Diwali, It's a Festival of Lights: When Michael Scott and The Office Celebrated 'Indian Halloween'
The Office's Diwali episode is remarkably on point, all the more surprising because it aired way back in 2006, when most Americans were pretty ignorant of Indian culture.
(Image: Amazon Prime Video)
It's an Indian Halloween." On the eve of a Diwali party, that's how Michael Scott explains the Hindu festival to his co-workers as well as his hapless date, who ends up arriving (in the midst of decorous sherwani and sari-clad uncles and aunties, no less) in a sexy cheerleader costume. Though that ignorance is typical of The Office's bumbling manager, so fantastically played by Steve Carell, this time it's not his fault entirely, having being misinformed of the festival's meaning by the vacuous Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling), who's as ignorant of Hinduism as many Hindutva bhakts.
In any case, sexy cheerleader outfits aside, The Office's Diwali episode is remarkably on point, all the more surprising because it aired way back in 2006, when most Americans were pretty ignorant of Indian culture. And that's something that was noted in the episode itself, which struck a fine balance between American confusion and
Indian sensibilities and the enormous scope for misunderstandings. From Michael's many faux-pas to Kelly's parents asking her to marry a nice Indian doctor, from the all-vegetarian menu which included 'aloo gobi' and 'shahi paneer' to the Bollywood songs playing in the background, it was quite realistic and hilariously absurd - as India is often wont to be.
And in a nice touch, the episode ended with Michael performing a Diwali ditty, which set the festival's actual meaning straight. Mostly.
Interestingly, while the episode that aired was sensitively done, and a real credit to acceptance and unity and diversity and yada yada, one should really check out the deleted scenes from the episode, which are waaaaay more racist, and as a result hysterically funny. Enjoy:
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