OfficemelorahardincropA show that did not disappoint on its post-strike return last week was NBC’s "The Office" with seg "The Dinner Party."

Special commendation is owed to Melora Hardin, who is turning beyond-bizarro Jan into the show’s most explosively funny character. Considering that she’s playing opposite Steve Carell’s Michael Scott, that’s saying something.

Plot of this episode was particularly funny because it is something we’ve all endured — an evening with a couple who are obviously not getting along. Of course, Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrute took the laughs up a notch by crashing Michael and Jan’s dinner party with his one-time babysitter ("Strictly carnal," he assures them) and his own food and wine in tow. I didn’t catch the actress’ name but she gave a great deadpan perf. Thank goodness ABC’s "Lost" is moving from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. hour when it returns April 24 — no tough choices on whether to check in first with the "Office" or the island….

Speaking of "Lost," ABC this ayem put out the good word — strike be damned, "Lost" is getting a two-hourLostcusesolo  finale after all on May 29. (And yes, confirmed with ABC that it is two original hours, not a recap Lostlindelofsolo_2 show leading into a finale.) That translates to six post-strike segs instead of the five that Darlton previously forecast. (Only downside: "Lost" will be preempted on May 22 to make room for a two-hour "Grey’s Anatomy" finale that night.)

I hope to pry a few details about the next run of "Lost" adventures out of exec producers Damon Lindelof (pictured left) and Carlton Cuse (pictured right) Tuesday morning when I have the pleasure of moderating a Q&A with them as part of  this week’s National Assn. of Broadcasters confab in Las Vegas.

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