By Lauren Huff
June 06, 2020 at 09:30 AM EDT

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It's heralded as one of the best episodes of The Office now, but director Paul Feig says that when season 4's "Dinner Party" first aired, it was not very well liked by many viewers.

"When this episode first aired, it was universally hated," he told PeopleTV's Lola Ogunnaike during a recent episode of Couch Surfing. In "Dinner Party," Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and his girlfriend Jan (Melora Hardin) throw the world's most awkward dinner party for Jim (John Krasinski), Pam (Jenna Fischer), Andy (Ed Helms), Angela (Angela Kinsey), and party crashers Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Melvina (Beth Grant), his former babysitter and girlfriend.

"Just this vitriol came up. We made people so cringey-feeling that they just couldn't take it," Feig recalled. However, he believes fans eventually came around.

"What's happened now is, once you've seen it once and you know what's coming, then you can really enjoy it," he said, likening it to what happened with his short-lived series Freaks and Geeks, which he says, "made [people] too uncomfortable watching it at the time."

The cast and crew of The Office had the last laugh, though. The episode received wide critical acclaim, and was nominated for an Emmy for its writing. Feig also won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series for the episode.

For more with Feig, check out the video above.

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