February 22, 2022
Today we’re breaking down “Mafia”. Jim and Pam are on their honeymoon leaving the office deficient in reasonable people. So when an Italian insurance salesman tries to sell Michael life insurance, Dwight and Andy convince him he’s with the Scranton mafia. Writer of this episode, Brent Forrester, sends in clips breaking down how this farcical episode is legendary. Jenna reveals how Pam’s watercolor was almost destroyed in this episode and Angela uncovers that Scranton had real mafia members including Russell Bufalino who was later played by Joe Pesci in “The Irishman”. This episode is so great that even if there was salad on top, you wouldn’t send it back.
Check out Brent Forrester’s writing class : https://www.brentforrester.com/
111 — Mafia
OFFICE 111 – Mafia
Jenna [00:00:03] I’m Jenna Fischer.
Angela [00:00:04] And I’m Angela Kinsey.
Jenna [00:00:06] We were on The Office together.
Angela [00:00:07] And we’re best friends.
Jenna [00:00:08] And now we’re doing the ultimate Office rewatch podcast just for you.
Angela [00:00:12] Each week, we will break down an episode of The Office and give exclusive behind the scenes stories that only two people who were there can tell you.
Jenna [00:00:19] We’re the Office Ladies. Hello, everyone.
Angela [00:00:25] Good morning or afternoon or night time.
Jenna [00:00:29] I like our intro, this is our new intro. Today we are here to talk about Mafia. Season six, episode six. And Ange, you and I were kind of texting back and forth about some fun- what would you call them? Asides? Mini deep dives that we went on as a result of this episode. And you have one that I I was like, Don’t tell me any more. Don’t tell me any more. I want to hear it on the podcast. I can’t wait.
Angela [00:00:57] I have one that I just dipped my toe in. You guys there is so much more to it. I actually bought a book about it.
Jenna [00:01:05] What? Your own deep dive led you to now buy a book?
Angela [00:01:07] Yeah, exactly.
Jenna [00:01:08] That’s what happened with Clementine Paddleford.
Angela [00:01:11] I have her book.
Jenna [00:01:12] We became obsessed.
Angela [00:01:14] I know.
Jenna [00:01:14] Oh my.
Angela [00:01:15] How about you hit us with a summary and we’ll get into it?
Jenna [00:01:18] Well, I’m going to tell you that this was written by Brent Forrester and directed by Dave Rogers. And my summary is this: Michael is visited by an insurance salesman whom Dwight and Andy convince him is a member of the Italian mafia. Michael then feels pressured to purchase a very expensive insurance package that he does not need. Meanwhile, Kevin takes over Jim’s office because Jim and Pam are on their honeymoon.
Angela [00:01:45] In Puerto Rico.
Jenna [00:01:47] Yes!
Angela [00:01:48] But everyone keeps calling them. We’ll get to it.
Jenna [00:01:51] Yes, they do. And Kevin accidentally cancels their credit cards.
Angela [00:01:58] Amazing.
Jenna [00:01:59] All right. Fast fact number one, I reached out to Brent Forrester. We always love to hear from Brent.
Angela [00:02:05] Oh, Brent is so fun.
Jenna [00:02:07] Like I said, he wrote this episode and he was very interested in discussing the tone of this episode, which he pointed out is a little different. Here’s what he had to say.
Brent Forrester [00:02:19] I wrote the Office episode called Mafia, considered now a minor comedy classic, but it was controversial at the time of shooting. Why? Because what makes The Office great is this tone of naturalism, realism, groundedness, and this episode pushed in the opposite direction, tonally. The whole premise is farcical. Michael Scott believes an Italian-American insurance agent is a Mafioso. That’s farce. Then we added Ed Helms, dressed as a mechanic in order to justify bringing a wrench into a restaurant. Things got tense on set between the guys behind the camera. The director, Dave Rogers, and me… And the guys in front of the camera, Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, and Ed Helms, who had to play this material as real. Very, very challenging.
Jenna [00:03:12] So I remember this tension. The guys in general did not love when we pushed into farce. There was always a lot of pushback from all of us in the cast. We just loved that early season realism more than anything.
Angela [00:03:27] Well, you know, Jenna, I know some of the bigger storylines, and particularly with Dwight, would crack us up, right? Like we could get on board with some of the big storylines. But when the whole entire storyline was so absurd, that’s when it was harder I think for us because we needed the balance of like the smaller, like just like run of the mill daily work life mixed in with something crazy. But this was kind of just crazy start to finish.
Jenna [00:03:53] It’s funny because in this rewatch, I have loved these farcical storylines. I mean, remember when those guys all put on fake mustaches and they went to Utica to steal the industrial copier?
Angela [00:04:06] Yes, I was cracking up.
Jenna [00:04:08] I mean, I also feel like if you go all the way back to The Injury and Michael grilling his foot on a George Foreman grill. I mean, that’s- I don’t know if that’s necessarily farce, but that’s definitely very broad.
Angela [00:04:21] Yeah, I just think the difference for this one is it was the whole entire storyline. Oh, your cat is here. Hi, Sonny cat.
Jenna [00:04:26] Sonny has just walked into the zoom.
Angela [00:04:31] I wish I could take a picture of this. This is so cute. Jenna’s cat is like the whole screen.
Jenna [00:04:35] Hey Sonny. How are you? How are you? On the microphone. He’s just come for a visit.
Angela [00:04:42] What’s so funny is I just saw his tail go through your plant around the corner. And then there he was. So cute. This is our life right now, you guys, with like the minimum occupancy in studio is I’m here and Jenna’s in her closet.
Jenna [00:04:57] With my cat.
Angela [00:04:58] With your cat.
Jenna [00:04:59] In my office most of the day with me. So he wanted to say hi. But yeah, I mean, you’re right, it was more of a side story line, but The Injury was like, that was, you know, he’s asking Pam to rub butter on his foot. I don’t know. I have to say in the rewatch, I love these storylines. And by the way, I’m also noticing that it’s coming on the heels of what Jen Celotta was saying last week about how her storyline in The Promotion was so dramatic. And it really goes to show like how much influence an individual writer and their script can have on the tone of an episode.
Angela [00:05:39] Oh, 100 percent. And also the characters they write for.
Jenna [00:05:43] Yes. All right. Well, speaking of storylines, my fast fact number two is all about a deleted storyline in this episode, which, by the way, this deleted storyline would still show up in the episode description on Netflix. It’s still there on iTunes as well.
Angela [00:06:01] You’re kidding, because it’s not in it at all.
Jenna [00:06:04] Not in it at all.
Angela [00:06:05] I was surprised, Jenna, when I watched the deleted scenes. It’s the whole entire runner of the deleted scenes. It was a big storyline.
Jenna [00:06:13] Let me tell you what it is, because, oh, I had a reaction.
Angela [00:06:18] Yeah, you did. Share.
Jenna [00:06:20] Erin was supposed to be cleaning Pam’s watercolor, her famous watercolor that Michael bought from her art show. She sprays the glass with this cleaner, and then Creed kind of distracts her by chatting her up and the spray seeps under the glass and the watercolor is ruined. Erin destroys Pam’s watercolor while she’s on her honeymoon, was the storyline.
Angela [00:06:50] If you watch the deleted scenes, you watch it melt. Like all the colors, like slide down to the bottom of the frame, and I literally went (gasps) like, I forgot it was in the story at one point.
Jenna [00:07:05] And then there’s another deleted scene where she asks Kelly to help her fix it, and Kelly is like, Oh yeah, I can do watercolor. But what Kelly does is she like adds a rainbow and a sunshine. But the painting is still totally melty. And then in the end, Erin calls Pam on her honeymoon and says she ruined it. And Pam has this line where she says, You know what? I will be mad at you about ruining my painting when I get back. Stop calling me. Tell people to stop calling us.
Angela [00:07:32] Mm hmm. There was a scene that led up before she ruined your painting. I’m going to save it. I’m going to share it when it would have happened in the episode. OK? That sort of set up why she even started cleaning it in the first place.
Jenna [00:07:45] Oh, OK.
Angela [00:07:47] Yeah. But I think it will make more sense if I bring it up where it would have occurred.
Jenna [00:07:51] I like it. After we read the script in our table read, which is the week before we’re meant to shoot it, I- like as soon as I started reading it, I got hot inside, you know, like you heat up. And I could barely focus on the rest of the table read.
Angela [00:08:10] You had a physical reaction.
Jenna [00:08:12] I did.
Angela [00:08:13] You like flushed like your cheeks were red.
Jenna [00:08:15] Yes! I waited till after the table read. Everybody laughed, and this was unusual. I did not normally stay after a table read and like, give my feelings.
Angela [00:08:26] No, no. In fact, we usually had to scooch out because we had to go to hair and makeup to get back to set.
Jenna [00:08:31] Yeah. To go back to shoot. But I was like, Listen, you cannot destroy Pam’s painting. You can’t do it. It’s the heartbeat of the show. It’s it’s on the wall. It’s her relationship with Michael. It’s it’s hope. It’s so many things like you don’t understand, like, you can’t make this a gag. And Paul Lieberstein was like, I think it’s funny. What are you talking about? And it was a battle. I was like, No, no, no, I don’t. You don’t understand. Like, you cannot do it. And I called Greg. I would like- made my case to anyone who would listen. They shot it anyway. They were like, I’m sorry, it’s staying in. We really like this gag. We think it’s great. We like it.
Angela [00:09:12] So wrong. They were so wrong.
Jenna [00:09:15] Lady, after we shot it I went into the edit bay and I was like, You have to take this out. You have to take this out. I appealed to Dave Rogers. I appealed to Brent Forrester. Like I would not shut up about it. Finally, in the end, they took it out. They took it out, and I was so relieved. But you’ll see next week there’s not Pam’s watercolor on the wall because that was the week they were editing and still deciding. So if you look, Pam’s watercolor is missing for a couple of episodes and we just sneakily put it back on the wall without saying anything.
Angela [00:09:53] Oh my gosh. So for those episodes, there’s no painting because you were still pleaing your case.
Jenna [00:09:58] Yes, but I would not give up. And then, I mean, listen, the whole series ends on Pam’s watercolor.
Angela [00:10:08] I know, and I couldn’t imagine it ending any other way. I mean, that made me bawl my eyes out.
Jenna [00:10:13] I know. And you better believe that I marched right up to Paul Lieberstein when I read that ending of the finale and I was like, Paul, do you see now why Erin couldn’t destroy the watercolor? Do you see?
Angela [00:10:29] You held onto that for years!
Jenna [00:10:31] Yes.
Angela [00:10:33] Well, I’m so glad you did, because it represents such a tender moment between Michael and Pam, and it is the hope, it’s hope, it’s hope in a frame.
Jenna [00:10:43] It’s hope in a frame! I wish I had said that!
Angela [00:10:46] It’s hope in a frame. You’re welcome. Oh man. Well, I’m really glad you fought hard for it. I knew you didn’t want it to be destroyed. I remembered all of that. I did not remember how hard you had to fight for it.
Jenna [00:11:00] Yeah, I mean, there were two things in the series that I fought hard for. I would consistently fight that there be no infidelity in Jim and Pam’s relationship. That would often get brought up and John and I would go say, No, no, no, no, no, no. And this was the other thing. Don’t destroy the painting.
Angela [00:11:20] Yeah. Well, Jenna, the amazing Randy Cordray shared with us that the whole destroying of Pam’s painting was considered a mini stunt.
Jenna [00:11:29] Oh?
Angela [00:11:29] Here’s how they had to do it. Our special effects coordinator, Mike Thompson, created what the special effects folks call an AB reaction. It’s where two different substances are inert and non-reactive until mixed together.
Jenna [00:11:44] Oh, I remember that from chemistry class.
Angela [00:11:46] I was going to say, you didn’t know we’re going to have a little bit of science today. The A substance was pre-applied over the water color. It dried clear and was not visible. The B substance, a reactive, also clear liquid, was what Erin sprayed. There were my new openings in the top of the frame to allow the B liquid to run inside the glass. And when the B chemical reacted with the A, it changed the colors and achieved the desired result of the gag, which was the water colors melting. He even sent us a video of their practice run, which we can put in stories.
Jenna [00:12:23] Oh, then, so people can see the melting of the water color.
Angela [00:12:27] Yes.
Jenna [00:12:28] Wow.
Angela [00:12:29] But I thought that was so interesting. Look what all they had to do to make this moment happen. I mean, ultimately, I’m glad it didn’t make it in the show, right? But yeah, pretty cool to see what all they had to do.
Jenna [00:12:40] Gosh, it’s sort of like a very mini version of everything Randy was doing to get a horse to go over Niagara Falls.
Angela [00:12:47] Oh no.
Jenna [00:12:48] You know, like, how do I make this happen? And then oh, we actually cut it out of the episode.
Angela [00:12:53] Right.
Jenna [00:12:55] All right. Well, fast fact number three, we have a very big guest star this week, Mike Starr as Angelo Grotti. You guys might remember him from Dumb and Dumber. He had a scene stealing role.
Angela [00:13:10] Oh yeah.
Jenna [00:13:11] He has been on Chicago Fire, The Young and the Restless, Ed. He was so great. He was the nicest man.
Angela [00:13:18] So nice. And he’s just been in everything, you guys. Everything.
Jenna [00:13:22] He’s a total pro. I found this interview he did. And it was so cool. He grew up in Queens, in Flushing, right near Shea Stadium, which is by where the Mets play. But in the interview, he said he was a Giants fan. He’s married and has two kids. His wife is a surgeon. And he kept his family in New York, and he would travel to be an actor. He just got bit by the acting bug and created this life as a working actor, but also raising his family on the East Coast. And he said he just goes where the work takes him. And I don’t know, he just sounded so cool.
Angela [00:14:00] Again, another example of how lucky we were as a show to get these amazing, amazing actors.
Jenna [00:14:06] Well, that’s all I got, lady.
Angela [00:14:09] Well, I have something from my Kinsey digital clutter.
Jenna [00:14:12] Oh, these are my favorite segments.
Angela [00:14:15] I’m telling you, I think I need a sting that’s like (sings) Angela’s digital clutter. Cuz, because I have so much.
Jenna [00:14:23] We do need a digital clutter sting. I agree.
Angela [00:14:26] Here’s what I got. We filmed this in September of 2009, so I went digging in my digital clutter and I found an email I wrote from set while we were filming this episode.
Jenna [00:14:40] Ooh!
Angela [00:14:41] I sent it to two of my friends, and this is what it said. Hey, guys, so I’m in the background of a bunch of scenes today. So get ready for random emails with ridiculous links. And then I attached a link of like animals doing crazy things.
Jenna [00:14:58] OK, yup.
Angela [00:14:58] Right? Animals being silly. One of my friends was at work when she received this, and she responded and said, Sorry Ange, but work is super busy here today. Can you please forward all the funny emails to my personal account instead so I can check them later? Thanks. I was pretending to be at work, but just surfing the internet, blasting one of my friends who was really at work and she was like, can ya- can ya stop?
Jenna [00:15:28] Oh my gosh, that’s so funny.
Angela [00:15:30] It made me laugh. There you go. That’s a little something from my digital clutter for the week we filmed Mafia.
Jenna [00:15:37] I mean, I feel like this could be a new segment on the podcast. I’d be willing to turn fast fact number three into Angela’s digital clutter every week. These are wonderful.
Angela [00:15:49] I don’t know if it’s always going to come through, but.
Jenna [00:15:52] Well, that that’s part of the appeal. Will it pay off or won’t it?
Angela [00:15:58] We’ll see.
Jenna [00:15:59] We should try. All right. I’m assigning that to you next week. Fast fact number three is Angela’s digital clutter.
Angela [00:16:06] OK, OK.
Jenna [00:16:07] That might be because I already started prepping it, and I don’t have a fast fact three yet, so.
Angela [00:16:11] Oh, I see how it is.
Jenna [00:16:14] All right. Why don’t we take a break and then we’ll come back and break down this episode?
Angela [00:16:17] Awesome. Well, we are back and we’re in the conference room because Michael is discussing the fundamentals of business.
Jenna [00:16:29] Yeah.
Angela [00:16:29] He has written on a dry erase board: handshakes, small talk, shut up and sell.
Jenna [00:16:36] Yeah, he invites people to give suggestions for small talk. He really likes Meredith’s idea, and he says, Come on up here. She says, The weekend. He’s like, That’s great. Let’s riff on that. Get on up here, Meredith.
Angela [00:16:49] That’s right. They start to role play. Michael’s like, So, Meredith, how was your weekend? What did you do? And Meredith says, Well, I caught my son taking a dump on the upper part of the toilet. He calls it an upper decker. And Michael’s like, Oh God, OK, you know, just go sit down.
Jenna [00:17:06] That made me laugh out loud.
Angela [00:17:08] It made me laugh, too. And I remember when we were filming this, we all cracked up. And I went and looked in the shooting draft. That line is not in there.
Jenna [00:17:17] The upper decker line?
Angela [00:17:19] It’s not in the shooting draft. This is what was in the shooting draft. Meredith says, I caught my son doing my fur coat. I had to shave off one of the sleeves.
Jenna [00:17:29] Oh!
Angela [00:17:31] And Michael’s like, Gross. So I texted Kate. I said, Kate, did you improvise the upper decker line? I mean, come on, where did that come from? And she said no. Paul Lieberstein whispered it in my ear after the very first take.
Jenna [00:17:48] Oh my gosh, that just goes to show you that when Paul Lieberstein was in the background of a scene, he was still writing the show in his head.
Angela [00:17:56] Right, he was pitching jokes. And the rest of us had no idea what he whispered in her ear. So when she said it, we all heard it for the first time.
Jenna [00:18:05] Oh, brilliant.
Angela [00:18:07] They would do that to us, you guys, and it would send us all into fits of giggles because we were ready and prepared for the crazy line about the fur coat. Right?
Jenna [00:18:16] Right.
Angela [00:18:17] And then all of a sudden we get hit with the upper decker.
Jenna [00:18:20] I want to point out that at 49 seconds, you’ll get a real good shot of the fact that Kate is wearing that Nanette Lepore vest again. This is the third time now.
Angela [00:18:31] Jenna, I noticed that too. The woman loves that sweater vest.
Jenna [00:18:35] It’s a very expensive sweater vest, I’m telling you. I was working with a stylist at the time and it was like two hundred dollars back then. How does Meredith afford this vest?
Angela [00:18:48] I don’t know, but she wears it a lot, so she’s getting her money out of it.
Jenna [00:18:52] She is.
Angela [00:18:54] Well, the role play doesn’t work. And Michael’s so frustrated. He’s like, God, I could fill a book with the stuff you guys don’t know about business. And Ryan’s like, Go write it. Write a book.
Jenna [00:19:05] Yeah. So Michael immediately goes into his office. He starts dictating his book, The Fundamentals of Business by Michael Scott. One billion sold. More than the Bible. Chapter one, the business man. And then he stops talking.
Angela [00:19:18] Yeah.
Jenna [00:19:18] I got curious as happens. I was like, how many copies of the Bible have been sold?
Angela [00:19:26] I would think a lot.
Jenna [00:19:28] Yeah. Well, I’ll tell you what, it’s so many that even if Michael’s book The Fundamentals of Business by Michael Scott sold one billion copies, it would not be more than the Bible. The Guinness Book of World Records estimates that more than five billion copies of the Bible have been sold. The Koran has sold approximately 800 million copies. And the Book of Mormon has sold around 120 million copies. They used, I guess, historical records and a variety of other sources to get those numbers. But I couldn’t stop there, Angela. I had to know more.
Angela [00:20:05] What else is there to know?
Jenna [00:20:07] So the top selling books in general are religious texts. But I needed to know what is just the top selling fiction book.
Angela [00:20:18] OK.
Jenna [00:20:19] What is it? It is Don Quixote by Cervantes, and it was published in 1605. It has sold approximately 500 million copies and it has been translated into a hundred and forty five languages.
Angela [00:20:34] I had to read Don Quixote, by the way, in my college Spanish class.
Jenna [00:20:37] Oh. Well, you are one of the 500 million copies sold.
Angela [00:20:42] I am.
Jenna [00:20:43] But you know what else is up there, lady?
Angela [00:20:45] What?
Jenna [00:20:46] Another one you have contributed to.
Angela [00:20:48] What?
Jenna [00:20:49] Lord of the Rings?
Angela [00:20:50] Oh!
Jenna [00:20:52] Yeah.
Angela [00:20:52] I believe it.
Jenna [00:20:54] Yeah. mmhmm.
Angela [00:20:56] People love stories about a journey.
Jenna [00:20:59] I guess they do. It’s true.
Angela [00:21:02] Well, I have something to share about this scene.
Jenna [00:21:05] What is it?
Angela [00:21:06] I was very curious what was in the shooting draft about Michael’s book, if there was more. Because he, he just pauses and looks off into the distance. Right? And then it cuts away. And I was like, Was there more? Here’s how this moment read in the shooting draft. Michael, you know, is talking into the recorder. He says, The Fundamentals of Business by Michael Scott. There is a long beat. Chapter one. The murderer walked into the garden worriedly, not happily. It was the happiest day of his life. He was going to space.
Jenna [00:21:46] What?
Angela [00:21:46] Long beat. Chapter two. That made me laugh. I’m sure they did a whole bunch of alts, right? I bet there was a bunch of candy bags for this one, but that’s what was in the shooting draft.
Jenna [00:22:02] Well, now we’re going to get into the meat of this episode. Michael arrives to work and there’s a man sitting on the reception couch waiting to see him. Erin has allowed this. Michael’s not pleased.
Angela [00:22:15] Michael is so bummed. He’s like, You have to protect my creative space.
Jenna [00:22:20] Yeah, I mean, she was like, Well, I thought this could be part of your creative space. And he’s like, just push creative space to the afternoon. What did I have? And she’s like, free play. He’s like, Push free play to tomorrow.
Angela [00:22:34] What is his schedule?
Jenna [00:22:35] I don’t know.
Angela [00:22:37] Well, this insurance salesman, Mr. Grotti, begins a presentation. Michael’s so bored. He has a talking head where he says, There’s nothing more insulting than listening to a bad salesman is like a good basketball player listening to a bad basketball player. And right after this talking head would have been a pretty important deleted scene for the Pam watercolor fiasco.
Jenna [00:23:00] Oh?
Angela [00:23:02] It’s between Erin, Stanley, and Meredith. It’s in the kitchen, and it kind of feels like Erin is stirring the pot a little, like she has some resentment to how long Pam has been on her honeymoon vacation.
Jenna [00:23:16] Mmm.
Angela [00:23:17] But guess who gets her back? You’ll never believe it. Let’s hear it.
Erin [00:23:22] Man, doesn’t it seem like Jim and Pam have been gone forever?
Meredith [00:23:24] Who gives a crap?
Erin [00:23:26] I’m just saying it’s great that she has so much time off. It’s unusual.
Stanley [00:23:30] Are you trying to get her in trouble?
Erin [00:23:30] Not at all. She totally deserves time off her honeymoon. And then, I guess, for her maternity leave after that.
Meredith [00:23:38] Teacher, teacher, Pam hasn’t been in class this week!
Stanley [00:23:42] Backstabbing a pregnant woman.
Erin [00:23:44] No, I’m just making conversation. We can talk about anything. Meredith, I saw your sons tag on the bridge. Wow, he’s so great with a spray can.
Meredith [00:23:52] Look, you’re never going to be Pam. We’re always going to like her more. Deal with it.
Angela [00:23:58] Wha!
Jenna [00:23:59] Oh my gosh. They kind of both have my back.
Angela [00:24:03] They do! I mean, Stanley’s like you’re backstabbing a pregnant woman. And then Meredith, of course, is like, We’re always going to like her more. This would have gone on to another scene where Toby approaches Erin at front reception and says, Hey, you really shouldn’t be talking about people’s time off from work, you know?
Jenna [00:24:22] Mmm.
Angela [00:24:22] And she’s like, I didn’t say anything. I I like Pam. And and then Toby is like, Erin! And he’s like really stern with her. And all of those little moments led up to her then trying to prove to everyone she really likes Pam. She’s going to clean her painting.
Jenna [00:24:38] Wow. Oh my gosh. See, now I did not remember that stuff. I just remembered, I obviously was very focused on the destruction part. I didn’t get into the motivation part.
Angela [00:24:51] That’s right. I’m still glad it’s all gone because it also makes Erin seem petty, and I just I think it was the right choice. I’m glad you fought for it.
Jenna [00:25:01] Yeah, I agree. It feels a little out of character for Erin to be, you know,
Angela [00:25:06] stirring the pot.
Jenna [00:25:07] Yeah.
Angela [00:25:08] Well, after this, there’s a scene in accounting that sets up a very funny storyline. There was actually more to it. Oscar and Angela are working. Kevin’s phone won’t stop ringing. They both are looking over at him in Jim’s office. He’s like eating M&M’s with his feet up on the desk. Angela is staring daggers at him, and Oscar says to her, You could have had Jim’s office if you thought of it. And Angela says, I did think of it. I just didn’t act on it. And then we cut to Kevin’s talking head that explains why he’s in Jim’s office. It’s because he went in there to fart.
Jenna [00:25:42] Yeah. Which I have to imagine Angela is grateful for.
Angela [00:25:47] Well, there’s that.
Jenna [00:25:48] You know.
Angela [00:25:49] There is that. During Kevin’s talking head at three minutes, five seconds, I caught something, Jenna.
Jenna [00:25:54] What’s that?
Angela [00:25:56] I got so excited about this moment. I let out a yell and Josh was in the kitchen. I was in our family room and he was like, What’s going on? And I’m like, It’s Kevin Malone’s desk plate. His name desk plate.
Jenna [00:26:08] Yeah, that we talked with Brian about, I saw it too.
Angela [00:26:12] This would have been the only time anyone would have seen it because it was facing out.
Jenna [00:26:18] Yeah, he put it the right way.
Angela [00:26:20] He put it the right way. In accounting it always just faced himself.
Jenna [00:26:25] I noticed a few other things that Kevin brought to Jim’s desk. He brought a Coney Island mug. His M&M’s, of course, and an arena football. I thought that was so interesting. I don’t think those things are normally in Jim’s office.
Angela [00:26:42] No, he’s clearly moved in. It’s hilarious to me that Michael never said, What are you doing? Why are you in Jim’s office? In the shooting draft it called for a lot of B-roll footage of Kevin in Jim’s office, and there was a whole bunch here that they filmed that we didn’t see. I’m going to read it to you. He’s sitting at his desk. He starts flossing. He yawns, then falls asleep with the floss in his mouth. He’s also wearing his toupee. Later that day, Kevin is napping with his shirt off, scrunched up under his head like a pillow. He has pulled his toupee across his eyes. This is like he lives there now.
Jenna [00:27:23] He does.
Angela [00:27:24] There was so much B-roll.
Jenna [00:27:26] Well, he says he likes it better than his own home.
Angela [00:27:29] He does.
Jenna [00:27:30] Well, Andy and Dwight are watching this meeting go down in the conference room and they have decided that the insurance salesman is a mobster. Oscar is kind of like guys, guys, not all Italian-Americans are in the mafia.
Angela [00:27:46] This scene would have continued, but it was deleted, where Oscar looks around the office for support. He says, Who else is here right now? Angela? And Angela says, I didn’t see anything. I’m not getting involved. Oscar’s like, Where’s Toby? He’s desperately looking for anyone with a voice of reason.
Jenna [00:28:05] Well, it’s interesting because when I was trading messages with Brent, he said that this Oscar talking head is the premise of the whole episode when they were thinking about why this could happen, how could it be that these guys could go so far down this farcical road? They thought it’s because the balance of reason was off because Jim and Pam were gone. Since this is the premise of the whole episode, I thought we should hear it. This is Oscar’s talking head.
Angela [00:28:38] Awesome.
Oscar [00:28:39] Pam and Jim are on their honeymoon, so there’s not the usual balance between sane and others. Toby has mentally checked out since June. It’s a very dangerous time. The coalition for reason is extremely weak.
Angela [00:28:54] It’s perfect, I love it. I do want to point out one thing for my background catch people. I’m wearing pants in this episode.
Jenna [00:29:03] Really?
Angela [00:29:04] You can barely see it, but in the scene where Oscar is pleading to the bullpen to be reasonable, I have my hands in the pockets of my pants.
Jenna [00:29:12] Wow. Pants and pockets.
Angela [00:29:14] Pants and pockets.
Jenna [00:29:15] The coalition of reason.
Angela [00:29:17] I know. But she doesn’t want to get involved. I’ve seen nothing. I will not get involved.
Jenna [00:29:21] So now we’re in the bullpen and everybody is weighing in on whether or not the insurance guy is in the mob. And Ryan is kind of talking about the different mob families. He’s like, It’s Gotti. Gotti is the mob family not Grotti. And they’re like, Oh, no, no, that’s perfect. He changed his name, he changed it. And Oscar’s like, why would he change his name? That weakens it. And Dwight argues that it’s actually brilliant because R is one of the most menacing sounds. And he has one of my favorite lines, That’s why they call it murder and not mukduk. It’s all too many words and sentences for Michael. He goes in his office. I had gotten a fan question from Andy M in Fort Wayne, Indiana, woop woop, my birthplace, who wanted to know who wrote Dwight’s line about mukduk. Was that Rainn improvising? I laugh so hard every time I watch the scene. OK. It was written and it was intentional. And Brent sent in an awesome audio clip about it. Take a listen.
Brent Forrester [00:30:29] Someone asked about the punch line, it’s murder, not mukduk. That is a word nerd joke. Some of you word nerds may know that in the 1800s, writers had this philosophy that some letters were more powerful than others. The letter R was considered horrifying, which is why Edgar Allan Poe has his ravens saying it. Never more. So many R’s in it, it’s so horrifying. Now, comedy writers think of the K sound as being a comedy magnifier. That’s because it’s a plosive. K D and T are plosive letters that apparently add power to words, which is why George Eastman, when he founded a photograph company, named it Kodak, a fake word that he felt would be powerful. This is a word nerd joke or as John Krasinski would say, a Brent joke. As in, that sounds like a Brent joke.
Jenna [00:31:18] I love that explanation.
Angela [00:31:20] I did, too. Jenna when I heard Brent’s audio clip, it reminded me of this great panel that I saw. It was all of Sid Caesar’s writing room and they were interviewed. It’s still on YouTube, and I went back and watched it last night. It’s Mel Brooks, Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner and Neil Simon, and they’re talking about what is the funniest number. And they tell this really great story of how in the writers room, they spent hours debating what is the funniest number. It’s so great. I’m going to put it in our stories when I post for Office Ladies Pod this week because it’s just the same thing Brent is talking about. It’s like a group of people debating on what sound is funny.
Jenna [00:32:02] What’s the answer? What’s the funniest number?
Angela [00:32:05] Well, they had a debate about it. There was a story they tell where they thought the number 32. 32 was funny. And then Neil Simon thought, twenty three. But it was like this debate. And the funniest part to me about it is the debate. And then I went on to read online that some comedy writers believe the number 37 is funny. It’s like an odd prime number.
Jenna [00:32:30] I think they’re all wrong.
Angela [00:32:32] What do you think is a funny number?
Jenna [00:32:33] Nine. Nine times. Nine.
Angela [00:32:38] Nine times.
Jenna [00:32:38] Whenever I’m embellishing a story, I’ll be like, I stood there for nine hours. Nine. I think nine is funny. I think it’s a good punch.
Angela [00:32:49] Do you know what I say?
Jenna [00:32:50] What?
Angela [00:32:51] 50.
Jenna [00:32:53] Oh.
Angela [00:32:54] Yeah. Like I was there 50 frickin minutes. I like all the F’s.
Jenna [00:32:59] Hmm. Yeah.
Angela [00:33:04] It’s a really great video, though. It just is that moment that you and I love where it’s a group of like, really funny people brainstorming about the most ridiculous things.
Jenna [00:33:13] That sounds like our writers room.
Angela [00:33:14] You know, this whole episode I couldn’t stop thinking about, was there a local mafia in Scranton?
Jenna [00:33:22] Yeah. Like, how realistic is this that this guy? Because I thought that too. I was like, It’s Scranton.
Angela [00:33:28] I know. So I typed into Google Scranton, Pennsylvania Mafia.
Jenna [00:33:34] And? This is what you texted me. You’re like, I did this Google search and I was like, Say no more. Wait till tomorrow.
Angela [00:33:41] OK, so I’m gonna share with you guys. When I Googled Scranton, Pennsylvania Mafia, this is what came up. There was a northeastern Pennsylvania mafia. It was known by several different names. The Bufalino crime family, also known as the Pittston Crime Family, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Crime Family, the northeastern Pennsylvania crime family or the Scranton Mafia.
Jenna [00:34:04] Oh!
Angela [00:34:05] It was an Italian-American mafia crime family based in northeastern Pennsylvania, primarily in the cities of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Pittston. It is believed it’s no longer active, but Lady, one name kept coming up as I researched the northeastern Pennsylvania crime families.
Jenna [00:34:24] What name?
Angela [00:34:25] The silent or quiet don known as a Russell Bufalino. I guess he really made his mark in the Italian-American mafia in the mid-20th century. He ruled the Bufalino crime family from 1959 to 1989. He was a cousin of the attorney, William Bufalino, a long time counsel for Jimmy Hoffa.
Jenna [00:34:48] Huh?
Angela [00:34:49] Stay with me! And his most powerful, Bufalino had operations in Cuba. He was the largest supplier of ammunition to the U.S. government, and had close ties with the U.S. Congress. It is rumored that he helped the CIA in their 1961 plot to assassinate Fidel Castro.
Jenna [00:35:08] Oh, my gosh.
Angela [00:35:10] I know. Listen to this. Apparently, Bufalino introduced Frank Sheeran to the leader of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Jimmy Hoffa.
Jenna [00:35:19] Who’s Frank Sheeran?
Angela [00:35:21] Exactly. Who was Frank Sheeran? Frank Sheeran is the guy who supposedly years later killed Hoffa.
Jenna [00:35:27] Oh!
Angela [00:35:28] But for years they worked together. In fact, this is how his job interview went. Frank Sheeran with Jimmy Hoffa. It is documented that it was over the telephone. Hoffa was in Detroit. Frank was in Philly. The first words uttered to Frank by Hoffa were, I heard you paint houses. This means, I guess, you whack people.
Jenna [00:35:49] Oh.
Angela [00:35:50] Because paint is the blood. You know, that splatters on the wall. And then Sheeran replied, Yeah, I do my own carpentry too, which meant, I get rid of the bodies too.
Jenna [00:36:02] Oh, my gosh.
Angela [00:36:02] I know, and then Frank got the job.
Jenna [00:36:06] And then he painted Jimmy’s house.
Angela [00:36:08] Yes, he did, because years later, Bufalino started to see Hoffa as a loose cannon and as a liability, right? So he thought he had to be taken out. This is the basis of the movie The Irishman directed by Martin Scorsese.
Jenna [00:36:23] Wow.
Angela [00:36:24] Joe Pesci plays Russell Bufalino.
Jenna [00:36:26] Joe Pesci plays the Scranton mobster guy?
Angela [00:36:30] Yes, the quiet Don. Robert De Niro plays Frank Sheeran, a.k.a. The Irishman, and Al Pacino played Jimmy Hoffa. There are so many books about this crime family.
Jenna [00:36:41] So that is very interesting. But there is one thing that I did not hear in your breakdown.
Angela [00:36:46] What was that?
Jenna [00:36:46] And that is any insurance selling?
Angela [00:36:50] Yeah, exactly.
Jenna [00:36:52] Bufalino was not in the insurance business. And it sounds like this crime family had left Scranton by 2009, which is where we are now.
Angela [00:37:05] Yeah.
Jenna [00:37:06] But there was a history. So maybe that is making them nervous, this history.
Angela [00:37:13] Also, Michael probably watches too much TV.
Jenna [00:37:17] Oh, for sure. For sure.
Angela [00:37:18] Oscar doesn’t know what to do because it’s spiraling out of control, so he calls Jim for advice, and Pam says he shouldn’t be calling them unless someone close to them is in danger and hangs up. They’re on their honeymoon.
Jenna [00:37:34] We got a fan question from Stephanie K. in Kansas City, Missouri. Jenna, did you and John basically just get the week off work aside from the phone calls? No. We did not. John and I were in Niagara! We were filming the Maid of the Mist scenes.
Angela [00:37:53] Oh my gosh, poor Randy Cordray. He must have been juggling so much. He had two shoots, two full shoots happening at the same time in two different states.
Jenna [00:38:02] Yes. So during this week, our script supervisor, Veda read Jim and Pam’s dialogue to the actors on set. And then when John and I got back in town, we came in and we recorded the audio for our side of those conversations, with the exception of one scene which was recorded with John there on set. I’ll tell you when we get to it.
Angela [00:38:27] OK. All right. This made me think Jenna, did you and Lee get any work phone calls on your honeymoon?
Jenna [00:38:35] No, we did not.
Angela [00:38:37] Right? Josh and I, we didn’t either. Here’s how many Jim and Pam got. I broke it down per the shooting draft. Oscar, Erin, and Kevin call Pam. Oscar and Michael call Jim. That would be five calls from work, but none of them were actually about real work.
Jenna [00:38:56] In one day.
Angela [00:38:58] In one day. How many did they get the other days?
Jenna [00:39:01] I don’t want to know. Michael’s in his office. He’s received a follow up email from Grotti. Dwight and Andy are really in his head now because Michael kind of like hones in on this one little phrase in the email and takes it to be like a threat. I actually paused and I transcribed the email that Grotti sent.
Angela [00:39:29] You did?
Jenna [00:39:29] Yeah, because the only part that Michael reads out loud is I feel you will regret. And they really like Spiral. But let me just for context, read you the whole email. And imagine, like your Oscar reading this email, OK?
Angela [00:39:46] OK. You’re a voice of reason reading this email.
Jenna [00:39:49] Yes, it says, Hi, Michael. It was a pleasure meeting with you to discuss our companies insurance plans this morning. I’m sorry you felt no need of any insurance coverage at this time, and I feel you will regret missing this great opportunity to be in business with Mutual of Harrisburg. Hopefully, you’ll reconsider and we can discuss our policies again in the near future. Sincerely, Angelo Grotti. I mean, that boilerplate.
Angela [00:40:15] That’s just a business email.
Jenna [00:40:17] I feel like Michael could have written that same email to someone who didn’t want to buy paper. I feel like you’re going to regret missing out on these great prices. But keep us in mind for the future. Maybe I’ll check in the next time we have a big sale.
Angela [00:40:31] Right. That’s in theory that Michael uses his computer at all other than, you know, to store Post-it Notes.
Jenna [00:40:39] That’s right. Well, these guys decide, for whatever reason, that Michael now needs to meet with Grotti, but not alone. They’ll all go, and they’re going to let this guy know that Michael cannot be pushed around. He cannot be bullied and he’s not going to buy any insurance. Period. Period.
Angela [00:40:58] Period.
Jenna [00:40:58] Even though he’s already not buying any insurance, they’re going to meet with him to tell him again that he’s not buying any insurance.
Angela [00:41:06] Ridiculous. I would like to point out in this scene, Michael has the healthiest plant in the whole entire office. Seven minutes, 46 seconds. He has a massive tree. He has a tree in the corner of his office.
Jenna [00:41:21] Is this new? Have we never seen this? What’s going on?
Angela [00:41:25] I don’t remember it. I was shocked when I saw it. Where did this tree come from?
Jenna [00:41:31] I don’t know. By the way, my peace Lily is really doing great and it brings me so much joy. I could not be happier.
Angela [00:41:38] I’m so glad.
Jenna [00:41:39] Truly.
Angela [00:41:39] I’m so glad. I love plants.
Jenna [00:41:42] I know. Listen, lady, I think we should take a break because when we come back, the guys are going to have lunch with Grotti and there’s so much to say. I need a snack first. Maybe I’ll have some gabigol or something.
Angela [00:41:57] All right. Let’s have some Gabigol. We’ll be back. All right, this next scene starts out in a parking lot where Michael and Dwight are waiting for Andy, who is dressed like a mechanic, a mechanic named Pat with a tire iron, which he calls a tire thing. And you know, Dwight and Michael are like, Why are you dressed like that? And Andy’s like, basically, the tire iron can be a weapon, but he had to dress like a mechanic, so it makes sense why he has it.
Jenna [00:42:27] I just want to point out that this man came into our office, sat on reception’s couch, which is a direct line of vision to Andy’s desk. He had to pass by Andy to get into the conference room. So I guess Angelo Grotti is not like super present in the moment. Like, he makes no connection that he has ever seen Andy before. He completely buys the fact that Andy is a random mechanic who has come to this lunch.
Angela [00:42:57] I know.
Jenna [00:42:57] I just want to say. It made me laugh.
Angela [00:43:01] Here’s a little couplet of dialog that when it was said, I thought Rainn improvised that right.
Jenna [00:43:06] I know what you’re going to say because I checked too.
Angela [00:43:08] Yeah. So Michael says, Let’s go, come on. And Andy goes, should I change? And Dwight goes, You’re wearing loafers. Michael’s like, forget it. Forget it. Not in the shooting draft.
Jenna [00:43:17] Not in the script. I’ve got a location alert for you.
Angela [00:43:22] Let’s hear it.
Jenna [00:43:23] These guys are going to go to the Garlic Press restaurant. That restaurant is fictional. We made that up. However, when I googled it, I did find a restaurant in Texas called the Garlic Press, and the menu looked amazing.
Angela [00:43:36] It reminds me of that restaurant we used to have here called The Stinking Rose.
Jenna [00:43:40] Oh yes.
Angela [00:43:41] And it was everything was garlic on the menu. Every single thing had garlic.
Jenna [00:43:45] I remember that place. Well, we shot this at a place called George’s Bistro in Valencia. I believe it has since closed, but it was a local Italian favorite and it was located in the Gateway Village Shopping Center, which is where we filmed all the parking lot scenes. So inside the restaurant, they have this scene where Andy sits down and Dwight comes back from the bathroom, you know, because he was scoping the place out, he brings back a roach.
Angela [00:44:12] He brings back a roach motel with a roach in it.
Jenna [00:44:16] Yes. And then Andy hits the roach with his tire iron. All right, Brent sent in an audio clip about this one. It’s fascinating. Here you go!
Brent Forrester [00:44:28] The creative tension in the shooting of Mafia peaked in that scene in the Italian restaurant when Dwight goes into the bathroom to look for a gun behind the toilet, a la The Godfather. He comes back and he says, No gun back there. Just this. And he tips up a roach motel and a roach falls out on the table. And in the first take of that, Ed Helms spontaneously unscripted smashed the roach with his wrench. After the take, the director, Dave Rodgers and I ran onto set and we said, Oh, that was so funny. Do that again in the next take. And the actors said, Oh no, no, no, no, no. We- no, no, Ed will not be doing that again. This has become a cartoon. And for eight more takes, Ed never again hit the roach with the wrench. But if you watch the episode, Ed hitting the roach with the wrench is what ends up in the cut. Now what is going on here is the earnest search by talented comedy people to find that balance between what Greg Daniels, the show creator, would call the plausible and the comical. If there’s too much plausible, it’s not funny. But if there’s not enough plausible, it’s silly. And the search for that is not easy. Nor is it doable, even by good people in real time. There’s a certain trial and error element to finding comedy tone.
Jenna [00:45:45] So when I heard this clip from Brent, it really made me think about how much trust you put in your director and editor. And when you don’t have that trust there, it can make you as an actor not try things. And we did have that trust on our set. And so Ed tried this moment, and in the moment it didn’t feel right to them. So they were like, we’re not going to repeat it. And we would do that all the time. I would try a reaction to something, and I would be like, Oh my God. No, no, OK. Nope, nope. Not doing that again. That was, that was like, not the right thing. And then you just kind of you hope everyone agrees and it doesn’t end up in the cut. But then ultimately, sometimes you’re wrong, like it was the right thing to try. And I just love how our show had all those checks and balances, I guess.
Angela [00:46:35] Yeah, me too. I thought it made perfect sense. If a cockroach is on a table, all of a sudden you’re going to try to whack it or shoo it off or something. So that reaction felt very natural to me. It’s probably why he did it in the first take because it was a natural instinct. And I love that audio clip. There’s one thing that keeps coming up for me when I hear Brent’s voice make a passionate plea about a joke or why something stayed in the episode or the process. He’s reminding me a lot of a youth pastor we had at church. He’s very passionate. I hear this cadence in his voice that is reminding me of a Sunday worship service a little bit. It’s a compliment, Brent. You’re very passionate. I’m riveted by your storytelling. While the fellows are at the restaurant, Jim’s credit card company calls to verify some charges that seem out of the ordinary. There are charges in Puerto Rico and this has caused a red flag at the credit card company.
Jenna [00:47:35] Yes, so they call Jim’s office and Kevin answers the phone. He manages to give Jim’s information. They think he’s Jim, and they’re like, Well, you’re obviously not in Puerto Rico, so we’re going to go ahead and cancel the card.
Angela [00:47:49] Not just any information. He finds the home address in the last four digits of his Social Security.
Jenna [00:47:55] Well, lady at nine minutes and 51 seconds as Kevin’s shuffling through all these papers to give away Jim’s information, I noticed something. He has a word search fun book open under all this paperwork. And I thought to myself, Is this a character thing or is this a Brian Baumgartner thing? Because I know Stanley always did his crossword puzzles and that tracks for me, but I don’t imagine Kevin is sitting around doing word searches.
Angela [00:48:26] Are you kidding? That is so not Kevin.
Jenna [00:48:29] So I was wondering, you sat with him Angela, did Brian do like word searches in his free time in the background? Do you remember?
Angela [00:48:39] Mostly over an accounting, he was on his computer surfing the internet because you could not see his screen. He was very lucky.
Jenna [00:48:45] I know.
Angela [00:48:47] Right? He never got reprimanded for his computer screen. But I imagine over in Jim’s glass box, he was visible in so many different ways that maybe he had to do something to pass the time.
Jenna [00:48:58] Very interesting. I thought it was fascinating.
Angela [00:49:01] As I watched the scene, the only thing I could think of was why, Jim, why would you leave such personal information just laying about your desk?
Jenna [00:49:12] I agree.
Angela [00:49:13] Why not tidy up a little bit? Put that stuff away before you go out of town.
Jenna [00:49:17] Your check stubs, people are going to see what you make. You think that’s not going to cause a stir?
Angela [00:49:23] I agree.
Jenna [00:49:24] Trust no one in that office. Back at the restaurant, when Grotti arrives, he makes them change tables. And I absolutely loved his bit when he says, Is this the table you’ve chosen? It’s a half booth, half table. It doesn’t know what it is. It made me laugh so hard. I went to the script and that little couplet wasn’t in there. I don’t know if it was something on the day or if Mike thought of it, but I love describing that table as it not knowing what it is. But a waitress is going to come and take their order. Wow. If you do not make Grotti’s order exactly how he wants it, he is going to send it back.
Angela [00:50:06] Michael is fascinated by how Grotti orders. He’s taking mental notes.
Jenna [00:50:11] He is. And you know, the whole point of this lunch is that Michael’s supposed to seem intimidating. So he’s going to try to give a very intimidating lunch order and he’s going to order gabagool. But the waitress doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s like gabagool.
Angela [00:50:27] Andy knows.
Jenna [00:50:29] Yeah, gabagool. They don’t have it. What is God bagel? I didn’t know.
Angela [00:50:36] I only knew it from one place.
Jenna [00:50:39] The Sopranos.
Angela [00:50:40] That’s right.
Jenna [00:50:41] Yeah. Well, I looked it up and thank you, Esquire. They wrote an article called What the Hell Is Gabagool and Why does Tony Soprano talk about it all the time? I found an audio clip online where somebody stitched together all the times they say Gabagool on Sopranos. Let’s listen to it.
Misc. Sopranos characters [00:50:59] Really, sends me down here for the gabagool/ The gabagool/ Don’t eat gabagool, grandma. It’s nothing but fat and nitrates/ Gabagool/ Ham, salami, gabagool/ Taking the gabagool and *bleep* out of the fridge/ Let’s get back to that gabagool/ Gabagool!/ All this from a slice of gabagool?/ The gabagool.
Jenna [00:51:18] OK. Clearly, Michael watches The Sopranos as well. I Googled it. Gabagool is a cured meat. It is known formally as capicola and it is made from pork shoulder. It’s kind of a cross between a sausage and a prosciutto. You would find it on like a charcuterie board. Gabagool is kind of like a shorthand for saying capicola where you just sort of garble it. This is what the article said that it’s like instead of saying capicola you say gabagool. That’s it.
Angela [00:51:56] It’s so interesting because Tony Soprano’s anxiety attacks were triggered by meat. Remember?
Jenna [00:52:03] Yes. Yeah. What isn’t in that audio clip that we played were all of these additional scenes of him just standing in the fridge, eating gabagool. He would often get up in the middle of the night and eat it. And then he would have an anxiety attack.
Angela [00:52:20] Well, ultimately, Michael can’t order gabagool because they don’t have it. So instead, he says he’ll order spaghetti with the side salad. If the salad is on top, he’ll send it back. If the salad is on top of his spaghetti. In the shooting draft, the scene continues. Andy is also going to order. Here’s what Andy orders. He would like a ham sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise and some Lowry’s salt. Lowry’s seasoning salt on top of his ham sandwich.
Jenna [00:52:52] I love a Lowry’s seasoning salt on top of some salmon before you grill it. I mean, you can really put it on anything.
Angela [00:52:58] You really can, I wouldn’t think to put it on ham.
Jenna [00:53:01] Oh, why not? I think it would be great. I mean, ham’s already a little salty, but I really think you can put it on almost anything.
Angela [00:53:08] I don’t disagree.
Jenna [00:53:10] Oh, I just saw this fan question from Kimberly W. in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s going back to gabagool. She would like you to know that Black Cat Pizza in Fort Worth, Texas, has a special order, gabagool pizza. And I looked it up.
Angela [00:53:26] What’s on it?
Jenna [00:53:27] It’s their take on a meat lover’s pizza, and it has capicola, which is gabagool, pepperoni, soppresata, spicy Italian sausage, a bunch of peppers, mozzarella and provolone on a marinara.
Angela [00:53:44] It’s 11:15 here, and I’m now hungry.
Jenna [00:53:48] Oh, I know. I wish. Well, you also love a charcuterie board.
Angela [00:53:54] I do. I mean, it’s-.
Jenna [00:53:54] You know, it goes with the cheese that you love.
Angela [00:53:57] I love it. Oh, I read today’s National Cheese Day.
Jenna [00:54:01] What?
Angela [00:54:01] Yeah.
Jenna [00:54:02] It is?
Angela [00:54:02] I know.
Jenna [00:54:04] Oh, I’m going to put that on my calendar for next year because I want to be the friend that sends you cheese on National Cheese Day.
Angela [00:54:11] That is some serious BFF territory. I love you for it.
Jenna [00:54:15] Oh wait, we got another fan question from Izzy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who wants to know who played the waitress? I think she was very funny. I agree with you, Izzy. She was played by Deborah Puete. I hope I’m saying your last name, right, Deborah. She has been on, oh my gosh, Parks and Recreation, Grey’s Anatomy, Strong Medicine. And she’s also a theater producer. She won a Drama Desk award in 2011 for producing the play Four Places.
Angela [00:54:44] Awesome. Well, we have another guest star alert because a woman and her child are going to approach Andy because he’s dressed like a mechanic. Her car won’t start, and she needs his help.
Jenna [00:54:57] Yes, that woman was played by Rae Lat. The son was played by Tucker Elbrese. And you know, she’s going to regret asking for Andy’s help because he kind of blows up her car.
Angela [00:55:13] Oh my gosh, he clearly knows nothing about cars. He even says, You know what? I have a great guy, like, that can help you.
Jenna [00:55:22] Randy told us that to make the battery spark and blow up in the scene was another special effect engineered by Mike Thompson. He used squibs which are electronically ignited devices that spark. And they also used an electronically triggered smoke generator. And he also sent us a video of them testing the effect. You got to put it in stories. I love how they have to test the stuff. They’re not just going to hand Ed some electric things and make it blow up. Somebody has to test that first. But just in case you find yourself with a dead battery, I am going to tell you how to jump start a car. You know, I feel like our rabies information really helped some people. And so I’d like to offer this for you all. So you’re going to need a car with a battery that’s working and then you’ll have your dead battery car. Before you start, make sure both cars are off. Then you take the red clamp, which is positive, and you clamp it on the dead battery. Start with dead battery first.
Angela [00:56:35] That’s right.
Jenna [00:56:37] Then attach the red clamp to the positive terminal of the working battery. Then stay where you are. Clamp the negative, which is the black clamp, to the working battery. And then complete the circle by clamping the negative to not the battery, but to any unpainted metal surface of the dead car. You don’t go battery, battery, battery, battery. Mm hmm. Then start the working car…
Angela [00:57:09] then start the dead car.
Jenna [00:57:12] Right, then remove the cables in the reverse order that you attached them. And you have to keep the previously dead car running for several minutes. Or you can drive around for like 15 minutes and then your battery will be recharged. So positive, positive, negative, negative not to battery, turn on cars.
Angela [00:57:34] One of my friends in my early 20s out here, you know, when you move out here and you, you’re just at the very beginning trying to start out. His car was a bit of a clunker and there were a few times we had to do that. After, like performing at comedy clubs we would be like, Does anyone have jumper cables?
Jenna [00:57:49] Oh, yeah, me too. I found out why Andy had the problems he had. If you connect the negative first, there’s a chance that it’ll short circuit and the battery will explode.
Angela [00:58:02] Oh yeesh.
Jenna [00:58:04] Also, this website just wants you to know, never try to jump a frozen battery. And don’t try to jump a broken or leaky battery.
Angela [00:58:13] Good to know, guys. Good to know. Our final moment here with Mr. Grotti at the restaurant is a real power struggle between Dwight and Andy. Dwight says don’t sign the letter of intent. Andy he really wants him to sign it so they can be done with all this. Michael signs the paper, and Dwight is really disappointed.
Jenna [00:58:33] I just want to point out, I love how they all ordered dessert at a lunch that they didn’t want to go to.
Angela [00:58:38] I know.
Jenna [00:58:39] I mean, this was a three course meal.
Angela [00:58:42] I looked in the shooting draft to see if there was anything about what really was in this insurance policy. Like, what did it cover? The shooting draft did not disappoint, Mr. Grotti says to Michael, So from getting to know you a little, I think this policy is the right size for you. It will provide enough for your mother to eat at Red Lobster for the rest of her days, endow a scholarship in your name at Hamburger University, and preserve your brain and genitals in a cryogenic lab.
Jenna [00:59:14] OK. Well, Michael says, listen, it’s only the same as the cost of one cup of coffee per hour.
Angela [00:59:21] To preserve your brain and genitals? What a deal!
Jenna [00:59:24] Well, I looked it up, and the average cost of a hot black coffee in the United States is two dollars and 70 cents. So that means Michael’s policy costs twenty three thousand five hundred eighty seven dollars a year.
Angela [00:59:40] Wow.
Jenna [00:59:41] I thought that was a lot. I thought two dollars and seventy cents for a cup of coffee was a lot. But it is not the most expensive cup of coffee in the world, according to the Global Coffee Report, which ranks 104 countries. In South Korea, the average cost of just a black coffee is $7.77.
Angela [01:00:03] Whoa.
Jenna [01:00:04] I know. The least expensive cup of coffee is in Iran, where you can get a cup of coffee for just 49 cents.
Angela [01:00:13] Hmm. Well, you can certainly see why Michael’s in a bit of a jam financially because he’s just signed a policy he can’t afford.
Jenna [01:00:20] At all.
Angela [01:00:21] At all. And Dwight, as they’re walking to the car, is like, what happened there? And Michael’s like, I had to make a snap decision. And this line that Dwight says, do you know what a snap decision means? And then he snaps. I was like, That’s Rainn improvising. It has to be. So I went to the shooting draft and it’s not in the shooting draft. This is what was scripted. Michael says, I had to make a snap decision, Dwight. Dwight says, No, you didn’t. You were sitting there for an hour. Just please tell me you only agreed to term life insurance. Michael holds up a pamphlet. Dwight snatches it. He looks at it and says, An annuity? No. And then Andy excitedly squeaks, and Michael goes, What? Andy says, Nothing. And then Andy turns to camera and has this talking head on the fly. He annuity was doing, eh? And then he smiles and goes, The mood was wrong.
Jenna [01:01:17] I don’t get the joke.
Angela [01:01:19] He annuity was doing. Like signing up for this insurance.
Jenna [01:01:23] Oh, he annuity.
Angela [01:01:25] He’s making a pun.
Jenna [01:01:26] He a knew what he.
Angela [01:01:27] Yeah, but he’s doing it like in an accent, like he knew what he was doing, eh?
Jenna [01:01:31] Oh my God, that’s like a hard hardcore dad pun right there.
Angela [01:01:35] I know. And then I guess it’s like crickets. And he goes, The mood was wrong.
Jenna [01:01:40] Wow.
Angela [01:01:41] That’s what was in the script.
Jenna [01:01:43] I think he annuity what he was doing is a Brent joke.
Angela [01:01:47] For sure.
Jenna [01:01:48] That’s a word nerd pun joke, for sure.
Angela [01:01:52] For sure.
Jenna [01:01:52] Back in the office, Michael decides he needs some advice from Jim, and so he is the latest person to call him on his honeymoon.
Angela [01:02:00] They’re on a catamaran.
Jenna [01:02:02] Yes.
Angela [01:02:02] I’m very surprised Jim answered to be honest.
Jenna [01:02:06] It’s a very funny bit. This is the scene where John was actually on the other line, and the two of these guys, they started improvising. They went off script. This whole thing with the crackle and you’ll be saved. And then Michael is like, What are you? I can’t. And he’s like, And you’ll be saved. They came up with that on the day.
Angela [01:02:29] So fun.
Jenna [01:02:31] It shows the value of having the actor there live, especially on a show like ours that, you know, encouraged improvization.
Angela [01:02:38] And especially between John and Steve, who were so good at this Jim Michael dynamic.
Jenna [01:02:43] Yes.
Angela [01:02:44] Well, Dwight overhears Michael talking Oscar. He’s clearly stressing out. And Dwight says, We’ve got to fix this. Michael is broke and living in fear with no friends at a dead end job.
Jenna [01:02:56] Yeah, I know. And Andy’s kind of like, Well, I mean, some of those things were true before today.
Angela [01:03:01] And Dwight’s, like, not the fear part. So they come up with this plan that they’re going to convince Michael that Mr. Grotti is not in the mafia, even though, in truth, Andy and Dwight still think he is. But they go in and Andy’s like, I have a friend who’s a fed. This guy checks out. Dwight says he has a friend on the police force that also clears Grotti’s name.
Jenna [01:03:23] And also cleared the Fed just to make sure that he wasn’t on the take.
Angela [01:03:27] That’s right. Oh my gosh. Steve’s performance that moment when he, as Michael, thinks he’s been lied to. The look that came over his face, Jenna. I was like, Oh, Steve is so good.
Jenna [01:03:38] I love every time Steve realizes something as Michael.
Angela [01:03:44] Yes. So Michael says, if there’s one thing I hate more than the mafia, it’s a liar. Right? He’s going to call up this guy.
Jenna [01:03:51] Oh, he gets on the phone and he lays into him and he cancels his policy. Everybody is so happy. And then Dwight and Andy are like, Yeah, they tell him what they did. He just stood up to a mobster.
Angela [01:04:06] And Michael’s like, Oh God, oh god, I should be mad at you guys. and now he just feels like a bad ass.
Jenna [01:04:15] Well, Brent sent in a final audio clip where he explains why he thinks this ending works so well and why he believes it endures.
Brent Forrester [01:04:24] I think the Office episode Mafia is an original contribution to the history of comedy because there is a real story and there’s a fake story, and all of the stakes for the characters happen in the fake story. But the actors ground it and play it so real that we actually feel stakes for them and we actually feel their emotional resolution at the end. It also has an incredibly original ending where Dwight and Andy fake Michael into believing the truth. And this quote false understanding of reality is what allows Michael to solve his problems in the fake story. It’s highly original, and I think those scenes of Andy, Dwight and Michael in Michael’s office will stand the test of time with comedy nerds for ever.
Jenna [01:05:06] Well, it stood the test of time for me. I loved the complexity of it.
Angela [01:05:12] For sure. And you know, a little piece of Mr Grotti is going to stay with Michael now forever.
Jenna [01:05:19] Oh yes.
Angela [01:05:20] I mean, look at how he orders coffee at the end. Erin, I want coffee. Not from the kitchen. The Stop and Shop. If it’s not the Stop and Shop, I send it back. Large. If it’s a medium, I send it back. If it’s an extra large, I send it back. So there is part of Michael and Mr. Grotti that are always going to be together.
Jenna [01:05:37] I also want to point out that at 20 minutes and forty nine seconds, very briefly over Michael’s shoulder as he’s bragging to the bullpen about standing up to this mobster, you can see that there is a replacement painting on the wall where Pam’s watercolor would have been. It says, Being Cleaned, and it has stars and smiley faces all around it. This is something that Erin put up on the wall. Now, in the next episode, that’s going to be replaced with something else. But we’ll get to it.
Angela [01:06:10] Well, Sam is motioning to me. Sam, what do you got? What did we miss?
Sam [01:06:14] Your Angela’s digital clutter sting is ready.
Angela [01:06:17] You made one?
Jenna [01:06:18] What?!
Sam [01:06:18] Yeah, I made it during this episode.
Angela [01:06:19] You did? Let’s hear it! Let’s hear it.
Sam [01:06:22] Here we go. “Angela’s digital clutter.” Should sound like The Matrix if I did it right.
Angela [01:06:30] It does. It sounds like like Neo getting a message. Oh Sam, I love it so much. Thank you.
Jenna [01:06:39] All right, Sam, you need to save that because next week, fast fact number three is going to be Angela’s digital clutter.
Angela [01:06:48] You guys, there literally might be nothing but OK.
Jenna [01:06:51] That’s what’s so riveting about it.
Angela [01:06:54] What’s it going to be? We don’t know.
Jenna [01:06:56] Will it pay off? Will it not? You’ll have to wait until next week when we break down The Lover.
Angela [01:07:02] And also, we want to say thank you to Brent Forrester for sending in those audio clips. Check out his TV comedy course. You can go to Brent Forrester dot com. See you guys next week. We hope you have a great day.
Jenna [01:07:20] Thank you for listening to Office Ladies. Office Ladies is produced by Earwolf, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. Our show is executive produced by Codi Fischer. Our producer is Cassi Jerkins, our sound engineer is Sam Kieffer, and our associate producer is Aynsley Bubbico.
Angela [01:07:36] Our theme song is Rubber Tree by Creed Bratton. For Ad free versions of Office Ladies, go to Stitcher Premium dot com. For a free one month trial of Stitcher Premium, use code: Office.