April 19, 2022
EP. 118 — Secret Santa
This week we’re breaking down “Secret Santa” and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong reads this week’s summary! To raise spirits, Jim and Dwight plan a fun holiday Christmas Party and Phyllis gets to realize her dream of playing Santa Claus! However, Michael hijacks the party when he shows up dressed as Santa and won’t back down. Meanwhile, Andy accidentally torments Erin with Secret Santa gifts from the song, “The 12 Days of Christmas.” (Who knew there would be so many birds?) Jenna does a deep dive on the origin of Secret Santa, Angela shares a blooper from a scene none of the cast could get through and Billie Joe also sends in a clip about Dwight and Andy singing “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” So sit on Santa’s lap because Michael needs this and enjoy the episode!
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118 — Secret Santa
Jenna [00:00:03] I’m Jenna Fischer.
Angela [00:00:04] And I’m Angela Kinsey.
Jenna [00:00:06] We were on The Office together.
Angela [00:00:07] And we’re best friends.
Jenna [00:00:08] And now we’re doing the ultimate Office rewatch podcast just for you.
Angela [00:00:12] Each week, we will break down an episode of The Office and give exclusive behind the scenes stories that only two people who were there can tell you.
Jenna [00:00:19] We’re the Office Ladies. Hello, Angela.
Angela [00:00:25] Hi, Jenna.
Jenna [00:00:27] You’re fighting with a staple right now.
Angela [00:00:30] I was hoping to have it done before the music stopped.
Jenna [00:00:32] No, you’re still working on it.
Angela [00:00:34] Guys, I did this thing where I printed my document. You know, Jenna and I both do documents now, guys. I’ve moved on from notecards to an outline.
Jenna [00:00:42] I know I don’t know how I feel about it.
Angela [00:00:44] I still have some Post-it notes. OK?
Jenna [00:00:46] OK. Good, good.
Angela [00:00:46] You know, Post-it notes still happen. And I color code everything, as you know. My document is all kinds of different colors. But this morning, when I was printing it, I by accident printed the font to like size 40.
Jenna [00:00:59] It’s so many pages.
Angela [00:01:01] It’s so many pages. It’s like a phone book.
Jenna [00:01:03] And the staple would not staple it all.
Angela [00:01:05] It wouldn’t. It was poking me. Hi, guys. Welcome to Office Ladies.
Jenna [00:01:09] Today we’re talking about Secret Santa, but today in real life, it’s St Patrick’s Day.
Angela [00:01:15] It is.
Jenna [00:01:15] So we’re kind of doing a holiday on a holiday.
Angela [00:01:18] Mm-Hmm.
Jenna [00:01:19] I’d like to say something before we get started. We have been together in the studio for 15 minutes so far this morning, and no one has mentioned my cute, sassy new haircut.
Angela [00:01:29] I noticed it right away when I was complaining about my printer issues.
Jenna [00:01:34] I know, but no one has complimented my hair.
Sam [00:01:37] It looks very nice. I apologize.
Jenna [00:01:38] And I need the compliments. I’m fishing for the compliments.
Angela [00:01:41] I thought you looked like a runway model when I saw you this morning. I said, Who is that lady? She looks like a million (BLEEP) bucks.
Jenna [00:01:48] And?
Angela [00:01:48] Oh my god, it’s my boss lady friend, Jenna Fischer.
Jenna [00:01:51] Thank you.
Angela [00:01:52] And you know what’s setting it all off?
Jenna [00:01:53] What?
Angela [00:01:53] Sassy haircut.
Jenna [00:01:55] Good.
Angela [00:01:55] It starts with the sassy haircut, and then it goes all the way down. You have a whole outfit. She has a little green stripy shirt, a cardigan, cute, cute accessories.
Jenna [00:02:04] I cannot tell if this is genuine or if this is sarcasm. Sam, where do you stand on this?
Angela [00:02:12] This is genuine!
Sam [00:02:12] I think it’s how I labeled it before. It’s I think it’s genuine and hostile. It can be both.
Angela [00:02:17] They said I came in-.
Jenna [00:02:18] Angela was in a mood today.
Angela [00:02:19] They said I came in hot this morning, y’all. I came in hot.
Sam [00:02:22] Angela walked in, looked at the video camera, so Cassi can see it, and said “no” and tore it out of the wall, instead of just asking to move it.
Angela [00:02:31] They have this camera, guys, so we can be on Zoom with Cassi, and it literally- I don’t know what evil person set it up today, but it was a shot under my neck and up my nose.
Jenna [00:02:41] It was not. It was not good.
Angela [00:02:43] It wasn’t.
Jenna [00:02:43] I’m going to back you up on that.
Angela [00:02:45] You know what a woman who’s just recently turned 50 doesn’t need? An under the neck shot.
Jenna [00:02:51] You know what it looked like? You know when you go on Instagram and you haven’t angled the camera right yet, but it’s on selfie mode?
Angela [00:02:58] Yeah.
Jenna [00:02:58] It’s that horrifying moment where you see yourself from, like under the neck.
Angela [00:03:02] Yes.
Jenna [00:03:03] That’s how the Zoom camera was.
Angela [00:03:05] So yeah, Sam, I ripped it out of the wall.
Sam [00:03:07] Angela, can I ask you a St. Patrick’s Day question?
Angela [00:03:09] Oh, please.
Sam [00:03:10] Will you be getting tooted today?
Angela [00:03:12] That got my husband so tickled because my husband Josh listens to the podcast and I saw him when we all posted. He was like, Are we getting tooted, babe?
Jenna [00:03:25] Oh, all right. Well, let’s get into it.
Angela [00:03:28] OK.
Jenna [00:03:28] This is season six, episode 13 written by Mindy Kaling, directed by Randall Einhorn. This episode features a song from Green Day and y’all know I’m friends with Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer of Green Day.
Angela [00:03:44] Jenna is blushing as she’s saying this. She’s blushing.
Jenna [00:03:49] I am such a fan of my own friend. It’s true. I reached out and he agreed to read the summary. So here it is.
Angela [00:04:01] Oh my gosh!
Billie Joe Armstrong [00:04:02] Hello, Office Ladies listeners. This is Billie Joe Armstrong. Here’s your summary for Secret Santa. It’s Christmas time at Dunder Mifflin. Jim and Dwight are in charge of this year’s Christmas party, and they’re doing a pretty good job. Jim tells Phyllis she can play Santa, something she’s wanted to do for years. This naturally causes Michael to spiral. Meanwhile, Oscar has a crush on a new warehouse worker, and Pam plays matchmaker. Andy has Erin in the Secret Santa gift exchange, but so far it’s not going well. She’s mostly just been attacked by birds. There is some potentially devastating news from corporate hanging over everyone’s heads, but in the end, it’s a great party with karaoke, a marching band, and even a little snow. (SINGS) I’ll walk a lonely road. We all walk a lonely road.
Jenna [00:05:00] I mean, come on.
Angela [00:05:01] Come on.
Jenna [00:05:02] He’s the best.
Angela [00:05:02] Come on! When he sang at the end? I was like, ahhhh.
Jenna [00:05:06] We’re all grinning. Thank you so much, Billie Joe.
Angela [00:05:11] Thank you, Billie Joe.
Jenna [00:05:13] All right. Fast fact number one. This episode aired on December 10th, 2009. But shortly afterward, there was an extended cut that was released, and it included nine extra minutes of footage, which brought the total length of the episode up to 29 minutes and 43 seconds.
Angela [00:05:34] Oh, I have so much to share about this.
Jenna [00:05:36] I know you do.
Angela [00:05:37] OK, so there are no deleted scenes. If you have the DVD box set, there are no deleted scenes for Secret Santa. And it is because of this extended producer’s cut. I guess there were so many great scenes they decided to make like our version back then of a supersize. Right?
Jenna [00:05:53] Yeah.
Angela [00:05:54] So I reached out to Joya Balfour. You guys, I’ve spoken about her before. She worked for NBC Digital. And I was like, Joya, what did you know about this extended producer’s cut? And she said, Angela, it was made for NBC.com.
Jenna [00:06:08] Oh.
Angela [00:06:09] Yes. And it was actually the first producer’s cut episode that they ran exclusively on NBC.com.
Jenna [00:06:16] Wow.
Angela [00:06:17] That’s right. A few more will come as we go through the seasons, but this is the full list of extended producers cuts that ran on NBC.com. Pretty quickly right after the episode aired, you could go to NBC dot com and there they were. Secret Santa, Training Day, Search Committee, Angry Andy, and Fundraiser.
Jenna [00:06:38] Wow.
Angela [00:06:39] And it was the first time we had ever done that. Of course, now all networks have websites and have episodes up there, but this was the first time it was ever done for NBC for our show.
Jenna [00:06:48] I want to say, I feel like the folks at NBC.com were kind of trailblazers here.
Angela [00:06:53] Yeah.
Jenna [00:06:54] Like they were creating really cool extra content, original content, kind of before everyone else was doing it. At least that’s my perception.
Angela [00:07:02] That’s what I think, too. The webisodes, putting extended episodes online, having digital shorts like my Adventures with Angela.
Jenna [00:07:10] Yes.
Angela [00:07:11] So I went digging in my digital clutter and I found an email that Joya and I had back and forth during this episode, where she was coming to set to film me for the segment I would do for NBC.com called Adventures with Angela, and I was going to give a holiday behind the scenes tour of the set. Well, Joya couldn’t find the video, but guess what she shared with me? She said, Angela, I have found someone at NBC that I knew back in the day when she worked there. They told me that all of my videos, my Adventures with Angela segments, were moved to the archive room and they’re on a special server. But her friend there is going to try to get me all of them.
Jenna [00:07:51] (GASP).
Angela [00:07:52] I know I would be so excited to have them.
Jenna [00:07:56] I remember you doing this one for Secret Santa because I remember you giving a tour of all the decorations.
Angela [00:08:02] Yeah.
Jenna [00:08:02] And it was really cute.
Angela [00:08:04] I remember doing these segments. They were so much fun. And Joya said that there’s some more fun digital content coming up. NBC.com was really starting to get in a groove, and she said for season seven, she’s going to have a lot of little nuggets for us.
Jenna [00:08:16] Oh, that is very exciting.
Angela [00:08:17] Mm-Hmm. Quick shout out, you guys, to Dunderpedia because they list all of these extra scenes.
Jenna [00:08:25] Oh yes, I saw that.
Angela [00:08:26] And I’m going to mention a few of them but there’s so many. There are so many. So if you go to Dunderpedia or if you have the DVD box set, you can watch this extended producer’s cut.
Jenna [00:08:36] Fast fact number two is a Secret Santa deep dive.
Angela [00:08:42] Ooh, I’m so excited.
Jenna [00:08:45] I was a lady who googled four different articles, from Bustle, Wikipedia, USA Today and Grunge.
Angela [00:08:52] What did they say?
Jenna [00:08:54] Well, since you know the Secret Santa gift exchange is such a big part of this episode, I wanted to know more. And I found out that lots of places have a tradition of exchanging or giving gifts in this Secret Santa tradition, but they have different names. I love different names.
Angela [00:09:11] Me too. I love to see how people celebrate things differently, like around the world.
Jenna [00:09:15] Me too. Well, in the UK, it’s called Kris Kringle. In Ireland, it’s called Kris Kindle, which is an adaptation of Christ Kindle, which means Christ Child.
Angela [00:09:26] It’s not Secret Santa there. It would be secret Kris Kringle?
Jenna [00:09:30] Yeah, but I don’t even think you say the secret part. I think you just say, let’s do a Kris Kindle gift exchange.
Angela [00:09:35] Oh, OK.
Jenna [00:09:37] In Germany, it’s called wichteln, which means goblin or elf. Now, some people believe that the whole thing originated in Scandinavia, where it’s called Julklapp and involves basically leaving a gift at someone’s door, knocking and then running away. But in all of these traditions, there’s one thing that remains constant which is that you have to give somebody a gift in secret, either out of the goodness of your heart or through an organized gift exchange where you like draw names, as in our episode. But ultimately, you are not supposed to reveal your identity. So many of these articles pointed to a philanthropist from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, named Larry Dean Stewart, as quote, the original Secret Santa. Like in America.
Angela [00:10:29] Oh OK.
Jenna [00:10:29] Who the name Secret Santa might come from. So the tradition of giving out secret gifts has been going on forever. But this name, Secret Santa, was sort of originally given to this man.
Angela [00:10:41] Oh, I want to hear all about it.
Jenna [00:10:43] He gave out anonymous gifts during the holidays for more than twenty five years. He would walk around wearing sometimes a red sweater. I saw one photo of him in like white overalls with a red sweater and a little red hat, and he would give people $100 bills just randomly. After nine eleven, he donated over $25,000 in the form of $100 bills to New Yorkers. He was so famous for handing out this money that he was profiled in USA Today one year, but they kept it anonymous. They didn’t say who he was. But his identity was finally revealed in 2006 after he was diagnosed with cancer. It was a pretty aggressive form of cancer, and what I read in an article was that someone knew who he was and they were going to reveal him, so he decided to come out and say who he was. But according to this article in USA Today, he was quoted as saying, he has no strict criteria for who gets the money. He sometimes worked with local service agencies, or he had police officers or firefighters help him identify people who had been devastated by a fire or some other calamity, and he sometimes gave those people a thousand dollars or more. But he said most of the money he gave away was handed out to people that he met on the street in diners and laundromats, pawnshops and fast food places. In the article, it also explained how he grew up really struggling and rather poor, and one day he was so hungry that he went to a diner and ordered a big meal and he couldn’t pay for it and so he pretended like he lost his wallet. And the server came over to him and said, Oh. Sir, I think you dropped this. And it was a $20 bill.
Angela [00:12:31] Oh, just protected his dignity in that moment.
Jenna [00:12:35] Right.
Angela [00:12:35] Yeah.
Jenna [00:12:36] And he walked out of the diner and it didn’t occur to him what this person had done for him until after he got outside. And then when he made a lot of money, he wanted to go around and give that back. And he actually went back and he found that guy who had given him the $20.
Angela [00:12:52] The waiter?
Jenna [00:12:52] Yes. And then gave him a bunch of money. And the guy was like, No, you don’t have to do that. And he said, Well, you started it all. So it is estimated that in his lifetime, he gave away $1.3 million.
Angela [00:13:07] Wow.
Jenna [00:13:07] And there’s your original Secret Santa. All right. So fast fact number three, we found some kittens the week we were shooting this episode.
Angela [00:13:18] This is like one of those things, guys. It’s like, is art imitating life or life imitating art? Because here I had made up the story of finding Sprinkles in the parking lot, and then years later, we found kittens in the parking lot.
Jenna [00:13:31] Yeah, this was the last episode before our big hiatus. Our costume designer, Alysia and our property manager, Tom Melby found two kittens under the costume trailer. Little bitty kittens.
Angela [00:13:44] They were so cute.
Jenna [00:13:45] And Alysia brought them in and I went in for a wardrobe fitting and I saw them. Well, at this time I was working with Kitten Rescue, and so I ended up taking these kittens home.
Angela [00:13:59] Jenna fostered them. Tell them their names.
Jenna [00:14:02] Dunder and Mifflin. Dunder was a little black and white tuxedo cat, and Mifflin was an all black cat. But, you know, Mifflin was struggling a little bit. I mean, these were barely weaned kittens, and Dunder could eat on his own, but Mifflin couldn’t. So I gave Mifflin to a volunteer at Kitten Rescue who had experienced bottle feeding babies. And eventually they were both adopted together, these little brothers, by this young woman named Carrie. And I’m still in touch with her. She still sends me pictures of these guys. It’s the sweetest thing. So I reached out to find out how they’re doing. She said they are now 12 years old.
Angela [00:14:41] Wow.
Jenna [00:14:42] She said that Dunder, who used to be kind of the more rascally outgoing one, has become a little crankier in his old age. He kind of hides when people come over now. Whereas Mifflin, who was always kind of the shy one, loves to get pets from anybody who visits. So, you know, Carrie also ended up being a foster parent for kittens at Kitten Rescue. And she told me that Dunder and Mifflin have helped to foster uncle, or as she calls it, funcled, over 80 kittens in the past 12 years.
Angela [00:15:17] Wow.
Jenna [00:15:17] And that they’re very, very good with all the little kittens that she fosters. It’s funny because when I was working with Kitten Rescue, I think I gave an interview where I said that I had fostered and found homes for over 13 cats and that got printed as I had 13 cats. And it took me years to get that corrected. It was on like Wikipedia forever, and every time I would do an interview, someone would say, Tell me about your 13 cats. And I would be like, Can we please?
Angela [00:15:51] I fostered 13 cats.
Jenna [00:15:53] And not at the same time. Like one by one.
Angela [00:15:55] Right. Over years.
Jenna [00:15:57] Well, incidentally, Kitten Rescue is where I adopted Sonny, and I’m going to link to them in our show notes. They are such a great organization. And I also have some really fun photos of Dunder and Mifflin from when they were kittens as well as now. And we’ll put it in our Instagram stories.
Angela [00:16:11] Oh, I can’t wait. You guys, as Jenna was sharing the story, I just was remembering all these memories and when we would walk on to set, there were these side doors that we would come on to the set of the Dunder Mifflin bullpen from our trailers. We had a wall of like announcements. Like if someone had a baby, we’d put the photo up there or, you know, just any little thing. I remember, like when you were in a poker tournament, like we put a little thing up there, just anything that was going on in our lives, cast and crew. And then you would walk by and you would read and you’d be like, Oh my gosh, Patrick, you know, you’re getting married. That’s so great. There’d be little announcements. Well, there was a photo of Dunder and Mifflin. We had printed off a xerox-.
Jenna [00:16:52] A little flier.
Angela [00:16:53] Yeah, a little flier that hung there. And we would walk past it every day and we left it up even after they were adopted. Just like their photo. Aw I love that. I want to see what they look like now.
Jenna [00:17:04] I know. They’re so cute. Well, that’s all I’ve got. Should we take a break and then come back?
Angela [00:17:08] Yeah, let’s get into this episode. There’s so much fun stuff to discuss.
Jenna [00:17:17] This episode kicks off with a very exuberant Merry Christmas from Dwight and Jim, who, if you remember, are now the heads of the Party Planning Committee.
Angela [00:17:28] Yeah, they’re still in charge of the parties.
Jenna [00:17:31] I have to say, they do a good job this year.
Angela [00:17:34] They do.
Jenna [00:17:34] This is a great Christmas party. The decor is great. They have some great ideas.
Angela [00:17:39] Well, I have a reason for that I’m going to share with you that was then deleted scenes.
Jenna [00:17:43] I can’t wait.
Angela [00:17:44] Well, next up, Dwight has a talking head where he shares that he put his diabolical plan on hold. I have to share something. So when I was talking to Joya about this episode, she said, Oh Angela, I meant to reach out to you about Scott’s Tots because we launched a diabolical blog to coincide with Dwight’s diabolical plan.
Jenna [00:18:05] What?
Angela [00:18:05] Yes. It was a weekly blog about Dwight’s diabolical plan. You can still see the blog entries. I’m going to put a link to them in our stories. I’m showing Jenna a picture of what the front page looks like.
Jenna [00:18:18] Oh, it’s the coup de Dwight, the diabolical blog by Dwight K. Schrute.
Angela [00:18:23] So I’ll put that in our stories, but I thought that was so fun. After this Dwight talking head, Jenna, there was a Jim talking head that got deleted. It’s in the extended producer’s cut, but I want to read to you a little bit of it from the shooting draft.
Jenna [00:18:38] OK.
Angela [00:18:39] It was actually really sweet. Jim says, Lately there have been serious rumors that our company might go bankrupt. David Wallace asked me to keep morale high. Then there’s B-roll, and the B-roll captures people taking turns going into Jim’s office while Jim actually listens and jots down notes. Angela goes in. Kevin, Kelly, Stanley. Jim’s talking head continues. I asked around what people wanted with Christmas. Get creative, I said. And people weren’t really creative exactly. They said Secret Santa, karaoke, food. Pretty much what we usually have, which is great. Then there’s B-roll of Jim and Dwight dusting off old decorations. Jim continues to talk. People usually argue about food, so I told everyone to bring their favorites. Then there’s B-roll. Angela laying out carrots and celery. Kevin with an enormous chocolate cake. Pam brings in a lasagna. And finally Creed emptying a large can of beans into a glass serving bowl. Jim continues, I made a very organized sign up sheet for karaoke, so there’s no fighting. B-roll of Jim holding up a clipboard next to the karaoke machine with a “must take turns” written on it in red letters. Kelly, Andy and Kevin crowd around to sign up. Jim continues talking. And, no crying. Jim hangs up a banner in the conference room. It says, Merry Christmas. Santa Hates Tears. And then lastly, Jim says, I made Phyllis Santa, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Phyllis hugs Jim and will not let go. Jim tries to subtly break free. And then Jim ends this talking head with this: I’m doing a good job, I think because this year I care. I know. It’s weird. He shrugs. Happy.
Jenna [00:20:31] That is so sweet.
Angela [00:20:32] I know. It was a great talking head, and it really showed how Jim was invested in making this a good party.
Jenna [00:20:39] This is good management. This just reminds me of how Greg Daniels would treat us. He would come around and he would say, What do you think should happen to your character this year?
Angela [00:20:48] Yes.
Jenna [00:20:49] And you’d be like, I have ideas! Thank you!
Angela [00:20:51] For asking!
Jenna [00:20:53] So now Erin is going to make an announcement to the bullpen. She is pleading with whoever is her Secret Santa to please stop sending gifts. Her Secret Santa is doing a 12 days of Christmas themed gift for her. And she says that her cat killed the turtle dove. The French hens are making a nest in her hair. She has scratches down her face. She’s having a hard time with this gift.
Angela [00:21:22] Oh my gosh, she seems really miserable. Well, I wanted to share with you guys that the DVD commentary for this episode is Ellie Kemper, Mindy Kaling, and Claire Scanlan.
Jenna [00:21:32] Oh, great.
Angela [00:21:33] Yeah. And they talked a little bit about the scratch on Ellie’s face. Mindy shared that they had a test model that they did a few different types of scratches on and took pictures of, and then Mindy had to pick which scratch she liked.
Jenna [00:21:47] Yes.
Angela [00:21:48] Randy said our makeup artist, Laverne, created the effects of the scratch. And I guess Randall and Paul both were really pleased with the first try, and that’s the one they picked. And he said Laverne’s team was masterful at executing this gag.
Jenna [00:22:03] Well, we had a fan catch during this scene at reception from Ursula N. in Toledo, Ohio, who says, At two minutes and 33 seconds, there is a card on Erin’s desk. Is that card the one where Michael photoshopped himself into Carol’s family ski trip back in season three? Because it looks just like it. I zoomed in on it. It absolutely looks like it. I think it is. I think Michael is still setting that card out.
Angela [00:22:29] That is brilliant and perfect. I also caught a card taped to the front of reception, and it was a Christmas card that me and Brian and Oscar made and gave to everyone.
Jenna [00:22:40] Oh my gosh. I remember you guys used to do an accountants card at Christmas.
Angela [00:22:45] Yes, I would make them take a picture with me in character and we would give it to everyone.
Jenna [00:22:49] Well, Andy has a talking head where he begged Dwight and Jim to give him Erin for Secret Santa, and he’s the one who’s giving out the 12 days of Christmas gifts. And he says, is it his fault that the first eight days amount to 30 birds? And during this talking head, you can see him trying to put little bow ties on some swans. You see Erin go to her car and it’s filled with geese. I asked Randy Cordray, How did we pull off these shots with the geese and the swans? He said, once again, we used Bob Dunn’s Animal Rentals in Sylmar, California. We needed seven swans in the lobby and they required three days of prep and rehearsal. He said swans can be very aggressive toward people that they don’t know.
Angela [00:23:33] Oh yeah.
Jenna [00:23:34] So the extra days of prep were to just let them walk around this lobby area and meet Ed Helms. And lady, I remember one day at lunch, Ed was eating like really fast. And he said he had to finish eating quickly because he had to go spend time with the swans.
Angela [00:23:51] Oh my gosh, I don’t doubt it. They had to get to know him. I was once chased by a very aggressive duck. In Indonesia they would use like ducks and stuff to protect like
Jenna [00:24:01] like a guard duck?
Angela [00:24:02] Yeah, like a guard duck. And I was on a walk. It was up in the mountains and I was like probably like 11, and this duck like chased me. I was terrified. I was like, Oh my God. They’re scary!
Jenna [00:24:13] Yeah. I mean, they’ll come for you.
Angela [00:24:15] They’ll come for you.
Jenna [00:24:16] Well, the six geese that were in Erin’s car also had to do three days of prep. We had three trainers each day to wrangle all the birds. They created a fenced in area in our warehouse. That’s where they would stay. It was very cool and dark. I guess they like that. Randy said that the total cost for the four days of birds and trainers was nine thousand six hundred and three dollars. Now we also got a fan question from Liam D. in Ireland, who said he loves the storyline where Andy gives Erin the 12 days of Christmas. And he said, Did you know that in 1982 there was a record by an Irish actor and comedian named Frank Kelly called Christmas Countdown, where he recalls all of the gifts in the 12 days of Christmas song. It’s basically the same idea. Someone is sending them gifts for the 12 days of Christmas. It ends up just as bad for him as it did for Erin. He said the song was a chart hit in Ireland, Australia, and the UK. I have an audio clip.
Angela [00:25:25] Oh, I want to hear it.
Frank Kelly [00:25:27] Day seven. We are not amused by your little joke. Seven Swans A swimming is a most romantic idea, but not in the bath of a private house. We cannot use the bathroom now because they have gone completely savage and rush the door every time we try to enter. If things go on this way, the mother and I will smell as bad as the living room carpet. Please lay off. It is not fair.
Jenna [00:25:51] OK, so-
Angela [00:25:53] He’s so right, though, when he said they’ve gone completely savage.
Jenna [00:25:56] I know. So it’s just very funny. He’s just earnestly writing these letters to Nora to like, please stop after every gift. They did enjoy the five golden rings. He was like, OK, that was a nice touch. But otherwise, the birds are destroying this house.
Angela [00:26:16] That is so fun. I want to hear the whole thing.
Jenna [00:26:18] Well, maybe we can put a link. I found it on YouTube.
Angela [00:26:20] Oh yeah. Yeah. Well, put it in stories.
Jenna [00:26:22] Yeah.
Angela [00:26:23] Now we have maybe one of the sweetest Phyllis talking heads. She’s in full Santa outfit and she tears up. She says it’s been a long journey, but she’s finally Santa Claus. I was so moved by this.
Jenna [00:26:36] I know. This is Phyllis at her best. She does this thing where she so deeply and realistically commits.
Angela [00:26:45] And earnest.
Jenna [00:26:46] From the heart.
Angela [00:26:47] Yes.
Jenna [00:26:49] And it just becomes something deeper than comedic. I love it.
Angela [00:26:52] And then right after, Creed’s like, what if you’ve been really bad? Like bordering on evil? Like…
Jenna [00:26:57] Yeah, what happens, Santa? Well, we also get a little peek into Dwight’s Secret Santa gift. Someone has been sending him different pieces of a machine, and he has been trying to put them together.
Angela [00:27:13] This is so perfect for Dwight. Like, talk about someone knowing Dwight and like giving him the perfect gift.
Jenna [00:27:20] Yes.
Angela [00:27:21] Well, we get to see Pam with her famous lasagna, which is, you know, she just makes it from the box, Jenna.
Jenna [00:27:27] I know. I mean, people ask her, where did she get this recipe? It’s from the box.
Angela [00:27:31] She is just prattling on and on and Oscar is not paying attention.
Jenna [00:27:36] He’s looking out the window.
Angela [00:27:37] At warehouse fella throwing the football.
Jenna [00:27:39] Mm hmm. Pam clocks this and this is going to start her into matchmaker mode. I wanted to share two things about this scene, Angela. Number one, I can make lasagna from memory.
Angela [00:27:53] So can I.
Jenna [00:27:55] And my family uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese. It is, I don’t know, maybe a Missouri thing. It’s definitely a my family thing. It’s so good. It’s a milder cheese, especially for kids. You know? I can layer it up. This was one of my three big meals that I learned how to make before I went off to college.
Angela [00:28:16] We must have been in the same sort of mindset because I was like, Oh, lasagna, I can eat off that for days. I’ll learn how to make it.
Jenna [00:28:23] Any time I had anyone over for dinner, we’d make a lasaga. The other thing I want to share is that I am wearing belly bump D.
Angela [00:28:33] Ohh.
Jenna [00:28:34] I have not talked about my belly bump in a while. I forgot to point out that in Shareholder Meeting and Scott’s Tots, I was in belly bump C.. And so now for this episode, I’m already in belly D. But here’s the thing. According to the belly tracker, The Banker, which is our next episode, was actually shot before Scott’s Tots.
Angela [00:28:55] Do you go down a size?
Jenna [00:28:56] I think I do, because, according to the tracker, The Banker is belly C. So let’s see. Next week, my belly might get smaller for a second.
Angela [00:29:04] Well, Michael is going to arrive dressed as Santa. And Pam says, We already have a Santa.
Jenna [00:29:11] Michael is so upset that Jim let Phyllis take over as Santa.
Angela [00:29:15] Yeah, he says, A woman?
Jenna [00:29:17] Where does it stop? He says. He can’t believe it. But Jim will not budge. And then Michael says, You have to tell her she can’t be Santa. Jim’s like, I won’t do that. He says, Just do it anonymously. You can send her like a note like ransom style with letters cut out. I have some in my drawer.
Angela [00:29:34] How many ransom notes is he sending to people?
Jenna [00:29:37] Well, you know, nowadays you can just download a font for your computer. Ransom note font style.
Angela [00:29:43] Yeah, Michael, you don’t have to go cut all the letters out and put them in your drawer.
Jenna [00:29:47] But we know he’s not using his computer much. We’ve established that.
Angela [00:29:50] No, it’s just a place to put Post-its. Well, Jenna, this starts a whole segment I’m calling the dueling Santas.
Jenna [00:29:57] One of the best segments of all time.
Angela [00:29:58] Of all time. Phyllis has a Santa photo op.
Jenna [00:30:03] Again, amazing set up by Jim and Dwight.
Angela [00:30:06] I know. She’s got the chair and the backdrop. The whole thing. Everyone is going to take their picture with Santa. Well, Michael’s ticked off. He wants his own Santa photo op.
Jenna [00:30:17] Mm hmm. Yeah. So he’s going to set himself up in a chair right there across from reception. Who wants to sit on his lap? Someone come sit on his lap.
Angela [00:30:26] Well, I guess the first person to sit on Michael’s lap is going to be Kevin.
Jenna [00:30:30] He’s so excited. Kevin says he’s never been able to do this before.
Angela [00:30:34] Yeah. So Kevin sits on Michael’s lap. Michael’s like, Well, what would you like for Christmas, little boy? And Kevin’s like, I don’t know. I didn’t know you were going to ask me that. And Michael’s like, What did you think was going to happen? And Kevin’s like, I don’t know. No one’s ever let me sit on their lap before. Michael’s really struggling now. He’s like, just tell me what toys you want. And Kevin’s taking a long time to think about it.
Jenna [00:30:59] Clearly, Michael is uncomfortable.
Angela [00:31:01] Yes.
Jenna [00:31:02] I found a quote from an Entertainment Weekly article from Mindy where she says, quote, When Kevin unburdens himself on Michael’s lap, Steve’s voice changed to this distressed, guttural mumble, showing the instantaneous agony he was in. This was literally a laugh out loud moment because you can see me laughing in the background, completely breaking character. And then we got a fan question from Robbie V in South Korea, who said, At seven minutes, 56 seconds, if you pause, you can clearly see Ed Helms and Mindy Kaling breaking so hard. A few seconds later, B.J. Novak started to break. They were all laughing so hard, Ed needed to hide from the camera. Will you guys please share your stories about this scene? Jenna and Angela, were you also laughing during this scene?
Angela [00:31:53] Oh my gosh.
Jenna [00:31:54] Oh, Robbie.
Angela [00:31:55] Robbie, I would say overwhelmingly this was one time where the entire cast broke. The entire cast. I’ve read so many interviews in prepping for this episode where John, Ed, and Brian all talk about how they were all breaking. I read where Veda, our script supervisor, said how she would have to mark whenever someone laughed in a take and it was like everyone.
Jenna [00:32:16] They didn’t have any footage of us not laughing.
Angela [00:32:19] None of it.
Jenna [00:32:19] They didn’t have any. We never got it. That’s why all the footage shows us breaking the background.
Angela [00:32:24] That’s exactly right. On the commentary, Claire Scanlan, who was our editor, talked about how difficult it was to edit this scene because someone was constantly laughing. And if you watch you guys all see Mindy break. Ed literally had to go behind the wall. There was like a plant and a wall, and you watch him go and hide. There are a lot of bloopers from this, and you guys, I just felt like we had to hear them.
Jenna [00:32:51] Oh my gosh, this is going to take me back.
Kevin [00:32:54] I can sit on your lap now?
Michael Scott [00:32:55] You can sit on my lap all you want because I am a male Santa, and that is something that Phyllis cannot do. Oh my God. Ok.
Kevin [00:33:05] This is really comfortable.
Michael Scott [00:33:07] Oh, OK, tell me what you want little boy?
Kevin [00:33:10] Oh, I don’t know, I didn’t know you were going to ask me that.
Michael Scott [00:33:14] What did you think was going to happen?
Kevin [00:33:16] I didn’t know. No one’s ever let me sit on their lap before.
Michael Scott [00:33:20] Hurry up. Just say some toys.
Kevin [00:33:24] Can… can you give me some choices?
Michael Scott [00:33:26] Oh my god. Kevin, please. (LAUGHTER) Sorry. Oh oh,
Angela [00:33:33] John dives out of frame. Like, we’re all losing it.
Jenna [00:33:36] You notice in those scenes there are no like cutaways to the reverse. There are no reaction shots.
Angela [00:33:42] No, they couldn’t.
Jenna [00:33:44] There were the people who were like stationed behind this action and they had to try to hold it together. The rest of us, we were all there. We’re all watching. You don’t see us because we couldn’t ever act.
Angela [00:33:57] No, we were just all laughing. That like took me back. Watching it and reading everyone’s like stories from that day. It was so much fun.
Jenna [00:34:06] Well, Phyllis is mad. She demands that Jim take care of this double Santa situation. Otherwise she’s going to have to get Bob involved.
Angela [00:34:15] Yeah.
Jenna [00:34:15] And Jim is like, What? And then she goes, Never mind. I shouldn’t have said that. My gosh.
Angela [00:34:21] What is Bob up to?
Jenna [00:34:23] I don’t know.
Angela [00:34:26] Erin is going to jokingly ask Andy if he’s her Secret Santa.
Jenna [00:34:30] And he jokingly admits that he is. This is very similar to what happened in Murder.
Angela [00:34:36] Right.
Jenna [00:34:36] Where they’re jokingly asking each other on a date. This is the downfall of their relationship.
Angela [00:34:42] Where they don’t just come out and say what they’re thinking.
Jenna [00:34:43] Straight up.
Angela [00:34:44] Right.
Jenna [00:34:45] I don’t know if you noticed, but at seven minutes, 15 seconds, the golf picture is still on the wall.
Angela [00:34:51] I did notice.
Jenna [00:34:53] I’ll have you know, the week that we shot Secret Santa is the same week that Mafia aired. So now that Mafia has aired, we have 100 percent committed to cutting out the storyline where Erin destroys the watercolor. I’m telling you that is how last minute that decision was, how long that fight was.
Angela [00:35:16] Could you imagine if the show ended and it was just a golf picture there?
Jenna [00:35:21] I cannot.
Angela [00:35:22] And we just walk out and the last shot is a golf picture?
Jenna [00:35:26] No.
Angela [00:35:26] No.
Jenna [00:35:27] Tragedy.
Angela [00:35:28] Tragedy!
Jenna [00:35:28] Hope in a frame!
Angela [00:35:29] Hope in a frame, people. Well Oscar is going to go down to the warehouse to hand out everyone’s paychecks. There was a really fun scene in the shooting draft that didn’t make it in where Oscar goes to Angela. She’s about to go hand out the paychecks. That’s who hands them out.
Jenna [00:35:45] I remember that.
Angela [00:35:46] Yeah, and Oscar’s like, Wait-wait-wait, Angela. You know what? I’ll I’ll go hand them out. And she’s like, Why? And he’s like, ugh, and it’s like Oscar knows her so well. He’s like, It’s cold down there. It’s like he lists all these things and she’s like, OK, fine, and lets him go hand out the checks. But he’s looking for Matt.
Jenna [00:36:04] But Matt’s not there. He’s out on a delivery. And Darryl is like, I’ll take it, I’ll give it to him. And Oscar’s like, No, no, I can. I can wait.
Angela [00:36:14] Yeah.
Jenna [00:36:15] Darryl’s on to him.
Angela [00:36:16] Oh yeah.
Jenna [00:36:17] Have you ever done something like this?
Angela [00:36:19] Of course. We all have.
Jenna [00:36:21] I remember when I was like younger, like a kid. I had a little bit of a crush on one of the boys in my neighborhood, and I used to look out the window. And when I would see him outside, like playing soccer or something, I would conveniently need to go to the mailbox. Hoping, hoping that he would like wave at me or something. That we could have a run in. It never happened.
Angela [00:36:45] I mean, in college, I watched Bass Masters because the guy I liked was really into watching Bass Masters. Watching people fish and talk about the hooks they used in the lures and the whatnot. These are the things you do.
Jenna [00:37:00] Yeah, when you have a crush.
Angela [00:37:01] Yeah, when all of a sudden this guy is like, I think on Sunday I’m going to watch Bass Masters. I’m like, Oh yeah, it’s so great. That guy, the host, he is hilarious.
Jenna [00:37:09] And then you’re like, Who is the host? There is no host of Bass Masters.
Angela [00:37:13] What is Bass Masters?
Jenna [00:37:15] And you couldn’t Google back then because it was just invented.
Angela [00:37:18] I know. It wasn’t invented yet. There was no internet.
Jenna [00:37:22] I will never let that one go.
Angela [00:37:24] I know it’s too fun.
Jenna [00:37:24] Clearly. It’s one of my favorite bits now. Well, Michael is still sitting in the chair upstairs, trying to get people to sit on his lap. He is now like wrestling Ryan onto his lap while saying, I need this, I need this.
Angela [00:37:42] Claire and Mindy also talked in the commentary that when Jim steps in and is like, Hey, you know, Michael, you can’t, you know, you can’t grab someone in the office and say, I need this.
Jenna [00:37:54] While forcing them onto your lap. It makes me laugh out loud every time. John’s delivery is so good.
Angela [00:37:59] They shared on the commentary that he kept laughing in so many takes.
Jenna [00:38:03] That’s the thing, like, when you know something is funny, even though you have to deliver it, like it tickles you while you’re doing it.
Angela [00:38:10] Yes! This scene is going to end with Michael putting his Santa hat into the punch bowl and storming out.
Jenna [00:38:17] So rude.
Angela [00:38:18] Mindy talked about something in the commentary I thought was really interesting. She said at eight minutes, 39 seconds, when Michael makes his big announcement that he wants a vote on who is the true Santa, Mindy said, and I’m quoting her, One of the great legacies of the show is the announcements outside of Michael’s office. She goes on to say, I used to call it Act Break Alley. The writers would have Michael come out of his office, make an announcement, and that would often lead to the act break. And that’s exactly what happens here.
Jenna [00:38:48] It’s true.
Angela [00:38:49] So you got a little Act Break Alley there.
Jenna [00:38:53] Dwight is convinced that his Secret Santa is sending him pieces of a gun. But this last piece doesn’t make any sense. Why did they send him a dial? They should have sent him a trigger. And Meredith and Phyllis are like, Why do you think it’s a gun? And then Stanley has a great line where he says, Unless the missing piece is a gun, you don’t have a gun. I don’t know why that tickles me so much.
Angela [00:39:17] His delivery was so good.
Jenna [00:39:19] We got a fan question from Beth G in Olympia, Washington, Who came up with the list of Dwight’s speculations on what his Christmas present might be as he builds it? You know, he has that piece of paper with the list. And Beth said, I never noticed that speculum was on the list. But during a recent rewatch, I noticed and almost died laughing. So I found a list of all the things that Dwight thinks. This is what’s on his piece of paper. In answer to your question, Beth, this would be the writers. The writers would have come up with this list. Phil Shea would have gone to the writers and said, What do you want me to write on this piece of paper for Dwight?
Angela [00:39:58] Right.
Jenna [00:39:58] And he would have had to write this list over and over and over and over again on various pads of paper because every take, Rainn was going to scratch one out. So here was the list of things that Dwight thought this might be: an aardvark trap, beaver trap, gun, chipmunk trap, possum trap, skunk trap, lobster trap, man trap, lathe, abdominizer, speculum. He was mostly convinced it was some sort of trap. An animal trap.
Angela [00:40:33] Santa Phyllis is now going to do the tree lighting reveal, and it’s so festive and cheery.
Jenna [00:40:39] I love Phyllis in this scene.
Angela [00:40:40] I know.
Jenna [00:40:41] I absolutely love it.
Angela [00:40:42] Michael is starting to get real sour.
Jenna [00:40:45] Oh yeah. So he has this talking head where he says, I don’t need a lot for Christmas, like diamonds or brooch pendants. He just wants to be Santa. And this whole time he is like reversing his Santa costume,
Angela [00:41:04] taking this decorative Christmas rope off his credenza, making it into a belt. I want to give a shout out to Steve’s skills right here.
Jenna [00:41:12] I put it in my document. I need everyone to appreciate how hard this is to do.
Angela [00:41:17] Yes, I wrote it too. I put two little stars by it. I said, Go to nine minutes, 52 seconds. Michael goes from Santa to Jesus, and Steve had to do all the dialogue, change his outfit, put the belt on in one shot. There are no cutaways.
Jenna [00:41:33] This is truly amazing. I cannot express to you how hard it is to do even ordinary business while you’re acting. How many times would I have to do a scene where I’m supposed to walk in with a bag of groceries, set it down and take some items out of the bag? Suddenly, I am incapable of doing that action. I multitask in my kitchen constantly. And I’m always thinking about it, too. Like as I’m like, shutting the fridge with my foot while scrambling an egg and drinking coffee and like organizing some homework papers in the morning and holding a conversation. I think to myself, if this was written out for me, I could never do it. I don’t know what it is. It’s so hard just to memorize your lines and say them truthfully. This amount of business is- people should study it. He does such a good job. And with comic timing!
Angela [00:42:24] I know. I always think of this when I would watch shows like E.R. or Grey’s Anatomy, when they have the gurney flying through the hallway and they’re yelling out all of this medical jargon and they’re like having to do all this action. I’m like, Well, that’ll be a job I never have, because.
Jenna [00:42:41] Yes!
Angela [00:42:41] That’s a lot of talking and moving at the same time. I won’t be able to do it.
Jenna [00:42:46] Yeah. Lots of business is hard to do.
Angela [00:42:48] Lots of business.
Jenna [00:42:48] Because then also you have to like, match it.
Angela [00:42:51] Yeah, every time.
Jenna [00:42:54] We were both very impressed.
Angela [00:42:56] We were. We were also cast on the perfect show because we often didn’t have to do a lot of business. We were just at our desks.
Jenna [00:43:02] True. Michael returns to the bullpen now. He’s Jesus Christ.
Angela [00:43:08] Angela applauds. She’s the only one applauding.
Jenna [00:43:11] I mean, finally, as far as she’s concerned.
Angela [00:43:13] Right. Finally, we have a real Christmas party. I went to the script to see if me applauding was written in the script. It was. It says Angela claps.
Jenna [00:43:23] Well, lady, I think we should take a break. But before we do, I just want to quickly bring up this moment in the break room where Andy has asked Phyllis, Please do not tell Erin I’m her Secret Santa. And she says, OK, I won’t.
Angela [00:43:34] I’ll say it’s Michael.
Jenna [00:43:35] Andy’s like, great.
Angela [00:43:38] Whenever Phyllis can throw Michael under the bus.
Jenna [00:43:40] She’s like, I’m going for it. Well, listen, he deserves it. He’s being terrible today.
Angela [00:43:42] I know, I know, I know.
Jenna [00:43:45] All right. We’ll take a break and be right back.
Angela [00:43:51] We are back. Kelly and Erin are singing in some Christmas carols. I want you guys to know there was a whole lot more singing that got cut out.
Jenna [00:43:58] Really?
Angela [00:43:58] Oh yeah. And while they’re singing, Pam is going to ask Oscar if he’s talked to Matt.
Jenna [00:44:05] And then she is going into full matchmaker mode and she is just going to talk up Oscar’s pate. How many times do I say pate?
Angela [00:44:15] You’re so awkward. It’s so cringey. Pam is just so delighted to be a matchmaker.
Jenna [00:44:22] I know it was really fun to play. We had a fan question from Robbie V in South Korea, Who played Matt from the warehouse? Guys, Matt was played by Sam Daly. In addition to The Office, Sam has appeared on such shows as The Magicians, NCIS, Hart of Dixie, and in recurring roles on Madam Secretary and The Undercovers, and most recently on Bull. He is also the son of actor Tim Daly.
Angela [00:44:51] Oh my God, I was so excited when he was on set because I loved Wings.
Jenna [00:44:57] Loved Wings.
Angela [00:44:58] I watched every episode. I even went to a taping, you guys.
Jenna [00:45:01] You did?
Angela [00:45:02] Yes, I came out to L.A. to visit like years before I lived here and I went to a taping of Wings.
Jenna [00:45:08] I did that same thing, too. I came out. It was like a special workshop for people who were interested in the biz. It was through UCLA, I think, because we stayed on the campus and they took us all around. And one of the things we got to do was go to a live television taping. I was fascinated.
Angela [00:45:27] I loved it. I was coming out to visit. My friend’s brother was going to college here, and we came and visited him and he took us to a live taping. Crystal Bernard during an act break, you know, because it was like a four camera show where you’re in an audience and they would have like breaks. She came up with her guitar and sang a whole song. And she was such a good singer.
Jenna [00:45:49] That is so sweet. You know, that’s a nice cast.
Angela [00:45:52] Yeah.
Jenna [00:45:53] When I did my taping of That 70s Show, the entire cast after the show was over went out to the audience and signed autographs. And I mean, this was like year like six or something. I was so impressed.
Angela [00:46:05] Well, we were very excited to have Sam on set.
Jenna [00:46:09] We were. Sam did an interview with BleepMag.com. Angela, thank you for forwarding me this. They asked him if he gets recognized for being Matt on our show. And he said yes. Nine times out of 10, if he gets recognized, it’s for having been on The Office. He also said quote, It was the first show I’d seen every episode of when I went to work on it. I knew where to go in the office and who sat where and everything. It was such an incredible experience. It was supposed to be a tiny role, but it turned into a recurring guest spot for a few episodes. I’ll never take that for granted, and being around all those other actors was a blessing. Sam, you were a blessing.
Angela [00:46:55] You were so delightful.
Jenna [00:46:57] And he is going to be in two more episodes. We just really liked him so much.
Angela [00:47:01] Well, Jenna, I have two things to share about this scene. So we see Matt from the warehouse upstairs. Did you notice the other warehouse workers?
Jenna [00:47:08] Yes, I noticed Madge and all the guys are at this party.
Angela [00:47:12] Well, there was a whole runner that was cut from the episode. It is in the extended producer’s cut, where Michael goes down to the warehouse and invites all of them up to the party. It does not go over well.
Jenna [00:47:24] Why?
Angela [00:47:25] Jim is annoyed because he did not plan to feed that many people.
Jenna [00:47:28] Oh.
Angela [00:47:29] I thought it was really cute because he was all of a sudden concerned about food. The rest of the office is grumpy because the warehouse workers start eating everything, kind of take over. Angela has a talking head where she says she can hardly pretend to like the people in the actual office, let alone all the extra people now. There is a scene in the conference room where we learn that Madge has a nickname: Garfield.
Jenna [00:47:55] Oh, because she loves lasagna?
Angela [00:47:57] Because she loves lasagna. And when she sees it, she has to eat it all. This results in a scene where she eats the entire lasagna that Pam brought while the warehouse guys are chanting Gar-field, Gar-field, Gar-field!
Jenna [00:48:11] Amazing.
Angela [00:48:12] Yes, there were so many extra scenes of the warehouse people driving everyone in the bullpen crazy. The second thing I want to share is on the commentary, Mindy and Ellie talked about how when they met Sam Daly, who played Matt, they got so tickled because they thought Sam and Ellie looked a lot alike in real life.
Jenna [00:48:30] Like they could be brother and sister?
Angela [00:48:32] Yes. So I did a side by side, and I want to show you. All right, Jenna, look at this, I’ll put it in stories. I see it.
Jenna [00:48:42] Oh, my gosh. They definitely could be family.
Angela [00:48:46] I know. So I guess this is something Ellie was tickled about, Ellie and Mindy, during the week of filming.
Jenna [00:48:54] Michael is very cranky. He has like sat down kind of in the very middle of the party, with a microphone, and he is narrating the gifts that are being handed out.
Angela [00:49:08] Yeah, he’s doing like snarky commentary.
Jenna [00:49:11] Yeah. Angela gets some fabric.
Angela [00:49:16] Some gray fabric.
Jenna [00:49:17] She is so touched.
Angela [00:49:18] I know.
Jenna [00:49:19] This person really knew her well. Michael says now she can make another dress that goes past her feet. It is also during this snarky commentary that Michael reveals that Andy is Erin’s Secret Santa. Oof.
Angela [00:49:37] Oh, man. Erin does not look happy. Michael continues to spiral, so he calls David Wallace and he has one of my favorite lines. He says, A woman has uslurped his role as Santa.
Jenna [00:49:52] That’s right. He also says, Guess who I’m dressed as? And I love David Wallace’s response because he says, Either you tell me or I’m hanging up. Like, I’m not- I’m not guessing what you’re dressed as.
Angela [00:50:04] I’m not doing this now. Well, David said this is a really bad time and asked for Stephanie, his assistant, to step off.
Jenna [00:50:11] Yes. And then Erin also needs to get off the phone.
Angela [00:50:15] Michael’s like, they always been here?
Jenna [00:50:19] David tells Michael that the company has a buyer, and he and Alan are out of work. Like just, you know what? Everyone’s going to be gone.
Angela [00:50:29] Everyone.
Jenna [00:50:31] Michael hears that. Oh, my gosh.
Angela [00:50:34] He said, you know what? Earlier today, the office needed Santa. Then they needed another Santa. Then they needed Jesus. And now they need Michael. And that’s one suit Phyllis can’t fit into.
Jenna [00:50:45] At 14 minutes, 38 seconds, I’d like to point out a snow alert. There is now-
Angela [00:50:51] Do we have a snow alert?
Jenna [00:50:52] We have a snow alert. There is some snow falling gently behind Michael out his window. It’s evening now and it’s begun snowing. This will be important later.
Angela [00:51:07] Well, the way you solve any crisis is you buy pizza. Lots of it. Michael’s going to send Dwight with his password. (SINGS) You know you have fun at the eh eh eh eh…
Jenna [00:51:21] Yeah. So his pin is nine six two two. That is YMCA. The candy bag had some really fun alternates for what Michael’s pin number might be.
Angela [00:51:34] Oh yeah?
Jenna [00:51:35] Here’s the first one. I don’t want to say it, but it’s the year everyone was scared by Y2K. Here’s another one. I don’t want to say it, but it’s the year we partied like it’s 1999. Here’s another one. I don’t want to say it, but it’s the first line in a famous song about the alphabet. And then this was my favorite. When Dwight says, what is your pin? Michael was going to say, 9 3 8 5 6 2 0 8 7 7 1 6 6 8 9 4 7 3. It was just going to be like those ridiculously long number. Those were all of our candy bag must shoot alternates for this. And we stayed with the shooting draft scripted YMCA.
Angela [00:52:26] Erin’s going to ask Andy, what was he thinking giving her all of those gifts? But you know what? Andy’s not going to give up. He’s not going to throw in the towel. Not going to happen.
Jenna [00:52:36] No. He’s not. And later on, I’m glad he didn’t. Michael addresses the group. He’s got the pizza. It’s sitting there. I think we’d all like to eat it, but of course Michael has to give a big speech first. And then he does what only Michael can do, which is he tells everybody the news that he was supposed to keep to himself, which is that we’re going out of business.
Angela [00:53:03] Well, everyone has a pretty strong reaction to this news. Dwight goes out and kicks the Christmas tree down. Ellie and Mindy shared on the commentary that the day we shot this scene, when Dwight’s kicking the tree down, the episode Niagara was airing that evening. And everyone wanted to wrap so we could get to Greg’s to watch Niagara. I guess Greg had invited the whole cast over for a viewing party. So I dug in my digital clutter and I found the email invite.
Jenna [00:53:34] Oh my gosh, I totally remember this viewing party, by the way.
Angela [00:53:37] Yeah. He says, Hey guys, please come to my house for a viewing party for Niagara at 7:30 October 8th. Dinner and we will watch Jim and Pam get married! Love Greg.
Jenna [00:53:50] Well, he and his wife, Suzanne, threw this party that was almost like a wedding reception. They had little M&Ms printed with Jim and Pam.
Angela [00:54:00] And little napkins like you would get at a wedding.
Jenna [00:54:03] Yes, it was so sweet. They had amazing food. It was really fun.
Angela [00:54:09] The tables had, you know, the little confetti you can sprinkle that had the little wedding bells. It was so cute.
Jenna [00:54:15] I totally remember going to that. I went with Lee.
Angela [00:54:18] So just know while we were filming this conference room scene of Michael spilling the beans and Dwight kicking the tree, we were like, hurry, let’s get these lines so we can make it to Greg’s.
Jenna [00:54:28] Greg and Suzanne were always so generous. They invited us into their home many, many times over these nine years of doing The Office. It was a really warm and personal touch, and it bonded us from the beginning. It was really cool.
Angela [00:54:41] And they still are. Greg invited us all over for Sunday brunch, and we all went.
Jenna [00:54:45] We did. Just recently.
Angela [00:54:47] Just recently.
Jenna [00:54:48] Well, Michael tells everyone, Listen, I’ll get David on the phone so he can explain things. And Jim’s like, I don’t think so, Michael. I’ve been trying to reach him all day and he’s not taking my calls. And Michael is like, I know how to get a hold of him.
Angela [00:55:02] Mm-Hmm. He’s proud of this.
Jenna [00:55:03] It’s amazing. He knows where David’s kids go to school. So first, he calls the school, pretends to be their pediatrician. Then he gets patched through to David’s secretary, and then he talks in his little girl voice.
Angela [00:55:17] And pretends to be David’s daughter.
Jenna [00:55:19] So of course, when David answers the phone, he’s like, What’s up, sweetie? Because David thinks it’s his daughter who was at the pediatrician’s office.
Angela [00:55:29] Oh my god, Michael.
Jenna [00:55:30] I mean, it’s kind of amazing.
Angela [00:55:33] In Michael’s office we have, for the first time, the whole entire Dunder Mifflin bullpen and warehouse.
Jenna [00:55:40] Yes.
Angela [00:55:41] All of us.
Jenna [00:55:42] Hovering over the speakerphone. David reveals, Michael, first of all, you were never supposed to tell everybody. But second of all, I wasn’t talking about you. All of your jobs are safe. It’s just this upper management.
Angela [00:55:56] You would have thought the office won the Super Bowl.
Jenna [00:55:59] I know.
Angela [00:56:00] Everyone goes nuts. Michael jumps off his desk and does this crowd surfing move. Mindy shared on the commentary that that was Steve’s idea, that he thought it would be really fun if Michael dove into the crowd.
Jenna [00:56:14] We had a fan question from Kyle T in Houston, Texas, who said, Did y’all have a safety meeting for Michael’s crowd dive? By the way, I want you to know, Kyle wrote y’all.
Angela [00:56:25] Of course he did.
Jenna [00:56:26] Kyle from Texas.
Angela [00:56:27] That’s right. From Houston. H. Town!
Jenna [00:56:29] Did y’all have a safety meeting for Michael’s crowd dive? I appreciated that detail, by the way. We did have a safety meeting. Eric Sulky was our stunt coordinator, and Randy Cordray told us that he gave everyone direction on how to catch Steve’s dive and how to lower him down to the ground safely. We also dressed two stunt players as warehouse workers and added them into the crowd. Randy said these burly stunt dudes were the main individuals involved in catching and protecting Steve and keeping him from crashing to the floor.
Angela [00:57:05] Yeah, it wasn’t me. It wasn’t like, me and Kate and you holding Steve up.
Jenna [00:57:09] Correct. Now, folks, it’s time for some karaoke.
Angela [00:57:15] Yeah!
Jenna [00:57:17] This is where Dwight is singing Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day. Andy joins in in some perfect harmony. Boulevard of Broken Dreams is from Green Day’s 2004 album American Idiot. So something that I know, because I’m friends with Billie Joe Armstrong. I cannot say it enough.
Angela [00:57:38] She’s blushing again. She’s blushing. She’s blushing again.
Jenna [00:57:38] I’m just so tickled every time I can say that. Is that Billy had seen The Office, but he recently in 2019 did a big rewatch of the whole series.
Angela [00:57:54] Oh, nice.
Jenna [00:57:55] And I asked him, When you did your rewatch, did you remember that you had given us permission to use this song? Here’s what he had to say.
Billie Joe Armstrong [00:58:06] I was binge watching The Office for the first time, and I was watching that episode and then all of a sudden the song came on and I was… completely taken by surprise. And like I think my face started to get red and and Andy, he um he started singing harmonies, which was almost like the- because we do have a musical for American Idiot, and he sang the same exact harmony that’s in the musical. So it was it was good.
Jenna [00:58:47] Well, I just love it that he was surprised by his own song during that rewatch.
Angela [00:58:52] I know, that’s so sweet.
Jenna [00:58:53] Listen, I think we need to hear this. I think we need to hear Dwight and Andy singing Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
Angela [00:58:59] Oh, for sure.
Dwight [00:59:02] Walk a lonely road. Only one that I have ever known. Don’t know where it goes but it’s all to me, and I walk alone. It’s true. We all walk alone.
Kelly [00:59:17] Jim. Jim. Jim.
Dwight and Andy [00:59:25] My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me. My shallow…
Angela [00:59:34] I love it, I love hearing them. I could hear them do it like every day. It would make me happy. Singing that song. Mindy shared in the commentary that she absolutely loved this montage of Christmas kind of all coming together set to the backdrop of a non Christmas song.
Jenna [00:59:49] Yes.
Angela [00:59:50] And Jenna, I guess there was a musical interlude to the karaoke. And Ed and Rainn had to vamp during it. It’s so funny. It’s in the extended producer’s cut. We have to hear their vamp.
Dwight and Andy [01:00:04] (VAMPING/SCATTING)
Jenna [01:00:27] I mean, I know they already produced the musical version of American Idiot, but I’m saying if you bring it back to the stage, you might want to add this riddit dit dit do. You might want to because it’s pretty great.
Angela [01:00:40] We’ve all been there. We’ve all picked a song for karaoke and then there’s a big musical interlude and you’re like, What do I do?
Jenna [01:00:46] Yes.
Angela [01:00:47] I’m just kinda bobbing my head. I mean, Ed crushed it.
Jenna [01:00:51] Well, there are just a bunch of scenes now of people enjoying Christmas. Everyone’s getting gifts that are really meaningful to them. And finally, Dwight is going to get the last piece of his gift and realizes this whole time he’s been making a Nutcracker.
Angela [01:01:11] Yes, of course. It’s like a really cool nutcracker.
Jenna [01:01:15] We had a fan question from Lacy L in Grand Prairie, Texas. Please, please tell me about Dwight’s Nutcracker. Who came up with it? Where did they find it? Or did they have to create it? I have been looking for it for years.
Angela [01:01:30] Lacy, I thought the same thing. I thought, Can I get one of these?
Jenna [01:01:34] Well, Randy told me that this was not in the first shooting draft of the script. This whole runner was added later, and he believes that it was the master of the cold opens, Aaron Shure, who wrote this story arc because Aaron became the point person that they went to to discuss the creation of this prop. Randy said when he and Phil first read this story arc, they assumed that this contraption was something the writers had seen on the internet somewhere. And they wanted to know where do they buy it? It turns out, Ange, it did not exist anywhere.
Angela [01:02:06] They made it up?
Jenna [01:02:07] Yeah, they made it up. I even went to the rewrite of the script, and there is no scripted description of this machine. So Phil needed to conceptualize, design, and build a working Nutcracker prop that looked like it could have been a gun. And he had less than a week to do it.
Angela [01:02:29] (APPLAUDING) Phil Shea.
Jenna [01:02:30] This is why he was always running, folks.
Angela [01:02:33] Mm-Hmm.
Jenna [01:02:34] Phil went to his go to props manufacturing house, The Hand Prop Room. The team at that facility, Randy said, was understandably freaked out at the very short time span that they had to create this prop. They told Phil to tell Randy to open up the company checkbook. They were going to have to put a full team of engineers and builders basically around the clock to get this done in time. Randy said to their credit, they did a masterful job. All in, this prop cost about $19,000. Also, it was a one off. He said to the best of his knowledge, the NBC Universal Marketing people never made replicas of this for online sales.
Angela [01:03:16] They should have.
Jenna [01:03:17] They still can. I’m just saying. This would be a hot item at the holidays. Do you know how many people would buy this?
Angela [01:03:25] I would.
Jenna [01:03:25] I would, too.
Angela [01:03:27] But do I have to put it together?
Jenna [01:03:29] Oh, no, no. What if you do? That would be the ultimate.
Angela [01:03:33] I know.
Jenna [01:03:34] You know, this story reminds me of something that I had a makeup artist tell me once. She said, There is a saying in this business. It’s called fast, cheap, or good. And you can only have two of the three things. It can be fast and cheap, but it’s not going to look good. It can be cheap and good, but it’s not going to be fast. If you want it to be both fast and good, it’s not going to be cheap. That was the case with our Nutcracker. Fast and good. It was not cheap.
Angela [01:04:06] Not going to be cheap.
Jenna [01:04:07] Nope.
Angela [01:04:08] Well, Jenna, Mindy also spoke about this scene on the commentary, and she said it was a last minute rewrite, that it was not in her original draft. She said it was written by Aaron Shure and Charlie Grandy. And Mindy said Phil Shea went above and beyond, especially because it was a last minute prop gag. She also commented that it was a note from Greg to add a Dwight/ Michael storyline to this episode. And it pays off so nicely at the end. It’s a moment of redemption for Michael.
Jenna [01:04:37] Yes. Yeah, he knows Dwight so well. It’s a good note.
Angela [01:04:42] Yeah. Well, the party is wrapping up. Everyone is leaving for the night. They’re walking out into the parking lot. There’s snow. It feels so Christmassy and festive.
Jenna [01:04:54] That’s right. You know, as you’re walking out, Angela, I don’t know if you noticed this, but we got a fan question from Kelsey in Orlando, Florida. I noticed when everyone is leaving the office, Angela slips and Darryl is there to help her. Did Angela actually slip or was that planned? Because I love that moment. It’s so cute and sweet between Angela and Darryl.
Angela [01:05:17] OK, Kelsey. I did actually trip. And I grabbed Craig’s arm. So that quick moment you’re seeing, that’s us.
Jenna [01:05:27] Aw.
Angela [01:05:27] We’re not in character. And I think Rainn must have seen it and improvised the line as Dwight, Watch out, it’s slippery out here. Because that line is not in the shooting draft. Me slipping and tripping is obviously not in the shooting draft. So yes, that’s just me and Craig. And thank goodness he was there cuz I guess I turned my ankle or something.
Jenna [01:05:50] Well, all of a sudden we hear something. It’s drummers. It’s 12-
Both [01:05:55] Drummers drumming!
Jenna [01:05:57] This is Erin’s final Christmas present from Andy. Andy is on the cymbals. He starts dancing. It’s so festive. We had a fan catch from Rachel I in Phenix, Arizona, who said, There are only 11 people in the drum line. Was Andy meant to be the 12th person? Yes, Rachel, he was the 12th percussionist in this drum line. We also got a question from Maria S in Austin, Texas, who asked, What was the process for choosing this group that played the 12 drummers drumming? And Emily B from Torrance, California, said, I want to give a shout out to the RCC Marching Tigers who are the drum line featured in this episode. RCC has a fall marching band program and also a winter percussion program that is one of the best independent performance groups in the country. You can see more about them at RCC Drums on IG. She said, My husband is the battery captain head and arranger for the group, which means he writes the music and teaches the students how to play their instruments. So it is always so fun when I see RCC on a show. They’ve been on Parks and Rec too.
Angela [01:07:16] Emily, thank you so much for sending that in.
Jenna [01:07:20] Randy confirmed that everything Emily said is correct. He said that he would always reach out to a woman named Christine Day. She is a music contractor and she finds musical onscreen performers. Randy said there was just no one better than her. He actually said, quote, She is well known across the industry for her cheerful professionalism and ability to grasp the essence of a script and the showrunner’s intent. All in, including Christine’s fee, the marching band cost us nine thousand nine hundred and fifty dollars.
Angela [01:07:56] Well, I will put the RCC drums Instagram in our story so you guys can see what they’re up to. I loved learning all of that.
Jenna [01:08:06] Well we had so much fun on this night with his marching band. I’ll never forget it. I mean, we got to stay late. We always love to stay late. We did it so rarely. And then we had snow.
Angela [01:08:18] We had snow with this like amazing drumming as a backdrop.
Jenna [01:08:22] Incredible. I asked Randy if we used Snow Business again, and he said, No, not this time. It was Ron Nary’s group ANA Special Effects in Van Nuys. He said in order to get that snow in our parking lot, they had to call this place Union Ice in North Hollywood, and they brought two semi tractor trailer rigs full of ice. Two!
Angela [01:08:47] Wow.
Jenna [01:08:48] And then Ron’s team put the ice through an industrial chipper and it, like, shot it into the air. He said we shot that scene on a Friday night and it had been 78 degrees that day. He said all of the snow effects for this episode, filling the parking lot, as well as that little snowfall behind our windows, that cost thirty six thousand dollars. For snow.
Angela [01:09:15] For snow on a day where it was almost 80 degrees.
Jenna [01:09:19] You know, it’s always fascinating to me when Randy shares with us how much something cost in an episode because it’s like-.
Angela [01:09:27] He had to budget all of that.
Jenna [01:09:29] Yeah, and the budget for each episode does not change week to week, but the demands change. So he would have this elaborate spreadsheet and he would have to figure out how to make all these little details happen. He needed to get the geese and the swans and the special prop and the snow and the drum line and make it all cost the same as an episode that didn’t even have all those things.
Angela [01:09:50] Right.
Jenna [01:09:50] It’s really fascinating to me. But you know I love a spreadsheet.
Angela [01:09:54] I know you do. Well, you know, Mindy was talking in the commentary about this scene about how hard Ed had to work as Andy doing the running man, dancing with the symbols. And we did a lot of takes and she was like, Do you guys remember he was like sweating?
Jenna [01:10:12] He did such a good job.
Angela [01:10:13] I know.
Jenna [01:10:14] Well, that is how the episode ends. However. We got a fan question from Katie G in Greenville, South Carolina. In the DVD commentary, Mindy teases that Greg had an alternate ending for this episode, but she was not going to tell us what it was. She kind of just says, you’ll have to ask Greg.
Angela [01:10:37] Yeah.
Jenna [01:10:37] What was the ending, Katie wants to know?
Angela [01:10:41] Well, Katie, I heard this conversation too. It happens as the credits, you know, are going at the end. And our editor, Claire Scanlon, jumps in and says she actually cut out the scene.
Jenna [01:10:53] Well, listen, we wanted to get to the bottom of this. We wanted to Mom Detectives this and actually solve this one.
Angela [01:11:00] Will we do it?
Jenna [01:11:02] I started by reaching out to Greg Daniels, and he did not remember.
Angela [01:11:07] I reached out to Claire Scanlon, who enlisted the help of Rob Burnett, The Office writer’s assistant. Rob went through his digital clutter and found a tag in a late rewrite of the script. And then Clare found the footage.
Jenna [01:11:23] That’s right, it is a scene where Pam sees Oscar and Matt walking away from the drum line group. They’re going to go back inside. Pam follows them in, but then quickly comes back out of the building, and it is clear that she has seen them making out. So that was the surprise ending, that Matt and Oscar hook up at work. Now this is very funny to me, Angela, because Pam has now caught Phyllis and Bob in a bathroom at lunch, and now she has caught Matt and Oscar in the hall closet. I mean, how many people are getting it on at work or during work hours?
Angela [01:12:05] Well, we haven’t even brought up Kelly and Ryan. And then, of course, Dwight and Angela. Don’t get me started. But Pam and Jim had a pretty steamy kiss one time. After hours.
Jenna [01:12:15] Well, that’s true. Well, you know, later, it’s sort of speculated that Jim and Pam make their second baby at work.
Angela [01:12:22] Oh gosh.
Jenna [01:12:23] It’s on Valentine’s Day.
Angela [01:12:24] Right? And then Michael and Holly are in the stairwell.
Jenna [01:12:27] Yeah, they forgot to lock the door that leads to the entire robbery of Crime Aid. I mean, this place is a hot bed of hookups.
Angela [01:12:35] A hot bed a’ hookups. Wait a second. Did Mom Detectives just solve one?
Jenna [01:12:41] We solved one, and I feel very good about solving one!
Angela [01:12:45] I am so excited that we got to the bottom of that. Claire and Rob, thank you so much.
Jenna [01:12:50] Yes.
Angela [01:12:50] They sent us this footage, you guys. It’s pretty special. The cast ends up in a snowball fight once again.
Jenna [01:12:57] Yeah.
Angela [01:12:57] It really brought me back. What an amazing time in our lives, Jenna. And how lucky we get to rewatch this together.
Jenna [01:13:04] I know. It’s bringing back all of these warm memories for me. I just love it. I love doing this podcast every week.
Angela [01:13:10] And we love it when you guys reach out to us and tell us different things that mean something to you. It brightens our whole day.
Jenna [01:13:16] Well, thank you for all of your fan questions. Just a reminder, you submit fan questions by going to Office Ladies dot com. We have a little folder you can click on and you can submit for any episode by folder.
Angela [01:13:30] Jenna is very excited about the folders, guys.
Jenna [01:13:33] I am.
Angela [01:13:34] Very excited. Thanks once again to Randy Cordray, Claire Scanlon, Rob Burnett, Greg Daniels, Joya Balfour…
Jenna [01:13:43] And my friend, my personal friend who I can text anytime I want, the lead singer of Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong.
Angela [01:13:52] You guys have a great week.
Jenna [01:13:55] Thank you for listening to Office Ladies. Office Ladies is produced by Earwolf, Jenna Fischer, and Angela Kinsey. Our show is executive produced by Codi Fischer. Our producer is Cassi Jerkins. Our sound engineer is Sam Kieffer. And our associate producer is Aynsley Bubbico.
Angela [01:14:11] Our theme song is Rubber Tree by Creed Bratton. For Ad free versions of Office Ladies go to Stitcher Premium dot com. For a free one month trial of Stitcher Premium, use code: Office.
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