers all know Dwight (Rainn Wilson) was at least partly responsible for sending Stanley (Leslie David Baker) to the hospital after he had a heart attack in "Stress Relief: Part 1," but many don't know that Wilson himself actually put Baker in the hospital, too. While shooting the Season 3 episode "Beach Games," Wilson accidentally kicked sand in Baker's eyes, and he had to be rushed to the hospital. Baker came away with a scratched cornea, but he was fine in the long run.
3. One Joke In "The Dinner Party" Made The Cast Lose It
In "The Dinner Party," Michael (Steve Carrell) brags about having a flatscreen TV, but when viewers finally see it, it's a teeny, tiny 14-inch screen. Michael is super proud of having a flatscreen, no matter the size, and he shows it off to his employees as he gives them a tour of his condo. The contrast between Michael's excitement and the TV's size was too much for the cast to bear, and, according to Krasinski, filming that scene was "probably the hardest I've laughed during the entire run of the show." He told Rolling Stone:
One of the funniest things I've witnessed in my life was Steve showing us that flatscreen TV and saying, 'When . . . when people are over you can just do this' [pulling the screen out from the wall]. The TV only moved, like, a half an inch ... We were just getting demolished by laughter.
The cast still laughs about that joke, too. According to Jenna Fischer, she stumbled upon a tiny flatscreen mounted to the wall of a dressing room and sent the photo to her Office cast mates.
We were all on this e-mail chain cracking up and remembering that episode together, because we were like, 'Oh, my God, that's the hardest I've ever laughed. My God, that's amazing.'
4. Jan's Breast Implants Were Melora Hardin's Idea
In the Season 3 finale, Jan (Melora Hardin) reveals that she got a boob job and tries to win Michael back. It obviously works, and the two begin their relationship again. According to her quotes in Rolling Stone, the idea behind Jan's boob job came from Hardin herself, but it started as an innocent joke:
Jan's boob job came from the first year that we went to the [network] upfronts, and I turned to Greg and said, 'It's funny, I'm looking around at the females in our cast, and I'm thinking nobody in our cast has a boob job.' ... That was when he thought, 'Ding-ding-ding-ding! Jan's getting a boob job!' When Michael broke up with her, in order to get him back, she goes and gets her boobs giant. I just think that's hilarious, and obviously the beginning of her losing her shit.
5. Not Much Of 'The Office' Was Improvised
It may seem shocking, but Krasinski said that "90% of the time" they performed "exactly what the writers wrote." Apparently, no one ever believes him when he says this, but he explains that the cast didn't need to improvise when they had such an amazing group of writers on the show. "We truly had one of the greatest brain trusts of comedy since probably, like, early [National] Lampoon days," he said.
6. ...But Some Scenes Were
One scene that was improvised? Michael and Oscar's (Oscar Nunez) kiss in "Gay Witch Hunt." In order to show the office it's OK to be gay, Michael kisses Oscar — but the script said Michael was just supposed to hug him. Instead of hugging, Carrell kept leaning in closer and closer to Nunez, and they awkwardly kissed as their co-stars freaked out off-screen. Carrell only kissed Nunez in one take, but it was so funny, it ultimately made the final cut.
7. "The Dinner Party" Was Never Re-Written
According to Rolling Stone, when the cast read "The Dinner Party" at the table read, they thought it was so hilarious that the writers chose not to make any edits to the script. "Most scripts get rewritten, and I think this was the only one ever done that didn't," said writer Gene Stupnitsky. The one thing that was changed? "The only thing that was changed was that in our first draft Jan hits the neighbor's dog and kills it on purpose," he said. In the final cut, Jan reveals she purposefully spray-painted the neighbor's dog because it was being smug. In an episode that's already pretty dark, this seemed more acceptable to both the producers and the network.
8. Shooting Scenes Outside 'The Office' Set Was A Huge Deal
For the most part, the show's events stayed in the office, and the actors very rarely got to leave the NBC set. Spending all your time in an office gets old quickly — no matter whether it's a real one or a set — so Jenna Fischer explained that the stars jumped at any opportunity to shoot on location. In Rolling Stone's oral history, Fischer compared shooting "The Dinner Party" in Michael's condo to going "to Disneyland:"
We loved any time that we got to go on location, because we spent most of those 10 years in [the main Office set]. I mean, we were excited every time we filmed in the parking lot. So the fact that we actually went on location was super-duper exciting. It was like the kids got to go to Disneyland.
9. Phyllis Smith Was Working In Casting When She Joined The Show
Phyllis Smith, the woman behind office punching bag Phyllis Vance, was best known for her work behind the scenes when she joined The Office. According to ScreenRant, Smith worked as a casting director in Hollywood and was helping to cast the American version of The Office when executive producers decided to create a character specifically for her. Who says it doesn't pay to know people?
10. Krasinski & Fischer Almost Weren't Jim & Pam
It's hard to imagine The Office without Krasinski and Fischer in the roles of Jim and Pam, but that almost wasn't the case. Creator Greg Daniels initially wanted to "Americanize" the show by making them an interracial couple, and he was planning to cast Erica Vittina Phillips as Pam and Craig Robinson (who played Darryl) as Jim. Ultimately, however, Krasinski and Fischer killed their auditions, and producers realized their natural chemistry would translate into a great on-screen flirtation-turned-marriage.
All these years later, and fans are still learning about (and laughing at) this comedy classic. You love to see it.