"Welcome Party" is the twentieth episode of the eighth season of the American television comedy series The Office and the show's 172nd overall. It was written by Steve Hely and directed by Ed Helms. It originally aired on NBC April 12, 2012. It was viewed by 4.39 million people.
Nellie makes a bad impression upon the Scranton branch when she arrives late for work. Robert California forces the office to throw a welcome party for her, and the Party Planning Committee are not pleased. Jim and Dwight are sent to Nellie's apartment to help her move in. When Dwight calls himself a magician for his superior box-arranging skills, Nellie quickly expresses her disdain for stage magicians. Pam calls Jim, explaining that the Party Planning Committee is planning a terrible party as a prank. Jim suggests hiring a magician for the party.
Jim and Dwight find a shoe box with a note to Nellie from herself saying not to open it. Inside, they find photos of her with another man and infer that he is an ex-boyfriend. When Nellie finds them with the photos, she says that she lost everything when he broke up with her after ten years together. One of the photos shows him as a stage magician, which became the root of her distaste of magicians. Jim calls Pam back telling her to reconsider some of the party ideas, but the others refuse and continue to plan an intentionally bad party.
Just before Nellie returns to the office, Pam suggests that they use a code name for the object of their hatred, and Ryan suggests using the code name "Pam", which the others enthusiastically adopt. When Nellie arrives, everyone talks about how much they dislike "Pam". The magician arrives, much to Nellie's dismay. Jim, Dwight, and Pam, out of solidarity with Nellie, sabotage the magician's tricks until he reaches breaking point and Dwight kicks him out. Nellie and Robert commend the employees for throwing a good party, but Kevin complains that the carrot cake has actual vegetables in it, which Pam made as a prank. When Jim and Pam leave for the day, Pam asks Hank why he let the magician into the elevator when he was asked not to. Hank, busy reading a magazine, claims not to have noticed him, suggesting that as a magician he could have slipped by.
Meanwhile, Andy and Erin decide not to get together officially until he breaks up with Jessica. On their way back to Scranton, they stop at Jessica's family's log cabin, where they encounter a bunch of Jessica's friends and family having a bachelorette party and drinking. Andy and Erin decide to leave, but Jessica returns from her morning run. After staying a while, Andy asks Jessica into the kitchen where she deduces that he is breaking up with her. Erin is surprised however when Jessica says that Andy told her he didn't think Erin was relationship material. Andy doesn't deny saying that, instead opting to claim that he's gay and leaves awkwardly with Erin. In the car, Andy says he made those comments about Erin because he was with Jessica at the time. Erin is visibly disheartened and decides to get some sleep. Andy decides to head back to the cabin to tell Jessica and her party that he broke up with her because he wanted to be with Erin and that she is relationship material, while Erin overhears. Jessica and her party chase Andy and Erin back to the car. Erin passionately kisses Andy inside the car while the party throws cake at them, prompting a quick getaway.
Connections to previous episodes
- Andy tries to make breaking up with Jessica easier by saying he's gay. He wondered if he was really gay in "Gossip".
- Andy and Erin are wearing Savannah, Georgia t-shirts. In "Murder", the game was set in Savannah and Andy asked Erin on a date.
- Dwight joins in the hatred of "Pam", unaware of its use as a code word. He just dislikes Pam. (Or, he inferred that "Pam" was a code word, like Jim did.)
Behind the scenes
- The guitar used in the episode is Creed Bratton's personal guitar, a limited edition replica of Robert Johnson's 1926 Gibson L-1.
- Pam listens to the song Fancy by musician Drake and guest artist Swizz Beatz.
- Nellie says, "The natives are getting restless," an idiom meaning that the local population is becoming unhappy. The phrase is is considered offensive by some.
- Dwight mocks Jim's skill at Tetris, a video game in which one arranges blocks of varying shapes. The game became wildly popular, and its name became a shorthand for any activity involving packing irregularly-sized items.
- Dwight says he should have a "Tweeter" account, messing up the name of the popular microblogging service Twitter.
- The Eiffel Tower is a famous landmark in Paris, France.
- Nellie's shoe box is from the British shoe company Clarks, reflecting Nellie's homeland.
- Andy said he imagined being in a steam room with John Stamos while making love to Jessica.
- Erin says she got tired by seeing a turkey. A common assertion is that heavy consumption of turkey meat results in drowsiness, due to high levels of tryptophan contained in turkey. It's interesting Erin became sleepy without eating any of the turkey.
- 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
- Catherine Tate as Nellie Bertram
- Leslie David Baker as Stanley Hudson
- Brian Baumgartner as Kevin Malone
- Creed Bratton as Creed Bratton
- Kate Flannery as Meredith Palmer
- Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor
- Ellie Kemper as Erin Hannon
- Angela Kinsey as Angela Martin
- Oscar Nunez as Oscar Martinez
- Craig Robinson as Darryl Philbin
- Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Vance
- Zach Woods as Gabe Lewis
- Brett Gelman as The Magician
- Dana Powell as Megan
- Sue Redman as Lauren
- Zabeth Russell as Bachelorette Party Guest
- Greg Worswick as Kenny
|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|