"Pool Party" is the twelfth episode of the eighth season of the American television comedy series The Office and is the show's 164th overall. It was directed by Charles McDougall and written by Owen Ellickson. It originally aired January 19, 2012 on NBC. It was viewed by 6.02 million people.
During Pam's absence, Jim decides to focus on Stanley as his main audience to entertain with his pranks on Dwight. After a few trial and error (e.g., replacing Dwight's desk with Lego or replacing Dwight himself with a dog dressed as him), the only kind of pranks that will make Stanley laugh are ones that involve meatballs. As Stanley bids Phyllis farewell after work, he parts ways with her and enters Dwight's car with Dwight already in the driver's seat. It is revealed that Dwight and Stanley had formed an alliance to trick Jim into buying meatballs for pranks, allowing them to collect said meatballs without having to buy it themselves.
After Robert California decides to sell his mansion following his divorce, Kevin suggests that he have an office pool party. At the pool party, Andy brings along his girlfriend Jessica. Andy also brings an engagement ring his Jessica-approving mother gave him, hoping to propose. The ring goes missing from Andy's pants and he is horrified at first that he cannot find it. Kelly and Phyllis later find the ring and decide, based on the superstition of finding a lost ring, that it is evil and must be destroyed. Erin, after learning that Andy "stalked" her home following the Christmas party, decides to make Andy jealous by flirting with Dwight.
Initially, Dwight refuses, but after realizing that Erin chose him because he was the "manliest man in the office," he agrees to help her. The two flirt outrageously whenever Andy is close by, but Andy doesn't notice. In a last-ditch effort, Erin and Dwight challenge Andy and Jessica to a game of Chicken Wars. Dwight and Erin make it their mission to not go undefeated, however, Dwight passes out in the water, ending the game. When Dwight falsely tells Andy he wants to pursue a romance with Erin and avoid an "Angela-type situation" between them, he asks Andy for his consent. Andy then agrees but looks somber and asks if Dwight can take things slowly, leading Dwight to read his emotions and sincerely tell him "You're an idiot". Erin later swims up to Andy with the lost ring—it was set in the pool with a tiny pyre by Kelly—and he admits he's not sure what he's thinking, with Erin being very happy and saying she can live with him being confused.
Meanwhile, Robert gives everyone a tour of his massive home. Robert spends most of the time opining about the parties he never had. He offers everyone a free bottle of wine from his wine cellar and the staff proceeds to get drunk. During these escapades, Jim attempts to find an excuse to leave the party and return to his wife and kids. However, Robert insists that Jim continue along with the tour, seeming to enjoy Jim's unease after Jim made a pointed jibe about Robert's house complaints. Finally, Robert realizes that he is hosting one of the parties he never had, at which point he jumps into the pool completely naked, followed by Gabe and Ryan, who have each been battling to impress him. Jim takes this as his cue to leave, sneaking away before anyone notices he's missing. At night's end, Gabe and Ryan are drunkenly hanging out with Robert, refusing to leave his house and concede the end of their brown-nosing battle, even as the CEO passes out.
- Robert California mentions his dreams for his house were "hot on the trail of Eyes Wide Shut", a movie filled with sex and includes an orgy.
- The songs "Big White Elephant" and "Model Homes" by the band In-Flight Safety were featured during scenes at the party.
- The song "Can't Complain" by Bomb the Music Industry! appeared around the 14-minute mark.
- Many of the references are a result of Robert California bemoaning his position in life. He mentions early on in the episode that, "The 1% are hurting too", a reference to the slogan of the Occupy movement.
- During the tour of his home theater, California explains that he had it created to watch Caligula (a pornographic drama), Last Tango in Paris (strong sexual content), and Emmanuelle 2 (a softcore erotic film), but that the last two movies he watched in there were Marley & Me (a cheerful family movie) and On Golden Pond (a drama).
- When Val asks whether Darryl can swim, Kevin replies, "That's racist." It is a stereotype that black people cannot swim. In the first part of the 20th century, Blacks were systematically denied access to public swimming pools. After desegregation, many whites fled to whites-only private clubs, leaving the public swimming pools in disrepair. In the United States to this day, swimming remains a sport limited to the relatively wealthy.
Connections to previous episodes
- Jim puts Dwight's stapler in a meatball. He does the same thing with the stapler, but in Jell-O in Pilot.
- Andy says he hasn't proposed to anyone in a few years. The last time he proposed was to Angela in Goodbye, Toby.
- Cathy, seeking a partner for chicken fighting, asks, "Where's Jim?" This continues to establish her crush on Jim.
- Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute
- John Krasinski as Jim Halpert
- Jenna Fischer as Pam Halpert
- B.J. Novak as Ryan Howard
- Ed Helms as Andy Bernard
- James Spader as Robert California
- Leslie David Baker as Stanley Hudson
- Brian Baumgartner as Kevin Malone
- Creed Bratton (actor) as Creed Bratton
- Kate Flannery as Meredith Palmer
- Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor
- Ellie Kemper as Erin Hannon
- Angela Kinsey as Angela Martin-Lipton
- Paul Lieberstein as Toby Flenderson
- Oscar Nunez as Oscar Martinez
- Craig Robinson as Darryl Philbin
- Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Vance
- Zach Woods as Gabe Lewis
- Rohrer, Finlo. "Why don't black Americans swim?, BBC News, September 3, 2010.
|Season 7||The Office - Season 8||Season 9|
|#01||The List||#07||Pam's Replacement||#13||Jury Duty||#19||Get the Girl|
|#02||The Incentive||#08||Gettysburg||#14||Special Project||#20||Welcome Party|
|#03||Lotto||#09||Mrs. California||#15||Tallahassee||#21||Angry Andy|
|#04||Garden Party||#10||Christmas Wishes||#16||After Hours||#22||Fundraiser|
|#05||Spooked||#11||Trivia||#17||Test the Store||#23||Turf War|
|#06||Doomsday||#12||Pool Party||#18||Last Day in Florida||#24||Free Family Portrait Studio|