Initiation w/ B.J. Novak and Rainn Wilson
Office Ladies #33 June 23, 2020
This week we’re breaking down Initiation, our journey begins now. This episode can really only be defined as “the works”, we get introduced to Pretzel Day, Schrute Farms, and Mose and we’re going to talk about them all. We check in at Stamford and that squeaky chair and a fun Jim-Pam background catch. Then we explore Stanley’s love of Pretzel Day and the unexpected bond between him and Michael. Finally, we are joined by two of the best in the biz, BJ Novak and Rainn Willson, to get the inside scoop on all those iconic Ryan, Dwight and Mose moments from this episode. We hope you don’t crash too hard after this episode.
Hear the Episode
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:04] I'm Jenna Fischer.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:00:05] I'm Angela Kinsey.
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:06] We were on "The Office" together.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:00:07] And we're best friends.
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:08] And now we're doing the ultimate "Office" rewatch podcast just for you.
ANGELA KINSEY [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 where the "Office Ladies".
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:24] Hi, everybody, welcome to "Office Ladies".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:00:28] Bonjour.
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:29] Bonjour?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:00:29] I don't know. I don't know. I am wearing like this, this T-shirt is kind of like it's like really soft and shimmery, but it's like also feels like pajamas. And I think it's just got me in a I don't know, in a mood to say Bonjour.
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:44] Angela, when I first saw you I thought you were just wearing a black t-shirt. And I was really disappointed because I showed up in my Pam teapot-shirt for our recording. Why I like to always wear an "Office Ladies" or "Office" themed or use an "Office" mug when we record, I don't know. It's a thing.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:01:01] It's like you want to get in the mindset. Every-, here's the thing, guys. Every single week, Jenna shows up. We hop on the Zoomy- Zoom because that's our life right now. And she has on an "Office" themed something. Shirt, hoodie. And you did this also when we would, used to go in the studio, you would always have your hoodie. And today I was like, I'd better dress to match my lady friend.
JENNA FISCHER [00:01:22] Well, I thought you were wearing a black t-shirt and then you started dancing to our theme song when it played. And I saw that it says "Office Ladies".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:01:31] I wore our "Office Ladies" shirt.
JENNA FISCHER [00:01:31] It made me so happy. And then it made you speak French, so.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:01:35] Wait, wait. What are we? What are we here to talk about, Jenna?
JENNA FISCHER [00:01:37] We are here to talk about "Initiation". Season 3, Episode 5. Written by B.J. Novak and directed by Randall Einhorn.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:01:47] There are a lot of good quotes in this one. I won't rapid fire them right now. But there are some good quotes.
JENNA FISCHER [00:01:53] Angela, last week all we did "Grief Counseling". We had a lot of bird injuries and fiascos in our life. Has any type of initiation incident happened to you this week?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:02:05] Have I been initiated in my own house?
JENNA FISCHER [00:02:07] Yeah. I mean, talk about an interesting topic if the answer is yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:02:11] No, but don't give my kids any ideas. They would be all over this. They'd be like, here's the thing, Kid Club initiation. Go into Isabel's room, put on this fuzzy hat, jump backwards three times, make a duck sound. You're in the club!
JENNA FISCHER [00:02:29] Sounds fun. I'm into it. All right. Let's talk about this episode. I've got a summary for you. I'm very excited. This is a big episode. All right. Here's the main storyline. Dwight is taking Ryan on his first sales call. But it's not as simple as that. Of course it's not. It involves Dwight. It involves a trip to Dwight's farm.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:02:51] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:02:52] And other places.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:02:54] And his creepy cousin.
JENNA FISCHER [00:02:56] Oh, we're going to meet Mose. And then, of course, back at Dunder Mifflin. Lady, it's Pretzel Day.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:03:03] That's a big day.
JENNA FISCHER [00:03:04] Big day. Stanley is so excited. It's a long line, but they're going to get some pretzels. However, at this same time, Jan has told Pam she has to keep a log of Michael's day and make sure he's productive.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:03:19] Meanwhile, over in Stamford, they've got a squeaky chair. They've got some more flirty flirt.
JENNA FISCHER [00:03:25] Oh, boy. Let's get into it Fast Fact Number One. As I said, we are going to visit Schrute Farm. This is huge. We got a ton of questions about this. Are you ready for some names?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:03:39] I'm ready for some names. Who wrote in?
JENNA FISCHER [00:03:42] Lauren Bails, Mike Motherwell, Jessica Coen, Bailey Lawrence and Briana Bullard all said, "Where is the farm"? Where is the farm where Ryan and Dwight go?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:03:53] Well, I know that it was a few places. Did you hit up some Kent-apedia?
JENNA FISCHER [00:03:58] I did. So the main Schrute farm was shot at the Disney Ranch, which is also called the Golden Oak Ranch. It is a place where you shoot things. It's like an outdoor exterior shooting studio. Basically.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:04:14] It's massive, though. It's massive. It's acres and acres, right? It's like.
JENNA FISCHER [00:04:18] Oh, yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:04:19] It's massive. And so, so many movies that need this sort of rustic look have been filmed there. Like the history of Disney Ranch is really cool.
JENNA FISCHER [00:04:28] Oh, yeah. It's located in Newhall, California, which is about 17 miles from the Dunder Mifflin studios. I'm giving you that detail because several people asked how far away it was from our main studios, and I want them to feel satisfied. So there are several barns and farm houses on this property. They chose one of them to be the Schrute Farm House, and then they created a graveyard next to it. But you might be thinking, wait a second. I don't remember a graveyard. That's because it's a deleted scene.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:05:02] It's a deleted scene. It's a really good deleted scene, you guys, if you have the DVD, go watch it. So here's, here's what happens there in the cemetery, because Dwight wants to show Ryan how many Schrute's have actually been buried on Schrute farms. And he has like his grandfather's tombstone. And he's like, my grandfather was a good man but did very bad things. So.
JENNA FISCHER [00:05:23] What is up with his grandfather?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:05:25] His grandfather was... I don't know. Not, maybe not a great guy. Then Dwight finds like an empty, it looks like a beer can and he gets furious and he starts looking around and he sees these, this couple, the guy like basically has no clothes on his like covering himself with his pants and a girl who barely is clothed and they start running through the field and Dwight's yelling at them. And this was awesome because it's a total callback to Office Olympics where Dwight mentions that teenagers sometimes use the beet farm for sex.
JENNA FISCHER [00:05:57] Oh, I'm so bummed this is not in the episode.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:05:59] It's a great scene. It's a really funny scene.
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:02] Oh my gosh. I love a callback. And this is calling back creepy grandfather and the teenagers on the farm.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:06:10] And you know what? When I watched it all I could think about since I filmed many scenes on Schrute farms was the field they ran through A, it was probably super hot and B, it was snakey. We'll get to that later. But all I could think of was these people with not a lot of clothes on having to run through that snakey field. I was like, ooooh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:29] Yes, let's talk about those snakes, Angela. Because Kent told me that the one requirement for shooting on the ranch is that every production has to hire a snake wrangler.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:06:38] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:39] Because the property has a history of rattlesnakes on the property.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:06:43] Yeah. Oh yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:45] Yeah. And Kent said, the snake guy found a rattlesnake near there, that graveyard set. A five foot rattlesnake, by the way.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:06:53] Oh, I. I don't doubt it. I don't doubt it. My memory-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:56] That's as big as you, Angela.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:06:58] That's my height.
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:58] I have two more facts about Disney Ranch.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:01] Let's hear it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:07:03] So the other location that we shot on Disney Ranch was that barn.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:07] Mmhmm.
JENNA FISCHER [00:07:08] That old barn. We also used that and we used another house at the Disney Ranch for that scene at the bar, at the end when Dwight and Ryan are at the bar. That house that they used for the bar was originally built for Peewee Herman's show back in the 1980s. And they redressed it and turned it into a bar. Isn't that amazing?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:30] That's crazy.
JENNA FISCHER [00:07:31] I know. So there's a little fun fact.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:33] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:07:33] And finally, a lot of people wanted to know if we did keep going back to the same location to shoot year after year. And yes, we went back to the Disney Ranch multiple times, including in Season 4, the "Money" episode. That is when Pam catches Mose in the outhouse.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:52] Yeah. And then-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:07:53] So we were there.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:54] Dwight and Angela have a scene in that barn years later. But then ultimately we'll get to this. The final Schrute farm scene of the whole series is in a whole new location. That was so beautiful. But we'll get there.
JENNA FISCHER [00:08:07] Yeah, that was gorgeous.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:08:08] It looked like we were in Scotland. It was so beautiful.
JENNA FISCHER [00:08:11] Yes. But we don't go there till the end.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:08:13] 'Til the end end. OK, guys, we'll get there in three years.
JENNA FISCHER [00:08:17] We'll get there. Fast Fact Number Two, the beet fields were not shot at Disney Ranch. That was a completely different location. Those scenes were shot at the Underwood family farm in Moorpark, California. It is a real working 200 acre farm. They grow corn, carrots, kale, strawberries, tomatoes and, of course, beets. So we filmed those in an actual beet field. Isn't that crazy?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:08:46] That is crazy. I have been to that farm with Isabel, my daughter, for a school field trip, and I went on a hay ride through like all around. It's really, it's like a, it's a huge farm and it's just, it's not that far away.
JENNA FISCHER [00:09:00] All right. Moving us along to Fast Fact Number Three, this was the first episode directed by Randall Einhorn. And you guys, so Randall was our cinematographer and our A camera operator.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:09:13] You've heard us talk about him a lot. We loved him. We loved him. He was just so fun. And this was, this was like a big deal. Like the cast was so excited to see Randall direct an episode.
JENNA FISCHER [00:09:25] I got on the phone with Randall, Angela.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:09:27] You did? I love him.
JENNA FISCHER [00:09:28] Yes. And we're going to have him on the show. He told me that this was his first directing job ever. He told me that before our show he had only ever worked on documentary style projects. And remember, we said he was a camera operator on "Survivor".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:09:48] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:09:48] But he had done all this other documentary work as well.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:09:52] Yeah, he used to film like I think like river boat, crazy river rafting stuff in Australia. Like, he is like a tough guy and, and I think the documentary style, like we said, was perfect for our show. And now he gets to direct.
JENNA FISCHER [00:10:07] Yeah. He said he couldn't believe he got the job as our cinematographer because he had never worked in scripted anything before. And now Greg was telling him to direct. And he was like, what? But he said that Greg was really sweet. Greg said, Randall, all the time you are finding jokes with your camera. And this is a natural extension of that. And so Randall was like, all right, I'll do it. And he said he was so touched because he felt like everyone in the cast and crew was rooting for him to succeed. He said he'll just never forget what that support felt like and what it meant to him. He said especially B.J., who was the writer of the episode. He said, the hardest part of directing this episode, because I said to him, I'm like, Randall. This was a huge episode. You have to introduce Pretzel Day, Schrute Farms and Mose. And then it all ends with this epic phone call between Jim and Pam. What was the hardest part of all that? And he said the hardest part was not holding the camera himself.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:11:13] Well, yeah. Yeah, that's so true. Because that was his background for years, you know, but I think it made him such a great director because he had that vision. He knew where he wanted the camera. He knew what he wanted the camera to see. I loved that.
JENNA FISCHER [00:11:28] Well, he said he did take the camera a few times during this episode and he even pointed them out to me. So I'll tell you those moments as we go along.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:11:38] Oh fun.
JENNA FISCHER [00:11:38] And then he also told me that even today when he's directing, because that's what he does now, he's now a director exclusively. And he said it was only last year that he finally directed a project and didn't take the camera once.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:11:55] Wow.
JENNA FISCHER [00:11:56] But he said that's how he he feels it that way still, because those were his beginnings.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:02] Yeah. Well, before he directed this episode, he directed the webisodes.
JENNA FISCHER [00:12:08] Oh yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:09] And so, you know, obviously that's not like a full episode, but I remember how giddy he was. But he was holding the camera and directing because that was, that was just us on the weekend. It was just like three of us there.
JENNA FISCHER [00:12:20] And you guys won an Emmy for those webisodes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:23] We did. We won an Emmy. I have an Emmy for "The Accountants".
JENNA FISCHER [00:12:27] I know.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:27] It just tickles me.
JENNA FISCHER [00:12:28] So cool. All right, listen, why don't we take a break and then we're gonna come back and start breaking down this episode.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:34] OK. OK, so now we're in the episode, guys. And Dwight is challenging Ryan to a brain teaser. And, you know, Ryan just crushes it. He knows all of them. Dwight gets really frustrated. I found this little piece of trivia on Dunderpedia and Jenna, I loved it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:12:54] What?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:54] Dunderpedia is amazing. If you guys haven't checked it out.
JENNA FISCHER [00:12:55] Dunderpedia is amazing, everybody.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:57] All right. So on Dunderpedia, it says one of the riddles that Dwight poses to Ryan in the cold open is about a boy involved in a car accident who is the son of the doctor on the call in the emergency room and therefore cannot operate, even though his father was in the car and was also injured because the doctor is his mother, right?
JENNA FISCHER [00:13:17] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:13:17] Get this. At the very end of the finale of the original BBC series. Tim, what you know, the character Jim is based on, along with Gareth, and that's the character Dwight was based on, is being asked this riddle by David Brent.
JENNA FISCHER [00:13:35] Wow.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:13:36] Isn't that so cool. I feel like this is a little nod, right?
JENNA FISCHER [00:13:39] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:13:40] I loved that.
JENNA FISCHER [00:13:41] I love that, too. Well, then, when this episode really begins, Jan is in Michael's office. She's trying to have a professional conversation with Michael, but he keeps making it personal.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:13:56] Yeah. Jenna, here's, did you notice her hair in the scene?
JENNA FISCHER [00:14:00] How can you not? What is going on with her hair?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:14:02] I don't know. It's like, they tried something new. They tried. They tried rollers or something. I was like-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:14:07] It looks like hot rollers.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:14:09] It looks like hot rollers. I was just like, wait. They were just doing blow outs. And now Jan, Jan is zhuzhing it up when she comes in to see Michael now.
JENNA FISCHER [00:14:18] That's an interesting take on it. Like he's talking about the sex he's having with Carol. And she's like, I did not hot roller my hair for this.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:14:27] For this B.S.
JENNA FISCHER [00:14:29] Yeah, I totally noticed her hair. Well, then Jan goes up to Pam's desk and says that she needs to keep it an hourly log of Michael's activities so that corporate can analyze his productivity. You guys, there's a moment in this scene that made me laugh so hard when I was rewatching it. And also I remember breaking every time Melora did it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:14:52] What?
JENNA FISCHER [00:14:53] She walks up to the desk, I'll tell you. She walks up to the desk and she's like, "Hi, Pam". And Pam goes, "Hi". And then she goes, "I'm great". And then keeps talking. But Pam didn't say, "How are you"?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:15:08] Yeah. She's so pissed that Michael has just told her about Carol. And she just walks up with that energy.
JENNA FISCHER [00:15:14] I love it so much. So, you know, I got the shooting drafts for this whole season and it's in there. "I'm great" is then there. I had to look it up to see if Melora improvised that or if it was written. But that was a written joke, and I love it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:15:28] So good.
JENNA FISCHER [00:15:29] We had some mail about this scene. Lauren Holman wrote in to say, "At 1 minute, 47 seconds, there's a weird circular object in the bottom right next to an ancient stapler that I can't identify". And Elizabeth Molina said, "What's the deal with the scale behind Jenna? It looks like a food scale, which would make more sense in the kitchen or break room". I think they're talking about the same object. I froze on it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:15:56] Yeah?
JENNA FISCHER [00:15:57] It is a scale. I think it's a scale that Pam is using to weigh small packages for mailing.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:16:04] Yeah, I would think it would probably to make sure she has the right postage.
JENNA FISCHER [00:16:08] That's what it looks like to me.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:16:10] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:16:10] We don't have a mail room in our office. We have a mail cart. So I guess Pam has to keep that scale behind her, but it's not always there.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:16:22] Listen, we don't know what Pam does back there.
JENNA FISCHER [00:16:28] With her revolving plants and her scale. Who knows?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:16:32] She can't keep a plant alive. She has a giant shredder.
JENNA FISCHER [00:16:36] Yeah. Exactly.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:16:37] And now she has a scale.
JENNA FISCHER [00:16:38] We don't know. We don't know. Well, guys, now we are going to find out that Dwight is taking Ryan on this sales call, his first sales call.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:16:52] Oh, he's so excited. There are some great deleted scenes on the DVD that are all about this storyline. But Dwight is so excited. He's hoping that Ryan will become part of the Dwight's Army of Champions, right?
JENNA FISCHER [00:17:06] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:17:06] Not be a slacker like Jim. This is like, and maybe, maybe become one of his best friends.
JENNA FISCHER [00:17:12] Maybe.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:17:12] So in the in the DVD, there's a deleted scene that I absolutely loved. I laughed so hard. And it's just such a simple moment, you guys. But Michael goes to hug Ryan to wish him well as he goes out for his first sale. You know, like, I'm going to give you a man hug. It's awkward. It's so awkward. But then it gets even weirder because then Dwight joins in and he wants to hug him too. And then Michael's, like shoving Dwight. Like, "Dwight, get away". Like. Meanwhile, like, B.J. is like stuck between them. It is. It's, it just made me laugh so hard.
JENNA FISCHER [00:17:46] I love this whole storyline. We know you love it too. We have a surprise.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:17:51] We have a surprise. Tell them, Jenna.
JENNA FISCHER [00:17:53] Rainn and B.J. are going to come on the show today to talk all about it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:17:58] So we're going to break down the rest of the episode. And then when they hop on, they will discuss all things Schrute Farms and the initiation.
JENNA FISCHER [00:18:06] Yes, we're going to skip their scenes for now. But don't worry, we will get to it. For now, let's discuss what's going on at Stamford.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:18:15] Oh yeah. At 3 minutes, 21 seconds, Karen notices that Jim took her chair and has replaced it with the squeaky chair.
JENNA FISCHER [00:18:23] I want you to know something. Squeaky chair was not in the original script.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:18:27] Huh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:18:28] The original storyline for Stamford was a completely different. This was a late addition. And I traded some texts with B.J. and he said he doesn't quite remember where the squeaky chair storyline came from.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:18:41] Let me give you a little pitch, where it might have come from and it might not have. But I want you guys to know, something happening behind the scenes was over in the accounting department. And I texted Oscar. I was like, "Oscar. Do you remember this"? And he just wrote back, "Hahaha". OK. There was a crap chair over in accounting. It was an absolute piece of crap chair that it wouldn't go up and down. It just was like set on one setting. So it was always way too low for my desk and then it leaned way too far back. So you always felt like, like I mean, you guys I know I'm Southern, but I always felt like I was gonna get bucked out of it. I'd be like, that chair is going to buck me out. So sometimes I would go and it would be at my desk and I'd be like, son of a gun. Oscar switched it again. It just traded back and forth between me and Oscar. I would move his chair and I'd put the crap chair at his desk and then out of nowhere after lunch, it would be back at my desk and I'd be like, Oscar, you gave me this piece of crap chair again. We must have done this, I think, for weeks. And then one day I moved it over to Creed's desk.
JENNA FISCHER [00:19:49] Oh, no, Angela.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:19:53] I did. And I said to Oscar, I was like, I put it, I put that crap chair Creed's desk and we like, laughed. And anyway, it just cracks me up that this was actually something happening. I don't know if the writers ever even knew about it. I don't know if we vented about it. But this was an actual thing happening over in accounting.
JENNA FISCHER [00:20:10] Oh, my gosh. You had your own chair war.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:20:13] We did. But I don't know how Brian stayed out of it. Maybe 'cause he was too far in the corner. It just, it just traded between me and Oscar.
JENNA FISCHER [00:20:22] Well, did you notice in this scene in Stamford when, when Jim wheels his chair over to the copier, did you look in the background? I noticed a little something back there.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:20:34] I, I saw a few people write in. You have to tell them because I think this is so beautiful.
JENNA FISCHER [00:20:39] All right. I also talked to Randall about this, and he said this was totally on purpose. He planted a guy standing at reception in the same way that Jim would always stand at reception and talk to Pam. He even has his sleeves rolled up the way Jim used to roll up his sleeves.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:20:58] Get out of town.
JENNA FISCHER [00:20:59] Sleeve gate.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:20:59] Susan, are you listening to this, Susan?
JENNA FISCHER [00:21:01] Yeah, I know.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:21:02] Susan who broke down the sleeves.
JENNA FISCHER [00:21:04] I know. Yeah. And Randall said that was on purpose, to, to keep that Pam Jim thing sort of in our orbit.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:21:12] Oh, my gosh. That's such a beautiful detail. So Stamford has their own version of Jim and Pam that hang out at reception and flirt.
JENNA FISCHER [00:21:20] Yeah. Amazing, right?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:21:21] That's amazing. That's amazing.
JENNA FISCHER [00:21:24] All right, so let's go back to the Scranton branch. Pam is keeping notes on Michael's day. He's on a phone call and he's doing a Bill Cosby impression. So Pam holds up her log. And she has written Cosby impression. So, first of all, that is not my handwriting on the log. People asked. And also, we got a fan question from Jonathan Barock. "When Jan gives Pam a time sheet to write down everything Michael does throughout the day, why doesn't Pam cover for him? Like, why not write down sales call instead of Cosby impression"?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:21:59] Hmmm.
JENNA FISCHER [00:22:00] What are our thoughts on that?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:01] I mean, Pam sometimes is a little bit of a stickler. She's a rule follower. You know?
JENNA FISCHER [00:22:08] Yeah, I mean, I think if she covers for Michael and then Jan finds out otherwise, Pam's gonna get in trouble.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:16] Yeah, I mean, I feel like she, she does cover for him later, so maybe she starts out being like, all right, I'll do what Jan told me, but then she feels bad or something because Michael is such a train wreck for the whole day.
JENNA FISCHER [00:22:28] Yeah. And he ends up making a huge sale in the end. So his, that's the thing about Michael. Right? Like his weird ways they, they turn out.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:40] He's able to connect with people. He is. Say what you want to say about Michael, people like him. Not that have to work with him.
JENNA FISCHER [00:22:47] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:48] Acquaintances really like him. All right. Now we're back at the Stamford branch. And Andy, I guess, has told Karen he'll try to help her, you know, get that chair back.
JENNA FISCHER [00:22:58] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:58] So he's like, Jim, can you come talk to me over here? And he's like, I can talk to you from here. He's like, yeah, but could you get up and come over here? And Karen's like, that's all you got? And then Ed as Andy made me laugh so hard when he says, "I'm acting my heart out here". It just made me laugh, I mean Andy is so bad, he's so transparent and it just was so funny that he was like, hey, come on.
JENNA FISCHER [00:23:23] That seemed like an Ed improv to me, but I couldn't check because this storyline isn't in my script. We did have a fan catch at this moment. Marguerite Carter wrote in to say, "At around 4 minutes, 50 seconds, you can see Jim's nameplate on his desk and it says Jim Halpert. And underneath it, it says, Assistant Regional Manager".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:23:44] Marguerite.
JENNA FISCHER [00:23:46] There you go.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:23:46] Applause. Applause.
JENNA FISCHER [00:23:49] It's official.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:23:50] Well, things are about to get real exciting over the Scranton branch because it is announced it's Pretzel Day.
JENNA FISCHER [00:23:57] Oh, and Stanley books it out the door. He books it, but he grabs his crossword.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:02] Well.
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:03] He, he knows there's going to be a line.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:04] He knows that he's going to be in line. Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:06] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:06] He's planning ahead.
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:08] He's ready for it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:09] I have a question. And this was also a fan catch. Kelly Rue asked, "Whose voice makes the announcement about Pretzel Day?" And Bailey Aspenson said, "Is that the voice of Billy Merchant"?
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:20] It is.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:21] It's Billy Merchant.
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:22] Yes, yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:23] Which makes sense because he's the building manager.
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:26] Yeah. I asked Kent Zbornak because there was a part of me that thought, is that Kent's voice? And Kent said no. Kent said they got Marcus York to record that audio for the announcement.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:38] Amazing. I love it. I love attention to detail.
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:42] I do, too. So now we have the Stanley talking head. That is one of my favorite talking heads. And Leslie's delivery of it is so great. He says, "I wake up every morning in a bed that's too small. Drive my daughter to school that's too expensive. And then I go to work for a job which I get paid too little. But on Pretzel Day. Well, I like Pretzel Day". That talking head that appears in the episode is an alternate talking head, Angela. That is not the talking head. That was in the shooting draft.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:25:13] It's so perfect, though. I can't imagine anything else. I mean, it's so perfect. It sums up like Stanley, I-. What was it?
JENNA FISCHER [00:25:22] The original talking head was this. "There are four things that I love. My wife, my daughter, Pam Greer, and a hot, chewy roll of buttered dough".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:25:32] Pam Greer. Jenna. You know what that sound means?
JENNA FISCHER [00:25:39] I do. We get a lot of questions about different behind the scenes moments on "The Office" and we always try our best to give you the "Real Deal".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:25:46] Just like our friends at State Farm, if you want to know how much you can save on your auto insurance by bundling with your home policy, they'll always give you the answers you need when you need them.
JENNA FISCHER [00:25:57] So we teamed up with State Farm to give you the "Real Deal" behind your favorite episodes of "The Office". And this week's "Real Deal" question comes from Crystal White.
CRYSTAL WHITE [00:26:07] Hi, Jenna and Angela. My name Crystal. I love your show. My question is, who came up with the idea of Pretzel Day? And were there actually pretzels for the cast to eat while you guys were on set? Love you guys.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:26:18] Thank you so much for your question, Crystal. OK, so we got a lot of pretzel related questions. Jenna, I know you did some digging around and you got the "Real Deal" on this.
JENNA FISCHER [00:26:28] Yes, I found out some good stuff. First off, B.J. told me that the inspiration for Pretzel Day goes all the way back to Season 1. Greg took the writers on these fact finding visits to real offices so that they could get inspiration for storylines and episodes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:26:46] I love that. Now, I know that Greg likes to do stuff like this. I know when he was working on King of the Hill, he took all the writers to Austin, Texas, because they were like, OK, you got to know Texas if you're writing about characters that live in Texas. So I love that Greg is now taking our writers to small businesses.
JENNA FISCHER [00:27:04] Yes. And lady, he even took them to a paper company.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:27:07] Oh, my God. Amazing.
JENNA FISCHER [00:27:09] Yes. And B.J. told me that on one of the days when they went to this office park, they were doing some kind of morale boosting free food giveaway for the employees. It wasn't pretzels. He thinks maybe it was popcorn, but everyone was really excited. And the writers put this idea on a card in the writers room. And then B.J. added the tidbit that Stanley would be the character that looked forward to this free food giveaway all year.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:27:36] I love that. I love that so much. And it's so relatable. You know, years ago I worked as an operator, Jenna, and we would have "Make Your Own Ice Cream Sundae Day" and they would wheel a cart around. You couldn't leave your desk. You had to stay on calls. It was kind of crazy. But the managers would wheel around this cart and we would get so excited to make our own ice cream sundaes. And I feel like I relate to Stanley on this day. He loved pretzels so much, he looked forward to it so much. OK.
JENNA FISCHER [00:28:08] Angela, I feel like we had something similar on our set. Because we would every once in a while get a coffee cart. Oh, people would lose their minds for that coffee cart. And you would line up outside and you would get to order your gourmet coffee, because on the set, we really just had that drip coffee because they took our fancy machine away for being too loud.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:28:30] Oh, yeah. It was too loud. So when we would get a coffee cart and they would come and set up in the parking lot, I mean, the line was around the corner.
JENNA FISCHER [00:28:38] Oh yeah. Oh yeah. So this is very relatable. And I love this story line. I also found out about the pretzels.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:28:46] Oh. Where were they from?
JENNA FISCHER [00:28:48] Kent told me that the pretzels were from Wetzel's Pretzels. He said that they rented a pretzel cart from a prop house and Phil Shea decorated it and sort of tricked it out. And they had pretzel toppings, just like in the script. You could have sweet pretzel, maple pretzel.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:29:09] I wasn't in any of the pretzel line scenes, but I do remember that day because after the scenes, they put all the extra pretzels over at crafty. And so Peter had them for everyone.
JENNA FISCHER [00:29:20] Yeah, I remember that too. Kent told me that they had ordered 100 pretzels, but we only used a few for the actual scene and that all the leftovers went to crafty and that between the cast and crew, we ate them all.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:29:33] We did. We had our own Pretzel Day, guys.
JENNA FISCHER [00:29:36] We did. We had our own Pretzel Day.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:29:39] Well, there you have it. When you want the "Real Deal" on "The Office", we're your ladies.
JENNA FISCHER [00:29:43] When you want the "Real Deal" on insurance like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:29:48] If you want to submit questions about a future episode, just head over to OfficeLadies.com/RealDeal. And if we pick your question to be our "Real Deal" question on the show, we will send you a swag bag of fun stuff, including an "Office Ladies" hoodie and a signed "Office Ladies" mug.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:05] So now we're in the pretzel line. And Kelly is chatting up Michael. So he's tuning her out and he's, he's laser focused on his pretzels. And by the way, Phyllis is about to come up to the line. And she's doing that thing where like, "Oh, I'm just saying hi".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:23] Hi.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:23] She's just saying hi to Bob in line.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:25] Yeah. I'm just saying hi to my to my fella. And then I'm going to sneak in line.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:30] Yes. And, oh, my gosh. Michael and Stanley are not having it. They are booing her.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:36] They start booing her. They tell her to get to the back of the line. I mean.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:41] And then they high five. Michael and Stanley high five.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:48] I mean, is it the only time in the whole series they high five?
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:52] They're like friends in this episode. It's a really cute thing.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:56] They are friends for a moment. A moment in time.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:59] On Pretzel Day. All right. So back to Squeaky Chair. Karen in Stamford, she is purposely squeaking her chair to annoy Jim.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:31:12] "Love me, love me. Say that you love me".
JENNA FISCHER [00:31:15] Yeah. And then Jim tries to get "Love Fool" stuck in her head. Now, Randall pointed out the camera work to me here. This is one of the moments where Randall took the camera back because he wanted to do this all in one shot, just changing the focus from Karen to Jim and then pulling back to reveal Andy and again changing the focus between these three different people. He said he couldn't explain it. He just had to shoot it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:31:45] I love that. I love that he can just be like, I got this, guys. I got it. Let me, let me pick up this camera. Well, on the DVD commentary, they were talking about how much John broke in the scene. They said every time Ed would do a version of, you know, singing the song. John would break. And then they said that Ed started messing with John, trying to sort of like up his game on how he would do it just to see if he could get John to break. But I just love that. I guess John was kind of a mess because Ed was just crushing it. All right. So now, Stanley, you know, he's getting his pretzel. It's here.
JENNA FISCHER [00:32:21] Yes. He's at the front of the line. He's moving away. Now there was a line that got deleted here. It's in the script and its’ Stanley's pretzel order. A lot of people want to know what was his order.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:32:34] Wait. I don't know what his order was. What was his order?
JENNA FISCHER [00:32:38] "Salty with extra mustard".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:32:40] I did not see that coming.
JENNA FISCHER [00:32:42] Yeah. Salty with extra mustard is Stanley's pretzel.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:32:47] Ok.
JENNA FISCHER [00:32:47] Well, when Michael gets to the front of the line. There are just too many toppings for him to choose from. There are 18 different sweet toppings. He's like a child.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:32:58] He is like a child. And I was so impressed with the actor that plays the pretzel guy because he just rifles off all of those extras like it's nothing. And, you know, he had to memorize all of that.
JENNA FISCHER [00:33:09] Do you want to hear what they are? There's 18 of them.
JENNA FISCHER [00:33:11] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:33:13] All right. They are sweet glaze, cinnamon sugar, chocolate, white chocolate, fudge, M&Ms, caramel dip, mint chip, chocolate chip, marshmallow, nuts, toffee nuts, coconuts, peanut butter drizzle, Oreos, sprinkles, cotton candy bits and powdered sugar.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:33:27] Oh, my gosh. And Michael gets the works. Oh, my God.
JENNA FISCHER [00:33:31] We had a fan question about this. "God in this Chili's" wrote in, "Was the pretzel guy an actor or someone from craft service or someone from the crew"? He was an actor and his name was Thomas F. Evans. And he is, he has done a ton of guest appearances on television shows. He's done "The Kids are All Right", "Criminal Minds", "General Hospital", "Days of our Lives".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:33:55] Oh my God, "Days of our Lives".
JENNA FISCHER [00:33:56] You probably have seen him everywhere. "Days of our Lives", Angela.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:33:59] Well, Thomas, I thought you were fantastic. And I just thought you were the perfect pretzel guy.
JENNA FISCHER [00:34:05] There's a deleted scene.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:34:07] Oh, yeah, there is. Oh, yeah, there is.
JENNA FISCHER [00:34:09] It's more of the Michael Stanley friendship. And it's kind of too bad that it got cut because it's a scene in the parking lot of Michael and Stanley eating their pretzels together.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:34:20] They're so happy. Michael says, "They taste so good in my mouth". And Stanley goes, "That's what she said".
JENNA FISCHER [00:34:28] I'm so sad that was cut. I am so sad the scene was cut.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:34:32] They shared a "That's what she said" joke. And then back in the kitchen, there is one more Stanley pretzel moment that's deleted and that's in the kitchen. Kevin has gotten his pretzel and he gets distracted looking in the fridge for like a topping. And Stanley just swipes the pretzel.
JENNA FISCHER [00:34:50] That's amazing.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:34:51] He steals Kevin's pretzel.
JENNA FISCHER [00:34:53] Well, now, lady, we're on a scene that I have a lot of questions about.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:34:57] Oh ok.
JENNA FISCHER [00:34:58] We are in the break room. And it's you and Kelly.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:35:03] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:35:03] And Kelly is very worried because Ryan has been gone all day and she hasn't heard from him. We know where he is. He's off with Dwight, but she's worried. You're eating something that's not a pretzel.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:35:17] It is not a pretzel. I zoomed in on this. OK? So listen. At 10 minutes, 57 seconds. I am pretty sure I'm eating popcorn.
JENNA FISCHER [00:35:26] Huh.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:35:27] I think I have a handful of popcorn. I am wondering because sometimes we shot out of order. If this was some of the leftover popcorn from "The Coup". That had been set out.
JENNA FISCHER [00:35:37] Oh, lady, I'm sure they popped you fresh popcorn for this scene.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:35:40] No, I'm just saying maybe we grabbed it from crafty.
JENNA FISCHER [00:35:44] Oh, perhaps. Perhaps. Well, we got a fan question also about this scene from Natalie. "Was this the first Kelly and Angela scene"?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:35:54] Well, you know what? I think it's the first time they've sat down together. I mean, it's definitely a huge Kelly Angela moment. It wasn't that long ago that Kelly got drunk in the Christmas episode and tried to kiss Dwight and Angela Martin-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:06] That's right.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:36:07] I mean, Angela Martin was not having it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:09] No.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:36:10] So it's kind of a big deal that she even tries to comfort Kelly, you know?
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:15] Yeah. You even pat her hand. You make physical contact.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:36:19] I make physical contact. Then she says that Dwight is weird. And then I say, he's not. And then she says, he's a freak. And I'm like, you're a freak. And I storm off. I wrote my journal that I was really excited to do this scene because Mindy and I never got to do scenes together. But I said that Mindy broke into laughter every single time I glared at her.
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:39] Mindy was the worst. Mindy was the worst. I have so many stories coming up of doing scenes with Mindy where you, you would say a regular line and she would start laughing.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:36:50] I didn't even say a line. I just looked at her later, like, really snarky and she'd start laughing.
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:56] Well, we have a fan catch, Angela, from Jennifer Wells. Guess what you do in this scene, Angela?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:02] I know.
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:04] You get up and you leave taking only your water, leaving your food behind. Again.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:12] I should have never made such a big deal when Pam did it because apparently my character does it all the time.
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:19] You know why, Angela? Because people do it all the time. People do it all the time.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:27] Do they?
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:28] They do.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:28] They get so mad they leave their food on the table?
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:30] Yes, you've lost your appetite because you're so angry. That's an indication of how upset you are. You just walk away. If you are in the middle of dinner with someone and you are compelled to walk away from the table, you don't also bring your dish. Although it would be very funny if you did.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:46] I think I would-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:47] You'd be like, I'm done talking to you, but I'm not done eating. I'll eat this in another room.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:52] I think comedically I want to write myself a scene sometime in a show or improvise a moment where I get really furious and I leave the table, but I pack up everything in anger. I pack it all up, but I take it with me.
JENNA FISCHER [00:38:05] That would be amazing, especially if it took you a very long time to pack it up.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:38:09] Yeah. And everyone had to just sit there and watch.
JENNA FISCHER [00:38:11] They have to wait.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:38:11] Yeah. I had to spoon things into a Tupperware. I had to find the lid. I had the wrong lid.
JENNA FISCHER [00:38:16] We're onto something here.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:38:17] We're onto something. Well, back at Stamford, Andy is now the owner of the squeaky chair. Andy. Andy basically would be the Creed. He got the crap chair.
JENNA FISCHER [00:38:27] He did. He's been Creeded.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:38:29] So now we're back at Scranton. Michael's playing music. He's got this sugar high going, right?
JENNA FISCHER [00:38:35] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:38:35] And he's playing that song [Sings].
JENNA FISCHER [00:38:41] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:38:42] At 13 minutes, 36 seconds. My character is annoyed. She is annoyed at the music. Kevin's into it. He's thumping his pen. In real life. In real life, Jenna, Preston, our old boom operator was videoing between scenes, all of us dancing. And he got a video of Creed and I dancing to this in between takes and-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:06] No way.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:39:07] Yes, it's a little blurry because he said he did it on a flip phone and he texted it to Matt Stone, our B camera operator, who sent it to me.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:16] Guys, check OfficeLadiesPod Instagram for this amazing behind the scenes video. Love that.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:39:21] It's a little blurry. It's a little blurry because it was a flip phone. But Creed and I are dancing our hearts out between takes. But Angela Martin? Not so much.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:31] Well, when Michael comes out of his office after he's done dancing, he decides to maximize everything. And he's talking a mile a minute. And we had a fan question from Claudia Kano, who wants to know, "Was that speech when he's talking a million miles an hour improvised"? I checked the script. No. Like, maybe two words were different than what was scripted. Way to go, Steve.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:39:56] Way to go, Steve. Way to go, Steve.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:59] And then we had a fan question. A lot of people want to know, Angela. Sarah Quick, Grace and Ali and Sarah and Janelle and Jakey all want to know what topping we would put on our pretzel.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:40:13] I mean, Jenna, I just like the basic. I just like, like Stanley. I like salty pretzel and give me a little side of some kind of spicy mustard, and I'm happy.
JENNA FISCHER [00:40:23] Oh, really? This is interesting to me. I'm cinnamon sugar.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:40:26] Mmhmm.
JENNA FISCHER [00:40:27] I think it's interesting that you like a salty pretzel and I like a sweet pretzel, but I'm probably the salty person and you're the sweet one.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:40:35] That's not true.
JENNA FISCHER [00:40:37] I am way saltier. Please. Please. I'm a half curmudgeon. All right.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:40:45] I have a question for you, Jenna.
JENNA FISCHER [00:40:47] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:40:48] In the DVD commentary. B.J. says that the line direction where Michael crashes out. You know, he falls asleep on a koosh ball and he really does. He's face planted on his desk. His face is on a koosh ball. He said that that was direction written in the script. Do you have that? What does it say exactly?
JENNA FISCHER [00:41:06] It says in the script, "Pam looks through the blinds into Michael's office. It's not good. Michael is fast asleep, face on a koosh ball".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:41:17] I love that.
JENNA FISCHER [00:41:18] And then later it notes when it's time to leave for the day and says, "Michael stumbles out of his office, squinting with koosh marks on his face". And they put the marks on his face.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:41:31] That was someone in hair and makeup had to make koosh ball like marks on his face to make his cheek red. I loved this moment and I caught a little something. Now, you guys know we have young children. So I am watching every animated movie out there multiple times. And our kids love "Despicable Me". They love "Despicable Me". They love minions. We've watched it over and over. And at 16 minutes, 52 seconds, when Michael say, "With the Jell-o", I swear I hear Gru from "Despicable Me".
JENNA FISCHER [00:42:04] Oh yes. I will give that to you.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:42:05] I think it's early Gru, listen to it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:42:09] So now we have a very big scene to end this episode.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:42:14] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:42:15] Pam's got her coat on.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:42:16] Mmhmm.
JENNA FISCHER [00:42:17] She's done for the day.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:42:18] She's leaving.
JENNA FISCHER [00:42:20] But her phone rings. You guys, it's Jim.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:42:24] It is Jim.
JENNA FISCHER [00:42:26] He called the main line because he couldn't remember Kevin's extension. He wants to talk to Kevin about Fantasy Football. Pam explains she's still at work because Jan told her to do this log about Michael. And. They start to have a conversation.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:42:45] First of all, Jenna, you and John as actors are so frickin good in this scene. This scene wrecked me. Your, your expression on your face when you realize it's his voice. And the same with John. It's so beautiful. Your conversation is so organic and earnest. And by God, it it gave me all the feels. And I want to know, was it all scripted or did you guys get to play around a little bit in that.
JENNA FISCHER [00:43:12] It was mostly scripted, but there was also a lot of improvisation. So. I'll kind of, I'll break it down for you. But I want to say that, first of all, this is the first time that John and I had done a scene together and we're not even face to face. But this is the first time we had performed together in months because this was our fifth episode in. But we'd also had our long summer break. And when I was watching this scene. Oh, my gosh. All of this sense memory came back to me and I remember what it was like to shoot this, we spent hours shooting this scene. Let me say too. We had a lot of people write in. A lot of people, I will say them. Anna. Beatrice. Alexandra. Iva, Lee, Gracie, Nina. They all want to know if John and I were actually talking on the phone during our conversation because we've talked a lot about how usually if you're talking on the phone to someone, they're not really there. You're just pretending. Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:44:20] This felt like you were, Jenna.
JENNA FISCHER [00:44:22] We were.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:44:23] Were you?
JENNA FISCHER [00:44:23] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:44:24] You were.
JENNA FISCHER [00:44:25] We were.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:44:26] Oh, my God. OK, so you're reacting to each other in real time. You heard each other's voices in real time.
JENNA FISCHER [00:44:32] This was really rare. We only did this a couple of times on our set. But here's what happened. Randall told me that he requested that we be able to hear one another, but not just that he wanted to shoot both sides of the conversation at the same time. And this was really complicated because the Stamford set was in one building and then there was a huge parking lot and then the Scranton set was in another building. And he said he thinks that it was his inexperience as a director that led him to making this what he realizes now was like a very bold, complicated request.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:45:11] Logistically, this was very hard to do. And he didn't realize that.
JENNA FISCHER [00:45:16] Yes. No, he was like, hey, listen, when we do that scene with Jim and Pam, I'm going to want to be able to, like, have a camera on each of them. And I want them to be able to hear each other on the phone. And he says now, looking back, he realizes what an insane request that was because here's what had to happen. Kent told me that NBC Universal I.T. came out and they first, they had to hook up the phone lines from these two buildings so that John and I could talk to one another. He said that they put Video Village, which is where the video feed goes. It's a little tent with video monitors and each camera goes into a different monitor so that the director can sit and see what the cameras are seeing. They had to build that in the middle of the two stages in a parking lot.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:46:03] They had to run phone lines. They had to build a tent full of monitors and make sure they had enough cable that those monitors could be active and working.
JENNA FISCHER [00:46:13] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:46:14] Oh, my god.
JENNA FISCHER [00:46:15] Yes. Because the cable goes from the monitor, through the parking lot, through the building, all the way to the camera.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:46:20] Oh, my gosh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:46:21] So the director can see what was happening. Then they recorded audio on three different lines. They had a boom operator in with me. They had a boom operator in with John. And then they were able to record the actual phone conversation through the phone line.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:46:37] Oh my gosh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:46:37] Insane, right?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:46:38] That is very technically difficult, but the result is beautiful.
JENNA FISCHER [00:46:42] And it made all the difference for John and I to be able to hear one another and to be able to really talk.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:46:50] One of the things I love about your conversation, which made it feel so real, is that you guys, you're just jumping all around on all these different subjects. Just having this conversation because you haven't talked to each other in so long. It's like all your thoughts are coming out.
JENNA FISCHER [00:47:06] Yes. And in the script, there were these little time jumps. So, and the way B.J. wrote it out was so cool too, because he would write stage direction that ere things like, "Pam lingers, wondering if she should have a seat. Will this phone call go on much longer"? So it's like he gave me these things to play out. And then it would time cut to a new subject. So it's like we start talking about typing. But then when we time cut to the 28 days-, "28 Days Later" conversation, it says Pam is now seated. And then, you know, it gave us direction about our body language so that you see the passage of time that has happened in this conversation, you get the sense that I feel like this was like a 40 minute conversation. And then, of course, it ends so awkwardly.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:47:59] So abruptly and weird. Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:48:02] I know. And it breaks your heart.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:48:04] It breaks your heart. But that's perfect too. It's perfect too, that they have this moment. But then it got weird. So, you know, they're not out of the woods here. They just got to hear each other's voice. And it felt like home for a little bit.
JENNA FISCHER [00:48:17] But it was everything. It was everything.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:48:22] I loved it. I loved it. It just completely wrecked me. But you guys always wreck me. The Jim and Pam stuff always gets me. Oh, man. I think more than any relationship on the show, it's the one that gets me every time. But I guess, you know, I'm not alone because that's everybody.
JENNA FISCHER [00:48:37] All right. So I think we should take a break now. And when we come back, we are going to be talking with B.J. Novak and Rainn Wilson.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:48:44] Oh, my gosh. We're going to talk all things "Initiation". So come on back.
JENNA FISCHER [00:48:53] Hey, everybody, we're back. And guess who's with us? It's B.J. Novak and Rainn Wilson. Hey, you guys.
B.J. NOVAK [00:48:59] Hey, Office gentlemen and ladies.
RAINN WILSON [00:49:03] Hi.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:49:03] Welcome, Office gentlemen.
RAINN WILSON [00:49:04] Office human.
B.J. NOVAK [00:49:05] Office people. Office people.
JENNA FISCHER [00:49:10] Oh boy.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:49:10] Well, this is already fun.
JENNA FISCHER [00:49:14] All right, B.J., let's get started. You wrote this episode. You perform in it, obviously, but you wrote it. Can you tell us a little bit about writing it?
B.J. NOVAK [00:49:24] Sure. As as I'm sure has been established on this show and our elsewhere. You know, the way that a writer's room works, it's very collective. And so while I wrote the episode in the sense that I was the point person on the episode, I wrote the first draft, I cared the most about it. I likely did more writing than anyone else on this particular one. That's sort of the way the taking turns process work of the writers' room. So there's plenty of things, ideas and lines and stuff that I didn't write. And there's a lot I don't remember. But my memory of this time is very sporadic. Sometimes I remember things in incredible detail. And there are entire plot lines in episodes I wrote that I just barely, barely recall at all. So this might be a very spotty recollection. But yes, I did write this one.
RAINN WILSON [00:50:14] That was a fantastic little monologue. And I the whole time I just kept thinking, is this Starship Enterprise trying to summon B.J. up to the ship? Did you guys hear that background noise ringing?
JENNA FISCHER [00:50:29] Is your laundry done? That's the sound my washing machine made.
RAINN WILSON [00:50:32] Yeah.
B.J. NOVAK [00:50:33] Should we do it again?
RAINN WILSON [00:50:34] No, no. I think we should keep it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:50:35] No.
RAINN WILSON [00:50:36] I think we should use all this. I think this is all gold. This is all gold because it's like, you know what we're Zooming and shit be cray cray.
B.J. NOVAK [00:50:44] Right.
RAINN WILSON [00:50:45] Up in here with the things ringing in the background.
B.J. NOVAK [00:50:48] See, that's a great monologue too, Rainn. We're both articulate today.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:50:55] You guys, you showed up. You showed up.
B.J. NOVAK [00:50:58] And did we ever.
RAINN WILSON [00:50:59] There was some space ship attempting to beam someone up in the background of that monologue. But surely there were chunks of it you wrote?
B.J. NOVAK [00:51:10] Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
RAINN WILSON [00:51:11] Even central ideas in that script in which it said, I would really like to write this. I connect with this. And so it was assigned to you because you had a feel for where you wanted the episode to go.
B.J. NOVAK [00:51:23] Yeah. In this case. Well, in this case, I think it was a combination of Greg Daniels and Mike Schur. Who came up with, or spearheaded the idea. Maybe I said Dwight should initiate Ryan and they, they ran with it a bit. I remember it being assigned to me because I was Ryan. As opposed to because I was obsessed with the story. But there can be very arbitrary reasons that you're assigned an episode in the writer's room. It can be. It's very often because you came up with the original idea. It's often just it's your turn. You know? We're on Episode 7, and you're the writer who hasn't gotten one in five episodes. And in this case, I think it was, it was, oh, you're Ryan. It's around your turn. Perfect. I did like it. And I thought that Dwight initiates Ryan with, you know, those three words. It's just an amazing log line. Just so rich. You know? One of them, sometimes we'd spend forever pitching stories. Now I'm just a writers' room tangent because it's my first time on "Office Ladies". But we're about to leave. It was late. We had all given these paragraph long pitches. And I guess this was really, you know, I imagine the other writers might have been mad at this. But after all of this, I just. We're about to leave and I said, Greg, I got a two word pitch "Booze Cruise". And he said, we're doing it. So sometimes just the shortest pitch that says the most. And by the way, that was my last contribution to "Booze Cruise". But yeah, "Initiation", Dwight initiates Ryan. You know, there's just so much you can picture.
JENNA FISCHER [00:52:52] Well, I love how this storyline begins. And we actually asked Sam to pull the audio clip so we could all listen to it. This is you guys are in the car. Ryan thinks he's driving to a sales meeting, but Dwight has driven him into the middle of a beet field. Let's listen to the clip.
B.J. NOVAK [00:53:12] So where's the sales office?
RAINN WILSON [00:53:15] When you are ready to see the sales office, the sales office will present its self to you. Your journey begins now.
JENNA FISCHER [00:53:24] I love it. "Your journey begins now". And the look on your face. B.J. When he -.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:53:31] Oh B.J., you have a lot of really good looks.
B.J. NOVAK [00:53:33] Well, this is why I think Rainn and I were a very good pairing because I am such a reactor and Rainn is such a generator. Do you think that's fair and sort of our improv styles in "The Office"?
RAINN WILSON [00:53:48] I think so. I think that's, I think that's apt.
B.J. NOVAK [00:53:51] Yeah.
RAINN WILSON [00:53:51] Yeah. The setup to this was fantastic too. Are you excited? Are you really excited? Are you super duper excited? And Ryan's like, I'm a little excited. And Dwight's like, I'm incredibly excited.
B.J. NOVAK [00:54:04] Yeah.
RAINN WILSON [00:54:04] And so you get to know that Dwight has a combination of Jedi Master and "Kung Fu", the television show from the 70s with David Carradine and any other movies, "Karate Kid", wax on, wax off. Anything. He's seen horror films about initiations like are all jumbled in his head like like a popcorn machine. And the, the excitement there from is, is a lot of fun to watch.
JENNA FISCHER [00:54:33] Well, it's funny you mentioned that, Rainn, because I do think that all of his experience with initiation is based on fictional things that he's watched, because I, I have the script for this and there are some deleted talking heads that you have, Rainn, where you talk about how very often like guys from a fraternity rent out your farm for activities and every year they get a goat and you would love to know what they do with that goat. So it's like you have no like that got deleted. It's unfortunate. But, you know, that happens sometimes. But it's true. I think Dwight's only frame of reference are things he's watched. He's never actually participated in an initiation. Unlike Ryan, who says he was in a fraternity in college and he's very familiar with this.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:55:24] Yeah.
B.J. NOVAK [00:55:24] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:55:25] Let's go to the beat field. Dwight makes Ryan plant a seed in the ground. And then we have this line. "Just as you have planted a seed in the ground. I'm going to plant my seed in you". Rainn, I think that was an improvisation.
RAINN WILSON [00:55:40] I think it was I think I-.
B.J. NOVAK [00:55:42] Yes.
RAINN WILSON [00:55:42] Improvised that and was, you know, tentatively and excitedly went to B.J. and was like, can we keep that? And B.J. was like, yes, we can keep that.
B.J. NOVAK [00:55:51] Oh, it was a killer. It was a killer improv. I remember it so vividly. And, you know, this is, and I did, you know, I said I don't think you know what you're saying, which is-.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:56:01] Which was perfect. It was perfect.
B.J. NOVAK [00:56:03] I hardly need to say it was equivalent, all, in its quality. All I need to say is that was a very good Rainn generating comedy and me being a very good backboard for it as a reactor. I you know, I think the generators are way more valuable improviser to have on a show, but it's a very good team. But I very vividly remember Rainn improvising that line because with great respect, I considered it a dunk on me as the writer that he knew just on the spot come up with a line that was probably better than any single line in the script that I had worked so hard.
RAINN WILSON [00:56:41] Oh.
B.J. NOVAK [00:56:41] No, I mean it.
RAINN WILSON [00:56:42] You're very, you're very kind.
B.J. NOVAK [00:56:44] That's how I remembered it. I remember it-.
RAINN WILSON [00:56:46] But here's what I want to say about working in "The Office" and why it was such a magical time and place to work under the tutelage of Greg Daniels. Because, because we were allowed to do that and to bring our ideas. And at the end of the day, not all the writers were, some of the writers were like, no, I want to just stick to the lines in the script in the editing room.
B.J. NOVAK [00:57:12] Yes.
RAINN WILSON [00:57:12] But in the editing room, for the most part, especially Greg and Dave, who was our chief editor, were in there. They would just take what's funniest. Then they would just leave-, I don't care what's on the page. I don't care what's supposed to be there. We're just going to take what's funniest and works the best. And what was captured on the camera and make the episode about that. So it was this really nice feeling like, you know, you can improvise all you wanted. It was probably going to get cut. But if you improvise and it added something and elevated it, it was probably going to make it. So everyone felt like they were a valuable contributor. And believe me, I've been on a lot of TV sets since then and before then, and that's just not the case.
JENNA FISCHER [00:57:58] I got totally spoiled working with Greg because Greg truly wanted my stories. He wanted my ideas. He, he loved to pepper me with questions about what my life was like when I was really a receptionist and those little things would find their way into the show. And it made me feel like, oh, this is what it is. This is my first TV show. I didn't know any different. So jobs that I've had since I will go into the writers offices and, with my bright ideas and my stories and my lore. And I realized quickly that most show runners and writers are like, stop talking, not interested. Please leave my office. I'm trying to write dialog for you. And I was like, aw, wah wah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:58:48] I have to tell, you guys, sort of an embarrassing moment after "The Office" ended. I did a multicam for TBS called "Your Family or Mine". And I'd never done a multicam before. Really like that. And in between setups, I ran over to the writers and they were really nice. But I ran over to them and I'm like, guys, I have a few pitches, and they were like, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. What?
JENNA FISCHER [00:59:09] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:59:09] We're not doing any pitches like that's, we'll come to you if we have an idea. We have an audience loaded in. You don't just, Kinsey get to come over here on the fly and be like, hey, I got a pitch. It's like no.
JENNA FISCHER [00:59:20] B.J. as a writer and show runner who has gone on to do more things after "The Office" and, you know, like you created your own show. What is it? How do you run your shows? Do you? Have you borrowed from Greg's way? Is it a mix?
B.J. NOVAK [00:59:36] Well, I'm very, I'm very early in show running a couple of shows that I'm just getting off the ground. So I don't actually have much experience as a show runner. A little. But I just to speak about Greg's view towards actors again, which I very much sort of took from him or learned from him and connected to. He. There are a lot of reasons why I think he wanted me and Mindy and Paul Lieberstein and Mike Schur to play Mose, which we can totally get into because there's a lot of fun psychology at play there, as well as creativity. And the fact that in the early days of the pilot, Greg would talk about Angela and Oscar in particular as people he knew would be good and he didn't know yet what the characters were exactly because he trusted them as improvisers. I think that having people, you know, some ambassadors go back and forth between the writer's room and set teaches you as writers to trust the actor's instincts, because I know this as a stand up to you performing it, you are the last line of defense. You are the soldier on the frontline. And, you know, if there are bullets coming at you or if you're firing on all cylinders or whatever you'd know in your body. So if you know something isn't working or, or after a little while, you just know it's not going to work. You're going to feel fake. It's not going to be your character. And I think that when you know that and you tell that to writers, if the writer has no experience with it, they think you're being a diva. They think you just want a better line or you want to be important. They don't realize that you might know better than them because you're actually there doing it. And often you write a line. You know, the more experience I had on set on the show the, the more I, I knew that. The more I knew to listen to the actors. I think Gregg knew that, too.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:01:43] That was so beautifully said.
RAINN WILSON [01:01:45] I know he needs his own podcasting, podcast about TV writing for TV writers.
B.J. NOVAK [01:01:50] Well, I was, I was hoping that the spaceship sound came in. So you guys wonder, like, where is he getting this?
ANGELA KINSEY [01:01:59] I don't know. The whole time you were talking, I was just kind of like, ah. Because I thought it was so well said.
JENNA FISCHER [01:02:05] Yeah.
B.J. NOVAK [01:02:05] Great.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:02:05] I think, I think it was, we were very fortunate that our show was a creative collaboration. And, and we definitely feel that moving forward when it's not the case.
JENNA FISCHER [01:02:15] Greg would often say that the reason that he went to us so much was because he really trusted us. And that was part of the audition process for him, which was hiring actors that he felt he could go to in this way. You know what I mean? It's like, I mean, to be fair, like not, not every actor has great ideas. I don't know. Like it does matter.
B.J. NOVAK [01:02:40] Not every actor is aligned creatively with what we were doing on this show. Not every actor is looking for a line that resonates deep within them, is personal as the character. Sometimes they just want a line they think would be cool or something, right?
JENNA FISCHER [01:02:54] Yeah.
B.J. NOVAK [01:02:55] And that, that might not work for a show like ours.
RAINN WILSON [01:02:57] I did have a pitch that I, I tried four or five times to pitch to Paul and Greg because Paul Liberstein took over for a couple seasons there as showrunner and it was, it never happened. And I just thought, oh my God, you're missing the opportunity of your lives, which is and it's pretty preposterous when I look back on it now. But I was convinced it would have been great, which is like early on there's just some scenes and it's Michael and Dwight and Jim and Pam and we're all blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then it pans over to Creed. And Creed is like looks to the camera and Creed goes, "Psst. Hey, buddy". And the camera is like looking and he's like, "Come on, come on, come with me". And the camera crew follows Creed out and they get into Creed's car and the entire episode Creed is then showing them his life. Is taking them on a tour of the world of Creed. I mean, he goes to a rave and he's living in an abandoned, you know, beer factory and he's got pet raccoons. And then he goes and he, like, robs a liquor store and he's like he's just like, "Come on". And the whole thing is like almost dialog free. You're just following Creed through this, like insane maze. And I feel like you've earned that. If you're on episode 137, you've earned an episode where you can do something like that. But it didn't. It didn't happen.
B.J. NOVAK [01:04:27] I found something similar with "Threat Level Midnight" where I, I don't know if it was right or wrong, and I think we've got a lot of good stuff from telling the frame story. But, you know, what I wanted was just drop "Threat Level Midnight" on the audience.
RAINN WILSON [01:04:42] Yeah.
B.J. NOVAK [01:04:42] And I think there, there was a traditional and very, very likely correct. But a traditional view of you don't, we don't do one off experiments on this show. You know, we tell the story of "The Office".
RAINN WILSON [01:04:55] And there's A, B and C story and you've got to stick to that.
B.J. NOVAK [01:04:59] Yeah. Wasn't experimental. And it did work by and large, the show. So can't really argue. But yeah, I, I'm sort of experimental like you, Rainn. I like that kind of thing.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:05:08] I feel like "Community" did things like that.
B.J. NOVAK [01:05:10] Yes. Every episode.
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:12] They could get away with that.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:05:13] Really wild one offs and I definitely, I'm with you, Rainn. I pitched a few times that we would follow characters home and I was, you know, told pretty quickly, but it's "The Office". It's called "The Office". We're not going other places.
RAINN WILSON [01:05:27] But in this episode and here's steering us back. We go to Dwight's beet farm. So we do-.
B.J. NOVAK [01:05:34] That's true.
RAINN WILSON [01:05:34] We do go home with a character.
B.J. NOVAK [01:05:39] But, but.
RAINN WILSON [01:05:39] And is this? Is this? What time is this? Was this the first time? Second time we went to Dwight's farm. And was this?
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:46] First time.
B.J. NOVAK [01:05:46] Gotta be the first time.
RAINN WILSON [01:05:47] And was it the introduction of Mose? Was this the first time with Mose.
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:50] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:05:51] Yes.
B.J. NOVAK [01:05:51] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:52] Yes.
RAINN WILSON [01:05:53] So this episode was history then.
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:56] Yes. So. Well, let's see.
B.J. NOVAK [01:05:59] Well, let me just say, as a writer who obsessed about things like this that the audience didn't give a shit about at the end of the day, which was how would the documentarians be or not be allowed to follow certain things? You know, we would always say you'd never see Jim and Pam's bedroom because they would never invite the cameras there. Are you crazy? Whereas Dwight's beet farm, the camera crew would be very interested. It's very relevant to this new employee, Ryan's journey at Dunder Mifflin. It's very relevant to this major personality at Dunder Mifflin, Dwight. It's fundamental to his nature. We've heard about it a lot. He would be extremely eager to show his beet farm, especially as part of a work related milestone for someone in his mind. So it makes total sense. We got to the beet farm. This we spent forever talking about what, what would and wouldn't happen and what camera angles would and wouldn't be possible. And I don't think the audience cared at all.
RAINN WILSON [01:07:00] I did my research and I spent 21 minutes and 40 seconds watching the episode last night. So in preparation for this podcast and it was just a joy to watch. But as I watched that, I was like, oh, this is Pam's episode. It's called "The Initiation". And yes, the flashy part is, you know, Dwight and in the barn and the car and Ryan and the eggs and whatnot. But, but really, it's the heart and soul of this episode is Pam, you know, being told by Jan to spy on Michael and, and, and then the exquisitely beautiful scene with Pam and Jim at the end. That is by far the longest scene. I mean, it must have been a five page scene and had so much heart in it and subtlety and, and that's. So I'd loved to hear that Pam perspective on this episode.
JENNA FISCHER [01:07:57] I had forgotten about that scene when I rewatched this episode. I forgot that happened at the end and it-.
B.J. NOVAK [01:08:04] I did, too.
JENNA FISCHER [01:08:05] And I held my breath and I was on the edge of my seat and I was like, what is was happening? Don't get off the phone. Stay on the phone. Say feelings. Say you miss him.
B.J. NOVAK [01:08:18] You know, I'm just remembering. It's so funny, Rainn we were talking about the experimental episode because that card was on the board for a long time, "Jim and Pam's phone call", and it was going to take the whole episode. I fought so hard I wanted it to be because it just happens at the end for a long time. Right? The way we shot it.
RAINN WILSON [01:08:38] Yeah.
B.J. NOVAK [01:08:39] I wanted it to. You keep coming back to it and it's still going. And it goes the whole episode there on the phone the whole episode.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:08:46] In the DVD commentary. B.J., you mentioned that in your mind this conversation went on for like three hours.
B.J. NOVAK [01:08:54] Yeah, that sounds right. I wanted it to be threaded through the episode, and then I even wonder if I wanted it to be a whole episode at one point, their phone call, which is again in line with me and Rainn's sort of experimental one off outlier episode, "Love". But yeah, I remember that phone call and I remember writing the line. The one line I remember being proud of is "What time zone are you in"? "Same time zone". "Oh, it felt far". I was like, yes, of course.
RAINN WILSON [01:09:23] Oh, beautiful line.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:09:24] That got me.
RAINN WILSON [01:09:24] In watching this episode. I was like, oh, this is why this show has stood the test of time, because you have scenes that are outrageously over the top. And then all of a sudden it's two people in love that hardly know they're in love, having an almost unedited 5 minute conversation, that it's almost like it's in real time and you have so this moment of like real heart underneath it, that grounds, that whole experience. And I always love that Greg talked about having that, you know, a show can't support more than like 10 or 15 percent hearts. It's got to have 80, 85 percent comedy in it to work. But you can't leave out at 10, 15 percent of reality or else you'll have lost the audience.
B.J. NOVAK [01:10:18] Greg was good with percentages. He also had the 5 percent rule, which was that every character you should try to move them forward, 5 percent. Surprise them 5 percent. If a character is always exactly what you expect, it gets, you know, boring, and you fall into cliched ideas of what Angela would do or whatever, but and if you change it by 50 percent or 100 percent, if all of a sudden Michael has read the complete Shakespeare. It's funny, but it's, you've killed the character. So it's, you always want to be like. All right. I kind of see that. So, yeah, that's just Greg with if he, I didn't ever heard him give that percentage. But that sounds like Greg. It sounds right.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:11:01] I just have a question, Rainn. When Ryan comes up to the barn, you do the salute and people online think it's like you sort of like, sort of imitating the salute from a BBC show called, it's called "Red Dwarf". Is that? Is that from "Red Dwarf"? The BBC show from the 80s?
RAINN WILSON [01:11:21] I don't remember how that came out, but I, I my hunch is that in that script and you can tell me, Dwight does a strange salute or something like that. So I had to kind of come up with what that was. Maybe that's not in the script anywhere. I don't know, you can research that, but I don't know what that was. But I'd like that it's kind of like World War One, Germany. Kind of like the Kaiser. Like that's how you would salute the Kaiser.
B.J. NOVAK [01:11:47] Can I point out I'm realizing this is not our first writer actor collaboration where I write a stage direction for Dwight that he makes iconic. Which in "The Fire".
RAINN WILSON [01:12:01] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
B.J. NOVAK [01:12:03] In the fire I wrote, the fire truck arrives and Dwight pumps his fist. And I think Greg was like, huh? And I was like, no, he's like a little boy. He just sees a fire truck and he's like, Yeah! And you did it. It is great. Now it's like a gif for something, it's like a meme. It's just it's exactly what I dreamed of.
RAINN WILSON [01:12:22] I think that, you know, we had like eight takes or something. So at first it was like standard pump and then it got bigger and bigger, until finally at the end, it's like, yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:12:36] Oh my God, B.J. is so tickled.
B.J. NOVAK [01:12:39] I'm just laughing at how much Dwight loved. It's a toaster oven with a little bit of smoke. And he's, he sees a fighter truck and he's like, yes. This is such an excessive solution. Although I suppose that's what happens when the alarm goes off, they just come. But just that he would think this is appropriate as opposed to annoying. All right. All right.
RAINN WILSON [01:13:12] Yeah, it would, for Dwight, it ranks in like his top ten best days ever. Like if he was writing a journal like "Dear Diary. Best days ever. Number Four, fire trucks showed up to Dunder Mifflin". Another thing I improvised in this episode was in the barn going back to the barn now. The thing of like "Mose, where are all the animals"?
JENNA FISCHER [01:13:32] Yes, I was going to ask you that, Rainn.
RAINN WILSON [01:13:34] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [01:13:35] I love that line so much.
RAINN WILSON [01:13:36] But we were laughing at B.J. and I about it on the set and just kind of like we didn't quite know how to. I don't know that it ultimately landed as a joke, but the idea that there should have been, it should have been filled with animals. But now it was empty of animals. So what did Mose do with all the animals? Where did he put them? He probably brought them and put them in the house. And that might have been a nice cutaway. Mose, where's all the animals? And then just cutaway to Dwight's actual house with a, filled with cows and sheep and pigs and chickens and whatnot.
JENNA FISCHER [01:14:11] Speaking of this scene, can I play an audio clip from the scene? I asked Sam to pull this audio clip from when Dwight is rapid fire questioning Ryan. Can you play that clip, Sam?
RAINN WILSON [01:14:23] What is the greatest danger facing Dunder Mifflin?
B.J. NOVAK [01:14:27] Outsourcing and consolidation of competition.
RAINN WILSON [01:14:30] Wrong. Flash floods. What is the true cause of Robert Mifflin's suicide?
B.J. NOVAK [01:14:39] Depression?
RAINN WILSON [01:14:39] Wrong. He hated himself. What is the Dharma Initiative? Final question. Young Ryan Howard. What is Michael Scott's greatest fear?
B.J. NOVAK [01:14:56] Loneliness. Maybe women.
RAINN WILSON [01:15:01] Wrong. He's not afraid of anything. Also, I would have accepted snakes.
B.J. NOVAK [01:15:07] I believe Justin Spitzer wrote that pitch. Justin Spitzer in the writers room. You know, you send writers off sometimes to just, all right, you write a bunch of questions. You, you and you write this scene. And I, I remember Justin coming back with some really good stuff. And I think he wrote "Loneliness", which I loved.
JENNA FISCHER [01:15:25] But then you said "or maybe fear of women".
ANGELA KINSEY [01:15:28] Yeah. Who put maybe women?
JENNA FISCHER [01:15:30] Loneliness was your first take on Michael's greatest fear. And then you say "Or maybe women". And then Dwight is like false.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:15:37] But I would accept snakes.
RAINN WILSON [01:15:39] He's not afraid of anything. But I would have accepted snakes.
B.J. NOVAK [01:15:44] Right. What a loyalist.
JENNA FISCHER [01:15:48] But guys, this is the scene that introduces. Mose we were talking about Mose.
B.J. NOVAK [01:15:51] Yes.
JENNA FISCHER [01:15:52] And Mike Schur, how did that come about? Everyone wants to know. Mike did an interview where he said that's his real beard and it took him three months to grow.
B.J. NOVAK [01:16:03] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:16:03] Wait, all that underneath?
B.J. NOVAK [01:16:03] And that is hilarious.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:16:06] That was his hair?
JENNA FISCHER [01:16:07] Yeah, that's his real hair.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:16:09] Oh, my gosh.
B.J. NOVAK [01:16:10] Yes. What an, like I thought I had it hard having to wear cheesy blond highlights for six months, but Mose, Mike had to wear a neck beard. And again, it's only a neck beard. And he's like a classy dude. You know, he's married, he's, you know, a TV producer. People know him. He has social engagements. He's walking around with this neck beard, this thick neck beard for months and months and months. And there's nothing made Greg Daniels happier or more amused than what Mike had to go through as sort of, you know, supervising producer of "The Office". And yet he also had to wear this neck beard. He never asked to act. And the funniest part of it is that Mike kept asking, don't you think we could just use a fake beard? And Greg said, no, absolutely not. People will tell the difference. And then I don't know what the reason was, but maybe it was like we suddenly came back from a long hiatus. And in a rewrite, had to throw Mose in a scene and he didn't have the beard and we just threw a five dollar fake beard on. It was indistinguishable.
RAINN WILSON [01:17:26] And it was totally fine.
B.J. NOVAK [01:17:28] Totally fine.
RAINN WILSON [01:17:29] What? Now how did, how did they decide Mike Schur was going to play his Amish farmer cousin?
B.J. NOVAK [01:17:36] Yeah, it was. I think it was. It was. I'm 60 percent confident it was a room bit. I think Mike did the voice in sort of a never thinking it would lead to anything. There's a lot of room bits where you're just joking around for hours, cracking each other up as a way of warming up. And maybe it leads to something, who knows, just goofing off. And I think as a room that he did that voice and maybe that's what cracked Greg up and made him think. So then we took the picture. But I think the idea was always someday we'll see Mose, nudge nudge. But like, we never know if we'd be picked up, you know?
JENNA FISCHER [01:18:11] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:18:12] Yeah.
B.J. NOVAK [01:18:12] I do think it was. I do think it was assumed that he would play Mose if it ever happened.
JENNA FISCHER [01:18:17] We have a fan question from Quinn Moldenhauer.
B.J. NOVAK [01:18:21] Finally.
JENNA FISCHER [01:18:22] Yes. He would like to know what would have happened if Ryan had actually gotten in the coffin? What were you going to do? Were you going to bury him next to your grandfather? What was going to happen?
RAINN WILSON [01:18:35] He was going to put a padlock. He's going to put a padlock on the coffin. They were going to wheel it via donkey cart out to the Schrute cemetery. And they were going to bury him. And they're going to, and he's going to, Mose was gonna dress up like a chaplain and do a eulogy so that Ryan had a taste of death and then the sweetness of life. And then they would bury him. Dwight would rescue him and bring the coffin up, throw the dirt off the coffin, undo the padlock. Open it up. Ryan would be like, what the fuck, Dwight? And Dwight would have been like, I rescued you, Ryan. I rescued you. Welcome. You're alive. You made it. You're alive.
B.J. NOVAK [01:19:16] You're reborn.
RAINN WILSON [01:19:17] You're reborn.
B.J. NOVAK [01:19:18] You're reborn as in a Dunder Mifflin employee.
RAINN WILSON [01:19:20] And I saved you. And that this would be a profound experience.
B.J. NOVAK [01:19:26] That sounds right.
JENNA FISCHER [01:19:28] I like that. Quinn will be very happy to hear. On that note, I'm going to move us along to Axelrod Limited.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:19:35] Please.
JENNA FISCHER [01:19:35] We find out that they didn't like Ryan. They didn't make the sale. Rainn, you have that great line where you're like I mean, they didn't need to say it to your face. That they didn't like you.That's a really great line. It's really great. But so then you guys end up egging the building. We had a fan question from Shondra who wants to know, "Did you throw real eggs at the building"? Do you guys remember?
RAINN WILSON [01:20:01] Yes. So the Axelrod sign that's hanging up on the side of the building was a fabrication from our art department. And they hung it up there and that was our target. And, you know, we had worked out with the building itself like we had a pressure hose right there. And they, as soon as we wrapped, they like took that sign down pressure washed it, cleaned up all the egg, everywhere. That was kind of part of the contract of the location. Yeah. I remember that.
JENNA FISCHER [01:20:32] Yeah, Kent told me that that building was in the parking lot where your trailers were. So when you were shooting in the beet field, this is where they had the craft services and this is where they had your trailers. And then there was this building. And he said he went in and asked the owner and property manager if they could do this scene. And he was like, now, I just want you to know this includes egging your building. And he said, at this point, "The Office" was so popular that the guy was like, that's fantastic. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. You can egg my building, like, he was super on board. It didn't matter. Throw as many eggs at it as you want.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:21:06] Ryan and Dwight go on to have drinks at a bar. They do car bombs together. Dwight calls the temp, you actually call him Ryan. You guys have come together.
B.J. NOVAK [01:21:16] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:21:16] You've had quite a day. People want to know how many takes did it take for you guys to do all those beers. How many beers did you have?
B.J. NOVAK [01:21:23] People love asking that question, Jenna, they ask all the time about the cheese puffs, how many takes? How many takes of food? It's just a fascinating thing.
JENNA FISCHER [01:21:32] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:21:32] Yeah. I love it.
B.J. NOVAK [01:21:33] For people. I don't remember. Rainn, do you remember?
JENNA FISCHER [01:21:36] I mean, you chugged-. I mean, I was watching that scene and I thought, how many times did B.J. have to chug an entire beer?
ANGELA KINSEY [01:21:43] A fake beer.
B.J. NOVAK [01:21:44] It wouldn't have been beer. Yeah.
RAINN WILSON [01:21:45] Yeah.
B.J. NOVAK [01:21:45] Would have been a fake beer.
RAINN WILSON [01:21:46] Near beer.
JENNA FISCHER [01:21:46] But it's a lot of liquid.
RAINN WILSON [01:21:48] Probably two or three, but probably, I probably got it in the second take, you know? And moved on.
B.J. NOVAK [01:21:55] Yeah, I don't remember.
RAINN WILSON [01:21:56] It was one setup. Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:21:58] There you have it, guys.
JENNA FISCHER [01:22:00] Thank you so much for doing this podcast with us today.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:22:03] It's so wonderful to see you again.
B.J. NOVAK [01:22:05] This is a lot of fun. Thanks.
RAINN WILSON [01:22:06] Thank you. It's so nice to see your faces here on this Zoom, at your, it's delightful. I miss you all and I have such warm, fuzzy feelings. This was such a pleasure and a joy.
B.J. NOVAK [01:22:16] I don't buy it.
RAINN WILSON [01:22:17] Oh, come on. So cynical.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:22:20] Bye.
B.J. NOVAK [01:22:21] Bye.
RAINN WILSON [01:22:21] Bye, "Office Ladies".
JENNA FISCHER [01:22:25] All right, guys. That was so great. Angela, how much fun was it to see them and hear from them? I mean, I loved hearing B.J.'s insights into the writers' room at, that was, I'm a nerd for that, though. I love any writers room info.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:22:39] I could have listened to B.J. talk for, for like on and on and on because I thought it was so fascinating just to hear the process. And I think you and I share that. I love hearing the process of it all, so. B.J., you have to come back. And Rainn, you’re delightful too, Rainn.
JENNA FISCHER [01:22:56] Yes. That was such a treat to have them both. Well, listen, before we wrap up this episode, I do want to add two more things, Angela. One is from Randall Einhorn. When I was talking to him, he put this thought in my head and I just loved it. He said that for him, the theme of this episode that he really wanted to highlight as a director was this idea of making connections. He said Ryan and Dwight make a connection even after the craziness of the day. They connect. And Ryan really learned something. Stanley and Michael make a connection through the pretzels. And of course, Jim and Pam. He just said that that theme of making connections is an overriding one for him with "The Office". And it's something he loves. But he thought it was particularly highlighted in this episode. And I just thought that was a really, really cool observation.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:23:44] Yeah, I think that's really beautiful. I find that Randall points out these themes to us all the time, whether it's about camera placement or whether you could see Pam's face after the kiss, like Randall is really great about hitting these deeper layers of the show and what they're talking about in each episode.
JENNA FISCHER [01:24:05] And then finally, this was some fan mail that we got from Amanda Bistek. She said, "Guys, Google, 'Schrute Farms, TripAdvisor', you will not be disappointed". And I did. Angela, there is a TripAdvisor page for Schrute Farms, and there are hundreds of comments of people who claim to have stayed there. It's a, it's a fake page. But the comments are really amazing if you're an "Office" fan, because they have all these details as if they had stayed there.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:24:37] Oh, my gosh. I wonder if people go on it and think it's an actual thing.
JENNA FISCHER [01:24:42] I don't know.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:24:42] That is so funny. I love that. I'll have to check that out, Amanda. Thanks for-.
JENNA FISCHER [01:24:47] Yeah. You have to check it out. So, guys, there it is. That's "Initiation". And we will be back next week with "Diwali".
ANGELA KINSEY [01:24:55] "Diwali".
JENNA FISCHER [01:24:56] And another special guest.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:24:57] Yes, we have someone really special stopping by next week. You guys are going to be so excited. I'm so excited. So we'll see you next week. And thanks so much, B.J. and Rainn.
JENNA FISCHER [01:25:07] Yeah. Guys, if you want to hear more of Rainn's voice, you can listen to him discussing life's big questions on his podcast, "Metaphysical Milkshake", which can be found on the Luminary app. We love you guys. Thank you for listening to "Office Ladies". "Office Ladies" is produced by Earwolf, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. Our producer is Codi Fischer, our sound engineer is Sam Kieffer.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:25:30] And our theme song is "Rubber Tree" by Creed Bratton.
JENNA FISCHER [01:25:33] For ad free versions of the show and our bonus episodes, "Candy Bag". Go to StitcherPremium.com.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:25:40] For a free one month trial of Stitcher Premium use code "Office".