Office Ladies #37 July 21, 2020
This week we’re breaking down The Merger, and the ladies reach out to director Ken Whittingham, and writer Brent Forrester, who share their memories and insights on this episode. Then we chat about Pam’s plants and homemade sexy sweater, and we get the lowdown on that Staples shredder in the original airing of this episode. Finally, we get a little heartbreak in the breakroom (and maybe a new country song?), Tony’s firing and reappearance in Threat Level Midnight, and we dig into that last hilarious last scene between Dwight and Andy. We hope your mama knits you a sexy sweater after this episode.
To submit your version of Heartbreak in the Breakroom email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on Instagram @officeladiespod
Hear the Episode
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:04] I'm Jenna Fischer.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:00:05] I'm Angela Kinsey.
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:06] We were on "The Office" together.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:00:07] And we're best friends.
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:08] And now we're doing the ultimate "Office" rewatch podcast just for you.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:00:12] Each week we will break down an episode of "The Office" and give exclusive behind the scenes stories that only two people who were there can tell you.
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:19] We're the "Office Ladies". So it's "The Merger".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:00:26] Hi, everyone.
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:28] We're merging.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:00:29] Where are we merging two?
JENNA FISCHER [00:00:30] We are merging two worlds today. Angela, the Stamford and the Scranton branches. Not all of the Stamford branch, but some will be merging with Scranton.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:00:42] I also feel like we're merging as friends because I'm looking at you. I think we have almost the same outfit on today. You know, I mean, seriously, like they always say, like pet owners start to look like their pets. Like best friends start to look like each other and like husbands and wives of partners. Like I feel like we're starting to look like each other.
JENNA FISCHER [00:01:03] We might be. Also neither one of us has had a haircut or a hair color in a very long time.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:01:08] Hey. I did my own hair color. Lady.
JENNA FISCHER [00:01:10] I did, too. Well, actually, Lee did mine. With my hair colorist on FaceTime.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:01:17] I did mine, but no, I haven't had a haircut and I kind of have given up on makeup. Just lipstick. Do you notice I only wear lipstick?
JENNA FISCHER [00:01:25] Yeah. You show up to these Zooms in, in lipstick.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:01:28] I was walking out to my that's what she shed to start the Zoom and I put on a little lipstick and the kids were like, why are you putting on lipstick? And I was like, because I'm-. Yeah. Because. Like I don't know why.
JENNA FISCHER [00:01:40] Yes. I will be on a Zoom.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:01:43] I'm going to be on a Zoom. All right.
JENNA FISCHER [00:01:45] Well, this is Season 3, Episode 8, written by Brent Forrester and directed by Ken Whittingham. Do you want a summary?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:01:54] I do want a summary.
JENNA FISCHER [00:01:56] All right, good. The Stamford branch merges with the Scranton branch, which means Jim will be returning to his old stomping ground. Oh.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:02:05] Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:02:07] Oh. Pam is so excited. Michael does his best to welcome the Stamford transplants, but he goes a bit too far, causing one employee to quit. But Michael tries to save face by then firing him, leaving Dunder Mifflin with having to pay a sizable severance. Jan's not happy.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:02:28] Jan is not happy.
JENNA FISCHER [00:02:30] Meanwhile, Pam senses something is going on with Jim and Karen, and Dwight clashes with Andy.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:02:39] Good summary, lady.
JENNA FISCHER [00:02:40] Thanks. You know what I started realizing?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:02:43] What?
JENNA FISCHER [00:02:44] You know how I have that Bible from "The Office".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:02:46] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:02:46] "The Office Bible".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:02:47] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:02:48] Yeah. Every show has a summary. Every episode has a summary.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:02:52] In "The Office Bible"?
JENNA FISCHER [00:02:53] In "The Office Bible". So I've been able to now refer to "The Office Bible" summary. I tweak it a little. I put a little zhoosh on it. But yeah, I used to just sit down at a blank page and think, how do I summarize this episode? And a team of writers have done it for me. And it was just sitting on my desk. So if you've noticed my summaries are getting better, it's thanks to "The Office Bible".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:03:17] Wow. How excited were you when you realized there were summaries in there?
JENNA FISCHER [00:03:22] Oh, lady.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:03:23] You must've been so excited.
JENNA FISCHER [00:03:24] Lady, yes. So excited. Fast Fact Number One: this episode was directed by Ken Whittingham. We've talked a little bit about Ken before.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:03:33] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:03:34] Ken directed 9 episodes of "The Office", including this one. And we reached out to him.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:03:41] Yes. And he sent in some audio clips. We're really excited to hear him talk about this episode and Jenna, he is gonna come on and be a full Zoom guest for Phyllis' wedding.
JENNA FISCHER [00:03:51] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:03:51] I don't wanna get ahead of ourselves, but we're very excited.
JENNA FISCHER [00:03:54] Yes. And Phyllis' wedding is such a milestone episode. And so is this. We wanted to ask Ken, what was it like to merge these two worlds? And a lot of people wrote in wanting to know how did they decide where everybody would sit in the office? Like, if you notice, suddenly the desk pods go from two to three.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:04:15] Yeah, I remember being so happy that Ken was the one directing this because we already knew Ken really well. We were so comfortable with him and this was big even for the cast, Jenna, there was a buzz because we hadn't been around these people and, you know, we barely got to see them at table reads and things like that. So there was a real sort of buzz on set. And I remember being happy that Ken was there because he's so calm and like-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:04:40] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:04:40] He was gonna guide us through "The Merger".
JENNA FISCHER [00:04:43] Well, here is his audio clip explaining how he and Greg decided where all the new people would start.
KEN WHITTINGHAM [00:04:51] Introducing the characters from the Stamford branch would be very important to establish these characters and how they interacted with Scranton employees, their likes and their dislikes for each other. I remember Greg Daniels asking me to decide where the new characters would sit and why. So he and I walked the set and I laid out where I thought everyone should be. Since Ryan had taken Jim's old desk. I decided that Jim would sent directly across from Dwight, which would be fun for Jim and irritating to Dwight. It would also put Jim in the middle of Karen and Pam, which also made Jim uncomfortable, and Pam to be able to check out interactions between him and Karen. I sat Andy, in between Kevin and Angela to establish Andy's instant attraction to Angela. And also they would be in Dwight's eyeline to create Dwight's jealousy. Andy would later move on to Karen's desk. I placed Tony in the back near Toby at a very obscure desk because he would be quitting or getting fired in that episode. We also discussed how important it was to build Pam's awareness that Jim had moved on and was interested in Karen.
JENNA FISCHER [00:05:54] I love how much thought went into where everyone sat.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:05:58] I love it so much. I love the idea of, depending on which character, who could see who. Right?
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:04] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:06:05] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:06] And thinking about it from Pam's perspective, and I remember sitting at the desk and there's even a moment in the episode when Pam realizes she's not gonna be able to see Jim's face anymore.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:06:16] Yeah. There's a whole deleted scene about that, lady. Where you actually come up to him, and you're like, it's kind of weird. I just stare at your back now. It's-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:25] Really?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:06:25] Yeah, it's a great deleted scene. And you and Jim start doing a bit. And then Ryan's like, can you guys stop? I'm just trying to get some work done. It's really awkward.
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:34] Oh, my gosh. I want to go back and see that.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:06:37] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:37] Because also, after I heard Ken's clip, I was thinking about how, wow, so now Pam can see Karen's face. So if Karen is making flirty googly eyes at Jim or something, she doesn't know if Jim is reciprocating or not because she can only see the back of his head.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:06:55] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:06:55] So in terms of Pam trying to track this relationship going forward, she's only going to have that one thing she can see. It just. I just love, I love all the thought that goes into these choices.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:09] Yes. And I, and some people I saw wrote in and asked, why would Andy sit in Oscar's desk and where is Oscar, but you have to remember, Oscar is on his paid vacation leave.
JENNA FISCHER [00:07:19] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:19] So his desk was available.
JENNA FISCHER [00:07:21] Yeah. Although I will say this, Angela, someone wrote in to note that the character of Hannah is technically an accountant.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:30] Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:07:31] Yeah. So maybe-.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:33] Maybe, that's another layer why my character feels so threatened by her.
JENNA FISCHER [00:07:36] Yeah. Exactly.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:37] There can only be one bitch in accounting.
JENNA FISCHER [00:07:41] All right. Well, I loved that. Let's move on to Fast Fact Number Two. This is the first episode featuring writer Brent Forrester.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:07:50] Yes. And Brent also sent in audio clips. We asked him a lot of questions and he sent in clips as well. So all throughout this episode, you guys, we're gonna have clips from Ken, the director and Brent, the writer, which is just so fun.
JENNA FISCHER [00:08:04] Yeah, I love getting to have those different perspectives. So, Angela, you asked Brent about what it was like for him to write his first episode.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:08:14] Yeah. This was his first episode and it's such a huge one. I was like Brent, that feels very intimidating. You know? You're writing "The Merger" of Scranton and Stamford. What was that like?
JENNA FISCHER [00:08:24] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:08:24] And this is what he had to say.
BRENT FORRESTER [00:08:26] Hi, I'm Brent Forrester, the author of "The Merger". I was not part of the original writing staff of "The Office". Greg Daniels, the show creator, was a writer with me on "The Simpsons", and he had me as a writer on "King of the Hill". He brought me in in Season 3. And what I remember most about writing this draft was how I totally failed in the first draft to capture the tone of "The Office". I was trying so hard to be funny. I wrote witticisms for every character in "The Office" every time they open their mouth. And Greg was so horrified. He made Mike Schur, Jen Celotta and Paul Lieberstein, the three senior writers on the show, sit me down and explained to me the tone of "The Office", which is the tone of naturalism, where we don't require characters to be saying funny things all the time, where we let things be dramatic for long stretches, and where we get comedy from performance, above all. While I transformed as a writer between draft one and two of "The Merger". And I learned the tone of "The Office" real fast.
JENNA FISCHER [00:09:38] Oh Brent.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:09:38] Don't you love that? I just love that he was like, yeah, I got it wrong. They kind of like, let me know what was what. And then I gave it another try.
JENNA FISCHER [00:09:47] Well, what people should know is that Brent went on to be a co-executive producer of "The Office". He ended up running the show with Paul Lieberstein. So he, he figured it out.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:09:57] He figured it out. Yeah. He did just fine.
JENNA FISCHER [00:10:00] That's right. OK, I'm so excited. We're going to have more clips from him coming up, too.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:10:04] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:10:05] Fast Fact Number Three. Let's talk about the transfers from Stamford.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:10:11] Yes. Stamford.
JENNA FISCHER [00:10:12] OK. Here are our new characters. We have Tony Gardner, played by Mike Bruner. We have Ursula Burton, who plays Hannah. And we have Wayne Wilderson who plays Martin Nash. Now, you might recognize Mike Bruner because he was, he did have a small scene with Rashida in an earlier episode. Hannah was in the background of a few scenes over in Stamford. She had this storyline and some deleted scenes with Jim, but they had been cut.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:10:44] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:10:44] And then you might recognize Wayne because he had a big recurring role on "Veep". And by the way, now he's in Greg's new show "Upload".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:10:54] Nice.
JENNA FISCHER [00:10:55] And I want to take a tangent real quickly, Angela, to say that I'm really loving "Upload". It is. I know it's like sci-fi-y, but I am super digging it because I realized something about my sci-fi thing.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:11:09] What?
JENNA FISCHER [00:11:10] OK. I really like "Black Mirror" as well. And I feel like "Upload" has a type of sort of a comedic "Black Mirror" thing going on, and is that sci-fi? Is "Black Mirror" sci-fi fantasy?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:11:25] Yeah, I would say it is. It's, it's a lot of like, alternate realities and sort of. Yeah, it is. I think it is.
JENNA FISCHER [00:11:34] OK. Is "Handmaid's Tale: sci-fi? Fantasy?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:11:38] Oh gosh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:11:39] See what I'm saying? This is, this is the category that I like. I like a tiny spin. I love zombie movies. I love a tiny-.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:11:48] I feel like zombie is horror, though.
JENNA FISCHER [00:11:51] I know. But I feel like it's falling in this new category that I want to designate, which is like it's some of life as we know it and then some new rules.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:02] Slightly altered reality.
JENNA FISCHER [00:12:04] Altered reality. I'm doing a lot of gestures right now.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:08] You are. I wish you could see Jenna. She's like cupping the air and then, like, spinning it over her head like it's a world, a ball. I don't know what's happening.
JENNA FISCHER [00:12:16] Right. 'Cause it's, this is reality and this is altered reality.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:20] Here's the thing, Jenna. "Handmaid's Tale", I don't think you can handle it. I watched it. It's fantastic. I couldn't sleep at night. I was like, oh, my gosh. Oof.
JENNA FISCHER [00:12:27] Oh, I, I watched one episode of "Handmaid's Tale" and I had nightmares for three nights.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:32] Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:12:33] And I've seen a lot of horror films, but that was, I mean that got in my head.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:38] Holy moly. OK. So.
JENNA FISCHER [00:12:40] So, but here's what I'm saying. I, I feel like there is a, there's a tangent. Here's what I will not let go. I think there's a tangent of sci-fi that I'm super into and it's altered reality sci-fi.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:12:53] OK, fair enough, lady. Fair enough. Also transfers that you have to mention our Karen Filippelli and Andy Bernard.
JENNA FISCHER [00:13:02] Oh, my gosh. Of course. Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:13:05] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:13:06] Yes. We have those guys coming over as well.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:13:08] So it's a total of five, a total of five new employees from Stamford that come to Scranton.
JENNA FISCHER [00:13:15] We had a fan question from a lot of people.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:13:18] OK.
JENNA FISCHER [00:13:18] Jessie Kay, Seth Anderson, Connor McCulloch and Molly Frank all asked, "Did the writers and cast know that Martin, Hannah and Tony, those three of those five transfers, were only temporary characters"? Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:13:35] We did. We, we did, we didn't know how many episodes, right? But we knew they were gonna be part of this new wave that came over that Michael slowly alienates.
JENNA FISCHER [00:13:44] Yes, I remember that there was a conversation that was after "The Merger". Each week, one of the new employees would quit until we were just left with Andy and Karen. Are the two people who would stay.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:14:00] Hmm. Hmm. All right, lady, maybe we should take a break and then let's get into this episode, because I have a big catch right out of the gate.
JENNA FISCHER [00:14:08] Oh.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:14:08] In the cold open, and I'm really excited to talk about it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:14:11] All right. We will take a break on that and we will be back with Angela's big catch.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:14:16] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:14:16] Big catch!
ANGELA KINSEY [00:14:18] Oh, wow.
JENNA FISCHER [00:14:29] All right, guys, we're back. We start at the Stamford branch. Jim has a talking head. He tells us Stamford branch is closing. Andy made Stamford RIP hats for everyone. Andy asked Jim what Michael Scott is like.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:14:45] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:14:46] He wants to know.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:14:46] He wants some intel. He wants some intel. He wants to know how to work the system over there.
JENNA FISCHER [00:14:50] Yeah. And Jim's like, you know what? You just kind of have to meet him. You have to meet him. But when, did you notice when Andy was asking him about Michael, he was like, what kind of magazines does he like? We know. We know what magazines. "American Way".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:15:05] He loves that. Yeah, he loves "American Way".
JENNA FISCHER [00:15:08] If Jim had given Andy the list of magazines, would that have helped Andy? I feel like if someone gave me Michael's list of magazines, I would be like, I am even more confused about this person.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:15:19] I'm intrigued. Who is this person?
JENNA FISCHER [00:15:23] So then Jim and Karen, they have a little moment. They agree this is going to be a big adventure. Karen gives Jim a real flirty flirt look, but Jim doesn't see it. Right? But like, she's pining. Her heart is a flutter.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:15:35] They high five. I think, I feel like Karen flirts and then Jim high fives, which for any woman like that's into a guy. If you flirt a little and like maybe cut some eyes at him and you get a high five, it's like beep burr. Like, Karen.
JENNA FISCHER [00:15:49] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:15:50] There are so many signs here. Don't do it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:15:54] We're going to get into something. I've started tracking called "Wishy Washy Jim".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:15:59] Oh, well, welcome. Welcome to the club. I mean, he's been wishy washy for a long time.
JENNA FISCHER [00:16:04] Yeah. But he does a lot of super big wishy washys in this episode.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:16:08] All right. Now we're back in Scranton. Toby has come up to Pam at reception and he's talking about how he completed his run. And I have a catch.
JENNA FISCHER [00:16:18] Oh, Ang, is this what you teased us about before the break?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:16:21] This is what I teased you about. It's, now I've set it up. It is going to be so lame. But at a minute, 6 seconds. New plant alert.
JENNA FISCHER [00:16:35] Angela.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:16:35] New plant alert at front reception.
JENNA FISCHER [00:16:38] You have a friend in Hadley Locke who wrote in to say, "Angela. Is that a new tree at Pam's desk"?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:16:46] Hadley. It is a new plant. It's in a maroon ceramic pot, like not just like, usually Pam's plants are just like that plastic crap that comes from the store. You know what I mean?
JENNA FISCHER [00:16:58] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:16:59] This is in an actual pot. But Hadley, my friend Hadley, did you see what happens to the plant later in the episode?
JENNA FISCHER [00:17:07] What happens? Where's it go.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:17:09] Hadley? Did you notice that at a minute, 6 seconds, there's the one plant. But then go to 5 minutes, 25 seconds, it's a totally different plant!
JENNA FISCHER [00:17:20] What?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:17:20] Whatever plant we used in the cold open, I don't know what happened to it. They couldn't find it. Someone got a different plant. It is a different plant. The plant at a minute, 6 seconds is like small light green leaves. And then at 5 minutes, 25, it's the big dark green kind of leaves and it's in a different potholder. It's in like the, like a, oh what is it, like the clay looking potholder. Whereas at a minute, 6 seconds it's like a shiny maroon potholder. Guys, I know, I know this is what you're here for, but this is some serious plant gate. Plant gate.
JENNA FISCHER [00:17:54] You have found the evidence for something I was wondering about. I think we filmed this cold open on another day.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:18:01] Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:18:01] I, I think we inserted this cold open that it wasn't in the original shooting draft. So I think we came back and did this whole Dwight Toby running thing at a different time. And that's why the plants are different.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:18:15] Yes, that would make sense. They knew there was a plant on your desk, but they couldn't, they couldn't get the same one. So they just had to budget.
JENNA FISCHER [00:18:24] OK, because here's the thing. Pam takes Dwight down to the parking lot, right? Because he says that he can run faster than Toby, faster than anything. He's not impressed with Toby's running time.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:18:34] Jenna, he can run faster than a snake, a mongoose and a panther. Somewhere in there. That's his speed.
JENNA FISCHER [00:18:41] Yeah. Right. So Pam is like, all right, I'm gonna, I'm gonna time you. And she makes Dwight run around the building. She's holding a digital thermometer. She has this sort of long kind of sort of a talking head. She's kind of talking out loud, talking to the documentary crew. And then she just goes inside. She abandons Dwight. We had fan questions from Spencer, Brandon, Matteus Almeida and Angie T. "Does Rainn actually run around the whole building in the cold open? How did they time it out for Dwight to be running around the corner just as Pam finished talking"? All right, Angela, I watched this scene. It is a one shot. There is no cut.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:19:25] So did Rainn really have to run around the building?
JENNA FISCHER [00:19:28] Well, you reached out to Ken Whittingham, right?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:19:31] I did.
JENNA FISCHER [00:19:32] And you asked him what he remembered. And he said. He did not film this cold open.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:19:38] No. Which, again, is further evidence to you that we filmed it on a different day. So someone else had to direct just this cold open because it was an insert, right?
JENNA FISCHER [00:19:47] Yes. I was trying to remember shooting this scene. And I have a memory that yes, the reason I'm talking kind of so slowly is because Rainn really had to run. Yet at the same time, I didn't think he ran around the whole building. So I reached out to Rainn.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:20:07] And?
JENNA FISCHER [00:20:09] Rainn said he cut through the warehouse.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:20:13] Oh, that's smart.
JENNA FISCHER [00:20:13] So if you notice, the camera pans to me and he cut through the warehouse, through the building, to the door on the other side. And then he ran around the corner. So he was still running a significant amount.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:20:28] Here's what I also thought when I watched that is once again, Pam has become the Jim of this office. She's the prankster now. She's timing him with a thermometer, making them run around the building. Pam is Jim.
JENNA FISCHER [00:20:43] Oh, I bet she can't wait to tell Jim what she did when he finally gets there.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:20:47] Too bad he's not gonna want to hang out with her. Sorry.
JENNA FISCHER [00:20:50] He doesn't engage.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:20:51] No.
JENNA FISCHER [00:20:51] Well, we'll get to that.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:20:51] We'll get to that.
JENNA FISCHER [00:20:52] All right. So now here it is, Dwight and Michael, they're prepping the office for the new arrivals. They're going around. They're putting nametags tags for everyone.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:21:03] There's gift bags. I have to think the Party Planning Committee had to stuff those bags with pencils and coupons.
JENNA FISCHER [00:21:10] You know, I wanted to discuss the gift bags, Angela, because I thought they were a really nice gesture.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:21:15] I think they are, too.
JENNA FISCHER [00:21:18] I, you know, I sort of appreciate, we have to go out of town a lot, right? For work. And I always appreciate when the film company or the television company, they'll put like a little binder full of local restaurants and attractions for me to thumb through, as I am now about to spend two months in this location that I don't know. I think it's lovely to offer people little cou-, local coupons, suggestions of where to eat. Very thoughtful nifty gifty bag.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:21:47] Very thoughtful. I'm, I'm the type of person if I check into a hotel and they give me a bottled water, I'm like, thank you! I don't know. I love small gestures and I think this is really sweet.
JENNA FISCHER [00:21:59] I do too. And I feel like it just doesn't get the sort of appreciation that it should. The nifty gifty bag. I thought it was very thoughtful of Michael.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:06] Also, I want to, I want to start using "nifty gifty". It's a, that is a fantastic phrase. Nifty giftys.
JENNA FISCHER [00:22:14] Nifty giftys.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:17] Nifty giftys. Okay.
JENNA FISCHER [00:22:18] So as they're walking around prepping the office, Dwight suggests Michael fire Anthony Gardner before noon to consolidate power. But Michael's like, I'm not going to do that, Dwight. Not going to do that. But he's planting the seeds, someone must go today.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:34] Yeah. OK. So at 4 minutes, Pam enters in, she's carrying food. Michael asks her to set it all up in the conference room. Jenna, you're holding two really big grocery bags.
JENNA FISCHER [00:22:45] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:46] And I have what I like to, I have what I'm going to start calling, "Random Prop Alert".
JENNA FISCHER [00:22:52] Yep.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:52] Jenna, you know the story behind those bags.
JENNA FISCHER [00:22:55] Oh, yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:55] You and I both know.
JENNA FISCHER [00:22:57] Those are fake-y bags.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:22:58] They're fake-y bags, guys, they're fake-y bags. Here's what we mean. Those bags. They're, they're made of this material that won't make any crinkly noises.
JENNA FISCHER [00:23:08] Yeah. It's super weird. That, it's almost like a fabric, but it's really stiff.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:23:15] Yeah. That's what she said.
JENNA FISCHER [00:23:16] How would you describe it?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:23:18] I don't know how to describe it. It's like, it is. It's sort of like a stiff fabric felt kind of exterior. But as soon as you spot one, you'll spot them in every show you ever watch. I'm telling you guys, any show you're watching where someone goes to the store and comes in with, like, anything that looks like a grocery bag. It's the fake-y bag.
JENNA FISCHER [00:23:38] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:23:38] Because the real bags make too much sound for the sound engineers, for the boom operator. So the props department came up with these kind of fake bags and every single TV show uses them. You see-, you'll see. You'll see.
JENNA FISCHER [00:23:53] I, they fascinate me. The first time someone handed one to me, I was like, what is this item? What is this made of?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:02] Yeah. This fabric-y, stiff felt-y, fake grocery bag.
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:07] Yeah. Yeah, I'm, I'm always fascinated by them. And you're right, once you see it, you can't unsee it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:13] You can't unsee it because the brown paper bag, it doesn't look like paper. Look closely. It doesn't. You're like, hmmm, what is that?
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:19] You'll see it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:20] You'll see it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:20] Also there's never any printing on it. There's never any like name of grocery store. It's just this solid brown bag.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:27] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:28] So next Pam has her talking head and she is, she's excited to meet all the new people. She's excited to see her old friend. She's definitely in a good mood. We had some fan questions.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:24:41] OK.
JENNA FISCHER [00:24:43] Alice64, Jessica Scott, Harrison Perez, Amy Ardella and Jamie Kerns all asked about Pam's hair. They noted that Pam's hairstyle changes from the little smaller scrunchie curls to bigger, smoother curls. They wanted to know if this was intentional for Jim's return. Oh, yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:25:02] Oh, yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:25:03] For sure. For sure.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:25:04] Someone zhooshed it up and then decided to wear a sweater that her mom made her because that's how you zhoosh up when your fella's comin'. Let me get that sweater my mom knitted me with the extra big button. Right in the middle.
JENNA FISCHER [00:25:18] The button is so huge.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:25:21] The button is humongous.
JENNA FISCHER [00:25:22] All right, Angela, Maggie Mendez, Diana Swanson and Morgan Österreich all asked, "Is Pam Sweater really homemade"?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:25:30] No, look at it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:25:32] No, no.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:25:33] No. I thought they could have done a better job of finding you a sweater that looked a little bit more homemade.
JENNA FISCHER [00:25:38] Well, that was a store bought sweater. They did alter it a little bit to try to make it look homemade. The giant button was an add.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:25:46] Oh, well, great job. Oh my gosh. I am not throwing shade. I'm just saying, the sweater was hilarious. And to me, it's just-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:25:56] Listen. Listen. The wardrobe department did not have time to knit me a sweater. I mean they got the script. What are they going to do? I guess they could have tried to find some homemade sweaters. We did try a bunch on. But here was the other thing. They wanted the sweater to be flattering. You know? Like they wanted Pam to look cute for Jim. And so this was our compromise, a store bought sweater that we altered a little.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:26:19] Mom, I need you to knit me a sexy sweater.
JENNA FISCHER [00:26:24] Exactly.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:26:25] It has to be sexy, Mom. And only one button, please.
JENNA FISCHER [00:26:29] Now, here's something no one brought up, but I totally noticed. Purple eye shadow.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:26:34] Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:26:36] Purply eye shadow. And a little gloss on the lips.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:26:39] Well, I noticed the gloss, but clearly all I notice are lips these days. So.
JENNA FISCHER [00:26:44] That's where you're at, Ang.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:26:45] That's where I'm at. Well, you know, the new transfers start to arrive. And Jenna, we like to track things. I just want you to know I tracked and Michael insults every single person except for Andy.
JENNA FISCHER [00:26:58] Yes, we have a series of racist and sexist micro-aggressions courtesy of Michael Scott.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:27:05] Here they are. He tells Hannah her ball and chain is over here. He calls Tony Gardner "the big guy". He tells Karen she looks exotic and asks if her father was a G.I. And then he tells Martin Nash that he will show him where all the slaves work.
JENNA FISCHER [00:27:23] Yes. Michael manages to find a way to start everyone's first day with a completely inappropriate comment.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:27:30] Michael. Michael.
JENNA FISCHER [00:27:31] Well, Pam can't do her trick where Michael gets the redo. You know how Pam doesn't put a call through the first time because his first instinct is always the wrong instinct.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:27:42] Yes.
JENNA FISCHER [00:27:43] Hannah arrives first. Michael shows her to her desk.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:27:47] Yes. And he walks her to her desk and they walk past accounting. 4 minutes, 41 seconds. Kevin is at his desk, but Angela is not. I mean, I feel like.
JENNA FISCHER [00:27:58] Where are you?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:27:58] What? Kevin made it to work before Angela? I'm just saying. Angela is running a little late today. Where's Angela?
JENNA FISCHER [00:28:05] Where is Angela?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:28:06] I don't know.
JENNA FISCHER [00:28:07] All right. So Tony Gardner is the next to arrive.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:28:10] And guess who's standing right there?
JENNA FISCHER [00:28:12] Who?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:28:13] Hannah. What? Didn't she just get walked to her desk? How is she now back at reception? Why isn't she at her desk?
JENNA FISCHER [00:28:21] Hmmm.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:28:22] I think this is a continuity error.
JENNA FISCHER [00:28:24] I didn't notice it, but in hearing it, I'm gonna have to agree with you.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:28:28] Yeah. All of a sudden she's right back.
JENNA FISCHER [00:28:31] Hmm.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:28:33] Now Karen arrives and her and Pam, they kind of immediately hit it off. There's like some nice banter.
JENNA FISCHER [00:28:40] If not for Jim, Pam would finally have a friend in the office. Right? She would have another woman around her age who is nice to her.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:28:49] Yeah. Who she can have a conversation with because I think Kelly is nice to you, but Kelly just wants to talk about, you know, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's baby.
JENNA FISCHER [00:28:58] Yeah, I guess that's true. Kelly is nice to Pam, but they don't have a lot in common.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:29:03] Karen is someone she could actually be friends with, but nope, no, it's not gonna happen.
JENNA FISCHER [00:29:08] No. So then we have Andy's talking head down in the parking lot. He's about to arrive. And I love this talking head. He says he plans to be the number two in Scranton within weeks. He lays out his game plan. Here's what it includes. Repetition, personality mirroring and never breaking off a handshake. He says, you always have to think one step ahead like a carpenter who makes stairs. I want to discuss this. I think this is a really good strategy. I kind of want to try it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:29:43] No, no. Jenna, I don't see this going well. Don't. I don't know. You can't, like, walk up to someone and just start imitating how they talk and their movements.
JENNA FISCHER [00:29:52] I don't know. I mean, I think it's personality mirroring. Is that an actual thing?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:00] I'm sure it is.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:00] Is that taught at leadership seminars somewhere? Because it feels, this feels very much like Andy went to a leadership seminar and they're like, here's how you make a good first impression.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:10] Say their name a whole bunch.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:12] Yeah. Name repetition. Never break a handshake. I don't know, Ang. Can we try it? I'm going to meet you. OK. Go ahead. I'm going to be Andy. Go.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:23] Hi.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:24] Hey.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:25] How are you?
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:26] I'm good. How are you, Angela?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:29] I haven't told you my name yet, Creeper. How do you know it was me? Have you been stalking me? Psycho.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:37] I googled you before our meeting.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:39] Ok, I'm out. I'm out.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:39] This is not going well. I failed. I did a terrible job.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:44] You failed in three sentences.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:46] Oh, boy. All right. Maybe not.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:48] OK.
JENNA FISCHER [00:30:49] OK. So Andy arrives. He gets his nifty giftys. And he does, he does his strategy and Michael loves it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:30:57] Yes. Michael thinks he's awesome because Andy is doing an impression of Michael. So Michael probably feels like he gets me.
JENNA FISCHER [00:31:03] Yeah. He loves it. We had a fan catch, Angela.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:31:06] Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:31:07] Veronica Ramirez noted that when Andy was in the parking lot doing his talking head.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:31:13] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:31:13] He has his tan jacket on.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:31:15] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:31:16] But when he walks through the door, it's nowhere to be seen.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:31:20] Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:31:21] Where did he take off his jacket? Where did he put his jacket?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:31:24] He left it with that other plant.
JENNA FISCHER [00:31:27] He did. They’re in a warehouse somewhere.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:31:29] They're in a box of lost things.
JENNA FISCHER [00:31:32] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:31:33] Oh, my gosh. Guess who's making his big debut? Jim. He walks in with Martin. They're talking sports. Pam about does a cartwheel to get to him.
JENNA FISCHER [00:31:47] And hugs him. She leaps into his arms. Really.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:31:51] Yeah. I was going to say. It's, this is not just a hug, she like she throws herself on him.
JENNA FISCHER [00:31:57] Yeah, but can I say something?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:31:59] Say it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:32:00] At 7 minutes, 27 seconds, I have a giant zit next to my chin and they have tried to cover it up, but it's like a little bit like when you try to cover up like super big zits. This is one of those zits, and I honestly remember it, believe it or not. And when I saw it, I was like, oh yeah, I remember that. It was, it's one of those zits that feels like it's throbbing on your face.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:32:26] Yeah. It's a zit that has a heartbeat. That's what I call.
JENNA FISCHER [00:32:28] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:32:29] It has a heartbeat.
JENNA FISCHER [00:32:30] And you can't squeeze it because it's so underground, but it's like a beacon shining off your face. And here it was. We had to film this scene where Pam is going to see Jim for the first time. And I was like, I cannot believe we're dealing with this today. And the makeup department, I mean, they did their best. They caked a bunch of makeup on it. But it is there.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:32:54] There is only so much they can do. There's only so much.
JENNA FISCHER [00:32:57] And it's there.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:32:59] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:32:59] And it still bums me out today.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:33:02] It's okay, lady. I had a big zit in the Valentine's episode and all the photos we took. Remember? We did, it was like a whole press photo day.
JENNA FISCHER [00:33:09] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:33:09] There's like photos of me looking up at Dwight, this like Valentine's photo. And I have an enormous zit. So, you know.
JENNA FISCHER [00:33:16] I can't remember what episode it is. But I'm going to ask Greg, because there was a future episode that was like a huge Jim Pam thing. And I had another one of these big zits.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:33:27] Mmhmm.
JENNA FISCHER [00:33:28] And then when I saw the episode, it was gone. And I swear, I was like, Greg, what happened? He said, you know what, Jenna? We decided to take it out in post. We CGI-ed your zit away because it was really distracting.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:33:42] How embarrassing, Jenna. That there was a roomful of people, that you didn't even know who had to have a conversation about do we have it in the budget to, to scooch-y out her zit. In like post edit.
JENNA FISCHER [00:33:56] And then it was someone's job to painstakingly remove it frame by frame.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:34:01] Yeah, it was so distracting. Oh, Lord. Well, Jenna, you're not alone. Hadley, who also noticed the plant, wrote in and said, "At the talking head at 3 minutes. 55 seconds, does Dwight have a little pimple on his right cheek"?
JENNA FISCHER [00:34:17] Oh, no. Why were we all so pimply in this episode?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:34:21] Was it the summer? Were we just all hot and sweaty? Oh my gosh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:34:24] I don't know. Maybe so. All right. So Jim now enters and Dwight and Jim are reunited. Jim messes with Dwight immediately by pretending like he's meeting his eye line, even though he's not.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:34:37] Yeah. Jim and Dwight are right back at it. And if you guys love to track a really good John Krasinski "Da-wight" go to 7 minutes, 53 seconds.
JENNA FISCHER [00:34:47] Oh, nice.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:34:48] It's a real good "Hi, Da-wight".
JENNA FISCHER [00:34:50] Nice. So everyone has arrived now and we had a fan question.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:34:55] K.
JENNA FISCHER [00:34:55] A lot of people wrote in. Kristen F. Sara Hodges, Connor McCulloch, Erica Sansom and more all wanted to know what was it like having all these new actors on set from the Stamford branch? And what was it like to have John back?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:35:11] I wrote about this in my journal.
JENNA FISCHER [00:35:13] Of course you did. Of course you'd journal do this.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:35:16] I said, "We were really excited to shoot 'The Merger'. It was like we were meeting new people. The Stamford and Scranton branches shot on different days in different sound stages. So we almost never were together, except for maybe just a few times and we all really miss John's presence on set. So when the branches merged, it was the first time we were all acting together as a group. And it was a blast. Ed Helms made me laugh so loud, I pulled a Phyllis and snorted".
JENNA FISCHER [00:35:48] I love that. Yeah. It was great. It was great to have this new energy and new people and I just have such fond memories of it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:35:57] Yeah. I will tell you the place where I snort laughed when we get to it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:02] OK, good.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:36:03] I wrote a little note.
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:05] Can we talk for a second about one of my two favorite scenes in this episode?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:36:10] Yes.
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:11] It is the Ryan Jim desk dance.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:36:15] Oh yeah?
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:15] Where they both set their bags down on the same chair.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:36:18] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:20] I, I love it so much. They're both doing that sort of like polite thing like, oh, I'm sorry, are you-? Was this you? You're sitting here now? Are you? Did you?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:36:30] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:30] And then Ryan ends up getting the desk and I love his talking head so much. I talked a little bit about this with B.J. Where I said, as an older person, I am looking back on "The Office" and I'm super loving the character of Ryan. I don't know what it is. I think maybe when you get older, you just, you give zero ***** more often. And I feel like Ryan gives zero *****.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:36:52] I feel like you're, you're connecting with Ryan because you feel like you've finally aged to his place of zero F's.
JENNA FISCHER [00:36:59] Exactly. I think that's what it is. And I just love his talking head and he's like, yeah, Jim's a nice guy. That's why I got the desk.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:10] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:10] And I'm like, that's so funny. OK, but I want to say something. In the script, there was a different talking head.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:16] Ooh, what was it?
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:17] So that talking head that made it in was an alt.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:19] OK.
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:20] The talking head in the original script, Ryan was supposed to say, "Why? Because this is Ryan's desk now".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:27] Oh, I like the, I like the one that made it in better.
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:29] Me too. Me too, I like the alt.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:31] Yeah. It's more layered. Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:32] More layered.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:33] Well, Jenna, up next is a pretty big moment for the characters of the show because we have two adversaries meeting at 9 minutes, 7 seconds, Dwight and Andy.
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:44] Yeah. Neither will break the handshake. That handshake goes on forever.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:37:49] They see that, they are each other's enemy. They know it immediately.
JENNA FISCHER [00:37:55] I love that their rivalry is born out of a competition for who has seen more films or appreciates movies more.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:38:03] Well, you know, a director, a director has more power. That's, you know, that's Andy's whole thing.
JENNA FISCHER [00:38:09] Right. Yes, but Dwight has seen 240 films. So.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:38:12] Over. Over 240.
JENNA FISCHER [00:38:14] Over 240.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:38:16] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:38:16] Yeah. I'd love to see that list.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:38:17] He's got a spreadsheet. OK, well, we are coming up to one of my very favorite scenes in this whole episode. I have two. I think, I think my second one is maybe one that you like as well. But this one I loved. And if you're relating to Ryan, Jenna, I think I'm relating to Toby.
JENNA FISCHER [00:38:36] Oh.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:38:36] Because Jim comes over and Toby is excited to see him. And I think Toby just wanted to be cool and he tries to do a fist bump. And then Jim is like, oh, is this what you're doing now? And then Toby's like, ah, just forget it. Just forget it. I'm sorry. I don't know why I did that. And he has, like, such self-loathing in this moment and my heart just breaks for him. But I feel like, I feel like that's what I do. Like, whenever I try to be like I'm going to be cool. It's like, oh, forget it. That was lame. Oh my God.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:05] Yeah. That was definitely Toby's glitchy up in here moment.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:39:10] Yeah. It got glitchy up in there, Toby. But it was so, like it felt so honest. Like it felt-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:17] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:39:18] I just loved it. Also I have a little bit of a beef with Jim in this moment.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:22] Same.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:39:23] He knows that Toby's trying to be cool. He knows that Toby just wants Jim to like him and he should have just fist bumped him back instead of commenting like, oh, is this what you're doing now? And sort of given him shade. So, Jim.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:38] Agree.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:39:38] I have issue with you right there. Just fist bump back. Don't comment on the fist bump. Just do it back.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:44] Agree. Agree. I need to bring up something called "Shredder Gate".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:39:50] Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:51] Angela.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:39:52] OK.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:53] Which version of this did you watch for our rewatch?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:39:57] Oooh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:39:57] Did you watch the iTunes version or the Netflix version or the DVD version?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:40:03] I watched the Netflix version and the DVD version because I watched this episode three times.
JENNA FISCHER [00:40:09] OK, I watched it on iTunes and Netflix. If you watch the iTunes download, you will see a whole storyline with Kevin shredding things using a Staples shredder. It has a giant Staples sticker on it and he talks about what a great shredder it is and yada, yada. If you watch the Netflix version, this storyline is not in there.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:40:34] It is also not on the DVD.
JENNA FISCHER [00:40:36] So folks who watched the iTunes download like I did, here is what that was about. This was an embedded advertisement for this Staples shredder, which actually existed at the time and was launching. And they paid the show to feature it on the show, by one of our characters. They picked Kevin. Something that people should know, like if a show gets money to make a character drink a Coke versus a Pepsi, the actor does not get any coin for that.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:41:11] No, no, no.
JENNA FISCHER [00:41:12] But also, people noted Staples is Dunder Mifflin main competitor.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:41:19] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:41:19] So it was especially strange.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:41:21] I mean, it's the, Staples, theoretically, is the whole reason this merger's happening, because that's how they lost Josh Porter.
JENNA FISCHER [00:41:29] Yes. So it was an odd thing.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:41:33] It was odd.
JENNA FISCHER [00:41:34] OK, Angela, so now Michael is ready.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:41:37] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:41:37] He's making everyone go in the conference room.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:41:40] Yeah. He has a gigantic performance, Jenna. That's.
JENNA FISCHER [00:41:44] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:41:44] Coming up.
JENNA FISCHER [00:41:45] It, he, the, he has named this the Official Merger Day: All Family Welcome Breakfast. He's put out some food but only the guests are allowed to eat and drink.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:41:56] Did you see the food though? It looked like little pieces of like toast and salmon. I didn't see anything else. And champagne.
JENNA FISCHER [00:42:03] Yeah. I mean, Pam carried two fake grocery bags into the office and this is what was in it?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:42:10] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:42:10] I feel like this is on Pam. Is this all Michael gave her money for or did Pam just do a horrible job of shopping?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:42:17] Also, was Angela Martin like, I did the gift bags. I'm out. I'm out.
JENNA FISCHER [00:42:21] I have to say, I don't think Michael used the Party Planning Committee at all here. I feel like Michael put together those gift bags. I don't know. I think the reason this buffet is sad is because the PPC was not involved.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:42:33] I think if you only have two items, it can't be a buffet. I think it's got to be-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:42:38] Well, you're like buffet expert, so.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:42:39] I'm the buffet expert. I think it's like three items or more. Also, I loved it on their very first day. He is going to insult them all and then also give them champagne. He's like, Michael. Michael would be fired. Michael, should already be fired.
JENNA FISCHER [00:42:58] For sure. For sure. Also at 12 minutes, 36 seconds. I see Mindy break.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:43:06] Oh, you do?
JENNA FISCHER [00:43:07] Yeah. Yeah. So after Michael tells Kelly to consider the salmon to be poisoned beef, Mindy starts to break and puts her hand up to her face as she walks away.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:43:17] Oh, I have to go back and look for that.
JENNA FISCHER [00:43:19] So Ang, we asked Ken Whittingham, our director, how did he fit everyone in the conference room?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:43:28] I mean, Jenna, we could barely fit in it before five new people.
JENNA FISCHER [00:43:32] And remember, also in the room with us, our two camera operators, two boom operators and usually a first A.D. So there were also additional crew members. Should we play the clip?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:43:43] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:43:43] To see what Ken said about getting us all in there.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:43:46] Yeah.
KEN WHITTINGHAM [00:43:46] It was very challenging, staging in shooting in the conference room scenes. I wanted to create a us and them kind of situation, so I put each branch on opposite sides. However, in the first conference room scene, Karen was the only person from Stamford that I put on the Scranton side. I remember Rashida asking me why she was the only person on that side. And I told her the reason being is to put her and Pam and Jim in the same shot to capture all of their reactions. When Karen passes Jim a stick of gum to peek Pam's curiosity.
JENNA FISCHER [00:44:18] OK, this leads me to wishy washy Jim and the stick of gum.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:44:25] Why is he wishy washy if he takes a stick of gum?
JENNA FISCHER [00:44:28] Listen. Are they dating or not, are they not dating? Because when you bring a girl that you are dating into a new office where you used to work and then you don't sit next to her in the first group meeting, wishy washy. What is that? I feel like I'm watching "Normal People" all over again.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:44:51] Oh gosh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:44:51] Did you watch that show? My God.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:44:54] No. All right. Well, yeah, I don't know what he's doing. I don't know. You know, here's the thing. I do think he's wishy washy. I don't know if I support it in this moment because for all we knew, like he went in to sit down and to save her seat. But then Pam sat down and now he's like, oh, crap, what do I do? Maybe he's just a little deer in headlights.
JENNA FISCHER [00:45:17] Well, then maybe he should have moved back to the back row and sat next to Karen. I don't know. Here is what I'm saying. I'm saying we're going to learn at the end of this episode that they're dating. And I don't think he is regarding Karen as a woman he is dating right now.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:45:34] I agree with that. Also, he doesn't even say who he's dating at the end of the episode.
JENNA FISCHER [00:45:39] That too.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:45:40] He doesn't even own that. So.
JENNA FISCHER [00:45:43] Wishy washy Jim.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:45:43] Wishy washy! I actually got to sit next to Rashida in the scene, and it was really fun. She was great. And we got to chat in between takes and stuff. So I remember being excited.
JENNA FISCHER [00:45:57] Oh, well, that's very nice.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:45:59] So Jim's loss was my gain. So there you go. Wishy washy. Jim.
JENNA FISCHER [00:46:03] There you go. Wishy washy Jim. Should we talk about Lazy Scranton? Angela?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:46:08] I can't wait to talk about it. This made me laugh so hard. And, of course, you know, there had already been Lazy Sunday on SNL. So this was like inspired by Lazy Sunday. And it made me laugh so hard when we watched it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:46:23] So many of Michael's bits are based on the bits of Saturday Night Live and, or other comedians. He really writes no new material.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:46:32] He thinks he's a world class comedian. I mean-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:46:34] By, because he just restructures and redoes other people's bits.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:46:40] But he truly thinks he's like an amazing comedian. He even called this meeting, which should be just like a new employee orientation meeting. He calls it his gigantic performance.
JENNA FISCHER [00:46:53] Yes. Yes. Michael reminds me of a cruise director.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:46:57] Oh, gosh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:46:58] Wait.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:46:59] That's perfect. That's all you need to stay. I'm sure there's a story here, but that is the best example. Michael is a cruise ship director.
JENNA FISCHER [00:47:09] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:47:10] What? You have to tell me the story, what happened on the cruise ship?
JENNA FISCHER [00:47:13] Well, I took a cruise. This was when cruising was still happening. And our cruise director, like 15 years after "Austin Powers" had come out, his bit was to dress up like Austin Powers and be like, "Oh, behave".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:47:33] Oh, my gosh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:47:34] And I remember thinking, like, has he been doing this bit for 15 years or where is-? We are. I don't know. And then that, you know, of course, there was some Borat thrown in there. It was like, it was like watching Michael Scott live. But I'll tell you what, by the end of the cruise, I don't know. This guy, I was on board.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:47:54] He won you over?
JENNA FISCHER [00:47:54] By the end of the cruise. Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:47:54] He was like, "Yeah, baby. Yeah". You were like, I'm in.
JENNA FISCHER [00:48:00] By the end of the cruise, I was full on doing like a scavenger hunt with my mom and my sister, it was a cruise I took with my mom and sister. It was like, you know, a girls-.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:48:10] Girls trip.
JENNA FISCHER [00:48:11] Girls trip. Yeah. And, and we were with a bunch of other strangers and we were doing this scavenger hunt and like my poor sister, she's going to be so embarrassed when I tell the story. The, the thing we had to find was just like a piece of woman's clothing. So my sister took off her bra and like, took it out of her shirt and was like waving it and was like, "We got it"! And we were like, "Oh, behave".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:48:37] Oh, my God.
JENNA FISCHER [00:48:39] It was insane.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:48:40] I love that story. Jenna. And you know what? Having now competed with your family in "Family Feud".
JENNA FISCHER [00:48:47] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:48:47] I know how competitive everyone in your family is.
JENNA FISCHER [00:48:50] We are.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:48:50] I believe Emily was like, oh, we will win this if I have to take my bra off. We're gonna win.
JENNA FISCHER [00:48:54] She was. She was. And we, we didn't win.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:48:59] Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:49:00] I'll say.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:49:00] Well.
JENNA FISCHER [00:49:01] Sadly, but we gave it our best effort.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:49:03] You sure did. All right. So we asked both Ken and Brent what they remembered about filming Lazy Scranton. And here's what Ken Whittingham had to say.
KEN WHITTINGHAM [00:49:13] One of my favorite scenes in the episode was creating the Lazy Scranton video, which was as fired from SNL as Lazy Sunday sketch. We kind of went off script and create a bunch of really funny extra scenes to make the video really hard to watch for the Dunder Mifflin employees. Unfortunately, we couldn't use all of them.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:49:31] Hold up. Are you telling me there's extra footage from this?
JENNA FISCHER [00:49:35] Yeah, there must be. I need an extended cut.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:49:38] I want the extended cut of Lazy Scranton.
JENNA FISCHER [00:49:41] I know. I know because this was one of those moments where Rainn and Steve got to go off on their own and shoot a bunch of stuff. And we didn't get, we only got to see what the audience sees. We only got to see that final version.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:49:54] Yeah. Ken, I went those extra scenes.
JENNA FISCHER [00:49:59] All right. Well, we also asked Brent and here's what Brent remembers about shooting those scenes.
BRENT FORRESTER [00:50:04] What I remember about shooting that Lazy Scranton video was just being in awe of Rainn Wilson and Steve Carell as performers. These guys are such serious actors. And between takes, they would be talking about this performance like they were the Royal Shakespeare Company. And then the director would yell action, and they would suddenly become these cartoon characters bouncing off the walls like Bugs Bunny and then cut. And suddenly they're "Inside the Actor's Studio" for about two minutes. And then action. And it's Benny Hill. It was so wonderful to watch. And it ended up, I think, in a kind of classic little bit of comedy film in the middle of the episode.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:50:43] I wish we would have asked them also about the little clip of Michael doing the Scranton Witch Project.
JENNA FISCHER [00:50:50] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:50:50] Because that's something else they filmed. And I'm sure Steve did a whole bunch of stuff that didn't make it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:50:55] Well, speaking of stuff that didn't make it. Brent sent us in some insight into something that I saw in the script, which was Michael went on to do a magic show for us after showing us Lazy Scranton. But we'll let Brent tell you about it.
BRENT FORRESTER [00:51:10] What I remember about filming this episode is that we ended up with too much comedy. The premise for Michael Scott was so perfect that he would have these new employees and a new audience to perform for and impress. That we just ended up writing too many comedy bits for him. And I remember one that made us laugh so hard. We had made a giant deck of cards for Michael Scott. And in the conference room he says, if you put your heart into your sales, you will be a King of Hearts. And then he has an employee pick a card and it is the King of Hearts. And he says, and if you all put your hearts into your sales, then you will all be a King of Hearts. And he flips his deck of cards over and they're all the King of Hearts. And then he acts like he's blown their minds when in fact, he's just done the worst magic trick ever. It was so funny. And we just had no room for it because the episode was so packed with good stuff.
JENNA FISCHER [00:52:04] Angela, I remember shooting that. I remember the giant deck of cards.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:52:08] Yeah, and how he fanned them all out. Well, it's in the deleted scenes.
JENNA FISCHER [00:52:12] Oh, it is? We can watch that. Oh, good.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:52:14] Yes. So if you have the DVDs, that one made it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:52:19] I remember Steve's handling of the prop of the cards and the Kings of Hearts and how he did just like the worst magician hand work with the cards.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:52:32] I just remember trying so hard not to laugh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:52:35] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:52:35] It was so hard to not laugh.
JENNA FISCHER [00:52:37] All right, lady, that kind of sums up the first conference room meeting. Oh, there's going to be another one. But should we take a break and then we'll come back?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:52:47] Yeah. Let's take a break and come back, because Andy continues to try to win over everybody. We'll talk about that when we come back. All right, so we're back and at 15 minutes, Andy is hitting on Angela? Is that what's happening?
JENNA FISCHER [00:53:12] Yeah, he has put a cat dressed as a cowboy as his screensaver.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:53:18] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:53:18] And he compliments your smile.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:53:21] My, what smile? Look. Look at my face. I remember doing the scene and I remember Ken Whittingham and Brent Forrester and I just brainstorming a little bit. What, how, how big would my actual smile be? You know what I mean? Like.
JENNA FISCHER [00:53:37] Sure.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:53:37] It, would it be just like? It couldn't be a smirk. It couldn't be a full smile. It sort of was like this pursed lips, barely reacting, but slightly amused. So we did a-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:53:50] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:53:50] We did a few takes of like me, sort of like trying to not smile, but seemed like I'm somewhat happy. And, and that, like, is something that I laugh thinking about because I remember Ken and Brent both being like, OK, maybe even less of a smile. Or OK, maybe, you've got to do something. Like we were just trying to like trying to dial it and find it.
JENNA FISCHER [00:54:10] Well I love where it landed. I think it's perfect. And it is probably more smiling than we've ever seen from Angela Martin. So.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:54:17] Well, I think the biggest smile my character has had is when she realizes that Dwight gave her a key.
JENNA FISCHER [00:54:24] Yes, that's right.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:54:26] That's the biggest smile. But this is, this is amused.
JENNA FISCHER [00:54:30] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:54:31] Slightly amused.
JENNA FISCHER [00:54:33] Besides your smile, I was very distracted at 15 minutes, 50 seconds with your all brown outfit. This is a new color for you. You're usually in the gray tones. These are striking moments because like Rainn almost always wears mustard yellow. But I noticed in a recent episode he's in green. He's like, but it's monotone. Like that's the other thing. Both you and Dwight dressed in, like a monotone.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:55:02] Mmhmm.
JENNA FISCHER [00:55:03] Have you noticed? It's like-.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:55:04] Yes. Yes, I, absolutely. I mean, it was a brown skirt and then I had a brown button sweater over, like a black shirt, like it was so weird. The whole outfit was so bizarre.
JENNA FISCHER [00:55:19] Yeah. Should we move to the, the heart break in the break room?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:55:25] Oh, lady, do you know what I titled the scene on my note card?
JENNA FISCHER [00:55:30] What?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:55:31] "Very hunchy".
JENNA FISCHER [00:55:33] Oh, yeah. Posture.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:55:34] Very hunchy. Very hunchy. But it's, it's so true. And you know why she's doing it. OK. Jenna set up the scene.
JENNA FISCHER [00:55:43] Jim is getting a water instead of his usual grape soda from the vending machine. And Pam comes in and she is, finally she has him alone. Right? So she wants their old banter back and she's like, oh, no grape soda, huh? And he's like, yeah, no, just water. He doesn't meet her there. Right? And she's like, oh, you've changed so much. And he's like, oh, yeah, I don't know. And then Michael comes in and Pam tries to give Jim a little like look, a little bit like, oh, my gosh. And Jim does not return.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:56:21] No, he is giving you nothing back. And he says to Michael, you're not interrupting anything because nothing's happening. It's kind of cold. And he just leaves. And Pam was like, Yeah. And then Jenna, it looks like if you could have crawled inside your sexy sweater that your mom had knitted you.
JENNA FISCHER [00:56:40] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:56:40] You would have because you hunch way into yourself. And I was like, aw, Pam. So hunchy.
JENNA FISCHER [00:56:47] There's a country song here called "Heartbreak in the Break Room: Getting Hunchy".
ANGELA KINSEY [00:56:51] I was wearing a sexy sweater that my mama gave me.
JENNA FISCHER [00:56:55] And then I went in the break room and.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:56:59] He broke me. So what did I do? I tried to crawl into my sexy sweater.
JENNA FISCHER [00:57:07] I got my heart break in the break room.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:57:14] Our country music sings really breathy. It's not like, it's not like peppy, like country, like there's a heartbreak in the break room, and I'm gonna tell you why. Oh, good Lord. Okay. Oh, good Lord.
JENNA FISCHER [00:57:29] Hey.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:57:29] We should move on.
JENNA FISCHER [00:57:29] Can I put it out there? Anybody want to write "Heartbreak in the Break Room"? We'll play it.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:57:34] Here are your key words. Heartbreak in the break room. Very hunchy.
JENNA FISCHER [00:57:40] Sexy sweater.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:57:40] Mama sexy sweater.
JENNA FISCHER [00:57:42] Yeah, Mama knit me a sexy sweater for my heartbreak in the break room. Oh, there it is. Mama knit me a sexy sweater. But all it got me was heartbreak in the break room.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:57:52] Oh, come on.
JENNA FISCHER [00:57:55] All right. So now where do we go from here?
ANGELA KINSEY [00:57:58] I mean, where do we go from here? Hannah is pumping in the bullpen. Creed is leering at her. Creed, so gross. Ryan is like, hey, I'm sorry, it's distracting. Angela does not approve. Jenna, you and I both breastfed. We both had pumps. We had to pump at work, but I would not have pumped in a bullpen.
JENNA FISCHER [00:58:20] No, I wouldn't have pumped in a bullpen. I've pumped in lots of places I have pumped while driving down the road. I had a day.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:58:28] While you were driving?
JENNA FISCHER [00:58:28] While I was driving. I had a day where I had to go to a meeting. And the traffic in Los Angeles is so bad that I was not going to make it home in time. To pump and, or breastfeed.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:58:41] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:58:41] So I put, after my meeting, I got in my car, I hooked up my pump with my hands free bandana thing.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:58:50] Oh yeah. You had the hands free one.
JENNA FISCHER [00:58:52] And I just pumped as I drove. I, I also pumped in a restroom at the airport. That was really the grossest experience of my life.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:59:03] I pumped-.
JENNA FISCHER [00:59:03] This was before airports had, you know, nursing lounges.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:59:08] Yeah. I, I pumped in the coat closet of the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
JENNA FISCHER [00:59:15] I remember that. And lady, a couple of years later, I did the same. And I remember you being like, oh, Jenna, I'll show you where to go. Here, here's this coat closet I used several years ago.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:59:27] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [00:59:27] And I was like, great. You really, you helped me out.
ANGELA KINSEY [00:59:32] So Jenna. Now we have basically the Stamford branch and the Scranton branch trying to work all together. And it's bumpy, right? It's like having that new roommate. And it is, they're having to sit next to each other. Like Creed is laughing way too loud on the phone. Hannah is pumping in the bullpen. Martin tries to have this moment with Stanley. And then, of course, there's Karen and Phyllis. We'll get to that.
JENNA FISCHER [00:59:57] Yes. Well, we got a fan question about that moment between Martin and Stanley. Kenya Hunt wrote in to say, "As a black American, I personally lived for the really intimate details about blackness in the show. Like Darryl teaching Michael 'Dinkin Flicka', for example. Another example is the moment between Martin and Stanley in this episode. Martin tries to give Stanley the black nod, the nod black people give each other as a sign of understanding in mostly white spaces. And Stanley rejects him. It is too funny. Who wrote that part or was it improvised"? Well, we asked Brent Forrester, our writer, about that. And here's what he had to say.
BRENT FORRESTER [01:00:38] That was written into the script. But the performers, Leslie David Baker and the great Wayne Wilderson, who played Martin. They did make it their own. And it was directed by Ken Whittingham, who, I remember, thought it was very, very funny. And yeah, that wa,s that was a collaboration, for sure. So glad you like that.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:00:59] And here's what our director, Ken, had to say about that moment.
KEN WHITTINGHAM [01:01:03] The interaction between Martin and Stanley was written by Brent Forrester. And yes, it was scripted. And I laugh out loud every time I watch it, it just really kills me. Some of us know that guy.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:01:15] OK, so now is one of my favorite scenes in this whole episdoe.
JENNA FISCHER [01:01:19] Same. Same. I love it so much.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:01:21] I mean, Jenna, we didn't even talk about this. And then this morning when we were getting ready to do it, we both had this scene down as like we've got to hear this scene because we love it so much.
JENNA FISCHER [01:01:32] Karen is sitting at her desk and she is like, what is that smell?
ANGELA KINSEY [01:01:36] Smells like a funeral home.
JENNA FISCHER [01:01:38] Smells like a funeral home. She says.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:01:41] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [01:01:42] We come to find out, it's Phyllis' perfume. Phyllis is like, oh, I'll help you find the smell. And then Karen is like, oh, oh, I think I'm allergic to your perfume. And Phyllis has a response that I love so much. This is, this is Phyllis sass. Right, Angela?
ANGELA KINSEY [01:02:01] This is such Phyllis sass, so much so there's part of it I want on a t-shirt. It's so great. Can we play a clip of it?
JENNA FISCHER [01:02:09] Yes, please.
RASHIDA JONES [01:02:12] Oh no. Never. Never one.
PHYLLIS SMITH [01:02:14] What is it?
RASHIDA JONES [01:02:15] I think I'm just allergic to your perfume.
PHYLLIS SMITH [01:02:19] My perfume?
RASHIDA JONES [01:02:20] It's just my crazy nose. I'm used to different smells.
PHYLLIS SMITH [01:02:25] Bob Vance bought this perfume for me in Metropolitan Orlando. It's made from Real Pine.
RASHIDA JONES [01:02:32] Who's Bob Vance?
PHYLLIS SMITH [01:02:33] You've a lot to learn about this town, sweetie.
JENNA FISCHER [01:02:36] Oh, the first lady of Vance Refrigeration is not pleased.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:02:41] Phyllis is pissed.
JENNA FISCHER [01:02:42] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:02:43] First of all, she insults her perfume. And it's from Metropolitan Orlando. Hello.
JENNA FISCHER [01:02:48] Yeah. It's made with real pine. Angela.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:02:52] And then Karen doesn't know who Bob Vance is.
JENNA FISCHER [01:02:54] Oh.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:02:55] Oh. Good luck, Karen. Good luck.
JENNA FISCHER [01:03:01] You really stepped in it, Karen. And Stanley, how's that amazing talking head where he is like, I don't know who these new people think they are, but I have sat downwind of Phyllis' stinky perfume for years, and I have never said a word.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:03:15] Yeah. Oh, man. No one's getting along. No one's getting along from the new branch. And it's, it's all gonna come to a head.
JENNA FISCHER [01:03:24] I love throughout the series the sort of subtle tension that happens from time to time between Phyllis and Stanley. I have to say. Every once in a while, Phyllis gets real annoyed with him. And then now we're getting a peek into what Stanley has endured in that desk clump. Years of this perfume.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:03:47] They're like an old married couple. The two of them.
JENNA FISCHER [01:03:48] They are.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:03:49] They really are. They have each other's back. But they also, like, drive each other crazy. But it's a sort of like subtle, quiet anger.
JENNA FISCHER [01:03:58] They definitely eat dinner in silence.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:04:01] Mmhmm.
JENNA FISCHER [01:04:02] Right?
ANGELA KINSEY [01:04:02] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [01:04:02] They're that couple in the restaurant and they haven't said a word for 30 minutes.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:04:06] It's because they've been together so long, they've said everything they need to say.
JENNA FISCHER [01:04:10] Exactly. Exactly. Oh, I love it so much. Angela, I have to point something out here. This is a tangent, but it's short. You know, we're talking about how this is Phyllis sass. You really coined the "sass". A fan sent in that on one of our episodes in the podcast notes. It says that our guest on the episode is Michael Sass.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:04:32] What?
JENNA FISCHER [01:04:33] Yes. Like on the Apple download site, it says, like our guests are. And then it lists the guests. And one of the guests is Michael Sass. There's no photo for him, though.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:04:45] That is hilarious.
JENNA FISCHER [01:04:47] Whatever the algorithm is that, like, listens to your podcast and then picks out guest stars to highlight, somehow this computer program believes that there's someone on our podcast named Michael Sass.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:04:58] Because we've said sass so many times, it's now like the thing the computer picks up on.
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:03] Yeah. Sass is one of our guest stars.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:05:05] Oh, man.
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:07] All right, so, guys, it's hard to believe, but Michael didn't feel like one conference room meeting was enough.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:05:14] Well.
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:14] He makes everyone go inside for what he's now calling the "Integration Celebration".
ANGELA KINSEY [01:05:20] Well, he's really noticed that no one's getting along and he's worried about it. And so he says, you know, I mean, a great show can make people forget about their differences. You got to give him another great show, everybody.
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:33] Yeah. So what he decides to do is reenact another Saturday Night Live bit this time "Night at the Roxbury".
ANGELA KINSEY [01:05:41] And this is what Michael thinks. This is, this is the way to bring everyone together.
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:46] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:05:46] Is to imitate these idiots at the nightclub.
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:50] But his boombox doesn't work.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:05:52] Uh.
JENNA FISCHER [01:05:53] So Andy comes to the rescue and he sings for him.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:05:59] Andy starts going bee boon pee poon bee boon pee poon. Right?
JENNA FISCHER [01:06:03] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:06:03] He starts doing that. Well, none of us knew what that was going to sound like really. Right?
JENNA FISCHER [01:06:09] Yeah. It was just in the script that he would provide the music.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:06:13] Right? And so I don't think we were really prepared for Ed Helms as Andy to go full out. And we lost it. And that's when I did my snort laugh because we're all in this little room and it's totally quiet. And then with full commitment, Ed is like pee paa pee paa pee paa.
JENNA FISCHER [01:06:34] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:06:35] It was like so crazy. Sorry, I dropped my pencil. I was like, ahh, it was crazy.
JENNA FISCHER [01:06:41] That was amazing. I'll never forget that. And also remember, Ed was new to us. So we, we were like, oh, oh. He showed up in full uniform, ready to play today.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:06:52] Yeah. We didn't know what was coming.
JENNA FISCHER [01:06:53] I see.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:06:53] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [01:06:54] It was so good.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:06:54] Ed made us laugh so hard.
JENNA FISCHER [01:06:56] So next, Michael asks all of the new employees to sit up on the conference table. This is to illustrate that the older employees are not above them. I have some fun trivia from Dunderpedia.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:07:12] Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [01:07:12] About this moment.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:07:13] Ok, Dunderpedia, what do you got?
JENNA FISCHER [01:07:16] Dunderpedia notes that in the British version, they have an episode called "Motivation". And the manager, David Brent, says he would never make his employees stand on a table because it's against health and safety regulations. Kind of fun little thing.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:07:32] Fun little thing. I guess Michael never read the health and safety memo ever.
JENNA FISCHER [01:07:37] Oh clearly. This is Toby's whole life is having to try to catch Michael up on every regulation.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:07:44] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [01:07:45] So there's one person who's not on the table. It's Tony. And Michael says, Tony, let's get you up on the table. Right? And Tony is like, yeah, I, I can't. I can't get on the table. And Michael's like, no. Yes, you can. He's thinking, there's like. Right? Like, he's like giving them a pep talk to get on the table. And then Tony is like, no I, I like I physically can't get on the table. But Michael will not let it go. He's like, we'll help you. We will physically help you get on the table.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:08:16] Yeah. And then he gets Dwight involved and, and then it's just, it's really cringey. And I remember like even when we were there being like, oh my God, oh, my God. Oh, my God. And then, you know, Tony is like, stop it. I'm done. I am done.
JENNA FISCHER [01:08:33] Yes. And he says, I can't work here. I can't work here. And of course, Michael's like, Oh my God is it Toby? And Tony's like, no, Toby was actually very kind and helpful. It is you. It is your management style. But like, Tony is being nicer about it than I am. He's like, no, Michael, it's your management style.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:08:55] And Michael cannot believe it. He cannot believe that there would be someone who doesn't think he's an awesome manager. Michael cannot hold up the mirror to see himself.
JENNA FISCHER [01:09:04] No.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:09:04] He just can't. And throughout the course of this day, he's been disrespectful to all the new employees. And Tony has had it. He's not going to work in this environment. Anymore.
JENNA FISCHER [01:09:15] But, of course, Michael gets hurt and embarrassed and turns it around and says, you know what? You're fired. I'm firing you. To Dwight's delight. Dwight is like, that's what I said. I said, we should fire him. So Dwight takes it as a win. And Tony is just like I. I can't. I can't even.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:09:35] Yeah. And you start to see that Hannah is like, yeah, he's, he's got the right idea, right?
JENNA FISCHER [01:09:41] Yes.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:09:41] And it's unraveling. All of this is unraveling. And Michael is starting to spiral.
JENNA FISCHER [01:09:47] Now, we had a few fan catches and questions about this scene. First, I'm going to give you this fan catch from Luke Jensen. He says, "I noticed a potentially huge mistake in Season 3, Episode 8, 'The Merger'". The episode depicts the entire merger day. And Tony Gardner gets fired, right?
ANGELA KINSEY [01:10:08] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [01:10:08] But then in the "Threat Level Midnight" movie, Tony Gardner is playing the piano. How is it that Tony Gardner ended up in this movie of "Threat Level Midnight"? There's no way that Michael filmed "Threat Level Midnight" on this one merger day. Right? All right.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:10:27] That is a great catch.
JENNA FISCHER [01:10:30] Here's the thing, B.J. Novak gave an interview about this.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:10:33] Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [01:10:34] B.J. said that the writers thought that it would be very funny for Tony Gardner to have a cameo in "Threat Level Midnight". And they have this whole weird backstory as to why he appears at "Threat Level Midnight". They think that Michael had this realization and he called up Tony Gardner and apologized profusely for the way he treated him and then said, I would like to offer you a role in my movie. And Tony was like, B.J. in the interview says, like in his mind, Tony was like either like, well, I don't know, I have nothing else better to do. Like, maybe he's bored. He's like, you maybe wanted to be in a movie. Maybe he was aspiring actor on the side.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:11:17] Yeah. Maybe he's a cinephile and he's like, yeah, I'd like to be in a movie. Why not? I love movies.
JENNA FISCHER [01:11:21] I'll be in your movie. But that this was, this was like a choice that they would have this person that Michael wronged in an earlier episode have this cameo in "Threat Level Midnight".
ANGELA KINSEY [01:11:33] I like it. I like it.
JENNA FISCHER [01:11:35] So there you go.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:11:35] I want Michael to have growth. I want him to learn and evolve.
JENNA FISCHER [01:11:40] Now, here's another fan question. From this moment. At 22 minutes, 56 seconds, Tim Althouse, Sydney Palls, Ben Pavey, Grace Bromley and Declan Jensen all want to know who is the man wearing business attire who is standing next to Andy in the conference room when Michael fires Tony. Did you notice that, Ang?
ANGELA KINSEY [01:12:02] Oh, I noticed it. I noticed it. And I, and then I saw all the questions pouring in about it.
JENNA FISCHER [01:12:08] Yeah. Philip Satani. That's who that is, guys. He was one of our male stand ins for the actors. It was Philip and Stephen Saux were two male stand-ins. And you will probably spot Stephen in some future episodes, in some scenes.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:12:23] And his wife, Lori, has already been in one.
JENNA FISCHER [01:12:26] That's who that was. Good catch.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:12:27] Good catch, guys. Very good catch. So Michael's really bummed. He says that today was supposed to be a love union, but it's more like when his mom moved in with Jeff and now his job is to fix it. He's got to fix it, you guys. And how does he decide to fix it? He goes into the parking lot and lets the air out of everyone's tire. And he's like.
JENNA FISCHER [01:12:47] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:12:47] Oh, my God. We got punked. You know, they, they got us good. Come see. Like, he thinks this is gonna bring everyone together.
JENNA FISCHER [01:12:55] Yeah, that's right. But Angela, everyone's tires except Michael's.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:13:01] Yes. And he got a hate note that says that that you guys suck. It's from Vance refrigeration. And-.
JENNA FISCHER [01:13:07] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:13:08] That they suck.
JENNA FISCHER [01:13:09] Because Vance refrigeration would suddenly for no reason decide to hate on Dunder Mifflin. It makes so much sense.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:13:18] But they would spare Michael's car.
JENNA FISCHER [01:13:20] Well, they saved the worst for him with the hate note.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:13:24] Oh yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [01:13:24] According to Michael. Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:13:26] And everyone's like, oh, come on. They totally know, he's full of crap. Now they're really annoyed. But I guess, Michael, in some way, Jenna. He was kind of, like on the mark, because what brings people together more than a common enemy?
JENNA FISCHER [01:13:46] Yes, the enemy, though, is Michael.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:13:49] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [01:13:50] Because then you have that great scene of everybody standing around. Karen and Phyllis. They have a nice moment because Phyllis says, oh, Bob has an air pump and they're going to put air in all of our tires so we can get home. And then Karen is like, oh, you mean Bob Vance from Vance Refrigeration? And Phyllis is like, yeah, she's got it.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:14:13] Yeah, everyone is starting to bond. I can't breeze past the moment, though, where Pam clocks Karen scratching Jim's back. Little scratchy, scratchy.
JENNA FISCHER [01:14:26] This is what I'm saying. They're clearly dating. Why? Why does Jim come into the new office and not tell the new woman that he's dating, that he's kissed the receptionist? And why doesn't he give Pam a heads up? Wishy washy Jim.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:14:43] Kiss the receptionist? How about the fact that he told her, I love you?
JENNA FISCHER [01:14:48] I know we've discussed this. We've talked about this. This is our beef with Jim.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:14:51] I know. Our beef with Jim. Well, now Michael's in trouble, though. Michael's in trouble because Jan finds out that he fired Tony when Tony was quitting. And now they have to pay Tony a big severance package.
JENNA FISCHER [01:15:05] Yeah, exactly.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:15:06] And Michael's in trouble with Jan.
JENNA FISCHER [01:15:08] And he tries to blame Dwight. He's like, well, this was the advice of my number two. And Jan is like, he's, he's not your number two. Jim is your number two. So then Michael calls Jim, Dwight and Andy into his office and makes it seem like he's chosen Jim to be his number two, even though we know from this phone call it was mandated by Jan. And now Dwight and Andy want to know who's your number three? They, it's so, it's so funny to me that they so quickly gloss over that neither one of them is number two. They're just interested in like, well, now who's number three?
ANGELA KINSEY [01:15:44] Yeah. I mean, I would imagine that Dwight would have been mortified that Jim got number two over him. But I guess now he's just more worried about Andy getting three and having Jim and Andy over him. So everyone's leaving. This insane day is done. And Karen calls Jimmy's in his car, invites him out for a drink.
JENNA FISCHER [01:16:06] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:16:06] And Jim's like, wait, can I call you right back? Because he sees Pam. And Jenna, is this this moment where Jim is going to try to be real with her?
JENNA FISCHER [01:16:14] Maybe. But it's too little too late for Pam. She's really stung. She's embarrassed. She would have liked this information. I mean, she really would have behaved differently in the stay had she known. And so she kind of cuts him off. You know, he tries to say, oh, hey, I'm sorry. I think things were a little awkward today. And she's like, yep, no, I don't know. Seem, it was fine. I don't know why you're talking about. And he's like, yeah, well, you know, I'm dating someone. And she's like, yeah, well, you can do what you want. Cause we're friends and we'll always be friends.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:16:52] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [01:16:54] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:16:54] Yeah, she was. She was kind of cold in that moment and kind of shut him down. But, you know, I see both sides. I see her being hurt. But I also see him as being like, you're not the person I share with anymore. So I don't need to tell you I'm dating anyone. It's none of your business.
JENNA FISCHER [01:17:12] Oh, yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:17:14] I mean, you know?
JENNA FISCHER [01:17:16] Yeah, well, Brent Forrester sent us an audio clip about this Jim Pam storyline that runs through this episode. And it's going to seem like I paid him to say this stuff. I just want to preface this clip by saying I did not know he was going to send this in.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:17:33] Well, let me tell you, there's going to be like balloons and confetti going off when he mentions Jenna's name. He really, he really, really admired your performance.
JENNA FISCHER [01:17:45] Yes. So, everyone, this is not a paid endorsement. Go ahead.
BRENT FORRESTER [01:17:51] If you look at the structure of this episode, you can see it was kind of designed to be a classic "Office" episode. It's got that big A story performance piece for Steve Carell, where Michael Scott has twice the audience, twice the family to perform for. And we knew that Steve was just going to kill it in these big performance conference room scenes. We also knew that we had this clash of two comedy characters who had never been in any scenes before. That was Andy Bernard and Dwight Schrute. And sure enough, that two hander is just so funny to watch those guys performing together for the first time. But what really distinguishes this episode is the Jim and Pam story, where once again, we relied for the emotion of the episode on Jim and Pam and look at the tremendous performance that Jenna Fischer delivers here. She does so much with so little right from the start where she says, it'll be nice to see my friend again. And, you know, the what she means is I can't believe Jim and I can get together for the first time and then watch how she discovers that Jim is dating Karen Filippelli. It's just done in little looks where she notices a piece of gum passed between them. Oh. It kills me, man, it's the greatest performance and it's part of this tremendous ongoing performance that Jenna Fischer did as Pam Beasley, one of the great performances ever captured on TV, in my opinion.
JENNA FISCHER [01:19:18] Yeah, it really is. It really is one of the greatest performances ever.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:19:22] Ever captured on TV.
JENNA FISCHER [01:19:23] I wrote that out for him and I felt like he delivered it perfectly.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:19:27] No.
JENNA FISCHER [01:19:27] Thank you, Brent.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:19:28] No, listen, in your defense. It is a fantastic performance. And that, that was just a heartfelt message from Brent about how moved he was. And really, everyone is by Jim and Pam. They break our hearts all the time because that is what a sort of star crossed lovers courtship is. It's one moment you're available for that other person, either physically or emotionally, and the other person isn't. And then it flips and they break your heart over and over until they hopefully find each other.
JENNA FISCHER [01:20:00] Well, here's the thing. You know, I did not make up any of that performance. That was all written for me by the great Brent Forrester. But truly, he, it's like that, those directions were in the script. I didn't invent those, you know, all of those moments of embarrassment. Those were all described to me in the script and I just had to play them. So, you know, it's, that's some of the beautiful detail that we would get in our scripts that I so appreciate it as a performer. Those quiet moments that they allowed to play out, those moments of silence, moments of realization. We always took our time with those in it. And it allowed me to, like, really go for it. I loved it.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:20:50] Well, it's, it's great. And that scene broke my heart. There are a lot of moments in this episode where I was just as excited as Pam was that Jim was gonna be back and then he's just not available to you. So it's really hard to watch.
JENNA FISCHER [01:21:04] Yeah, it's like a brick wall.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:21:06] Like a brick wall.
JENNA FISCHER [01:21:08] Well, luckily, this episode does not end there. It does not end on Pam's heartbreak or this awkward moment. It ends with a fantastic scene between Andy and Dwight, where they are arguing about their cars, their IQs. They have an amazing like coughing insult contest.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:21:29] They do. They go, cough, you're an idiot, cough. Like they do-.
JENNA FISCHER [01:21:34] Yeah. Cough, you're the bigger idiot, cough.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:21:36] I have a fan catch in this final scene. Reese Peirsol wrote in and said, "At 28 minutes, 42 seconds, if you're watching the iTunes version. So Dwight and Andy are fighting over their car. Andy's like 1985 called, wants it's TransAm back and Dwight goes huh. Well it's an '87, so there. But in the pilot when Dwight is describing his car to Ryan the temp, he says it's a 1978 TransAm.
JENNA FISCHER [01:22:06] Oh.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:22:07] All right. So fantastic catch, Reese. And oh, hold up. Sam is saying he has a little, a little info about this car. Sam.
SAM [01:22:16] Yeah. I think I can solve this one, actually. I think from the pilot in the first couple seasons, he has a 1978 Nissan 280Z. And I think you can see it in the "Grief Counseling" episode when Pam and Roy walk outside to talk about her new car. And then at some point he gets a 1987 Pontiac TransAm. That's the maroon one you see most of the season. So it's just two different cars. And I know this because I grew up in the 80s in a car family and my uncle had the first car and my brother had the second car. And I listened to much Motley Crue in both of them.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:22:49] Sam.
JENNA FISCHER [01:22:52] Whoa.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:22:53] Applause.
JENNA FISCHER [01:22:53] Wow. Wow.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:22:53] Sam, add to your list muscle car knowledge.
JENNA FISCHER [01:22:57] I love it. I have one thing I noticed about this scene, Angela. So we know that this elevator goes nowhere.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:23:05] Yeah.
JENNA FISCHER [01:23:05] We know that when Andy and Dwight stepped into that elevator. It was just a room on a stage. And I clocked the moment when then the elevator doors open and they're suddenly, quote unquote, "downstairs" in the lobby. They had to film that at two different times in two different buildings. And you can see the moment that the camera cuts. And that's the moment it starts to move, it pans to the left. And then there's a cut. And that is when they were now relocated in the different stage for the exiting of the elevator. And so it's a fun little moment to watch, I think.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:23:46] You and Reese getting all the catches in that final scene.
JENNA FISCHER [01:23:50] But it looks so seamless. It looks so seamless. It really seems like that elevator went from one floor to another.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:23:56] Well, I have one deleted scene I want to talk about before we close out "The Merger" here. You know, Jenna, we've talked before that John and I rarely interacted as characters.
JENNA FISCHER [01:24:07] Yeah.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:24:07] We rarely spoke to each other on camera. Well, in the deleted scenes, there is a scene where Jim goes to accounting. Kevin says that he hid his M&Ms under his desk if he wants any. They're under his desk. But he didn't want the other people to have him. And then Jim looks at me and goes, Hi, Angela. And I go, You need a haircut. And he goes-.
JENNA FISCHER [01:24:28] Oh, wow.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:24:30] And he goes, Bye Angela. And he leaves the scene and that's it. That's all the scene was. But then they left the camera rolling and we improvised a beat and it made it in the deleted scenes. So after Jim leaves, Kevin goes. It is his first day back. And I say, his hair is flipping out on the sides. And Kevin goes, I like him. And I say, Oh, my Lord.
JENNA FISCHER [01:24:57] Well, here's something, though, Ang, you said earlier in the clip that they ended up using of Kevin hiding his M&Ms, you're not even at your desk.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:25:07] I know. I would have been there because then Jim would've walked up. I don't know, guys, I'm out.
JENNA FISCHER [01:25:11] Interesting.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:25:12] I'm hanging out with the plant from the other day. I don't know where I am. I'm.
JENNA FISCHER [01:25:15] Yeah. You're with Andy's coat and the plant. Just the three of you.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:25:19] Him and the box of lost-.
JENNA FISCHER [01:25:20] What are you doing?
ANGELA KINSEY [01:25:20] The box of lost things.
JENNA FISCHER [01:25:24] Yes. Oh. All right, guys. That was "The Merger".
ANGELA KINSEY [01:25:27] We want to thank Ken Whittingham and Brent Forrester for sending in those awesome audio clips. Ken is a prolific director. He is directing just about every TV show out there. "The Upshaws", "American Housewife".
JENNA FISCHER [01:25:40] Yes. Also, "Bless this Mess." But I will not hold that against you, Ken, because, you know, "Bless this Mess" is the show that replaced my canceled show, "Splitting Up Together".
ANGELA KINSEY [01:25:48] Oh.
JENNA FISCHER [01:25:49] But it's OK. It's OK. I'm not bitter.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:25:52] Awkward. I'll let you guys get into that when he is on Phyllis' wedding.
JENNA FISCHER [01:25:56] Ok.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:25:56] And Ken left us a little clip saying goodbye and where you can find him on the socials.
KEN WHITTINGHAM [01:26:00] Thank you so much, Angela and Jenna, for having me do this. Of all the television I've done, some of my best memories are being with you guys on "The Office". So. So let's do some more these podcasts and talk about Phyllis' wedding and some other episodes I've done. So Ken Whittingham at KenWhittingham on Twitter and KennyWit on Instagram.
JENNA FISCHER [01:26:21] And also, thank you to Brent Forrester. We're gonna have him back again in the future. Guys, Brent Forrester is the head writer for "Space Force", Season 1, and he also online has Brent Forrester's Comedy Knowledge School. It's awesome. It's a six week workshop on half hour comedy writing. You can Google it. You can also find it over on YouTube at ReachForrester.
ANGELA KINSEY [01:26:46] I love that. I absolutely love that. Well, everybody, that was "The Merger". Thank you so much for listening in. And we can't wait to see you next week.
JENNA FISCHER [01:26:55] See you next week. Thank you for listening to "Office Ladies". "Office Ladies" is produced by Earwolf, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. Our producer is Codi Fischer. Our sound engineer is Sam Kieffer.