Viewing Party

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"Viewing Party"
The Office episode
Episode no. Season 7
Episode 8
Directed by Ken Whittingham
Written by Jon Vitti
Production code 7008[1]
Original air date November 11, 2010
Running time 22 minutes
Guest actors

Stephen Saux as Justin Spitzer

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Christening"
Next →
"WUPHF.com"
List of The Office (U.S.) episodes

"Viewing Party" is the eighth episode of seventh season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's 134th episode overall. Written by Jon Vitti and directed by Ken Whittingham, the episode aired on NBC in the United States on November 11, 2010.

The series—presented as if it were a real documentary—depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. In the episode, Erin Hannon (Ellie Kemper) and Gabe Lewis (Zach Woods) invite the office over to Gabe's house for a Glee viewing party. Michael Scott cannot handle the fact that the office workers think of Gabe as their boss instead of him. Growing more jealous of Gabe and Erin's relationship, Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) goes to extremes in order to impress her. Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) helps Pam Halpert (Jenna Fischer) with Cece, much to her husband Jim's chagrin.

The episode featured several direct references to the Fox series Glee, in addition to various other cultural references. "Viewing Party" was viewed by 7.15 million viewers and received a 3.6 rating among adults between the age of 18 and 49, marking a decrease in the ratings when compared to the previous week. The episode was also the highest-ranked NBC series of the night, and it received moderately positive reviews from critics with one main detractor; many reviewers enjoyed the character interaction and development, although Alan Sepinwall derided the entry for being dull.

Plot[edit]

Michael Scott (Steve Carell) becomes frustrated when Kevin Malone (Brian Baumgartner) refers to Gabe Lewis (Zach Woods) as his boss. Erin Hannon (Ellie Kemper) and Gabe soon invite the office over to Gabe's house for a Glee viewing party. When the show starts, Michael and Gabe get in to an argument over how high the volume should be. After taking turns raising and lowering the volume, Michael retreats to Gabe's bedroom, hoping that his employees will follow him there. Meanwhile, Pam Halpert (Jenna Fischer) has been having a hard time with getting her daughter Cece to go to sleep at night, so Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) picks her up to try calm her down and stop crying. Pam is stunned to find out that Cece becomes completely quiet in Dwight's hands.

Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) changes the channel from the Glee episode so he can check sports scores. Oscar Martinez (Oscar Nunez) asks Jim to change the channel back to Glee, but discovers that Erin had forgotten to record the episode. In order to avoid being the target of his co-workers' anger, Jim goes into the bedroom to see Dwight holding a sleeping Cece. He is shocked to discover that Dwight is able to keep her quiet. Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey) comes into the room, and demands that Dwight meet her outside for fulfillment of their sex contract. Dwight is about to leave, but Pam persuades him to stay with the baby. Jim is then forced to feed Dwight pizza and beer while Pam goes outside to tell Angela that Dwight cannot see her.

Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) is growing increasingly jealous of Gabe's relationship with Erin. While observing Gabe's room, Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak) tells him about a Chinese virility supplement that makes him incredibly intoxicated. The supplement initially works but soon makes Andy sick, prompting him to later admit his jealousy to Phyllis Vance (Phyllis Smith), who decides to help Andy by casually talking to Erin about her relationship with Gabe. Becoming irritated over the attention people are paying to the TV show, Michael goes outside and pulls the cable connection, causing it to turn off. Hysteria erupts, and Michael becomes self-conscious over the commotion he has caused, and goes outside to fix the cable.

Outside, Michael is discovered by Erin, who throughout the evening has been trying to encourage Michael to bond with Gabe. Michael, still indignant over the idea that his office views Gabe as his boss, questions Erin as to why she needs his approval, since he's not her father—a statement that is met with complete silence from Erin. Michael, realizing that Erin views him as a father figure, jokes around and tells her to go to her room, leading to a bonding moment between the two. As he leaves the party, Michael warns Gabe that he will, both figuratively and literally, kill Gabe if he breaks Erin's heart.

Production[edit]

The episode was written by Jon Vitti, a long-time writer of The Simpsons. It was his first writing credit for The Office after joining the staff the show in the seventh season as a consulting producer. It was directed by Ken Whittingham, who has directed several episodes of The Office previously.[2]

The Season Seven DVD contains a number of deleted scenes from this episode. Notable cut scenes include Gabe inviting Stanley to his party and Stanley's reaction, Michael making fun of Gabe and then noting in a talking head that does not really know Gabe, Michael raiding Gabe's kitchen cabinet for additional items to add to his pizza, Michael comparing himself to Tom Hanks in the 1988 film Big and Gabe to Hanks in the 1993 film Philadelphia, Michael trying his pizza, only to spit it out, and Pam and Jim marveling at CeCe sleeping.[3]

Cultural references[edit]

Gabe compares the Scranton Strangler to the Waco siege; Erin incorrectly believes he is mispronouncing "wacko". Jim notes that the Scranton Strangler car chase, witnessed in the episode's cold opening, is on the same level as "Balloon Boy" and Michael Jackson's funeral.[2][4] The Glee episode viewed during the party was the season two episode "Duets".[4] When turning up the volume at the party, he comments, "Turn it up to eleven. Spinal Cord", an obvious mis-reference to This Is Spinal Tap. Michael comments that his favorite character on Glee is "the invalid", a reference to character Artie Abrams. Abrams is played by Kevin McHale. McHale appeared in the season four episode of The Office, "Launch Party", as the pizza delivery boy.[2][5]

Reception[edit]

"Viewing Party" aired on NBC on November 11, 2010.[6] In its original American broadcast, it was viewed by an estimated 7.15 million viewers and received a 3.6 rating/10 percent share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49. This means that 3.6 percent of all 18- to 49-year-old households watched the episode, and ten percent of that demographic had their televisions tuned to the channel at any point. The Baltimore NBC affiliate carried the Ravens/Falcons NFL game, so ratings for the regular Thursday NBC programming were lower than usual.[7]

Myles McNutt of The A.V. Club awarded the episode a "B". He compared it to the earlier seventh season episode "Sex Ed", writing that both featured "a Michael story wherein a large collection of unfortunate behaviors is capped off with a moment of sincerity"; however, McNutt criticized this narrative structure, calling it "a bit cheap".[8] Despite this, he felt that Dwight's subplot "was successful in that it strayed true to the office dynamic", and that the actual viewing of the Glee episode was a "highlight" because it showcased the characters "fall[ing] into some really fun (and familiar tropes."[8] Bonnie Stiernberg of Paste magazine awarded the episode an 8.4 out of 10, and called it "a solid episode".[9] She argued that "it left me wanting to tune in next week and see what’ll happen next", largely because of the "surprising" amount of character development.[9]

Dan Forcella of TV Fanatic awarded the episode four out of five stars. He was complimentary towards the main plot, and he felt empathy towards Michael because he felt that "Gabe is the absolute worst".[10] In addition, Forcella wrote that Pam and Jim's subplot "had its moments, as well", and called the scene featuring Jim feeding Dwight pizza "fantastic".[10] Not all reviews were glowing, however. Alan Sepinwall gave the episode a critical review, calling it "dreadful".[11] Although he said it was better than "Christening", he felt that "so, so much of the episode didn't work".[11] Sepinwall felt that the major problem with the episode was that it was "lifeless" and "light on jokes", and only featured "Michael being petulant and crabby for a whole episode", rather than featuring him in a character study.[11] He concluded that "Ellie Kemper and Steve Carell almost were able to save the episode in the closing moments with Erin's reaction to Michael declaring that he's not her father, [but] it came far too late in an episode that was more concerned with Andy vomit humor."[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Showz A–Z –Office, The on NBC". The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Ken Whittingham (director); Jon Vitti (writer) (November 11, 2010). "Viewing Party". The Office. Season 7. Episode 8. NBC.
  3. ^ Deleted scenes for "Viewing Party" (DVD). The Office: Season Seven Disc 2: Universal Studios Home Entertainment. 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Tan, Jennie (November 11, 2010). "The Office: Viewing Party". OfficeTally. Retrieved November 13, 2010. 
  5. ^ Tan, Jennie (November 11, 2010). "The Office: Pizza Delivery guy". OfficeTally. Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Episode Guide | The Office | Season 7". NBC.com. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  7. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 12, 2010). "Thursday Final Ratings: Fringe, Community, 30 Rock, Outsourced, The Office Adjusted Down; Bones, $#*! My Dad Says Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved November 12, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b McNutt, Myles (November 11, 2010). "'Viewing Party' | The Office | TV Club". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Stiernberg, Bonnie (November 11, 2010). "The Office Review: 'Viewing Party' (Episode 7.08)". Paste. Wolfgang's Vault. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Forcella, Dan (November 12, 2010). "The Office Review: Full of Glee, Hatred". TV Fanatic. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d Sepinwall, Alan (November 12, 2010). "'The Office' - 'Viewing Party': What's the Opposite of Glee?". HitFix. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 

External links[edit]