From ‘Breaking Bad’ to ‘Seinfeld’: Painfully awkward TV dinner parties

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Dinner parties have provided a source of tension for TV characters for decades, dating back to the "Leave it to Beaver" episode "Teacher Comes to Dinner." That tradition of stressful dinners on TV is alive and well today, as evidenced by a scene in the "Breaking Bad" episode "Buyout." Jesse Pinkman, bless his heart, tries his hardest to make small talk during a tense dinner with Walt and Skyler, but fails utterly.

"Breaking Bad" has a history of awkward dinner party scenes. The third season episode "Abiquiu" features Gus and Walter sharing a tense meal, while "Bug" shows Gus and Jesse breaking bread, an event that Walter finds out about because he put a tracer on Jesse's car.

If you love an awkward dinner party scene, here are some other great examples from popular TV shows.

"The Office"

"Dinner Party" is unquestionably one of the most awkward episodes in the show's history. Jim and Pam had already turned down the invite nine times, and when they get to Michael's house, they learn that dinner won't be ready for hours. Jan spends most of the night dancing to a song sung about her by her former assistant, and then gets into a nasty verbal argument with Michael that ends with her breaking the TV with Michael's beloved Dundie award.


"Seinfeld" elevated the awkward dinner party to an art form. From the strained George-Peterman dinner in "The Secret Code" to the dinner in "The Cheever Letters" where Susan tells her parents that their cabin burned down, the entire show was peppered with awkward encounters over a shared meal. Funny enough, the episode called "The Dinner Party" features almost no time at the eponymous party.


The second season episode "The Raw & The Cooked" features one of the most off-the-rails dinners in the show's history. Hank and Karen try to host a dinner party, but a screwed-up proposal, a Satan-worshipping Becca, drug use by the guests, and an allergic reaction to sushi ruin the event. Oh yeah, and Juliane announces that he's not the father of Sonya's baby.

"Doctor Who"

A last meal is a common rite in most cultures, but the condemned almost never has to have that meal with their executioner. And yet, that's exactly the predicament The Doctor finds himself in when he agrees to take the villianous Slitheen Margaret out to dinner before returning her to her home planet for execution. The whole dinner is fairly tense with Margaret alternately trying to kill and reason with her captor.

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