|The Office episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Ken Whittingham|
|Written by||Jennifer Celotta|
|Original air date||October 11, 2007|
|Running time||42 minutes|
"Launch Party" is the fifth and sixth episode of the fourth season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's fifty-eighth and fifty-ninth episode overall. The episode was written by Jennifer Celotta and directed by Ken Whittingham. It first aired in the United States on October 11, 2007 on NBC.
In this episode, Dunder Mifflin prepares for the launch of their new website. Dwight tries to outsell the website, Andy makes a move for Angela, and Michael kidnaps a pizza delivery boy (Kevin McHale).
In the opening scene, Michael has arranged a meeting to discuss making the Quarterly Report more exciting, unaware that the office workers are all more interested in the DVD screensaver, and believes their disappointment whenever the bouncing box on the screensaver doesn't make it into a corner are reactions to his statements. Eventually, the box does make it into a corner, and the cheering employees all leave, to his confusion.
Dunder Mifflin is preparing a party for the launch of their new website "Dunder Mifflin Infinity". Since Jan Levenson (Melora Hardin) doesn't want to go to the launch party, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) invites Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), who makes Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) take her place. Only after they reach New Jersey does Jim realize that Michael received an "invitation" to a chat room, not the actual party. Jim also reveals that he turned down the Corporate job that Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak) accepted. Michael returns to Scranton dejected and attempts to plan a better party. This irritates party planner Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey), who has already been in an exceptionally irritable mood. She viciously and patronizingly takes out her frustrations on fellow Party Planning Committee member Phyllis, who quits the committee in frustration.
Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) decides to compete against the website to see who can make more sales. Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) keeps a running tally of reams sold, blowing an airhorn each time Dwight makes a sale. Irritated by the distraction, Jim and Pam plot a prank. They send Dwight instant messages pretending to be the company's computer system, taunting Dwight to believe it has achieved self-awareness. Dwight wins the challenge, but when he gloats to Angela about his victory, she rejects him outright and makes it clear that they are broken up for good. She also asks Pam to set her up with a single friend of hers. Pam, feeling sorry for Dwight, sends another message as the computer acknowledging him as a superior being. Andy later sets up a conference call with some of his old Cornell friends to serenade Angela with Take a Chance on Me; she doesn't agree to date him, but appears to be somewhat charmed by the spectacle.
Michael finally realizes that Ryan doesn't respect him, and once he gets online for the party's chat room he snaps that Dwight single-handedly outsold DMI and curses at Ryan. But his emotional reactions haven't stopped for the night: he is angered after everyone complains that he confused the office's favorite pizza place (Alfredo's Pizza Cafe, which is a real restaurant in Scranton) with a terrible pizza place (Pizza by Alfredo, which is fictional). When his coupon is then refused, he takes a stand for justice and holds the teenaged delivery driver hostage (Kevin McHale), with both he and Dwight acting out their frustrations about Ryan and Angela, respectively. After some time, Michael realizes he is breaking the law and lets the kid go, and then heads up to crash the party in NYC and get some sushi, with Dwight joining him. They get to enjoy a little leftover food, but Michael's most cheered when one of the younger Corporate workers says they liked his rant against Ryan and "It was funny to see Ryan embarrassed by all that", and heads home in good spirits.
"Launch Party" was the sixth episode of the series directed by Ken Whittingham. Whittingham had previously directed "Health Care", "Michael's Birthday", "The Convention", "The Merger", and "Phyllis' Wedding". "Launch Party" was written by Jennifer Celotta, making it the sixth episode written by her.
According to Jennifer Celotta, the idea for the first scene of the episode where the office workers are watching a logo bounce around a television screen, came when the writers were in a room watching the DVD logo bounce around the television screen, and were arguing about whether it would ever hit the corner.
"Launch Party" received a 5.2 Nielsen Rating and an 8% Share. The episode was watched by 8.91 million viewers and achieved a 4.7/11 in the key adults 18–49 demographic.
"Launch Party" received mixed reviews from critics. TV Squad's Jay Black wondered why the writers "feel the need to veer off into increasingly more ridiculous places", especially because The Office is "hailed by critics and adored by fans for its ability to find humor in the smallest pieces of real-life human interaction". Black did say that except for the kidnapping, he "thought tonight's episode was the best of the season." Travis Fickett of IGN wrote that "Launch Party" was "a very entertaining episode with some terrific moments." Fickett did say that with all the hour-long episodes "things start to feel stretched and some scenes take on a sense of redundancy and certain storylines seem to peter out before they even get going."
- ""Launch Party" | Season 4 | 10/11/2007". NBC. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
- "Panels The Office". National Broadcasting Company. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
- "Broadcast TV Ratings for Thursday, October 11, 2007". Your Entertainment Now. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- Black, Jay (2007-10-12). "The Office: "Launch Party"". TV Squad. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
- Fickett, Travis (2007-10-12). "The Office: "Launch Party Parts 1 & 2" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-07-29.