May 30, 2023
This week we’re breaking down “Garden Party” and the ladies are joined by multi-platinum singer, songwriter, actor Josh Groban who played Andy’s brother, Walter Jr. Josh talks about how fun it was to be on the set of “The Office” and a connection he now shares with Andy. Angela uncovers more Big Pregs Little Pregs moments and Jenna shows how this episode is up there with “Scott’s Tots” in terms of cringy. So give Mose your car and enjoy this “Garden Party”!
Check out Josh Groban in Broadway’s “Sweeney Todd”: https://sweeneytoddbroadway.com/
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167 — Garden Party with Josh Groban
Jenna [00:00:03] I’m Jenna Fischer.
Angela [00:00:04] And I’m Angela Kinsey.
Jenna [00:00:06] We were on The Office together.
Angela [00:00:07] And we’re best friends.
Jenna [00:00:08] And now we’re doing the ultimate Office rewatch podcast just for you.
Angela [00:00:12] Each week, we will break down an episode of The Office and give exclusive behind the scenes stories that only two people who were there can tell you.
Jenna [00:00:19] We’re the office ladies. Hello, Angela.
Angela [00:00:26] Hi there.
Jenna [00:00:27] Hi, everyone.
Angela [00:00:28] Hello, hello.
Jenna [00:00:30] Is everybody ready for a garden party?
Angela [00:00:33] Well, I am wearing my Connecticut casual outfit, so.
Jenna [00:00:37] Good, good. This is season eight, episode four, written by Justin Spitzer and directed by Dave Rodgers. Here is your summary: Andy throws a dignified garden party at Schrute Farms under the guise of impressing Robert California. But it soon becomes clear that he is really trying to impress his parents, who clearly favor his younger brother, Walter Jr. Meanwhile, Pam and Angela discover they have chosen the same name for their unborn sons. And Jim plays a very elaborate prank on Dwight.
Angela [00:01:10] Very elaborate. We’ll get into it. But I was like, Seriously, Jim?
Jenna [00:01:15] I have so many things to say about it and so much mail to read.
Angela [00:01:19] I was going to say, I hope there was a fan mail flurry.
Jenna [00:01:22] There certainly was. Well, listen, to kick things off for this episode, we have an interview with the one, the only Walter Junior, Josh Groban.
Angela [00:01:33] What a wonderful person. We had the best time talking to him. We can’t wait for you to hear this interview.
Jenna [00:01:39] I was on a high all day after we did our interview.
Angela [00:01:42] Smiling all day.
Jenna [00:01:44] Now, listen. Josh Groban, Grammy nominated singer songwriter. In 2003, he won two Billboard music awards for Classical Crossover Artist of the Year and Classical Crossover Album of the Year for Closer. His first four solo albums all went multi-platinum, and in 2007, he was the number one best selling artist in the United States. And as of 2022, he has sold over 25 million records worldwide.
Angela [00:02:14] Wow.
Jenna [00:02:15] I mean, seriously. In 2007, he starred in Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a leading role in a musical. And he is now currently starring in Sweeney Todd on Broadway. It has been nominated for eight Tony Awards, including Best Actor in a Musical for Josh Groban. It is running right now through January 2024. I’m going to get to see this in just a few weeks. I cannot wait.
Angela [00:02:46] I know. I wish I was with you. I’m so bummed. You’re going to have to tell us all about it.
Jenna [00:02:51] I absolutely will. Well, I guess without further ado, here is our interview with Josh Groban.
Angela [00:03:00] Oh, my gosh! Josh! Hello!
Jenna [00:03:03] Josh, this is so exciting!
Josh Groban [00:03:05] Angela and Jenna, I’m so excited to be with you. It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen either of you. Angela and I did a kind of a web thing, a really funny comedy thing.
Angela [00:03:14] A web series.
Josh Groban [00:03:15] A web series. Not too long after we filmed our episode. But it’s been a really, really long time. And Jenna, thank you so much for for reaching out and for for asking me to to be part of this.
Jenna [00:03:26] Yes. I slid into your DMS on Instagram and I was so happy you got back to me. And I mean, I blew up Angela’s phone. I was like, He wrote back! He wrote back!
Angela [00:03:37] She did.
Jenna [00:03:37] He said, yes! He said, yes!
Josh Groban [00:03:40] I saw it. I was so thrilled. And that was very similar to how I wound up being on The Office in general. It was a DM slide.
Angela [00:03:46] Okay! We wanted to ask you about this. You have to share with everyone. We always ask everyone, How did you get your part on The Office? So you have to tell the story.
Josh Groban [00:03:55] Well, I mean, I can imagine that I was very similar to many people who were asked to be on the show and that we were all just enormous fans of the show. And so to get to get a request to say, hey, this might be a fun thing for you to do, was just like finding the golden ticket. It was an amazing thing. So Mindy Kaling did did the DM slide on the old Twitter. Remember Twitter?
Jenna [00:04:16] Yep.
Angela [00:04:17] Oh, yeah.
Josh Groban [00:04:18] Those were the days. And so Mindy sent me a message saying, Hey, we’re writing an episode and we think there might be a role that would be really fun for you. Are you in the L.A. area during this date? And I was on tour at that time. I was actually doing a really, really big tour at that time. And so I really didn’t think when she mentioned it that I would have any time at all and it was going to absolutely crush my my soul to not be able to do it. But it landed right when I was playing L.A. And so during my time off between shows, I was able to take a little road trip up to Schrute Farms. And and it was the best recharge I could have possibly imagined. It was so fun. It was. I mean, I talk about it even to this day. It was really one of the one of my most favorite days, you know, that I’ve ever had in the business or out of the business. It was just the best.
Jenna [00:05:14] Oh, my gosh. So what made it so fun? What did you love about it?
Josh Groban [00:05:18] Well, I mean, having done now some TV since then, I can tell you that shooting, like at a lovely outdoor estate, is a delight. Like to not be to not be in a soundstage, to not have to spend 15 hours in a little, you know, box of a room where you’re not seeing daylight, and to be able to shoot A, on a on a beautiful kind of setting, but then also, again, as a fan of the show, too, sometimes when you make a guest appearance on a show, you’re doing it with one person or two two people from the show and you’re part of like a little arc that doesn’t involve other people in the cast. And so to be part of a everybody together doing a party scene meant that as a fanboy of the show, I got to sit and just be around like the entire cast for the entirety of the day. And so it was just, you know, I felt like I’d, I felt like I had kind of like won an auction or something that like, you know, come, come hang at Schrute Farms with the cast of The Office. It was the best. And of course, because you’re sitting around a lot during shooting of something, there’s just a lot of time to just get to know everybody and get to know the writers and and the wonderful crew and and just chat with everybody. And it was just such a dream.
Angela [00:06:38] I loved location episodes just for that reason, too. There was a lot of hanging out. I have a picture of us just all casually on the porch at Schrute Farms. And we’re just chatting and we were all so charmed by you, Josh. We were so excited. And I know I was trying to play it cool. I’m sure Jenna, too, because we’re two of the biggest dorks ever. But you were instantly, you were instantly Andy’s brother. It was crazy. It was so perfect.
Josh Groban [00:07:05] I loved that they wrote, you know, sometimes I play, like, myself.
Jenna [00:07:10] Yeah, like Parks and Rec. You played yourself.
Josh Groban [00:07:12] Like in Parks and Rec I played myself. On Glee I played myself. And I’m just one of those, like, because my music side is, like, so serious. Like, whenever somebody wants me to play a bizarro version of, of me, it just like, lets me kind of let that other side play around a little bit. And so I say yes to playing myself weirdly. Sometimes. This was an opportunity. Like this was really, really fun to, you know, to play Andy’s brother and when Mindy, Mindy and B.J. kind of laid out for me, you know what the story is, the jealousy, the sibling rivalry and the jealousy and and why you know, I got to be Walter Junior, and they passed over, you know um Ed?
Angela [00:07:51] Yeah, the namesake.
Josh Groban [00:07:52] Yeah, exactly. It just every bit of it was so funny to me. My brother and I have the same birthday four years apart. So we have had we we had our own little sibling like we’ve never had any rivalry. But he’s now like my best friend and he’s like the best. But like, when you get like, when you have to share a birthday, you know, there’s that, there’s that weird sibling tension when it’s like four and eight, you know? And.
Jenna [00:08:19] Yeah, how do you do that party for both a four year old and an eight year old?
Josh Groban [00:08:23] We discovered very early on that all you know, because parties are organized by the parents at that age, the kids, we’re not, we’re not in charge of presents, that we’re just kids. So we realized very early on that the parents, if they knew that it was also Big Brother Josh’s birthday, they would bring a little extra present. You know, we got we got to bring an extra present because that’s awesome. So we had we we figured out early on that same birthday meant double the presents. And so so we I mean we had a little little deal.
Angela [00:08:54] You made it work. You made it work.
Josh Groban [00:08:56] We made it work. Yes, we made it work.
Angela [00:08:58] One of the things I loved in rewatching this episode was that Andy’s brother seems like he genuinely just loves Andy. He’s this bro nard, and he was so excited to meet Tuna.
Josh Groban [00:09:09] Yes. Exactly.
Angela [00:09:11] Like he clearly looks up to his brother, and I thought that was really nice. Like, whatever Andy’s feeling, I don’t, I didn’t feel like his brother was trying to stir the pot, you know?
Josh Groban [00:09:20] Totally. I think that a lot of it is, you know, is is within Andy. There’s there’s a lot of there’s a lot of stuff that Andy’s kind of like, you know, needs therapy about. But it’s it’s and that’s that can happen. Maybe at some point there was a little bit of that rub. But I think that now it’s like everybody’s grown up and I think that truly I felt one of the things I loved about Walter Jr is that like he’s like this super talented golden retriever that just, like, doesn’t know. He’s like, Oh, yeah, sure, I’ll go fetch that acoustic guitar and, you know, sing this, sing this beautiful, angelic song for all of you. And Andy it’s just eating him up inside, you know? And I think that that kind of lack of awareness was one of the things that really made that dynamic really adorable and really fun. And, you know, I think I think the parents knew better a little bit, but I don’t think Walter Jr knew better. I think Walter Jr’s just just, you know, living his dream. And it’s like there’s always those people up there that just have that little extra serotonin that you’re just like, How- that must be nice. But how do you. How do you, God, if I could live in that brain for just one day, you know, that would be really, really fun. And I think that, you know, Walter Jr is one of those people where it’s just like he keeps falling up.
Angela [00:10:32] Yeah.
Josh Groban [00:10:33] And Andy’s just had to be kind of next to that, you know, at all times. And a side note to that, which is really funny because now I’m doing Sweeney Todd is that, you know, one of my other very favorite episodes of The Office is the Sweeney Todd episode. And it’s one that we all kind of quote and and love very much backstage at our Sweeney Todd is that of course Andy, you know, is in Sweeney Todd and is Antony in Sweeney Todd.
Jenna [00:10:54] And now you’re in Sweeney Todd. But you’re the lead.
Angela [00:10:58] And you’re on Broadway.
Jenna [00:11:00] Yes. So, you have bested him again.
Josh Groban [00:11:03] I have bested him yet again. And that is the universe being so weird and so wonderful. And so yes. Yeah, it’s it’s great. But and I’m I’m hoping at some point Ed and I can really kind of sit down and have a proper talk and hug it out.
Jenna [00:11:19] That would be awesome. When you were on set, Josh, did you ever break in a scene?
Josh Groban [00:11:23] Oh, yeah, all the time. Oh, yeah, absolutely. I guess one of my questions for you, because I was only I did two episodes and spent a day doing each episode, but I kind of wanted to ask you guys as well, you know, was was there always room for improv on your days? Because because the scripts were brilliant. Each one, every time I read it, it was so conversational and it felt so natural. And there were oftentimes things that were written that if I hadn’t known it was written, I would think, Oh, that must have been an improvised line. And that’s just that’s just how wonderful it was. But there was such wonderful improv happening at Schrute Farms. Everybody was just kind of pitching things and, and even off camera, just so everybody’s just so funny. Kate Flannery was always finding new ways to like, get me, you know? And, and with, like, the idea of, like, pulling my vocal cords out of my throat, you know, that kind of thing. And so, yeah, I mean, was that always encouraged or was that something that kind of developed over time or, or was that just the writing made it seem that way at all times?
Jenna [00:12:28] It was sort of all of those things. I mean, it did always start with an amazing script, but it was always a living, breathing thing. So the writers of that episode and the producers would come down and they were always pitching alternate lines.
Josh Groban [00:12:44] Pitching. Yeah.
Jenna [00:12:45] And they would throw them out to the actors, or the actors might have an idea in the moment. And it was always allowed. You know, as long as we had gotten it in a scripted way at least once, then we could play around.
Josh Groban [00:12:58] Right. That’s really cool. And also just being kind of like an outsider in the group. I had not done a lot of acting at that time, and I’d certainly not done a lot of comedy acting at that time. And so to be around so many very funny, very talented people, we got to like, share stories about like our different worlds. So what’s touring like, you know? And so, you know, it actually kind of turned into like a real garden party. But like, we just we were, you know, just getting yogurt from craft. And, you know, it’s just it was just like really, really fun, really cool. It was a hot day, though, I remember that.
Jenna [00:13:29] It was so hot that day.
Angela [00:13:31] I found an email that Jenna and I traded back and forth about how hot it was and how that they had these huge tubes of air and we were all fighting about where you could sit so the tube of air would hit you. And they turned them on whenever we took a break in scenes and everyone would like go around the tube. Except in this email, I said, Unfortunately, Ellie was sitting basically right on top of the tube. Like the tube kind of came right out to her chair and she was freezing and the rest of us were like, Pull, the tube this way! We’re burning up! Apparently the tubes were a big deal during the shoot.
Josh Groban [00:14:07] Wow. And she she was even peppier in those scenes. And that’s the reason. That’s the reason why. Oh, my God. That’s that’s so funny. Everybody gathering around the the coolant tube. Yeah, it was. It was very, very hot.
Jenna [00:14:20] You said you hadn’t done a lot of acting, but you had just been in Crazy, Stupid Love with Steve Carell!
Josh Groban [00:14:26] That’s actually true.
Jenna [00:14:27] Which is crazy.
Josh Groban [00:14:28] Which was like, one of my first things that I ever did, you know, outside of music. And that was not a DM slide. Getting. Steve did not, did not.
Angela [00:14:36] It was proper.
Josh Groban [00:14:37] Did not slide into my DMs for that role. That was a proper audition.
Jenna [00:14:40] I so wish that was the story behind that, though.
Angela [00:14:43] Oh, my gosh.
Jenna [00:14:44] Can we just say that that’s what it was? I want to rewrite history.
Josh Groban [00:14:48] You know, you’re so here’s the thing. No, it was that was such a fun shoot as well. It was, again, just that just a couple of days. We shot at the Glendale Galleria and we shot all night at, like, an El Torito.
Jenna [00:14:59] I know the Glendale Galleria. Yeah.
Josh Groban [00:15:01] Yeah, the Glendale Galleria. Every time I drive by it, getting to the 101, I was like, Yeah, that’s. I had a lot of tortilla chips. Yeah, that’s where I had my first on screen kiss.
Jenna [00:15:13] But weren’t you a theater major?
Josh Groban [00:15:15] I was a theater major, but I got plucked out of college when I when I got a recording contract. It was a weird fork in the road and one that has, you know, afforded me some extraordinary experiences like this one. But it was my first love was was doing theater, my first and my first love before that was doing comedy and doing improv. I was very lucky to do a lot of improv in high school and junior high school. It kind of like got me out of my shell when I was really, really shy and having a hard time making friends. My grades weren’t great and I just was like kind of trapped. And joining like the school improv troupe and being able to be part of like a youth Second City class when I was like 11. And, and being part of the L.A. Connection Comedy Theater in the Valley when I was, you know, 13 and 14, like those kinds of improv games were so good for that muscle in my brain that had not been activated at that point and was so great for me, being social and being able to- cuz improv is all about kind of saying yes and really listening and being part of that. And when you’re closed off as a kid, those things kind of get stunted. And so it was finding the rhythm of comedy was something that really got me out of my shell long before finding the rhythm of music. And and then that fork in the road happened. And it’s been the most incredible journey of my life to be able to be a solo artist and make music and sing for people. But every time I’ve had an opportunity to step back into, you know, the camaraderie of of acting and comedy and theater, it’s an absolute blast.
Angela [00:16:42] You’re speaking to my improv heart. My improv heart is singing. I’ve moved around a lot as a kid, and one of the ways I would connect is through improv class or sketch comedy and just being an outsider. It was a way in. And I actually had my kids do an improv class and it was so adorable. And at the same time, the very first minute I sat there on their performance night and they came out and they started doing these improv games that I had done, I started crying. My husband was like, I don’t think you should be crying. But I was just like, I’m so moved that these same games are there. And it’s Yes and, and being in the moment and listening and.
Josh Groban [00:17:21] And trust.
Angela [00:17:22] And trust. Yeah.
Josh Groban [00:17:22] You know, it’s- there’s so much trust involved in it and the idea is nothing like it in the world. The idea of going out, not knowing what’s going to happen, and trusting yourself and trusting the people that are around you. I just recently did four or five performances of this wonderful show that was on Broadway. It’s not there anymore called Freestyle Love Supreme, which is kind of a music like a a music improv show that Lin-Manuel Miranda and a number of other incredible freestyle rappers and musicians kind of put together. And it’s it’s comedy, it’s rap, it’s music. And they said, Hey, will you come out and like, sing an improvised love song? Every night, we’ll interview an audience member and they will come up with a song together. And every single time, you know, I asked Lin, like, do you have any advice for how to make the successful? And he said, Yeah, the first thing is take half shot of whiskey. Second thing is, don’t prepare anything. You’re going to be really tempted to write lines that you’re going to want to, you know, shoehorn into the song because you think they’re clever and whatever else. And he said that part of your brain that has lines prepared is going to be clashing with the part of your brain that’s going to be receiving what what the night is giving you and what the audience is giving you. And it’s going to make you stumble. So go out there with a clear mind, open heart, and a lot of trust, and it’ll come. And then, like the first time I went out there, it just it was like gangbusters. It was great. Second night, I’m thinking that was a fluke. And the second night it was gangbusters. And that’s just and it just it was that way every time. You just trust that it’s going to be there for you and it’s- for kids, that’s why I’m such a proponent of these kinds of experiences for young students, because those moments, those aha moments, those little light bulb flips change the course of a young person’s life, even if they don’t go into the arts and comedy and theater and music. In fact, many times they won’t, but it will make them a far more, you know, well-rounded and confident doctor and lawyer. And the people that come up to me in jobs that are not considered creative, that said that arts and comedy and improv and musical theater and all that stuff changed the course of their life, it’s incredible.
Jenna [00:19:23] Josh I was trying not to fangirl too hard at the beginning of this interview and now you have made it impossible.
Angela [00:19:31] Yeah, forget it. Forget it.
Jenna [00:19:34] I am speechless. That was beautiful.
Josh Groban [00:19:36] I’m trying not to do the same thing. I will say there’s also a really I think so I mentioned the L.A. Connection Comedy Theater, which is a wonderful place. I spent like a few months doing classes there and doing some stuff there. I was like 16 and they were really cool to me and they really provided me with a wonderful opportunity there. I think there’s a very odd mural of me on the side of the building, like me and some other alumni that went there. I think Will Ferrell is painted up there. I think Matthew Perry is painted up there. There’s some discussion of whether it’s me or Keanu Reeves painted up there, but I don’t think Keanu Reeves went to the LA Connection Comedy Theater.
Angela [00:20:13] I think this is a Mom Detective moment, Jenna. I think we need to drive over there.
Jenna [00:20:18] We will check this out for you.
Josh Groban [00:20:18] I believe it’s on Ventura Boulevard.
Jenna [00:20:21] Mm hmm.
Josh Groban [00:20:22] And it’s, like, directly across from, like, one of those Halloween costume emporium stores, you know? Somebody sent it to me on Twitter, and then I was, I was looking for a costume last minute, last Halloween, and I was like, Oh, yeah, My girlfriend just sent me this picture. Your listeners can’t look at it, but this is the wall.
Angela [00:20:41] Yeah, Yeah.
Jenna [00:20:42] If you send that to us, we’ll put it on the Office Ladies Pod Instagram. Yes.
Angela [00:20:47] That’s you. I that is you.
Jenna [00:20:50] But it could be Keanu as well.
Josh Groban [00:20:52] But it could be Keanu.
Angela [00:20:53] It could be Keanu. It could be a combo.
Jenna [00:20:56] What we need to find out is if Keanu ever took improv class there. If he didn’t, then it’s definitely you.
Josh Groban [00:21:02] And Matthew Perry. My goodness.
Angela [00:21:04] Oh my goodness.
Jenna [00:21:04] I have to say, Matthew Perry also kind of looks like Keanu.
Angela [00:21:07] But also kind of looks like Dwight. It’s his hair. The way his hair is parted.
Josh Groban [00:21:10] He also looks a little like Dwight. You’re right. It’s got the Schrute… the Schrute part. Yes. Absolutely. Yeah.
Angela [00:21:20] Well, there’s a lot of artistic interpretation with this mural.
Josh Groban [00:21:23] Yes, there. There are. But anyway, big thanks to the L.A. Connection Comedy Theater.
Jenna [00:21:27] Well, before we let you go, will you tell us about Sweeney Todd? Are you going to be in Sweeney Todd until January 2024?
Josh Groban [00:21:35] I am. Yes. So this is a role that I’ve loved ever since I was a little, you know, baritone that couldn’t dance and thought that’s the role for me. I, I really I love Sondheim’s music. You know, we all- everybody who’s in this cast has loved this show since we were little. To have the opportunity to bring it to Broadway in a really large revival has been a dream. So when Tommy Kail, our director, kind of said, Hey, you know, if we’re going to do this, I really think we should think about doing it. You know, really diving in and saying, this is this is what we’re going to chisel for a year of work. And obviously it’s a big commitment, but it’s one that’s been super worth it for me to to dive into. We’re having an amazing time. And it’s also funny, like there’s there’s parts where the audience are just absolutely cracking up. There’s dark humor in it. The music is some of the most extraordinary music that I’ve ever heard in musical theater. And and it’s a bloody, bloody good time. We’re having a really good time. Very tired, but we’re having a good time.
Jenna [00:22:33] I bet. I’m going to be coming to see you in June. The next time I’m in New York, I’m going to come see the show in June.
Angela [00:22:38] We will welcome you.
Jenna [00:22:39] I absolutely can’t wait. It is at the top of my list.
Josh Groban [00:22:43] I’m so excited to have you.
Jenna [00:22:44] I’m so excited.
Josh Groban [00:22:46] And we’re not going anywhere. So.
Jenna [00:22:47] Good.
Josh Groban [00:22:48] So yeah.
Angela [00:22:48] That gives me time to get to New York, too. I don’t have any plans to get to New York, but now I have a reason, so I’m going to figure out how to get there.
Josh Groban [00:22:55] Come on out.
Angela [00:22:56] This has just been so wonderful. I definitely want anyone listening, our Office Ladies fans, if you’re in New York, please go see Josh in Sweeney Todd. And what a delight. Oh, my gosh. We’re going to be doing so much interview for a bit.
Jenna [00:23:08] Yeah. Thank you so much.
Josh Groban [00:23:10] Thank you for having me. Thank you for the just the wonderful experience of of being on set with you both. And and thank you for so many years of much needed laughter and smiles and love. And I really appreciate you having me on.
Angela [00:23:24] We love you, Josh.
Jenna [00:23:25] Love.
Angela [00:23:26] Okay. Here is Garden Party. It’s going to start not at the garden or any party. It’s going to start with Jim and Pam arriving to work because they saw Andy’s new billboard.
Jenna [00:23:37] Yes. Pam arrives to work. Did you notice? In pants?
Angela [00:23:41] I did not notice.
Jenna [00:23:42] Finally, when you are eight months and three weeks pregnant, you get to wear pants.
Angela [00:23:47] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:23:48] Mm hmm.
Angela [00:23:48] Well, Pam and her pants can’t get over this billboard. And Jim’s going to share that, you know what? If there’s an opportunity for a graffiti artist to work in a phallic image into artwork, it’s going to happen. And this is when we find out that all of the billboards have been defaced.
Jenna [00:24:04] Yes. Someone has put, I mean, how do you say it? Penises all over these billboards. Andy holds up pictures of what the billboards were before they had been defaced. He did a whole photoshoot with Dwight. And you can see how one could add… The… Penises.
Angela [00:24:27] Yes. In the shooting draft, the scene was described like this. We see B-roll, several billboard mock ups. The first mock up features the slogan New low prices. Shout it from the rooftops! And shows Andy with a huge open mouth and his hands to the sides of his mouth, yelling. The second mock up also has Andy with a wide open mouth, one arm to the sky, singing the slogan, Low prices I sing O Thee! The third mock up shows Andy closing his eyes and raising two fists diagonally towards him. Why are our prices so low?
Jenna [00:25:05] Oh, my favorite part of that explanation was your gestures, Angela, which I am the only one who gets to see.
Angela [00:25:12] You’re the only one seeing this, but- I didn’t even mean to do it as I was reading it, I just acted out what was happening.
Jenna [00:25:19] You sure did. So I want to say that I believe that the idea for this cold open was because of something that happened to me in real life that I told everyone in the conference room one day when we were shooting. You know, between scenes.
Angela [00:25:38] This is what would happen, this is what would happen. You would share something from your life and all of a sudden it would end up in an episode.
Jenna [00:25:43] So here’s what happened. Angela, you know I love tiny desserts.
Angela [00:25:48] I know you do.
Jenna [00:25:49] You know, I love a tiny little parfait cup. You know, it’s almost like a little shot glass. And has a teeny tiny spoon.
Angela [00:25:58] Tiny spoon. Or you love a teeny, tiny cupcake. Like the tiniest cupcake ever. Like the size of your thumb.
Jenna [00:26:03] Yeah, like the kind that Baked by Melissa does.
Angela [00:26:06] Oh, we love those.
Jenna [00:26:07] They’re just so tiny. They’re just a bite. So I was at an event, and they had an itty bitty dessert with a tiny spoon, and I took a picture for social media where I was holding up the little dessert in one hand. In the other hand, I had my mouth open, and it was like I was pretending to put the little spoon in my mouth.
Angela [00:26:30] Mistake. Eh! Eh!
Jenna [00:26:32] Yeah, guess what someone did with that picture.
Angela [00:26:35] Well.
Jenna [00:26:36] Basically, the cold open. Yeah.
Angela [00:26:39] Mm hmm. Yeah.
Jenna [00:26:40] And we were in the conference room, and that’s when, I swear I can’t remember who it was, but one of our cast members was like, Jenna, didn’t anyone ever tell you you never post a photo of yourself with an open mouth because someone will put a dick in it? I was like, No, I didn’t know that.
Angela [00:26:55] I have such a strong memory.
Jenna [00:26:55] I wish someone had told me.
Angela [00:26:57] I remember this happening in the conference room and we were all like, What? And they were like, half of the room had never heard of this. And the other half were like, Duh. Get savvy.
Jenna [00:27:08] Yeah. And so thus, I believe, is the inspiration for this cold open. Well, we got some fan questions about it. Lila C in Chicago said, Were the billboards in the cold open CGI, or were they actually put up? And did Rainn and Ed have a photo shoot for them? Well, Steve Burgess said that we did have a photo shoot with Rainn and Ed and we did shoot like toward a billboard. It was near Disney Ranch, which is where we shot Schrute Farms. But we didn’t actually put the photo up on the billboard. We did just CGI that. So Rainn runs around a corner and looks at like an empty billboard and then we put the image CGI on it.
Angela [00:27:49] Yeah. Luckily for Ed and Rainn, those billboards never went up.
Jenna [00:27:53] That’s right. We got another question from Kelly S in New Hampshire who said, I need standards and practices deep dive on this cold open.
Angela [00:28:02] Oh, I have so many questions.
Jenna [00:28:04] You are not going to believe this. Do you remember when I said that I feel like there was a giant tonal shift between the way standards and practices treated Randy Cordray and the way they treated Steve Burgess?
Angela [00:28:15] Yeah, there’s no more As previously stated.
Jenna [00:28:19] Listen to this. This is all they wrote. This is what Steve said. This is the only note they got about this whole cold open. It said this, quote, As always, we trust the pixelation will cover what was drawn on the billboard. We trust!?
Angela [00:28:35] We trust?
Jenna [00:28:36] We trust you.
Angela [00:28:38] Wow.
Jenna [00:28:39] You’ll do it right.
Angela [00:28:41] I can’t wait for the first lip flap. I want to know how that e-mail goes.
Jenna [00:28:45] I don’t think they’re ever going to lip flap Steve Burgess. I don’t know. They’re like, It’ll be fine. Suddenly they’re so low key.
Angela [00:28:54] Oh my gosh. Well, now we’re ready for the actual episode to start. There’s a conference room scene, and Dwight has an elaborate map that he has drawn on a dry erase board of how to get to Schrute Farms. He doesn’t want anyone Googling how to get there. Just please follow the map he’s drawn. What is it with Dwight and random directions? Do you remember when Dwight gave Andy and Angela directions to Schrute Farms? He’s determined to make it wonky. And before we get into Schrute Farms and arrive there, Jenna, I have some stuff from my digital clutter.
Jenna [00:29:27] About Schrute Farms?
Angela [00:29:30] Uh huh.
Jenna [00:29:31] Oh, please share.
Angela [00:29:32] I have an email from Steve Burgess that he sent Sunday evening, August 4th, 2011. Subject. Schrute Farms Location. High Team Office. A couple of safety notes for our garden party shoot at Schrute Farms. First and foremost, it will be hot. Please drink plenty of water and or Gatorade or coconut water in parentheses for electrolytes.
Jenna [00:29:56] I hate coconut water.
Angela [00:29:59] You do?
Jenna [00:29:59] I think it tastes like…
Angela [00:30:01] What?
Jenna [00:30:03] (BLEEP).
Angela [00:30:03] Jenna! Oh, my God.
Angela [00:30:10] If you become the spokesperson for coconut water, there goes that dream. Oh, my God.
Jenna [00:30:19] I think it tastes like (BLEEP).
Angela [00:30:21] We know what you- okay, fine. You don’t have to say it twice. Why are you doubling down on this?
Jenna [00:30:26] Do you disagree? If you drink warm coconut water, you’ll never untaste it again.
Angela [00:30:33] No, I don’t want to drink warm coconut water.
Jenna [00:30:36] You don’t. Because it tastes like.
Angela [00:30:38] Oh, my god.
Jenna [00:30:39] You had a (BLEEP) in your mouth. A real one. Not one that someone said.
Angela [00:30:44] Holy crap. Oh, my God.
Jenna [00:30:45] It’s what it tastes like.
Angela [00:30:45] I don’t even know where to go from here with Steve Burgess’ very sweet fatherly email, just wanting us to stay hydrated. Oh my God. Well, let’s see. I will continue to read this email. Let’s see if it sparks any other strong feelings. Patrice, who was our set medic, also will have electrolyte packs that you can add to your water bottle. It will help if you- and then he put in bold lettering- drink plenty of water starting the day before. And that is today for most of us. Steve really wanted to make sure we were hydrated. He emailed us on Sunday saying, Start drinking water now. That’s how hot it’s going to be.
Jenna [00:31:27] Wow. He told us to drink water in like four different ways.
Angela [00:31:31] Oh, it continues. If you begin to feel the effects of the heat, headaches and or dizziness or nausea, please let us know immediately. Now, here’s the second part. There are bees at this location. If you know you’re allergic to bees, please let us know and bring your EpiPen. Bees are also attracted to some perfumes and colognes. Please refrain from wearing them at this location.
Jenna [00:31:53] Wow.
Angela [00:31:53] So not only were we going to have to start hydrating the day before, but also no one smelled probably very good on this shoot. It goes on. Please read the rules and regulations for Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch. They are attached to the call sheet. There will be no visitors allowed, no exceptions. Thank you. Let’s have a safe and productive week, Steve. Then you forwarded me his email and you added this to it, Jenna.
Jenna [00:32:19] Okay?
Angela [00:32:21] Apparently you had worked already a day there before I arrived. You wrote, Lady, he’s serious about the bees. They are everywhere. They got all in the food at lunch. Oh, and there are snakes. Like for real. We have a snake wrangler on set. Rainn said the last time he was here, they actually had to remove a rattlesnake from the set. So don’t walk in any tall grass. Stick to the path. Good luck. I’m off tomorrow.
Jenna [00:32:50] Well, it’s funny, Angela. I had a special meeting with Steve Burgess before we got to Schrute Farms because I was very, really pregnant.
Angela [00:33:01] Yes, you emailed me it as well.
Jenna [00:33:03] I did? Yes. There was a lot of extra safety precautions that they took for me because they were very worried about me getting overheated.
Angela [00:33:11] Yes. You sent me an email that you’re like, Hey, Steve and I are trading emails about how to keep me cool and not get too hot because I’m eight and a half months pregnant, which is one of the reasons and I’m going to bring it up. There was a deleted scene that you and I filmed inside just knew so that we could keep.
Jenna [00:33:29] Going to school. Oh, good. I’m so glad you’re going to share. Well, Angela, I don’t know what I love more, Dwight’s description of how to get to Schrute Farms or the email you got from Steve Burgess telling us how to survive Schrute Farms. They’re both pretty delicious. The folks in the conference room would like to know, Why are we having this party? What is the reason? What is the reason?
Angela [00:33:52] Yeah. You don’t need a reason for a garden party. It’s like a birthday party.
Jenna [00:33:56] Yes. However, Andy is going to tell you there are rules to a garden party. Many, many rules, including how to dress, how to eat, how to behave. But it’s, you know, it’s going to be fun. It’s casual. It’s for no reason.
Angela [00:34:13] Well, we find out pretty quickly that not only are Andy’s parents going to be there, and it’s clear that he wants to have a moment with them and impress them. And also, Robert California’s invited.
Jenna [00:34:27] Yes. It’s during this scene that Andy also pulls out his laptop to show us a video of a recent garden party that his family threw for his brother, Walter Jr. And it’s very sweet. Walter Jr and his dad are harmonizing. They’re singing together. Walter Junior’s boss is there looking on impressed. Poor Andy’s in the background. He’s very jealous. We had a fan catch from Jennifer M in Portland, Texas. Jennifer has been writing in to us every week, Angela, about every episode. Ever since we shared that we had to digitally remove all of the Apple logos from the computers in the episode where Erin gets a new computer, Jennifer has been tracking the Apple logos, because apparently we stopped digitizing them out. And she mentioned that there is one here on Andy’s laptop. Jennifer, you are you are the Dr. Thibideau of the Apple logos.
Angela [00:35:21] Yes. Nice catch. The meeting ends with Dwight reminding everyone to please not Google how to get to Schrute Farms. And of course, Jim is like, Why? Why does Dwight pushing this? What’s he up to? So Jim Google’s Schrute Farms and guess what he finds?
Jenna [00:35:37] He finds the Street View photo of Schrute Farms.
Angela [00:35:41] Which is?
Jenna [00:35:43] Mose and Dwight on a seesaw. Shirtless on a seesaw.
Angela [00:35:47] Yeah. Dwight’s like, you never know when they’re going to drive by.
Jenna [00:35:50] Well, this was a callback to Manager and Salesman. Do you remember when Ryan and Dwight are out by the dumpsters? And Ryan is like, Did you ever see Saw? To which Dwight replies, Yes. Mose and I seesaw all the time. Yes. This was a callback to that episode.
Angela [00:36:04] Ryan is saying did you see Saw, the movie? Yeah. Dwight is going to share that he has always wanted to break into the high event industry for Schrute Farms, so he’s very excited about this party. This is a great opportunity for him. Not only that, he found a book. There was only one in existence about how to plan the perfect garden party. It’s by James Trickington.
Jenna [00:36:28] Yeah, he got it for only $2. The only copy. He makes that clear.
Angela [00:36:33] And he’s going to follow it to the letter on how to make this amazing garden party.
Jenna [00:36:38] Well, Jim has a talking head. And guess who James Trickington is?
Angela [00:36:42] Oh, I wonder who.
Jenna [00:36:43] It’s Jim.
Angela [00:36:45] Come on, Dwight. Come on. Also, Jim, what do you do with your free time? You’re writing a book? Chapter nine? Eventually we know there’s nine chapters.
Jenna [00:36:55] Lady, lady.
Angela [00:36:57] Lady.
Jenna [00:36:58] Fan mail flurry.
Angela [00:36:59] I’m so glad because I wrote this. This may be the biggest Jim prank stretch for me. He wrote a whole book? What the hell?
Jenna [00:37:05] Well, Lee H from Ontario, Canada, Maddie K from Texas, Brandon from New York and many others said this: Was it ever questioned that Jim writing an entire book with, what? A week’s notice? Getting one copy published and making sure it wound up in Dwight’s hands was a little too unrealistic? Did Jim somehow manage to target advertise it, knowing that Dwight would find it and buy it? Did the cast and crew feel this way at all? Well, everyone, I’ll tell you who felt the same way. Myles McNutt.
Angela [00:37:41] Oh, Myles, please. I need to hear his thoughts on this.
Jenna [00:37:45] Well, first of all, he gave this episode a C.
Angela [00:37:52] Oh ooh okay.
Jenna [00:37:49] And this was one of his biggest gripes. He asked the question, Are there really no books about throwing a garden party? Well, guess what? I looked it up.
Angela [00:37:59] I bet there are so many. I’m going to guess Martha Stewart has done at least one.
Jenna [00:38:04] I thought the same thing. Guess what? I could not find a single book called How to Throw a Garden Party. Or about throwing a garden party.
Angela [00:38:14] You’re kidding.
Jenna [00:38:15] No, not a one.
Angela [00:38:16] You know why?
Jenna [00:38:17] Why?
Angela [00:38:18] Because this is not a book. It’s a pamphlet. It’s maybe four pages and an article.
Jenna [00:38:23] I mean, listen, there’s lots of party planning books that include a chapter on a garden setting that I found. But there is not a book dedicated to the garden party. However, on Amazon, I did find several versions of James Trickington’s book. There is one for $7.95 that is actually a weekly planner, but it has the same cover as the one you see in the episode. And there is another one for around $20 that includes quotes from the show and pages for journaling.
Angela [00:38:53] Up next, we have some big pregs, little pregs in the break room.
Jenna [00:38:58] Yes, Pam and Angela in there. Angela is eating a bowl of grapes. Pam is eating yogurt out of a Tupperware container, a banana and some chips. I did a food breakdown.
Angela [00:39:09] Nice. Angela says her breasts have gone up a bra size. It’s grossing out the senator. In this back and forth conversation, Pam is going to slip and say the name of her son. She says Phillip.
Jenna [00:39:22] Yes.
Angela [00:39:23] And Angela is like, Wait, wait, wait. Phillip is what I’m naming my baby. And Pam’s like, I’m naming Phillip after my grandfather. And Angela says, Well, I’m naming my baby after my cat.
Jenna [00:39:35] Her favorite cat.
Angela [00:39:36] Her favorite cat. These have the same weight to her. Her favorite cat and Pam’s grandfather. So Pam and Angela both deciding to name their babies Phillip actually reminded me of something that happened with my family. When my mom and dad were having my sister, Tina, my dad’s sister was also pregnant, having a little girl, and they lived states apart. This was before the Internet or social media when people were always checking in with each other. They did not know it, but they had both picked the name Tina and they both name their daughters Tina.
Jenna [00:40:11] What?!
Angela [00:40:12] Yes.
Jenna [00:40:13] So you have a sister and a cousin both named Tina, and they were born around the same time.
Angela [00:40:17] Within 14 hours of each other. Two Tina’s in the same family, born 14 hours apart. And I never thought anything about it my whole life because they never made a big thing about it. And then when I was pregnant and we were trying to pick a baby name, I was like, Oh, my gosh, Mom, Aunt Louise and Dad both had daughters and named them Tina. And I was like, Mom. And you know what she said? She goes, Oh, Ange, the world is big enough for two Tina’s. You know? It was such great perspective. You know, if you and someone else both like the same baby name, the world is big enough for both of them. Just get them here safe and healthy. That’s all that matters.
Jenna [00:40:56] That’s true. Well, next up is one of my favorite scenes. James Spader is so good that his acting comes through in just a phone call. Because Robert California is going to call Andy on the phone and mention that he has two possible host gifts for this afternoon.
Angela [00:41:14] This is such a bizarre conversation.
Jenna [00:41:16] It is. He shares that he has a pot of marmalade and a basil plant. He clearly wants Andy to choose the basil plant.
Angela [00:41:25] He’s really pushing the basil plant. Why even bring up the marmalade?
Jenna [00:41:29] Listen, he mentioned the marmalade to a sister and she really wants it. And then he shouts at his assistant to get a second jar of marmalade because Andy clearly wants the marmalade. I loved it. I watched the scene. I backed it up and watched it again because it made me laugh. Just his the voice acting.
Angela [00:41:45] I know. People are arriving now to Schrute Farms for the party. Toby pulls up and the valet is Mose.
Jenna [00:41:53] Mmhm.
Angela [00:41:54] He runs up to him and he’s like, I have to take your car. And Toby is like, No. And then they have this struggle, and Mose wins and drives off in his car.
Jenna [00:42:02] Struggle? He puts his foot up on the back of the car and is like forcing the door open, and then drives away? He speeds away. Very aggressive valet. We had a fan question from Alia G in Santa Cruz, California, who said, I’m writing to ask about Mike Schur as Mose in this episode. At 6 minutes and 32 seconds, did he improvise the line, Have a good time at the thing? This cracks me up every time, and I would love to know. Well, I looked it up. It was not in the script. It was also not in the script that Mose speeds away. Instead, the script said he backs the car around the corner and then drives the car through a cornfield, mowing down a row of stalks. At a random spot, he stops, gets out and leaves it. Amazing.
Angela [00:42:56] It wasn’t Mike Schur driving that car into that field, was it?
Jenna [00:43:00] I don’t think it was him driving into the cornstalks, but I think it’s him speeding away. I mean, there’s no cut. He gets in the car and speeds away. But later I don’t think that’s him going into the actual stalks.
Angela [00:43:14] I was so curious. Kevin is going to arrive. He’s rockin his toupee.
Jenna [00:43:19] Nice callback.
Angela [00:43:20] Kelly and Erin have their fascinators on.
Jenna [00:43:23] Mm hmm.
Angela [00:43:23] And Dwight starts yelling everyone’s name as they arrive. Jim has a talking head that says, Announcing guests’ arrival is the height of decorum. The more volume, the more honor bestowed. He’s written this in his book, lady. This is part of his book. And Dwight is following the rules.
Jenna [00:43:39] You might have noticed that when Jim and Pam arrive, they are announced as Pamela, James, and Pee Pee Halpert. This was a callback that was improvised by Rainn. In the script, it’s simply said that he mumbles the baby’s name. So he would have said James, Pamela and (MUMBLES) Halpert. But if you remember, Dwight called their daughter Pee Pee in Search Committee and Rainn Wilson called it back.
Angela [00:44:07] Nice, Rainn. Well, Oscar’s annoyed by Andy’s hovering, and Andy says to Oscar, I want everything to be nice. That okay with you, Mabel? Mabel, Mabel, If you’re able, keep your elbows off the table.
Jenna [00:44:20] Hmm.
Angela [00:44:21] This made me curious. Were there other Andy etiquette sayings in the shooting draft? And Jenna, there were.
Jenna [00:44:27] Really?
Angela [00:44:28] Mm hmm. This one’s in deleted scenes. Kevin is taking way too many appetizers, and Andy walks up to him and says, Kevin, this totally reminds me of this really lame, useful saying I learned as a kid. What’s the difference between hors d’oeuvres orders and the animals on Noah’s Ark? With hors d’oeuvres, we only take one at a time.
Jenna [00:44:49] Oh, amazing.
Angela [00:44:52] So many rules in Andy’s life.
Jenna [00:44:55] Well, guess what? The people Andy has been waiting for have arrived. Dwight very loudly announces the arrival of Walter and Ellen Bernard.
Angela [00:45:06] When Rainn as Dwight yelled their names, I thought the actress that played Ellen’s reaction was so great.
Jenna [00:45:14] She’s so good.
Angela [00:45:15] She’s so thrown off. Like, what is happening?
Jenna [00:45:18] Yes. Dee Wallace is who played Andy’s mom, Ellen. Steve Burgess worked with her before and was so excited to have her back on the show. Angela, I know Dee, not personally, but because she has starred in so many classic horror films. She is like a horror queen. I love her.
Angela [00:45:39] Oh, I didn’t know.
Jenna [00:45:41] She was in the original 1977, The Hills Have Eyes. She was in The Howling, Cujo, Critters, Halloween, Death House. She is probably most famous for playing the mom in E.T..
Angela [00:45:53] Yes. Yes! That’s how I know Dee.
Jenna [00:45:56] Yes.
Angela [00:45:57] Yeah. And also Cujo. I remember Cujo scared the crap out of me.
Jenna [00:46:00] Yes. She said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that she absolutely loves doing horror roles. And this was, I thought, really funny. She said that if she had to have a career like just in comedy or something, it would just be so boring. Which is so funny because she is so good in this episode. Everything about her is so subtle and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I thought she was fantastic. And then Stephen Collins is who played Walter Senior. He is very famous for playing the dad on Seventh Heaven, which he was on for 11 seasons.
Angela [00:46:36] I have never seen Seventh Heaven.
Jenna [00:46:38] I had not either.
Angela [00:46:39] I missed it.
Jenna [00:46:41] But here is the thing. I guess I need to say you might be aware of some news that came out about Stephen in 2014. I don’t know how to say this delicately. I know a lot of people listen to the podcast with their kids.
Angela [00:46:55] Yes.
Jenna [00:46:55] So let me just say that in 2014, Stephen came forward and admitted to some pretty disturbing behavior in his past. If you Google him, it’s the very first thing that comes up. I don’t want to maybe get into too many details here, but I did just want to mention that. It was long after we had filmed with him. But yeah, it’s upsetting.
Angela [00:47:23] Okay.
Jenna [00:47:24] I’ll leave it at that.
Angela [00:47:26] Okay.
Jenna [00:47:27] We also, Angela, got a fan mail flurry of people writing in to point out that these are not the people we met at Toby’s going away party.
Angela [00:47:35] Right. When Andy proposes to Angela it cuts to his parents and they are not the same actors.
Jenna [00:47:42] They also do not have the same names. They are introduced as Ellen and Andrew Bernard, not Ellen and Walter Bernard.
Angela [00:47:50] Now, you know, we have the show Bible where you have everyone’s character and their history and their origin story. How did this happen?
Jenna [00:47:59] Well, after we did Goodbye, Toby, we had this very funny joke in a later episode where Andy says that his original name was Walter, that he was named after his dad. But then later, when his younger brother was born, they renamed him Andy and then called his little brother Walter Junior. So that was a joke that kind of went against that Goodbye Toby moment. But it’s so funny. Sometimes when something was really funny to them, they would just go against the show Bible. They were like comedy first, show Bible later. But I want to share a very interesting fan theory sent in by Eva S from Aurora, Illinois. I absolutely adored it. Here we go. Eva says, We learned so many odd and apparently conflicting things about Andy Bernard’s family over the years, that I have come up with an explanation that I think ties it all together. Here we go. Andy was born to Walter and Ellen Bernard. As we learn in this episode. They favored his younger brother and were emotionally distant from Andy. He grew up yearning for warm love and acceptance from a family. And this is why he’s so attached to his Gam Gam who we will meet later. When Andy was still a kid, his father had an affair with his secretary, as noted in Secretary’s Day, separating from Ellen and setting up a separate household with the secretary and her kids. Even though Walter and the Secretary were never officially married, this is who Andy means when he says, quote, If it wasn’t for secretaries, I wouldn’t have a step mom. Andy got attached to her and her kids. Even years later, he will refer to them as his brothers and sister. And this is why he says he’s wearing his sister’s old field hockey skirt in St Patrick’s Day and why he talks about doing puzzles with his brothers, plural, when we’re out sailing in PDA. Eva goes on. Walter Senior and Ellen end up going to the Breakers in Newport, Connecticut, where they decide not to get divorced. Remember, that was from Weight Loss.
Angela [00:49:59] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:49:59] So Walter Senior broke up with the secretary, putting an end to Andy’s step family, but they stayed in his heart. That’s why he still thinks of them as his real brothers and sister. But why did we see Andrew and Ellen Bernard at Toby’s going away party? Because Andy, who needs to make himself look good, actually hired two community theater performers to pose as his parents and act proud of him to impress his coworkers and Angela. And then he named his pretend father Andrew, so that he could be his father’s namesake at last.
Angela [00:50:32] Ohh.
Jenna [00:50:34] So those are all of her theories that bring together all of these inconsistencies.
Angela [00:50:39] Eva, I think you knocked it out of the park. That all made it make sense for me.
Jenna [00:50:44] Eva, you’re doing our writers a great service by tying together all of those loose ends. I thought it was fantastic.
Angela [00:50:51] Well, we’re going to find out that Andy’s parents don’t have much time to be at the garden party because they have theater tickets to see Moneyball with Andy’s brother, who shows up. His Bro-nard is in attendance.
Jenna [00:51:04] Mm hmm. That was a shock. We didn’t hear him announced.
Angela [00:51:07] No. I think we should take a break because things are really going to start happening at this party.
Jenna [00:51:13] Yes. Now that Walter Junior has arrived, things are going to get interesting. We’ll be right back.
Angela [00:51:21] We are back, and one of my favorite moments in this whole episode happens. A crow is going to fly and steal Erin’s hat off of her head. I thought Ellie’s reaction was so perfect. I loved all of this. You know me and my birds, lady. I was like, If a bird took my hat off my head, I would be like, This is the coolest moment. What’s happening?
Jenna [00:51:45] We got a fan question about this moment from Megan T in Des Moines, Iowa, who asked, I have to know all the details about the bird taking Erin’s hat. Megan is like you, Angela. Megan would like to know how much did it cost? How long did it take to train the bird? And how many takes did it take? And how did Ellie Kemper feel about it? Because it would freak me out. Oh, maybe she’s not like you. It sounds like Megan would be freaked out.
Angela [00:52:10] I know. But Megan, it also would be kind of cool, right? Like, it’d be kind of cool.
Jenna [00:52:15] Well, Megan, I reached out to Steve Burgess to find out how we did this. And I’m sorry to disappoint you, but this hat gag was totally fake. He said that the special effects team used a fishing pole, and some, like, you know, invisible wire to yank the hat off of Ellie’s head. She’s just reacting to that. And they added the crow later as special effects. There was no trained crow at all.
Angela [00:52:41] That’s how well Ellie sold it.
Jenna [00:52:43] For sure. Now we’re going to have a bit that is 100% stolen from the movie Bridesmaids, where Walter Jr introduces himself to Jim and then thinks that Meredith is his wife, Pam. And this joke is going to get repeated. This is one of my favorite bits from the movie Bridesmaids. This happens to Kristen Wiig’s character over and over again.
Angela [00:53:04] Well, Dwight is now going to perform a dance routine with the waitress. And then after this, there would have been another scene of Dwight making a giant ice sculpture. It’s in deleted scenes. It’s also on the shooting draft. Dwight has a chainsaw and a huge block of ice, and he’s really just carving away. And what he ends up with is just something that looks like a blob.
Jenna [00:53:28] I remember this.
Angela [00:53:30] He rolls it out and he’s really proud of it. And he says, I give you the Alamo, but it just looks like a blob. And then there would have been a Jim talking head where Jim would have said, Chapter seven: the host should always present something spectacular to draw the eye of the guests.
Jenna [00:53:48] Hmm.
Angela [00:53:48] So we’re at chapter seven now.
Jenna [00:53:50] Well, Mose is still managing all the cars in the parking lot. He’s parked them so close together that he exits through the sunroofs. And we got a fan catch from Mikayla G in Wisconsin, who said, At 9 minutes and 51 seconds when Mose is parking all the cars in the field, there are these bright green colored pieces of paper on all the vehicles’ windshields. What are they? Is there a deleted scene that explains what they are? Mikayla, I noticed these as well. Angela?
Angela [00:54:20] Yeah, if you actually go to 2 minutes and 35 seconds, the very beginning of the episode when they’re in the conference room, everyone has been handed out it looks like it says Parking for Schrute Farms. Like a green flier.
Jenna [00:54:33] Yes. Dwight has a line that was cut where he says, Rip it in thirds. One is the map, one is your invitation, and the last is your parking pass. Just put it on your dashboard. So good catch, Mikayla.
Angela [00:54:47] Very good catch. Dwight is now going to announce the arrival of Robert California. He like rolls his r’s for so long. In the shooting draft, Jenna, right after Robert arrives, in true Robert California dramatic fashion, he goes and he stands by a tractor. He gazes out around the farm, and then he turns to camera and he says this. I have the clip. Let’s hear it.
Robert California [00:55:17] So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow glazed with rainwater beside the white chickens. William Carlos Williams.
Jenna [00:55:29] Hmm. Beautiful.
Angela [00:55:30] And then he dramatically walks away. I looked up William Carlos Williams. According to the Poetry Foundation, he was a medical doctor, poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright. Williams was a leading poet of the imaginist movement and often wrote of American subjects and themes. Though his career was initially overshadowed by other poets, he became an inspiration to the beat generation of the 1950s and sixties. He was known as an experimenter, an innovator, a revolutionary figure in American poetry. It’s very random.
Jenna [00:56:05] I wonder which of our writers is the poetry fan and knew about him.
Angela [00:56:08] I know.
Jenna [00:56:10] Because that’s a pretty specific poet and line to have Robert California quote. Very perfect for the character of Robert California as well.
Angela [00:56:19] I thought so, too. And it’s super dramatic. And I kind of wish it had stayed in because it’s so random and bizarre.
Jenna [00:56:25] Well, Robert has brought not the marmalade.
Angela [00:56:28] No.
Jenna [00:56:29] He brought the basil plant.
Angela [00:56:31] Which he was going to bring all along. We’re going to see Kevin and Ryan now on the seesaw. It’s not going so well for Ryan. He’s the one stuck up in the air there. And then there would have been a scene, Jenna, here between Angela and Pam that comes before the toasts. It is packed with sass. So much sass. It’s the scene we shot inside, partially so you could cool off.
Jenna [00:56:56] Mm hmm.
Angela [00:56:56] Because it was so hot and they were worried about you being outside. But, yeah, I think we have to hear the scene. It was set up in the shooting draft like this: Interior Schrute Farms, main house. Pam comes down the stairs holding a baby monitor. Angela is sitting in the living room. I’m titling the scene, Jenna, And that is that. Let’s hear it.
Angela Martin [00:57:20] Is little Cece asleep?
Pam [00:57:21] Yeah, she just went down.
Angela Martin [00:57:23] Such a precious little angel.
Pam [00:57:25] Aw.
Angela Martin [00:57:26] Cecilia. And Phillip?
Pam [00:57:29] Yes. After my grandfather.
Angela Martin [00:57:31] Phillip is wasted on you. Jim is never going to take the time to call him Phillip. He doesn’t even take the time to get a haircut. And Phil, ugh, it’s just something you do to a hole.
Pam [00:57:40] Well, I’m having my baby first, so that’s that.
Angela Martin [00:57:43] You know what? It could go either way. My doctor said my hips are so dainty that I’ll most definitely have a C-section so I could go early.
Pam [00:57:50] You think your doctor is going to give you a C-section at six months?
Angela Martin [00:57:53] Yeah, if I request it, he will. And that is that.
Jenna [00:57:57] And that is that.
Angela [00:57:59] And that is that.
Jenna [00:58:02] I am really disappointed that this scene did not stay in, because later when we find Cece in her pack and play all alone in the middle of the farmhouse, I had questions about Pam and Jim’s parenting. I was like, What the heck? Where did the baby go?
Angela [00:58:17] Pam is checking on her baby. She is. She has a baby monitor and she is checking in.
Jenna [00:58:21] And Cece was sleeping. She’s now awake and quiet. But there was a moment when she left her sleeping, which was information I would have liked to have known.
Angela [00:58:32] Well, Andy’s parents are going to leave, but before they do, Andy really wants to make a toast.
Jenna [00:58:37] Oh, my gosh. The toast.
Angela [00:58:38] I know. He’s going to raise his glass to his amazing staff. In the shooting draft, Andy’s toast was longer. And here’s what he said about his staff. I just wanted to take this chance to thank you for coming. To my staff, Jim, Dwight, Stanley, Phyllis. The backbone of the company. To Kevin, Angela, Oscar, the brains. Darryl, the soul. Kelly, the mouth. Gabe, the nose. Meredith, eh. Erin, the face.
Jenna [00:59:10] This was a good cut.
Angela [00:59:12] I know.
Jenna [00:59:12] This is too Michael Scott.
Angela [00:59:14] It is very Michael Scott.
Jenna [00:59:16] This has too many remnants of Michael Scott. They were right to cut that, I think.
Angela [00:59:19] Also, Andy did not list Pam.
Jenna [00:59:21] No. Well, then even better that it was cut because Pam did not get her moment.
Angela [00:59:27] Andy is really hoping by doing these toasts that people then will reciprocate to him and it really backfires. All anyone wants to toast is Robert California.
Jenna [00:59:37] Until Angela has a toast to her baby, Philip Lipton.
Angela [00:59:42] Yes, who’s due in four months, but she’s going to announce the baby’s name now.
Jenna [00:59:47] And then Pam is going to toast her baby, Philip Halpert, who is due even sooner. She’s going to explain the significance of the name Philip and really drives it home that this has been a promise that she made her grandfather when she was a little girl. And it has a lot of significance to her family.
Angela [01:00:04] Angela is going to have a talking head where she’s crying and she’s like, Pam copies everything I do. It’s the Ford Taurus situation all over again.
Jenna [01:00:12] We had a fan question from Jake B in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who says, Angela mentions the Ford Taurus situation. What is this? Because in the show, Pam drives a Toyota Yaris and Angela drives a Saturn? Jake, I don’t know.
Angela [01:00:26] Jake, here’s my fan theory on this. They have worked together for a long, long time, and I feel like one of the first cars that they bought was a Ford Taurus, and Angela got one, and then Pam got one and copied her and she was ticked off.
Jenna [01:00:42] Well, why do you think Angela got the Taurus first? Maybe Pam got it.
Angela [01:00:46] Well, because she says Pam copies everything I do, so it seemed like to me.
Jenna [01:00:50] To Angela! Angela thinks Pam is copying the baby name. Phillip, but Angela is wrong. Pam’s had this name forever. She’s not copying anything. She said her baby was going to be named Phillip before Angela even said anything.
Angela [01:01:03] Well, here’s the thing. You don’t know who’s copying who. Because in Angela’s mind, she always thought if she had a baby, she’d name it Phillip after her very first cat, Phillip?
Jenna [01:01:12] We’ve never heard of Phillip the cat. Never. Lady Princess is her favorite cat.
Angela [01:01:18] Have we ever heard of Phillip the grandfather? Have we ever heard of Phillip the grandfather? Ever? No.
Jenna [01:01:24] Wow. While this rivalry has turned real.
Angela [01:01:29] Well, guess what? After these toasts, Kelly is going to have a toast where she throws shade at both Angela and Pam. It’s in deleted scenes. She stands up and says, I’d like to toast the non-pregnant ladies. And how we don’t just make our own personal issues everyone’s issues. Because the rest of us don’t really care.
Jenna [01:01:49] Hmm.
Angela [01:01:51] Kelly’s had it. She has had it with big pregs, little pregs.
Jenna [01:01:55] Erin is finally about to propose a toast to Andy, but gets interrupted by Dwight, who announces they need to do a tableau of the Last Supper.
Angela [01:02:05] Mm hmm. We’re at chapter nine. Chapter nine now.
Jenna [01:02:09] I want to point something out in Jim’s talking head when he’s reading from chapter nine. At 12 minutes, 37 seconds, you can see very clearly that all the pages in the book are blank. Blank. There’s nothing written. There’s no typing. Nothing.
Angela [01:02:23] I have to bring up a Stanley runner that was going on throughout the whole episode that got cut. It’s in deleted scenes if you have the DVDs. I thought Leslie did such a great job, and so I want to share about it.
Jenna [01:02:35] Oh, please.
Angela [01:02:36] So early in the episode, Stanley asks Andy if he can bring Cynthia as his date, and Phyllis under her breath is like, Don’t do it, Stanley. Bad idea. She’s like, Don’t do it. And then Stanley has a talking head where he shares that he has been wanting to break up with his current girlfriend, Cynthia. But he wants to do it at a public place. He explains that he likes to break up at a restaurant but doesn’t like to spend money that doesn’t lead to sex. So this garden party is perfect.
Jenna [01:03:08] Oh, my gosh.
Angela [01:03:09] I know. And then as Gabe is chatting up Cynthia throughout the party and Stanley goes, Don’t get too close. I want a clean break. And then he finally does break up with her, and she goes off on him in front of everyone and says that she will be letting his wife know where she can pick him up.
Jenna [01:03:32] Wow.
Angela [01:03:33] And Phyllis is like, I told you, Stanley. It was a whole runner. It was huge.
Jenna [01:03:39] Wow. Well, listen, if you thought the toasts were over, they’re not. Kevin is now going to toast Robert California. Gabe is going to try to toast Robert California. And then Robert would like to say a few words. He would like to propose a toast to everyone in the office.
Angela [01:04:02] Because really, the boss is irrelevant, they don’t really do anything.
Jenna [01:04:05] What’s the difference between a crying baby and a manager? The crying baby grows up.
Angela [01:04:11] This is not helping Andy with his hopes of having someone toast him and say nice things.
Jenna [01:04:15] Yes. Well, Andy is going to take control of things, and he is going to suggest that he and his father sing a duet. He’s going to get out his guitar and start playing. And his dad has a lot of comments. It’s the wrong key.
Angela [01:04:30] He just constantly stops him. And then when they do finally start singing, my heart broke for Andy because Andy starts to do his Andy thing, you know he does is Andy voice that is not meshing at all with his dad’s voice and his dad’s going to stop it.
Jenna [01:04:47] His dad is going to stop it and call up Walter Junior, who, as we all know, is played by a man who has one of the most beautiful voices to grace this planet, Josh Groban. Oh, my gosh. We actually got a fan comment from Marissa K in Illinois who said, I absolutely love that they picked Josh Groban to be Andy’s brother. And I thought it was tragically hilarious to have Walter Junior be a noticeably better singer than Andy, because Andy loves to sing so much.
Angela [01:05:19] There are so many layers to this family and their dynamic. Oh, my gosh.
Jenna [01:05:23] I know people talk about Scott’s Tots as being the cringiest episode. I found this episode and particularly this scene and the scenes to follow with Andy trying to impress his dad and never getting anywhere to be so incredibly uncomfortable to watch. And then there is no resolution. There’s never a moment where Andy gets what he needed. I was so uncomfortable this whole time.
Angela [01:05:51] Well, he doesn’t get what he needs from his parents, but kind of like Michael Scott, his coworkers are becoming his family. Did you see that parallel?
Jenna [01:06:02] A little bit? A little bit. But I’m not imagining that Andy is going home after this garden party not being, like kind of still wounded.
Angela [01:06:14] Well, yeah.
Jenna [01:06:15] I don’t know. Well, to break up this tragedy with a little comedy, Mose is going to what? He’s going to jump over the row of cars in a vespa? What?
Angela [01:06:27] He’s going to have is Evel Knievel moment. He doesn’t make it. So then he just runs across the top of it.
Jenna [01:06:36] Fan question from Amanda in Ontario, What was the process behind the stunt where Mose runs across the roofs of the car? Well, Steve Burgess said there was a lot of prep involved and that we originally really did want to have Mose ride the scooter across the cars. But Universal said no. They said it would cause too much damage to the cars. It would be too expensive. They weren’t concerned, I guess, about the safety. They were concerned about the cost of that.
Angela [01:07:05] Yeah, that’s what it sounds like.
Jenna [01:07:07] So as an alternative, they decided to have not Mike Schur but a stunt double run across the cars. But Steve Burgess said that actually caused quite a bit of damage and was very costly anyway.
Angela [01:07:23] Just a person running on the top of the cars.
Jenna [01:07:25] Yes, it dented in the tops of the cars. I want to say that I thought the stunt guy playing Mose did an excellent job of running like Mose. It was a very good Mose run.
Angela [01:07:36] Yes, because Mike Schur has a weird run as Mose.
Jenna [01:07:39] I know. This guy really sold it.
Angela [01:07:41] Robert California and Dwight have a very funny exchange where, you know, Dwight’s talking about the beet farm, and Robert’s like, Forget the beets. You should rent this place out. I would pay a considerable amount of money to have my birthday party here. And then Dwight goes into great detail about all the different birthday packages they offer. And they all include a lot of goats. A lot of goats.
Jenna [01:08:05] Some more than others. Some are all goats, some are just a few goats.
Angela [01:08:09] Robert California has a line that’s so funny. He’s like, Why are you talking to me about these goats? I’m clearly not interested.
Jenna [01:08:18] He spends way too much time explaining the goats.
Angela [01:08:20] Yeah, I just loved it.
Jenna [01:08:21] I loved it, too. He’s going to offer to get Robert some exotic meats. And then when Robert walks away, he says they’re all goat.
Angela [01:08:29] Yeah.
Jenna [01:08:29] I don’t know if this was from the mind of Justin Spitzer or if this was a bit that was written by a breakout room with one of the writers. But it was fantastic.
Angela [01:08:38] I loved it so much. I went to deleted scenes hoping that it was extended, that there was more Robert California and Dwight discussing goats, but there wasn’t.
Jenna [01:08:46] Oh, well, if you wanted to get your heart broken, the next scene is going to do it.
Angela [01:08:51] Oh, gosh. Yeah. Andy is talking to Cece, and his dad comes in and just really just belittles him just horribly. And the whole time it’s over the baby monitor. We find out that Oscar and Darryl and Pam and Jim and Erin have overheard the whole conversation. He’s told him he’s not proud of him, that he’s the manager of a rinky dink paper company in Scranton. Just is horrible.
Jenna [01:09:19] And then his parents leave. That’s it. There is no hug. There’s no, We’re proud of you anyway. There’s nothing positive. I did love the parents talking head because I absolutely loved it when Dee Wallace said the sandwiches were dry.
Angela [01:09:36] It really was a very, like, parents moment. Like, especially if you’ve planned your wedding, there’s always some aunt and uncle or someone that has a comment that’s like, Well I liked everything, but, you know, the bread was hard or something.
Jenna [01:09:50] That’s true.
Angela [01:09:51] Then we have what I think is a little bit of a redemption moment for Andy. Everyone is hanging out. It’s very casual now. Darryl is working the grill. Oscar tosses the Nard Dog a cold one, and Andy sits down on a picnic blanket and it feels warm and cozy and so friendly. And boy, did Andy need this at the end of this day.
Jenna [01:10:12] It’s true. We’re going to have a final moment from Dwight as well, a final performance. It is a torch dance, a fire dance with the staff. This was, of course, from James Trickington’s book about closing ceremonies. We had a fan question from Rebecca G in Texas who said, How long did it take for Rainn Wilson to learn the dance at the end of the episode? And Ryan S from Massachusetts would like to know how many safety meetings were there about the use of fire in the closing ceremonies? Steve Burgess said that those dancers were an actual fire dance group.
Angela [01:10:49] Amazing.
Jenna [01:10:51] And that Marianne Kellogg was our choreographer. He said Rainn Wilson learned that choreography and worked with the fire dancers for a couple of hours earlier that morning in order to do that scene. And as far as safety, Steve Burgess said, We had a lot of safety meetings all the time. We had a big one first thing in the morning where we talked all about the day. I believe he reiterated the rattlesnakes, he reiterated the bees, he told us to hydrate, and he mentioned that later in the day we would have fire.
Angela [01:11:21] I remember our morning safety meeting and I remember them introducing us to our snake wrangler.
Jenna [01:11:27] Mm hmm. Yes, I remember it because I’ll never forget, you know, if you get bit by a rattlesnake, you are not supposed to run because that makes the venom move more quickly through your system. You’re not supposed to have a person who has been bit by a rattlesnake move themselves out of the area. You are supposed to get someone to carry them out. And that was the whole thing, that it was like, you’re supposed to scream for help so that you could be carried out of the area.
Angela [01:12:01] I just remember the guy had these really tall boots on. And you and I were walking around in little high heels or flats, and I was like, Should we all have the tall boots?
Jenna [01:12:11] Yes.
Angela [01:12:12] Where are the boots? I want some boots.
Jenna [01:12:15] Yes. Steve said we also fireproofed all of the wardrobe for the fire dancers. And we had another safety meeting right before the fire dance started. And that’s how it all went down.
Angela [01:12:26] Before our rewatch is done of The Office, I really want Kelly Cantley to come on, and I want her to do a full safety meeting on the podcast.
Jenna [01:12:34] Absolutely. It has to happen.
Angela [01:12:37] This episode ends with a tag. It is Jim pranking Dwight. This prank made more sense to me. Okay? He’s just going to enter the party over and over so that Dwight is constantly having to say, Jim Halpert.
Jenna [01:12:49] Mm hmm.
Angela [01:12:50] And he’s like, asking him questions like, Who’s the best salesman in the branch? And then he exits, then he comes back in. Jim Halpert! And he just does this over and over. I loved this whole bit of Rainn announcing everyone and shouting as Dwight. I thought it was a fun way to end the episode.
Jenna [01:13:06] I want to say that I thought that this garden party with all of these weird elements was actually quite charming and interesting. And like Robert California, I would be interested in having that party.
Angela [01:13:19] Forget the beets. Focus on parties minus the goats.
Jenna [01:13:24] Exactly. Well, there you have it, everybody. That was Garden Party.
Angela [01:13:28] Thanks so much for listening. Thank you so much to Josh Groban for stopping by. What an absolute delight.
Jenna [01:13:35] And thank you to Steve Burgess for all his great insider info.
Angela [01:13:39] Yes. And next week we will be back with Spooked.
Jenna [01:13:43] Ooh, that’s a Halloween episode. Halloween in June.
Angela [01:13:47] Bye, you guys!
Jenna [01:13:47] Bye! Thank you for listening to Office Ladies. Office Ladies is produced by Earwolf, Jenna Fischer, and Angela Kinsey. Our show is executive produced by Codi Fischer. Our producer is Cassi Jerkins. Our sound engineer is Sam Kieffer. And our associate producer is Aynsley Bubbico.
Angela [01:14:11] Our theme song is Rubber Tree by Creed Bratton. For ad free versions of Office ladies, go to Stitcher Premium dot com. For a free one month trial of Stitcher Premium, use code “office”.