"A Benihana Christmas" is the tenth/eleventh episode of the third season of The Office and is the 38th/39th overall. It was written by Jennifer Celotta and directed by Harold Ramis, noted film comedy writer and director. The episode first aired on December 14, 2006. It was viewed by 8.4 million people. It is a special hour-length episode.


The Day of the Annual Christmas Party at Dunder Mifflin Scranton. Dwight enters the office with a goose that he accidentally struck with his car—which he proclaims to be a Christmas miracle—and plans to prepare it for the party. After initial objections to having a dead animal present, Toby allows Dwight to keep it as long as he cleans it in his car.

When Michael arrives, we see Pam give him a gift bag. He mistakenly thinks it's from Pam but she explains it's from corporate headquarters.

Carol receives her Christmas card from Michael and visits him to voice her disapproval of his Photoshopping himself into a two-year-old ski weekend photo with her children and former husband (Michael replaces her husband's face with his own). This, along with his marriage proposal (in the episode "Diwali"), pushes her over the edge, and she breaks off the relationship, leaving Michael (who has already booked a trip for the two of them to Sandals Resorts) heartbroken.

Pam gives Jim her gift: she has been sending Dwight messages from the CIA for several months (including a request of Dwight to admit all the secrets he's sworn never to tell anyone) and she's going to let Jim decide the top secret mission that Dwight will go on. At first, Jim is clearly happy, but then turns down the gift, saying that he doesn't want to keep doing the same things he did before now that he is "Number #2" man in the branch and he has a chance to start over. Pam is obviously embarrassed and saddened that Jim turned down her gift to him.

Dwight realizes that the office is one bathrobe-from-corporate short, and a depressed Michael "solves" the problem by telling Dwight to take Toby's.

Angela and the rest of the office's party planning committee meet to discuss specifics about the day's festivities. Karen attempts to offer several party suggestions, and although they get support from other members, Angela immediately nixes all of her ideas. Karen is then asked to leave by Angela for having stupid ideas and does so after receiving no support from the other committee members.

Stating to the camera that she does not know why she has been so cold with Karen, Pam apologizes for the events that transpired during the party planning meeting and the two decide to organize their own Margarita-Karaoke party. When they present this idea to Angela, she declares them to be invalid and asks Dwight get involved since he "outranks" Karen and Pam. Jim, being "Number #2", creates a "Validation Committee" on the spot (consisting only of himself) and declares Pam and Karen's committee to be valid. While this goes on, Andy decides to take Michael out to help him forget about his troubles; Michael summons his "entourage" Jim, Ryan and Dwight to come along, though Ryan opts out with a long list of excuses he's prepared for such an invitation from Michael.

Pam and Karen begin their party in the breakroom and Angela (after calling Dwight for permission) is quick to start her own in the conference room. After a few tense moments, Stanley stands up and goes to Pam and Karen's party; several other people follow him except for Kevin, Phyllis, and Hannah. Kevin tells the camera that he is mainly convinced to go because he has heard that Angela's party will have double-fudge brownies, and that outweighs the fact that Angela herself will be there. Michael, Andy, Jim, and Dwight arrive at a Benihana restaurant (which Michael refers to as "Asian Hooters"). Andy slides into a seat next to Michael and arranges the seating so Dwight is seated on the opposite end of the table and out of earshot of the conversation of the rest of the entourage. Andy convinces Michael to ask out his Japanese waitress after getting him slightly drunk. So drunk, in fact, that he actually steals meat from the plate of Justin Spitzer, which causes a quick chopstick-swordfight between them. Unable to hear these conversations, Dwight asks Jim to fill him in, but instead Jim tricks him into telling the waitress how to properly butcher a goose, which disgusts both the waitress and the others at the table - while initially attempting to explain himself, Jim finally smiles and admits that it was just the same as all the other pranks he'd pulled on Dwight. Meanwhile, the office is divided into two separate camps as Phyllis, Hannah and Kevin attend Angela's party while the rest of the staff are at Pam and Karen's. Ryan makes the discovery at the party that they do not have a power cord for their karaoke machine, but Darryl offers to get his synthesizer as an alternative. As he passes Phyllis to get the music out of his car, she asks him how they are doing over there and Darryl replies that they are having fun, encouraging Phyllis to join their party in the break room "when your meeting is over". Through Karen and Pam's party, Meredith is seen with a bottle of vodka in her hand, turning down the margaritas because they are "too sweet".

Meanwhile, Angela's party proceeds to get more uncomfortable as Angela makes a dig at Kevin's weight, irritating him enough to drive him to the other party. When Michael, Andy, Jim, and Dwight return with two of the waitresses from Benihana, Michael finds Angela's party to be "lame." Kevin uses this moment to escape. Angela is comforted by Dwight's attendance at her party (even though he went to the other party first) until Karen and Pam come in and inform Dwight that he's won the raffle from their party. Dwight wins walkie-talkies, which he uses later in the episode to communicate with Angela, using their pet names for one another, "monkey" and "possum".

Pam notices how upset Angela is, and she and Karen make an offer to Angela to merge the two parties. Angela agrees and reveals that she stole the power cord for the karaoke machine. As everyone has fun singing, Michael—who is very drunk—confuses his date with Andy's since, as he states, "all waitresses look alike." He goes into the kitchen where both the waitresses are and he discreetly tries to ask aloud where his one was and finally she acknowledges herself and he discreetly marks her arm with a marker.

The two waitresses leave because they say the party "blows", and Michael offers his girl a trip to Sandals Jamaica, where he was going to take Carol. She says no since she has classes, although she does take a bike that Michael had intended to give to the charity toy drive.

A depressed Michael sulks on the couch and Jim comes up and joins him. Jim gets Michael to laugh at the whole situation and lets him realize that what he had with the waitress was nothing more than a rebound. Jim then tells Michael that a rebound is a fun distraction, but when it is over, "you're still thinking about the girl you're really after—the one who broke your heart" (echoing Jim's relationship with Karen after his being rejected by Pam). The two sit in silence as they think.

As the Christmas party ends, Angela sings karaoke, Pam gives Toby her robe from corporate that Dwight had taken, and Jim and Karen give each other the same Christmas gift (a DVD copy of Bridget Jones's: Edge of Reason), seeing which makes Pam sad. Later Pam receives a gift from Roy, which Jim sees. Michael makes a phone call to an unknown person (Who is later revealed to be Jan) to ask her to accompany him to Sandals; to Michael's surprise, the person says yes. Oscar and Gil return from their three-month vacation in Europe. Looking around, Oscar says "Too soon" and leaves.

While Jim is leaving, he decides to go ahead and take Pam up on her "gift" offer from earlier. He tells Pam that Dwight will be summoned by the CIA to meet with them. Pam quickly looks up how much a bus ticket will cost, and when she mentions it will cost $75, Jim tells her that the CIA will be sending a helicopter instead. The next scene shows Dwight on the roof waiting for a helicopter. He then receives a text message reading, "You have been compromised. Abort mission. Destroy phone." Dwight throws his phone off the roof and walks away.

Deleted scenes

  • In a talking head interview, Michael incorrectly quotes "William Randolph Shakespeare".
  • In a talking head interview, Angela angrily strings popcorn and expresses her outrage on behalf of baby Jesus. Baby Jesus wouldn't cancel Christmas because he got dumped or because he's two weeks behind on party planning. "Baby Jesus would suck it up."
  • In a talking head interview, Karen expresses her surprise that Scranton requires an entire committee to plan parties.
  • Angela complains to Toby that "that trollop" is throwing her own party and demands that he put a stop to it. When Toby refuses, Angela slaps him. Toby decides to write up Angela for the infraction, and she sneers back, "Michael was so right about you. You are pathetic."
  • In separate talking head interviews, Creed, Kevin, and Stanley discuss which party they will choose.
  • Angela scolds Phyllis for using the wrong term for her party treats.
  • Angela intimidates Phyllis into coming to her party.
  • At Benihana, Michael calls Carol. He asks her what he did wrong. We cannot hear Carol's response, but it is long and detailed. "All right, well could you tell me something that I did right?" Carol hangs up.
  • Ryan gives Kelly a Christmas gift. She coldly asks, "Do you always get presents for your ex-girlfriend?" Kelly explains that she won't tolerate Ryan's inconsiderate behavior any more, and Ryan accepts her decision. Kelly panics and apologizes tearfully. "You're not mean; you're adorable!" She bought Ryan a present but threw it out when she didn't think he was getting a present from her.
  • Kelly is in the dumpster outside looking for the gift she bought Ryan. Ryan, frustrated, shouts, "Kelly, I am so cold!" Kelly breaks down crying. Ryan tries to break up with her, but Kelly shouts back, "Don't dump me while I'm in the dumpster!"
  • Ryan has joined Kelly in the dumpster, and Kelly begins wondering about the food scraps she finds. Kelly gasps. "I'm scared! Hold me."
  • Angela prevents Phyllis from leaving her party.
  • Michael introduces his date to Stanley.


  • In the episode "The Alliance", Angela said that the color green was whorish. In this episode, she says that green is acceptable, but orange is whorish. In both cases, Angela's choice of whorish color matches Phyllis' outfit.
  • In what some viewers believed to be an inside joke among the writers, the two Asian waitresses at Benihana are not the same two waitresses Michael and Andy bring back to the office. This "gag" was thought to play upon the racial stereotype that Asian people all look the same.
    • According to the blog of the propmaster of the show, the reason for the different actresses was because Andy and Michael failed to pick up the original waitresses, and all they could get were "less attractive ones".[1]
    • This is supported by the visuals; The waitress Cindy talks to clearly has blonde highlights, but neither of the waitresses who accompany Michael and Andy back to the Office have blonde highlights.
    • At Paley Fest 2007, Greg Daniels admitted that the joke failed due to poor casting. The waitresses that come to the office were too attractive.[2]
    • Closed Captioning on the episode contradicts the prettier/uglier waitresses story about switching actresses. As Michael's party date wheels the bicycle out of the party, the CC displays "[Cindy] Merry Christmas." Cindy was the name of the original "pretty" waitress.
  • According to the Diploma on Toby's wall he attended California Coastal College
  • Staff writer Mindy Kaling gave fellow writer Michael Schur a poster for the movie Bridget Jones's Diary 2 which hung in his office for an entire year and which may have served as inspiration for Jim and Karen's DVD exchange.[3]
  • The presence of egg yolks in the dumpster is explained by Ryan as the result of Michael's egg yolk diet (first introduced in a deleted scene from "The Client"). However, in that diet, Michael eats the yolks and discards the whites.
  • The Photoshopped Christmas card prop was sold by NBC at auction as a charity fundraiser. [1]
  • In the talking head interview with Kevin in which he debates whether he wants to tolerate Angela so he can get double-fudge brownies, both Stanley and Karen can be seen at their desks through the window behind him. This is odd, as both Stanley and Karen went to Pam and Karen's party before the talking head interview with Kevin happened.
  • The song Creed sings during karoake was a song he wrote after leaving his old band, the Grass Roots.
  • This is the second time that a group has chanted Darryl's name. (The first time was in "Booze Cruise".)

Cultural references

  • Christmas is a Christian holiday which has become largely secularized. Wrapped gifts are typically exchanged.
  • And circle gets the square is a catch phrase from the game show Hollywood Squares. It is said when the player playing "circle" answers a question correctly.
  • Telling someone to take a chill pill is a somewhat insulting way of telling them to relax because they are overreacting.
  • Michael makes a series of puns on Pam's name based on traditional Christmas foods: Christmas Pam (ham), candied Pams (yams), and Pam (lamb) chops.
  • In a toy drive, people donate toys for underprivileged children.
  • Andy greets Michael with a (ridiculous) exploding version of the "fist bump".
  • Michael sings "Two Tickets to Paradise", by Eddie Money, with altered lyrics.
  • Sandals is a chain of Caribbean resorts which caters to couples.
  • Michael says to Carol, You're such a blonde. People with blonde hair (particularly women) are portrayed in jokes as stupid.
  • The message on the card Ski-sons Greetings is a pun on the traditional message "Seasons Greetings".
  • Photoshop is a computer program used for manipulating digital images. Its use is so prevalent it has become a verb. To "Photoshop" an image is to alter it with the help of Photoshop.
  • The Central Intelligence Agency ([[Wikipedia:CIA|CIA) is a United States government agency dedicated to foreign spying.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (or Rudolph for short) is an animated Christmas television program that has aired annually since 1972.
  • Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that typically falls near mid-December.
  • Dwight acknowledges Michael's instructions by saying Copy, radio jargon meaning that the message was received.
  • The Nutcracker is a Christmas ballet by Tchaikovsky.
  • Michael repeatedly plays a sample from the song Goodbye My Lover, a 2004 song about a break-up.
  • Andy asks, "What's the haps?", extremely casual slang for "What's happening?"
  • Benihana is chain of Japanese restaurants. Hooters is a chain of American restaurants featuring buxom waitresses. In reality, there is no Benihana within convenient lunchtime driving distance of Scranton - despite Michael and Jim eating there in "The Secret" and their catering the festivities of "Casino Night", this applies to Hooters as well.
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a flavor enhancer associated with Asian food.
  • Bros before hos is rude slang which means "Men should prioritize their male friends ahead of their girlfriends." The term "ho" is rude slang for "hooker" (prostitute), applied more generally to women.
  • Got latte? is a pun on "Got milk?" the motto of the milk marketing board campaign to get people to drink more milk. The ads feature people with a film of milk on their upper lip (a "milk mustache").
  • S.O.S. and Mayday are radio distress calls. Man down is a military term indicate that a soldier is injured, lying on the ground. Andy uses it figuratively to indicate that Michael is in distress.
  • The Nog-a-sake is an invented drink, a pun on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
  • Phyllis suggests putting out "salt for the rims." Salted rims are a traditional element of the margarita drink.
  • Nakiri and usuba are Japanese knives. The nakiri is intended for home use; the usuba is more difficult to use and is intended for professionals. (Dwight is wrong to suggest that the chef should use a nakiri.)
  • In family style dining, all dishes are shared. This contrasts with "service à la russe" (common in most American restaurants) wherein each diner orders their own dish and is not obliged to share it.
  • Hello Kitty is a Japanese cartoon character whose image has been used on almost every imaginable product.
  • Michael says, You know how all waitresses look alike, catching himself from saying that all Chinese people look alike, a stereotypical remark.
  • Stevie Wonder is a singer who is blind.
  • Dwight asks Angela, Do you copy?, radio jargon for "Did you receive my message?" (Dwight uses the same jargon earlier in the episode when talking to Michael.) Angela asks, What's your twenty? CB slang for "What is your location?"
  • Jim tells Michael that he just had a rebound. A "rebound relationship" is one formed too quickly after a long-term relationship has broken up. Michael reinterprets the term literally, comparing it to a rebound in the sport of basketball.
  • Domo arigato, Mr. Scott-o is a pun on the chorus of the song "Mr. Roboto." The actual lyrics are "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto."
  • Langley, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., is the location of CIA headquarters.
  • The karaoke song Kevin sings is "You Oughta Know", a popular song from the 90s by musician Alanis Morissette.


Main cast

Supporting cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast


  1. See (copy and paste URL)
  2. Paley Fest: The Office
  3. Kaling, Mindy. Le French Sex Shoppe blog entry.

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