A Benihana Christmas
|"A Benihana Christmas"|
|The Office episode|
|Directed by||Harold Ramis|
|Written by||Jennifer Celotta|
|Original air date||December 14, 2006|
|Running time||42 minutes|
"A Benihana Christmas" is the tenth and eleventh episode of the third season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth episode overall. It was written by Jennifer Celotta and directed by Harold Ramis. The episode originally aired in the United States on December 14, 2006, on NBC.
In the episode, Christmas time at the office leads to depression for Michael, when his girlfriend Carol (Steve Carell's wife, Nancy Walls) breaks up with him. Michael, Andy, Dwight, and Jim then go to a local Benihana restaurant, where Michael and Andy find dates with two of the restaurant's waitresses. Back at the office, after a conflict with a bossy Angela, Karen and Pam decide to create their own Christmas party. When the majority of the office decide to go to Karen and Pam's party, Angela becomes upset, and seeing this, Karen and Pam decide to combine the parties. Soon after, Michael and Andy's dates leave them, but Michael nevertheless finds someone to go to Jamaica with him.
Carol Stills (Nancy Walls) confronts Michael Scott (Steve Carell) about the Christmas card he sent her, in which he superimposed his head on the body of Carol's former husband in a family photo. She breaks off the relationship, leaving Michael heartbroken and stuck with a pair of tickets to Jamaica. For the past several months, Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) has led Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) to believe that he is being recruited by the CIA, and her gift to Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) is that he can choose Dwight's first assignment. Jim declines the gift and claims that as the new office "Number Two" he should not be engaging in such activities, leaving Pam discouraged by a changed Jim.
Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) takes Michael to Benihana to help him forget his recent troubles; Michael drags Dwight and Jim along. The group stumbles upon an unexpecting couple (Anne Sertich and Stephen Saux) at the table and Dwight fails when attempting to impress the chef with his knowledge of Japanese knives. Andy successfully isolates Dwight from the rest of the party and convinces Michael to ask out their waitress, Cindy (Brittany Ishibashi). Meanwhile, Jim plays pranks on Dwight and realizes that his excuse for declining Pam's gift does not hold water.
Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey) kicks Karen Filippelli (Rashida Jones) off the Party Planning Committee. In response, Pam reaches out to Karen, and the two plan a rival party. The rival Christmas parties begin, and the office staff members are forced to choose sides. Pam and Karen's party is a hit, while Angela's is a dreary affair. Michael and Andy each return with a waitress as their "new girlfriend" (though neither is the one who waited on them at the restaurant). Angela accepts Pam's offer to merge the parties. Oscar enters the office with his partner Gil just as Angela is singing "The Little Drummer Boy," pauses for a moment, says, "Too soon" and leaves.
Meanwhile, Michael is unable to tell the two waitresses apart. To remedy this, he surreptitiously marks his date's arm with a Sharpie. When he offers to take her to Jamaica, she declines and says that she has to attend school, and the two waitresses leave the party because it "blows".
Jim consoles Michael by explaining that he just had a "rebound" relationship. Jim mentions that they are fun for a while, but then you keep on thinking about the girl that broke your heart, implying he still thinks about Pam (the girl who "broke his heart"). From his office, Michael makes a phone call and asks an unknown person to go to Jamaica with him. The offer is accepted. Pam is crushed when she sees Jim and Karen exchange gifts. Jim is crushed when he sees Roy give a gift to Pam.
At the end of the day, Jim tells Pam that a helicopter will be arriving to take Dwight to a welcoming party at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. As Dwight waits on the roof, he receives the text message: "You have been compromised. Abort mission. Destroy phone." Dwight throws his phone off the roof and walks away.
"A Benihana Christmas" was written by Jennifer Celotta and directed by Harold Ramis. Ramis would return to direct the third-season episodes "Safety Training" and "Beach Games", as well as the sixth-season episode "The Delivery" (Pt. II).
The episode was shot in a real Benihana restaurant. During filming, John Krasinski threw a shrimp across the table at Rainn Wilson. It bounced off Dwight's glasses and landed in the glass of water from which he was about to drink; according to actor Ed Helms, "It was a one-in-a-million shot that pretty much shut down the set for five or 10 minutes of applause." Ultimately, however, Ramis decided not to use the footage because it looked so improbable as to be unbelievable.
The actresses who played the women that Andy and Michael bring back to the office were different from the actresses who played the waitresses in the Benihana restaurant. According to the show's prop master, this was because Andy and Michael failed to pick up the original waitresses, and settled for "less attractive ones". However, at Paley Fest 2007, Greg Daniels admitted that the women they cast were "too good-looking", which led to the joke failing since the original script specifically called for Andy and Michael's dates to be unattractive.
"A Benihana Christmas" was first broadcast on December 14, 2006 in the United States. According to estimates by the Nielsen Media Research's the episode was watched by an estimated 8.44 million viewers. The episode earned a 3.9/11 ratings share among adults aged 18 to 49, meaning that it was seen by 3.9 percent of all 18- to 49-year-olds, and 11 percent of all 18- to 49-year-olds watching television at the time of broadcast. Among that demographic, The Office finished in twenty-first place for the week among all of the major networks. On the day that the episode first aired, it was the second most watched show of the night, behind only CBS's Survivor: Cook Islands.
|“||This week marked the second year in a row The Office has done a Christmas episode, and it's already become such a great way to play the characters off each other, that we can't help but hope they continue the tradition every season. To be fair, at a full hour, this episode was perhaps a bit too much of a good thing, as the first 15 minutes or so were a bit sluggish. But even then, there were amusing moments to be had, such as Dwight arguing with Toby over whether he could cook a dead goose he brought in – [h]aving hit it with his car, he considered it a "Christmas miracle".
– Eric Goldman, IGN
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- Toff, Benjamin (December 16, 2006). "Arts, Briefly; Holiday Parties, Holiday Ratings". The New York Times. Retrieved July 10, 2008.
- Goldman, Eric (December 15, 2006). "The Office: 'A Benihana Christmas' Review". IGN. Retrieved July 13, 2018.