The best on-screen dinner parties ever
There is some serious hilarity that happens at a disorganized dinner party, both in real life and on television. It seems as though dinner parties offer an invitation for something to go terribly awry. While in real life, we prefer our dinner parties to be lovely and civilized affairs, on television, we appreciate checking out all of the ways things can go wrong.
While we love watching an awkward conversation take hold at an on-screen dinner party, we prefer to keep our dinner parties incident-free. When we’re hosting a special dinner event, we reach out to some of the best after dinner speaker around instead of letting the chatter turn to politics, religion, or any number of conversational minefields.
Keeping the conversation flowing and offering interesting and insightful speeches can keep your dinner parties on track. That way when you’re guests are chatting about the event on their way home, they are marveling over having the pleasure to hear Steph McGovern speaker, not “the physical toll three vasectomies have on a person”.
We’re bringing you some of our very favorite dinner parties on television, and hoping our dinner parties never turn out like these.
Hannibal: “Sorbet”, S1 Ep7
Even if you never watched a single episode of NBC’s Hannibal, you can easily imagine how horrifying a dinner party with the infamous cannibal would be. While Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) and the FBI are desperately seeking the Chesapeake Ripper, Hannibal (Mads Mikkelson) is throwing a dinner party full of bones, organs, and meats locally sourced from nearby Marylanders.
We got a little woozy when he clarifies “nothing here is vegetarian”, and the good folks at Hannibal happily showed off the dishes to viewers. While the presentation is lovely, none of them look quite right.
Frasier: “The Dinner Party”, S6, Ep17
While the dinner party in Hannibal is an early episode, Fraser’s dinner party is all the way in season 6, when routines and relationships have been firmly established. Really presented as a showcase of Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Niles’s (David Hyde Pierce) relationship, the dinner party tracks the brothers’ decision to host the event together at Frasier’s apartment.
The planning is quickly unduly complicated, as we have come to expect from the Crane brothers. As the dinner party begins to implode, the audience is treated to everything we’ve come to love from Frasier, witty wordplay, ridiculous behavior and a complete lack of self-realization from a pair whose careers rely on providing their clients just that.
Curb Your Enthusiasm: “Funkhouser’s Crazy Sister”, S7 Ep1
There are a ton of amazing dinner parties in Curb Your Enthusiasm, so it was nearly impossible to choose just one, but we went for it anyway. Season 7 opens with one of the best dinner parties in a series full of dinner parties.
Susie (Susie Essman) invites Larry (Larry David) over for a dinner party, but refuses to share who will be in attendance. The end result is beyond hilarious. Funkhouser (Bob Einstein) invites himself and his crazy sister Bam-Bam (Catherine O’Hara) along to the dinner party, and Larry ends up having to interact with his new enemy, Dr. Schaffer (Seth Morris).
O’Hara is always a treat, and Larry David gives her the room to do her very best work, she responds by completely stealing the show.
The Office: “Dinner Party”, S4 Ep13
Arguably one of the best episodes of The Office, “The Dinner Party” provides a rare glimpse into Michael Scott’s (Steve Carell) home life, and it is appallingly hilarious. Michael attempts to show off his happy home life with his new partner, Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin), and instead manages to exemplify the toxic mess they are as a couple.
One of the best scenes is before any food is served, as the couple offers a tour of their home, including the too-small chaise lounge where Jan forces Michael to sleep. By the time the conversation breaks down into the three (!!) vasectomies that Jan has forced Michael to endure, as she can’t make up her mind, the episode has already become a fan favorite.