Remembering DunderMifflin’s The Office Cinco de Mayo Party

If you watched The Office (still available in syndication or for purchase on Amazon) some time ago, you should remember an episode where Michael threw a Cinco de Mayo-like party. This was in season 3. So while watching such scenes is a great way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, what episode of The Office was this?

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no Cinco de Mayo episode of The Office. Though DunderMifflin staff had their fair share of parties, there wasn’t a specific one for the May 5th holiday. Most confuse boss Michael Scott’s Mexican-themed party for Oscar as a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Below I’ll address this episode more, plus some other information about Cinco de Mayo, as well as some random TV shows’ attempts to honor the Mexican-American holiday commonly known for margaritas, tacos, and piñatas in May.

Maybe this can spark your own creative ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in your office!


What is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican American holiday to celebrate Mexico’s fight against the French in 1862, solidifying their freedom.

‘Cinco de Mayo’, literally Spanish for ‘5th of May’, is a Mexican holiday that’s celebrated every year on May 5th, a day after Star Wars day (‘May the 4th be with You’). It is to commemorate Mexico’s unexpected victory over France in the Franco-Mexican War of 1862.

Contrary to what most people think, Cinco de Mayo isn’t a commemoration of Mexico’s Independence Day. Mexico celebrates her Independence Day on September 16th, months after Cinco de Mayo.

While Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, it’s celebrated more in America than in Mexico. While millions of people celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States, only 10% of Americans know the origin and significance of this holiday.

Due to the widespread popularity of Cinco de Mayo around the world, it has slowly crept into movies, TV, books, and songs.

Since this is the case, it’s no surprise, that most people think Cinco de Mayo once appeared in an episode of The Office, a very popular American tv show (off the original British version, also spawning a popular German Office show).

However, many Office fans will be surprised to learn there actually is no Cinco de Mayo episode of The Office!

Which Episode of The Office is Cinco de Mayo?

‘The Return’ Office episode first aired in season 3 Jan 18, 2007.

There is no Cinco de Mayo episode in the entirety of the US version of The Office. If you thought you saw an episode where the employees celebrated Cinco de Mayo, you’re probably referring to the 14th episode of the third season: The Return, an episode featuring stereotypical Mexican items.

In The Return, accountant Oscar returns to the Office after his leave of absence due to a sexual harassment issue with boss Michael. To celebrate his return from ‘vacation’, Michael threw a Mexican-themed party with firecrackers, a donkey, and a Chihuahua.

Since this party shares some similarities to Cinco de Mayo, many attribute it as a Cinco de Mayo episode. However, it wasn’t stated anywhere that it was Cinco de Mayo.

The fact that The Return (of The Office) was broadcasted for the first time on January 18th is enough justification that the writers didn’t intend it to be a Cinco de Mayo show.

Regardless, this episode makes one of the most awkwardly hilarious and interesting of the entire series and is worth another watch. With Jim recruiting Pam to play a prank on Andy by hiding his cell phone and Andy getting sent to the anger management program, it is undoubtedly an Office classic!

Random Cinco de Mayo Episodes on some TV Programs

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s ‘Halloween Heist on Cinco de Mayo’ Episode
Brooklyn Nine-Nine aired its first episode in 2013 and its Cinco de Mayo show was in season 6.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an NBC comedy starring Terry Crews and Adam Sandberg, set in a Brooklyn police department. It aired a Cinco de Mayo episode in its sixth season but it curiously wasn’t about Cinco de Mayo.

Rather the episode titled Cinco de Mayo was really a Halloween episode. Apparently, the police personnel (characters) on the show wanted to distract Crews’ character from the stress of his upcoming lieutenant exam by having a ‘Halloween Heist’, his favorite activity it seems.

Yeah, it doesn’t make sense at all, but fans of the show are used to that!

  • Food Network’s The Kitchen ‘Cinco de Mayo with Bobby Flay’ episode

One of Food Network’s many nods over the years to Cinco de Mayo was when (in)famous chef, Bobby Flay’s guest appeared on The Kitchen (season 2, episode 3). This particular show featured a churro bar, authentic tacos, fiery shrimp, flaming lime shots, as well as some friendly competition between guest Flay and regular chef, Geoffrey Zakarian (neither of whom are Mexican, by the way).

  • Sesame Street: Cinco de Mayo
Sesame Street aired a show in 2010 honoring Cinco de Mayo with kids dancing at a Mexican festival.

Sesame Street (still available at Amazon and on certain cable channels) first aired in 1969 as a part of PBS (Public Broadcasting Service). It became a favorite for teachers and parents alike due to its quality programming but more importantly it was/is entertaining for kids.

It shared a Cinco de Mayo episode in 2010, as one of its many shows on holidays and culture.

  • The Ellen Show’sCinco de Oh My!
For 2012’s Cinco de Mayo, comedian Ellen DeGeneres hired a Mariachi band to play (scare) for some unassuming people. Apparently, “Nothing says Cinco de Mayo like hiding in a bathroom stall with a maraca“.

In 2012, on May 5th, comedian Ellen DeGeneres shared an episode featuring a Mariachi Band hiding in obscure places to ‘scare’ passersby.

From hiding in elevators to popping out behind parked cars or in restroom stalls, unassuming people were surprised with Mexican music as a tribute to this holiday.

  • The Shield’s Cinco de Mayo Episode in Season One Pilot, Airing 2002
The Shield was a critic and fan favorite show featuring a gang squad of LA police detectives, airing for seven seasons.

In the pilot episode of this show featuring ‘bad cops’, main character/bad cop, Vic Mackey, tells his supervisor he doesn’t answer to him, ‘not today, not tomorrow, not even on Cinco de Mayo.’

Other holiday articles you might like:

Why Is Cinco de Mayo So Popular in the US?

Since this holiday isn’t a public holiday in the US, it’s easy to conclude that Americans only celebrate it because it’s just another reason to party. However, this is far from being the case!

If you’ve toured the US well enough, you should know how prevalent Mexicans are in the United States. All of those Mexicans haven’t forgotten their origins, and they’ll celebrate the achievements of their country whenever they see fit.

Cinco de Mayo is an important celebration that acknowledges the efforts of Mexico’s founding fathers and celebrating it is one way to acknowledge Mexico’s connection to US history.

If you have Mexican friends or coworkers, you should never miss Cinco de Mayo. If you want tips on how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5th, the next section will help you out.

How to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Your Office

Cinco de Mayo isn’t a public holiday in the United States. For this reason, you’re most likely to be at work, most probably in an office during Cinco de Mayo. If you have some real-life “The Office” characters in your office, you should celebrate the holiday.

Since it may be hard to come up with ideas for a holiday celebration, especially at work, here are some tips to help you celebrate Cinco de Mayo at your office.

  1. Foods and drinks.

The classic way to celebrate this holiday is through classic Mexican foods and drinks. Many pubs across the world serve Mexican food and drinks during Cinco de Mayo, and you may bring that luxury to your office too.

You can use some Googling here; find some light Mexican snacks and drinks that you can have while working. Tortillas and tacos will work great here, but it will be a good idea to skip tequila, unless getting somewhat tipsy helps in your job.

  1. Stage a Mexican Quiz

While Americans are on the verge of snatching this holiday, there’s no doubt it belongs to native Mexicans. An excellent way to maintain the Mexican atmosphere is starting a quiz about Mexico and things related to the country.

How well do your colleagues know about the country, their people, their food, and their achievements. Since only 10% of Americans know about the origins of Cinco de Mayo, you’ll find a good deal of people who’ll struggle to answer a question about the holiday.

  1. Decorate the office

There’s nothing that gives the Cinco de Mayo feel better than an aptly-themed office. For the full excitement of the holiday, you should consider decorating your office to create a peculiar Mexican theme.

It gets even more exciting if it’s a competition. Start a challenge to see who can create the best Mexican-themed design for their desks. With an array of different design patterns, your office will soon be looking celebratorily Mexican, creating the perfect atmosphere for Cinco de Mayo.

  1. Visit a Mexican restaurant

While this isn’t technically in the office, it’s still an enjoyable way to celebrate the holiday with your work colleagues after work. If you spent the whole day answering quiz questions about Mexico, a night at a restaurant will definitely help you chill out.

There are many Mexican restaurants across the United States and most of them organize specials during Cinco de Mayo. If you went to a restaurant with all your colleagues, you’ll get good deals on the food, all thank to Mexico’s ancient war victory over France.

Wrapping Up The Office Cinco de Mayo Party

So to wrap it up, there is not an Office episode for Cinco de Mayo specifically. However, many confuse the episode where boss Michael throws a party for returning accountant, Oscar, a Mexican-American.

The confusion stems from Michael’s incorporation of stereotypical Mexican party favors such as firecrackers and a donkey!

Regardless, The Office episode titled ‘the Return’ is worth watching over and over for the hilarious and awkward portrayal of its characters! And there’s certainly nothing to stop you from sipping a Margarita and eating tacos while doing it either!

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