With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, the idea of dinner parties has been on my mind. I love a good dinner party (because I love a good dinner) so I decided to take a look at the worst dinner parties TV shows have to offer.
Please note, every dinner party as seen on The Real Housewives or Shahs of Sunset (or any Bravo reality show) is the worst dinner party ever seen and won’t be included here. My personal favorite of those is the Real Housewives of New York dinner party that concludes with Bethenny yelling, “GO TO SLEEP!”
5. Friends “The One With Rachel’s Other Sister”
The Story: Rachel’s Other Sister, Amy (Christina Applegate) shows up for Thanksgiving and has not been very present in Rachel’s life.
What Goes Wrong: Well, Amy keeps telling unflattering descriptions of Ross and Monica TO Ross and Monica and forgetting Emma’s name. She then determines she’d get the baby if Ross and Rachel die but that’s actually not the case. The sisters get in a huge physical fight at the end and destroy one piece of Monica’s fine china. Of course then at the end Chandler accidentally destroys the rest of the plates and the sound of those plates breaking sends a shudder down my spine.
4. Arrested Development “My Mother the Car”
The Story: Michael won’t let Lucille throw an extravagant birthday party for herself so she convinces Lindsay to throw her a “surprise” party instead.
What Goes Wrong: None of the other siblings show up to the party and then Lucille (World’s Worst Driver) gets in a car accident, which damages Michael’s memory and convinces him he was driving. Making someone lose their memory and then tricking them is pretty low, even for the Bluths.
3. Seinfeld “The Dinner Party”
The Story: Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer are going to a dinner party (don’t worry, this isn’t the beginning of a joke) and Elaine says they have to bring dessert and wine to the party.
What Goes Wrong: Short answer: everything. They don’t actually stay at the dinner party which I think is indicative of a pretty bad dinner party. Everything goes wrong getting the babka (and thus ending up with a “lesser babka”) and getting the wine and just…it’s all a mess.
2. The Simpsons “A Milhouse Divided”
The Story: (First, this is one of my favorite Simpsons episodes. So many good things happen in it.) Marge wants to throw an adult dinner party after being annoyed at the family’s behavior during in-front-of-the-TV-dinner (a staple of my house as well).
What Goes Wrong: Everything! There’s a Pictionary fight, there’re digs at his alma mater Gudger College, Leann doesn’t even know dignity when she sees it! Milhouse’s parents get divorced as a direct result of this dinner party. And subsequently Homer gets a divorce from Marge and then re-married to her after watching the Van Houten’s marriage fall apart.
1. The Office “Dinner Party”
The Story: Michael tricks Jim and Pam into coming to his house for a dinner party with Jan. Andy and Angela are also invited. Dwight is not part of a couple so isn’t invited but duh, shows up with wine glasses and his former babysitter.
What Goes Wrong: EVEN MORE EVERYTHING! This is the definitive Dinner Party episode. This is the episode of TV I use to gauge my friendships with people. If you are SO DOWN to watch this episode at any point in time then we can be friends. Everything about this episode is perfect, the trunk Michael sleeps on, “babe,” the song, “what’s email?,” Jan thinking Michael and Pam used to date. Everything.
Obviously the problem with this being the “worst” dinner parties is that I still want to go to ALL of these dinner parties.
P.S. Anyone who’s interested in staging The Office’s dinner party episode for the stage or as some sort of immersive theater experience, please contact me. I need to be involved.
(All screengrabs by me)