Summer Viewing Club: “Diwali”

This is the 4th installment of my “viewing club” series. Each week, whatever rerun NBC airs, I will suggest 2 or 3 episodes with the same “theme” and post some discussion questions.

DiwaliThis week’s rerun: Diwali
The theme: Partying outside the office
Dunder Mifflin isn’t exactly the best place to throw a party with it’s neutral colors and harsh florescent lighting, so once in a while Michael Scott and company take their show on the road. Not only does this offer a change of scenery, but also gives us a peek at how our favorite office workers interact outside the office.

The Viewing List
The Dundies (2.01): It’s the annual humiliation fest employee award ceremony at Chili’s, and Michael struggles to keep the troops entertained.

Booze Cruise (2.11): The staff parties hardy on the annual retreat…at least as much as one can party on a night cruise in Pennsylvania winter weather.

Diwali (3.06): Michael encourages the staff to experience some culture by going to an event devoted to the Hindu “Festival of Lights”.

Phyllis’ Wedding (3.16): It’s suppose to be Phyllis’ big day, but that doesn’t stop some people (*cough* Michael!) from embarrassing themselves.

Discussion Questions:

1. Does the dynamic between the employees change or stay relatively the same when they’re together outside of the office? Feel free to elaborate on your answer.

2. Michael always manages to bring attention back to himself at these out-of-office parties, why does he feel the need to do so?

3. Jim and Pam have had some of their best moments at parties, but also many of their worst. Why are things so extreme between them at parties?

4. Generally, which you enjoy watching more, Dunder Mifflin’s in-office parties or out-of-office parties? Why?

5. Where would you most like to see the crew of Dunder Mifflin go next season?

As usual, you can keep these questions in mind as you watch these episode and/or write up some answers and post.

I welcome suggestions for what the theme of next week’s viewing club should be. Next week is a mini-Office marathon with repeats of “Casino Night”, “Branch Closing”, and “The Merger”.

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4 thoughts on “Summer Viewing Club: “Diwali”

  1. 1. Does the dynamic between the employees change or stay relatively the same when they’re together outside of the office? Feel free to elaborate on your answer.

    I think that the actual dynamic is relatively similar, but the reason it seems different is because when they’re in the office they are supposed to be working and usually don’t interact very much, but when they are outside of the office they have nothing else to do but interact.

    2. Michael always manages to bring attention back to himself at these out-of-office parties, why does he feel the need to do so?

    I think because he is in control in the office, and he wants to be seen as the power figure, like in Booze Cruise where he doesn’t want to give up his power to captain jack.

    3. Jim and Pam have had some of their best moments at parties, but also many of their worst. Why are things so extreme between them at parties?

    I think they can see that even outside of the office they have their chemistry, and in the office they can just try and leave their feelings there and forget about it but when it’s outside the office it’s harder to run from.

    4. Generally, which you enjoy watching more, Dunder Mifflin’s in-office parties or out-of-office parties? Why?

    Out of the office parties are fun, but only as an occassional treat. In office parties are great too.

    5. Where would you most like to see the crew of Dunder Mifflin go next season?

    I don’t know..

  2. 1. Does the dynamic between the employees change or stay relatively the same when they’re together outside of the office? Feel free to elaborate on your answer.
    – I think that the dynamics stay relatively the same. I think that maybe the characters are able to relax a little bit more than they would at a party in the office.
    I also kind of feel that the dynamics versus in or out are different in who people converse with (office vs. outside). The characters kind of seem to have their little cliques. For example, in Booze Cruise you have Pam, Roy, Jim and Katy at the “cool table” and you can kind of pick up on those sort of dynamics during other episodes as well.

    2. Michael always manages to bring attention back to himself at these out-of-office parties, why does he feel the need to do so?
    – I agree with what Claire said. I don’t think that he likes to relinquish the power that he gets at the office because he knows if he does so, that he’s going to end up being pushed aside and ignored…?

    3. Jim and Pam have had some of their best moments at parties, but also many of their worst. Why are things so extreme between them at parties?
    – I have no idea why, but I can’t think of any instances of this from this past season, so I’m going entirely off of Season 2 here. And I think that a lot of the problems that took place between Jim and Pam in office parties stemmed from Pam’s insecurities about her and Jim and Roy. Like in the episodes where Roy isn’t present (The Dundies, E-Mail Surveillance) Jim and Pam have some amazing moments. On the other hand, when Roy is present (Booze Cruise) they have some really bad moments together. So…yeah.

    4. Generally, which you enjoy watching more, Dunder Mifflin’s in-office parties or out-of-office parties? Why?
    – I really like both. I like out-of-office parties because it’s fun to see them go places and see how they interact. I also think part of that decision is swayed by “The Dundies” being like, my favorite episode ever.
    I think that the in-office parties tend to be more awkward though and therefore they usually end up being funnier. For example: the Christmas parties from both seasons.

    5. Where would you most like to see the crew of Dunder Mifflin go next season?
    – I totally read it in a fanfic, but I think it would be fun to see them go to a ski lodge for a weekend or something.
    Really, anything that’s involving alcohol in some way, shape or form is usually guaranteed to lead to some amusing circumstances.

  3. 1. Does the dynamic between the employees change or stay relatively the same when they’re together outside of the office? Feel free to elaborate on your answer.

    I enjoyed what Claire said about how the employees have nothing else to do but interact to each other. They’re forced to be the people who they are rather than the positions they occupy in the office. I think the dynamic changes in that way, but you can tell that people still have their preferred people to speak with, and their preferred topics. For instance, at Jim’s place in E-mail Surveillance, Kelly, Oscar & Stanley talk to each other for a while, and they are three of the most normal & self-aware people in the office (with the exception of Kelly a lot of the time, of course). And even though they talk about paper and then hardly know what to talk about when Kelly tries to change the subject, they would rather be standing silently, than, I’m sure, trying to make conversation with Dwight.

    2. Michael always manages to bring attention back to himself at these out-of-office parties, why does he feel the need to do so?

    At the office, attention is his because he’s the boss. Outside of work, other people shine, and Michael can’t handle it. Hilarity ensues.

    3. Jim and Pam have had some of their best moments at parties, but also many of their worst. Why are things so extreme between them at parties?

    As mentioned (you have some very insightful readers here!), Jim and Pam can pretend their romance is just office friendliness when they are at work, but once they leave the office and they spend time together, the real situation between them becomes much more real. Also, as far as Season 2 goes at least, it’s painfully clear how wrong Roy is for Pam at such events, to both Pam and Jim.

    4. Generally, which you enjoy watching more, Dunder Mifflin’s in-office parties or out-of-office parties? Why?

    Agreed again. The awkwardness of office parties is wonderful to watch, but seeing the employees in their street clothing, interacting as people instead of workers, is a lovely treat.

    5. Where would you most like to see the crew of Dunder Mifflin go next season?

    This question has so many answers I don’t know where to begin. D-M is funny anywhere.

  4. Great answered on this one, everyone, once again, I’m not sure if I have much to add.

    1. Does the dynamic between the employees change or stay relatively the same when they’re together outside of the office?

    I think what really changes is the staff pretty much blows off Michael and Dwight, which is probably why the DM crew seems to generally have a better time at the out of office parties. Other than Michael, Dwight, and Angela, the staff seems to get along with each other fairly well.

    2. Michael always manages to bring attention back to himself at these out-of-office parties, why does he feel the need to do so?

    I think the other people have covered this, he doesn’t have the control outside the office that he does inside, so he desperately tries to recapture it.

    3. Jim and Pam have had some of their best moments at parties, but also many of their worst. Why are things so extreme between them at parties?

    I agree with what Claire said, in the office with everyone around it was easy for Jim and Pam to keep their emotions in check. At the end of the day they’d part ways and could easily convince themselves they were just friends. But outside the office their chemistry was still very apparent and it wasn’t as easy to chalk it up to friendship.

    4. Generally, which you enjoy watching more, Dunder Mifflin’s in-office parties or out-of-office parties? Why?

    I do agree with Auna, the in office parties are more awkward and therefore funnier, but I also love the out of office stuff. I think I just need a good balance of both.

    5. Where would you most like to see the crew of Dunder Mifflin go next season?

    I’m going to vote for a mini-golf course or bowling alley. So much potential there 🙂

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