November 25, 2019
This week, Jenna and Angela start at the beginning and break down The Pilot episode of The Office. The ladies hit you with some Fast Facts, insights from Ricky Gervais, and the origin of Angela’s ‘cat party’. And if you’re wondering about secret messages hidden in The Pilot episode, Jenna and Angela break those down as well.
We’re not the experts on The Office, you are! If there’s anything we missed, or if you have any burning questions you wanted answered about upcoming episodes, please send them to email@example.com with the episode title in the subject line.
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View this episode’s transcription at this link.
1 — The Pilot
Office Ladies episode 1
JENNA: I’m Jenna Fischer.
ANGELA: And I’m Angela Kinsey.
JENNA: We were on The Office together.
ANGELA: And we’re best friends.
JENNA: And now we’re doing the ultimate Office rewatch podcast just for you.
ANGELA: 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: We’re the Office Ladies. Hello, everybody! This is Jenna Fischer.
ANGELA: Hi, this is Angela Kinsey.
JENNA: And this is our very first Office Ladies podcast.
ANGELA: I am so excited, Jenna!
JENNA: I am so excited. I’m a little bit freaking out.
ANGELA: I’m freaking out. We hope you guys like it.
JENNA: We have been working really hard. This is a dream we’ve had for years of getting to work together again.
JENNA: Because we became best friends while working on The Office together.
ANGELA: We did. We ate lunch together every single day.
JENNA: Every single day. And I think the hardest part for me about the show ending was not getting to see you everyday, Angela.
ANGELA: Me too
JENNA: It is so special to get to work with your best friend everyday.
JENNA: What a gift.
ANGELA: That was the thing, you know, Steve Carrell told us and I just love this moment so much. He said to Jenna and I, no matter what happens with the show, this is what you two will take from it. And he pointed at the two of us. And he was so right.
JENNA: It’s true. And we’ve been trying to figure out someway we could work together again, ever since. So here it is!
ANGELA: Here it is!
JENNA: It’s a dream realized.
ANGELA: It’s a dream realized. We thought, what better time? The fifteenth year anniversary is coming out and I had like three Rubbermaid bins of photos in my shed and I was going through them and I was getting really nostalgic and I was telling Jenna about it. And I was like, “Jenna, we had such an amazing time on that show.” I mean, it was one of the joys of my life.
JENNA: And you know, I hadn’t watched most of the episodes since they aired. So this has been a real treat for me. To go back and finally rewatch them.
ANGELA: Me too. And it’s so good. You guys, I mean, we really–
JENNA: We became kind of nerdy fans of our own show.
ANGELA: We’ve become nerdy fans and here’s the thing: When we were filming it, you’re kind of living and breathing the day of it. And I watched them all when they aired, but now I’m watching them just as an audience. And it’s just so fun.
JENNA: It’s been so much fun. And I feel like here it is, it’s The Office bringing us back together again.
JENNA: It’s so special.
ANGELA: It’s so special
JENNA: Okay, we’re geeking out.
ANGELA: So, we’re geeking out. And listen, you guys, we just want you to know we’re so excited that you’re gonna like join us on this journey. And rewatch every week with us. Listen to us chitty chat about being best friends. And there’s gonna be times that maybe we forget something, right?
JENNA: Or we miss something. Because we’re not experts. We just were on the show.
ANGELA: We’re on the show.
JENNA: You are actually probably the expert.
ANGELA: You guys are the experts, so please watch along with us, send in questions, and lets just rewatch it together.
JENNA: And we’re gonna start from the beginning. We’re gonna start with the pilot and watch it in order.
ANGELA: Oh my gosh. That brings us to the pilot.
JENNA: This is it.
ANGELA: This is it.
JENNA: That’s what we’re gonna talk about today.
ANGELA: Okay, just so you know how Jenna works, you guys. She has like her list she prints out. She has her laptop. She has two notepads. And then I just bring a whole bunch of colored note cards with a Sharpie. That sorta paints a picture of how we process information.
JENNA: It is. I’m a little bit more, I don’t know.
ANGELA: I don’t know, Jenna. You’re more organized. It’s okay, you can say it.
JENNA: And you’re more colorful.
ANGELA: Oh, well, okay. Well, I guess I am going to take that as a compliment.
JENNA: Alright, well let’s get started!
ANGELA: Let’s get started! The pilot!
JENNA: We’re gonna talk about the pilot. This is season one episode one. this episode is written by Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Greg Daniels. And directed by Ken Kwapis. Let’s start with a synopsis.
ANGELA: I think that’s a good place to start.
JENNA: Great. Alright so, in this episode, we’re gonna meet the employees of Dunder Mifflin paper company as introduced by their manager, Michael Scott.
ANGELA: That’s right. This is just a normal day at an ordinary workplace. Just people living their lives.
JENNA: Yeah. A pilot episode is usually just introducing each of the characters and also the convention of the show. And in this case, the convention of this show is that it’s a documentary. Right.
ANGELA: This is the world you’re going to see everyday is this paper company.
JENNA: Yes. Now, I had an idea.
JENNA: I think for each episode we should have something called Fast Facts.
ANGELA: What are you even talking about? This sounds crazy.
JENNA: A Fast Fact.
ANGELA: What is a Fast Fact?
JENNA: A Fast Fact. Okay, stay with me here. A Fast Fact is a fact about that episode and then we talk about it. Not necessarily fast.
ANGELA: Wait, do I have to talk quickly?
JENNA: No. Here’s an example of a fast fact.
JENNA: The show The Office is actually an adaptation of a British show of the same name. The Office.
ANGELA: That’s right. It was called The Office. It was written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. It’s fantastic.
JENNA: It is amazing.
ANGELA: I was a huge fan of it before I even went to the audition for the American version of The Office.
JENNA: Same. I had watched the entire series and then I got a phone call that they were doing an American version and asking me to audition for the receptionist. And I about pooped myself.
ANGELA: Yeah. Yes. I was excited and nervous because I loved the British version so much. And I was like, “Oh I hope they do it justice.” And I mean, come on, years later. I think we did it.
JENNA: Well, we got a lot of critical attention when we were making the pilot. And not a lot of love because people really thought we were gonna mess it up.
ANGELA: That’s right.
JENNA: People were worried because the British show was award winning, critically acclaimed. It’s considered still, to this day, one of the greatest television comedies ever made.
ANGELA: And it deserves all of that.
JENNA: And it is.
ANGELA: Because it is amazing.
JENNA: Yes and so there was a lot of pressure on us when we were going in to make this. And something that I think is often said that we did a shot for shot remake of the British pilot. Which is not true.
ANGELA: That is not true.
JENNA: It is not a shot for shot remake. But we did use their script as a template. And there are some adjustments.
ANGELA: There are elements though. There are elements that are the same that if you watch it and watch this one.
JENNA: Yes. For example, in general, each of the characters and the fact that there’s this buffoonish, silly boss in their version named David Brent and in our version Michael Scott. But if you look at the talking heads, there are some differences.
ANGELA: Yes. And also the way the story is told is a little different. I mean, some of the points are the same that happened, but told differently.
JENNA: But Greg Daniels was the person who was tasked with Americanizing the British show.
JENNA: And Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant kind of oversaw that process but they, for example, were not on set when we were shooting the pilot.
JENNA: No, they came and they visited with us. I remember sitting and getting to have lunch with Ricky Gervais.
JENNA: Oh my God. Because I such–
ANGELA: Were you nervous?
JENNA: Oh yes. I was a superfan of the British version.
ANGELA: Me too.
JENNA: And I had been cast in the pilot and they came and they listened to us do a table read. And afterwards, they asked me, John, Rainn, Steve, and BJ and Greg to join them for lunch to discuss the show. And I remember thinking if I get fired tomorrow, at least I got the have lunch with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. At least that happened. That was to me just huge.
ANGELA: Was it a fun lunch? I was not at that lunch. I was not invited.
JENNA: It was so much fun, Angela. And I remember Ricky saying something in that lunch that was really important. He said, you know, in England, you can be really, really bad at your job for a long time and you never get fired. He was like, in America that’s going to frustrate people. So my one piece of advice is that Michael can be a buffoon, he can be silly, he can be irritating. But you should, I suggest, he said, that you show glimpses of him actually being a good salesperson. And we do that throughout the show. You see in future episodes that he is actually good at sales. And he said that’s going to be an important piece of the puzzle. And Stephen Merchant said, my piece of advice would be to learn a little bit more into the Jim and Pam relationship. He said–
ANGELA: He knew the heart of it.
JENNA: He said, that’s really gonna be the heart of your show. Because the British version, they did six episodes for their first season. Six episodes for their second season. And one big Christmas special. And they knew for American television, we were looking to do–
JENNA: Years. And ended up doing two hundred. So he said, you need to keep the heart beating on the show. And so, that’s the heart of the show.
ANGELA: That’s Jim and Pam.
JENNA: Okay, I have another Fast Fact. We filmed the pilot six months before the rest of season one. And we shot it on the second floor of a real office building in Culver City.
ANGELA: So it was an actual office building. And a lot of times on sets, they actually build the office so if they wanna film and get a certain camera angle, they can move a wall. They can move a window. They can move a door. Because they built it.
JENNA: They actually say “wall flying out” and they move a whole wall.
ANGELA: They move a whole wall.
JENNA: It’s insane.
ANGELA: On our show because it was in an actual office building, you just had to work with it. And it sort of really lended itself to the documentary style that all the shots weren’t going to look pretty. They weren’t going to be lined up just right because they had to work around actual wall and windows. They couldn’t just pop them out.
JENNA: I remember speaking to Ken Kwapis, our director, about setting certain rules for the documentary style of filming. And he said it was very important to him that for all of the actors and crew that the set felt like a real working office and a real documentary was happening. And so one of the rules that he came up with was that he cleared the entire set of all crew members except a camera operator, a boom operator, and himself.
JENNA: And that was it.
ANGELA: That was it.
JENNA: He also made all of the actors come in every morning, go through hair and makeup, and then sit at our desk starting at seven thirty AM. And we had to pretend to work. And he walked around with the documentary crew and filmed us for thirty minutes.
ANGELA: Yeah. Just us quietly working.
JENNA: And little shots that you see, for example, of Pam doing White Out. That is a piece of B roll from one of those working mornings that we did. And we did that every day on the pilot. Something else about this episode that I noticed is that there is a random exterior shot of the building.
ANGELA: Yes! Oh Jenna, let me tell you. Wait, let me grab one of my colorful note cards as you called them. Exterior shot at nine twenty nine, nine minutes and twenty nine seconds. Not our building!
JENNA: With a huge exclamation point.
JENNA: This is a big discovery.
ANGELA: This is a big discovery for me.
JENNA: Not only not our building. It wasn’t even the building we were filming in. I don’t know where they got that shot.
ANGELA: It was like stock footage from something.
JENNA: I think it was stock footage. And then we never use it again. That was it.
ANGELA: That was it.
JENNA: They should go back and take that out.
ANGELA: See you later.
JENNA: And put a shot of the real Dunder Mifflin exterior.
ANGELA: You guys. Jenna’s getting sassy on you.
JENNA: Yeah, I’m gonna call someone.
ANGELA: Someone get it right.
JENNA: Alright, here is my last Fast Fact of this episode. Meredith is not Meredith.
ANGELA: She is not. She is Henriette.
JENNA: Yes. Meredith is played by Henriette Mantel in the pilot episode. Not Kate Flannery.
ANGELA: This is true.
JENNA: Henriette Mantel was comedy actress who just broken out because she had played Alice in the Brady Bunch films. And she was there for the pilot and then it was six months later that we got picked up and then we started filming the rest of the episodes. And I guess the rumor was she was not available.
ANGELA: She was busy.
JENNA: And we had to recast her.
ANGELA: So Kate Flannery came in. Here’s my Fast Fact. Kate Flannery and I met years before The Office. We were in an all female improv group called Bitch Planet. Woo hoo! Sunday nights, ten PM. That’s when you wanna–
JENNA: It’s exactly when you want your comedy.
ANGELA: That’s when you wanna watch improv. Kate and I had known each other for a really long time. And also, Oscar Nunez and I did a sketch comedy show together called Hot Towel.
JENNA: Where do you get these names, Angela?
ANGELA: So it was really fun for me because here I am, like, I was so nervous the first day. I didn’t know Oscar had been cast. He didn’t know I had been cast. You guys, this was sort of before smartphones. It’s not like you texted someone you got a role or put it on your social media. There was none of that.
JENNA: So you walked in and were completely surprised?
ANGELA: I was completely surprised when I saw Oscar. And not only did I see Oscar but Ken Kwapis sat us next to each other. So I was like, oh my God, I’m going to be okay.
JENNA: That’s amazing.
ANGELA: My buddy’s here. And then Brian walked in as Kevin and I was like, here we go. We’re off to the races.
JENNA: You guys were amazing in accounting.
ANGELA: Thank you. Thank you so much.
JENNA: I’m giving you a compliment.
ANGELA: So yeah, I was so excited to have these friends that I had performed with for years before The Office sitting in my little corner back there.
JENNA: I remember meeting everybody for the first time. Do you remember your first impressions of people. I remember my first impression of Rainn Wilson.
ANGELA: Tell me.
JENNA: Well, I met Rainn Wilson at a live test audition. So for all the leads of the show, they brought us in to screen test and they mixed and matched us. There were four Pams and four Dwights and four Jims and four Michaels. And we spent a whole day being mixed and matched with each other. And I remember meeting Rainn Wilson and he was in character but I couldn’t really know that because I didn’t know Rainn yet. And I thought he was the weirdest person I ever met in my life.
ANGELA: Wait, he was in character the whole time?
JENNA: Yeah. He just was Dwight.
ANGELA: So method, Rainn.
JENNA: He had his hair like that.
ANGELA: So method.
JENNA: But you know what? I kinda did the same thing. I did my Pam hairstyle. The hairstyle that I wore on the show, I sorta invented through the audition process. That sort of half up, half down scrunchie air dried curl. So I was very quiet. I didn’t talk to people in the waiting room because I thought Pam was sort of not a chatter. And I didn’t wanna get out of character.
ANGELA: I remember one of the first things, this is so random but it’s true. That first week of filming, Rainn’s wife came to have lunch and this is the main interaction I remember from Rainn during the pilot.
ANGELA: Rainn introduces me to his wife, she was pregnant at the time with their son. And he says, this is my wife, Holly, bearer of my seed. And I was like, what?! And she started laughing. But that was just Rainn being Rainn.
JENNA: That’s Rainn.
ANGELA: That is Rainn. But wouldn’t Dwight say that?
JENNA: He would also say that.
ANGELA: This is Angela, bearer of my seed.
JENNA: Yes. It’s amazing how–
ANGELA: She’s carrying my seed. I’m like, oh my God.
JENNA: I feel like we all had little parts of our characters in us. But I don’t know if that’s true of you because you are so not Angela Martin.
ANGELA: I am. I was thinking about how you were saying that you stayed in character and so did Rainn in between your auditions in the lobby. I would not have. I would’ve been like chitty chat chat. And then I would’ve turned into a bitch when I entered the room.
JENNA: Well you know, I didn’t have any scenes with Rainn in the pilot of substance. I didn’t have any one on one scenes. So for me, when we were shooting the pilot, the people that I really bonded with were Steve, John, and you because you were over the little partition. You were my closest seatmate in the office. So you and I bonded. And I remember after we finished the pilot and we all left and we didn’t know if we were gonna be picked up or make anymore. Shortly after that, I turned thirty years old. It was a big milestone birthday for me. And I really wondered if I should invite any of you guys. And I didn’t. I didn’t invite you guys because I thought well I’m probably never gonna see them again.
ANGELA: Should I throw you another thirtieth birthday party and invite everyone?
JENNA: Would you?
ANGELA: And then we could all just say Happy Thirtieth?
JENNA: Will you?
JENNA: Cus now you guys are some of my closest friends and you weren’t at my milestone birthday.
ANGELA: Aw. Okay, we’ll have to throw you a thirtieth birthday party. It won’t be weird.
JENNA: Alright guys. Next up, we’re gonna break down this episode. We’re gonna really get into the nitty gritty. We’re gonna talk about scenes and memories and stories so stick with us.
ANGELA: Alright and we’re back. We’re talking about the pilot episode of The Office and I think we should talk about some of our favorite moments, Jenna.
JENNA: Yes. Well, one of my favorite moments is the dynamic between Pam and Michael. I mean selfishly, I guess I’m in that moment.
JENNA: But I really loved working with Steve Carrell. I really loved how much he let me be silent and just look at him.
ANGELA: And just react.
JENNA: Yes. I loved that. But I especially loved that whenever Melora Hardin who plays Jan Levinson Goul got in the mix.
ANGELA: She’s so commanding. Just like, Melora’s presence, is like I’m scared of her.
ANGELA: I get it. I get why he was a little scared of her.
JENNA: And I love the scene where Michael tries to throw Pam under the bus about why he doesn’t have the agenda that he’s supposed to have. And it’s because he told her to throw it in the receptacle, the trash can that is the filing cabinet for corporate memos. And I remember shooting that scene and I just remember every time that Pam said “You told me to put it in a special filing cabinet that is the trash can” that we would giggle. And so I remember the matter of factness of that moment. And how fun that was.
ANGELA: Well, Pam totally stood up for herself in her own little way in that moment. Here’s the thing about Steve Carrell. He’s one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He is so nice. I know it’s become almost like a joke. Like, Steve Carrell’s the nicest person ever, but he is.
JENNA: I know and people ask me a lot, what’s it like to work with Steve Carrell? Are you just laughing all the time? And no, you’re not laughing all the time because Steve isn’t on all the time.
ANGELA: He’s a real person.
JENNA: He’s a real person and he’s… I’ve worked with comedians who are on all the time. Who walk around and they can’t turn off their joke making brain.
ANGELA: They drive me crazy.
JENNA: It’s a little insane. Steve is not like that. You and Steve and I would sit and have long conversations about the best frozen yogurt in the San Fernando Valley.
ANGELA: Oh, I will never forget the morning. On Monday mornings, Steve would come out of his office, out of Michael Scott’s office between scenes, he would walk over to Jenna and I and we would talk about our weekends. And one Monday morning, he walked over and he was like, ladies, guess what I did this weekend. And we’re like what? And he’s like I went to Target.
JENNA: He would talk to use about Target.
ANGELA: And he told us about his Target run.
JENNA: It was really, really sweet. You know recently, I was in a Michaels purchasing some supplies for a crafting job. And the checkout guy said, oh my gosh, now this is getting crazy. This morning, Oscar Nunez came in here. Then Steve Carrell and now you? What do you all live here?
ANGELA: We love crafting.
JENNA: We love crafting.
ANGELA: And we’re all here.
JENNA: I guess we all live around this one Michaels crafting store. I texted Steve and I said, Steve, the checkout guy at Michael’s said you were buying some crafting supplies today. And he said, oh yes, I needed some glue sticks. And he told me what he needed. And he was like, what were you there for?
ANGELA: That is Steve.
JENNA: That is Steve. That’s the kind of stuff we would talk to him about. And so to then have that man shift into this scene where he’s just being awful to my character.
ANGELA: Like throwing you under the boss in front of the big boss lady.
JENNA: Yes. When our real dynamic was just like so different. Like so much love. So in this scene, Jan tells Michael there’s gonna be downsizing. This is big news. This is important. Michael should be paying attention. We’ve already established that he’s thrown away the agenda for the meeting.
ANGELA: Yeah, he should take this seriously.
JENNA: But instead he takes a phone call from his friend Todd Packer.
ANGELA: Todd Packer, his party buddy who he clearly covets. He thinks this guy is amazing.
JENNA: Another interesting fact about this scene is that the voice of Todd Packer that comes on the phone is not the voice of the real Todd Packer.
ANGELA: What are you talking about?
JENNA: Dave Koechner ends up playing Todd Packer. When we meet him in season two, this role is played by Dave Koechner. But Dave was not hired when we shot the pilot.
ANGELA: What? He’s not, wait?
JENNA: So it sounds like Dave Koechner.
ANGELA: Who is it?
JENNA: But I’m thinking it can’t be Dave Koechner, right?
ANGELA: All this time I thought it was Dave Koechner.
JENNA: It’s not Dave.
ANGELA: Who is it?
JENNA: I texted Dave Rogers our editor, knower of all things.
ANGELA: I mean he is knower of all Office facts.
JENNA: He is.
ANGELA: OK, what did Dave say?
JENNA: Dave said that the voice was played by Toby Huss.
ANGELA: Toby Huss.
JENNA: Very famous voice actor. He was on King of the Hill for years.
ANGELA: And friends of Greg Daniels’.
ANGELA: Toby Huss is so talented.
JENNA: I know.
ANGELA: How about that?
JENNA: That is Todd Packer’s voice.
ANGELA: In the pilot episode.
ANGELA: Well, I loved, here’s one of the things I loved about the pilot. And just sort of the brilliance that was Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and Greg Daniels and their collaboration in building this world out is that so many truths about the characters was established in all these subtle ways. And one of the things I loved was Michael is clearly thrilled that the camera people are there. He is so excited.
JENNA: He could not have signed up for this faster.
ANGELA: I mean, he jumped at the chance for this. And he thinks he’s one of the world’s best comedians in the world. He thinks he is one of the funniest people in the world.
JENNA: He has that amazing talking head where he talks about who his heroes are. And they are Bob Hope.
ANGELA: Abraham Lincoln.
ANGELA: And God. Probably. He said probably.
JENNA: Probably God. And here’s a little tidbit. Steve wrote that.
ANGELA: He did?
ANGELA: Oh my God, I love that! I didn’t know that.
JENNA: Yeah, Greg asked him, would you mind writing a list of who you believe are Michael Scott’s heroes.
ANGELA: Wow, so brilliant. Bob Hope.
JENNA: And it made it in.
ANGELA: Yes. Well and every chance he gets, he’s looking into the camera and doing his comedy bits. And this sort of sets up Michael’s love of being liked and being appreciated. And he wants everyone to think he’s like the fun boss and he thinks he’s legitimately talented.
JENNA: Well there’s that scene where he’s doing the Six Million Dollar man where he’s walking away from Pam’s desk.
JENNA: I could not get through that scene and in fact, in order to get my reaction shot they had to make Steve leave the set because I couldn’t get through it. So that reaction of me was not while Steve was actually doing anything because everytime he did it, I started laughing.
ANGELA: Well he’s so giddy to do his Six Million Dollar Man. I timed it because as I watched it I went, wow, this is a long time to commit to this bit. Because he’s like *Six Million Dollar Man SFX* He did it and it started at nine minutes forty seconds and it doesn’t end until ten minutes two seconds. That is twenty two seconds of the slow mo bit. That’s a ton when you think about the scope of an episode. For twenty two seconds, he went *Six Million Dollar Man SFX*
JENNA: I mean that’s probably why I couldn’t get through it. That’s why they couldn’t get a reaction of me because I couldn’t hold it for twenty seconds. I couldn’t hold a straight face that long.
ANGELA: And he was so desperate for you to look at him and have some kind of reaction. Oh man. OK, what else?
JENNA: There’s the conference room scene where Michael officially announces that there’s going to be downsizing at Dunder Mifflin. This is a big theme of the pilot. This is the news that
Jan gives him when she comes into the office that Dunder Mifflin can no longer support both a Scranton branch and a Stanford branch and that there gonna have to prove who is the branch that should stay. But even if Scranton gets to stay, there might be downsizing of employees.
ANGELA: Yeah, the company’s hurting and they have to make some cutbacks and they have to fire some people.
JENNA: Yes so Michael goes into the conference room and this is the first time we see Michael in the conference room and of course Dwight won’t give him the space to do that.
ANGELA: It’s their first power struggle which you will see for years to come.
JENNA: It’s the first time he refers to himself as the assistant regional manager. Which is great. And I noticed something about this conference room scene.
ANGELA: What? I bet I have it on my note cards.
JENNA: I bet you have it. That there are some extras in this scene that are never to be seen again. There are two women.
ANGELA: Do you want me to refer to it? Let me just tell you what I wrote on my note card. Conference room faces, semicolon.
JENNA: So in the background there are two women and they are the real production company accountants for our show.
ANGELA: Yes, we needed more people to fill out the space and they pulled in our actual accountants from our production office.
JENNA: Yes, Ken Kwapis the director walked into the production office and asked if anyone would like to be in the background of a scene. And those two women came and sat there for that couple of hours. They were so giddy.
ANGELA: They loved it. And then also in the conference room, some faces that you might see sprinkled through the first season but they don’t go past that season are Luann Kelly who worked in the annex. She is someone that you see a lot. I get asked a lot who is that lady in the annex?
JENNA: She was sort of over where Mindy ends up sitting by Kelly’s desk.
ANGELA: And then of course, Devon and Creed who do end up having a storyline.
JENNA: That will not come until season two.
ANGELA: That’s right.
JENNA: So for an entire season you just see Devon and Creed in the background of scenes. They don’t get any lines until the second season.
ANGELA: But that is the only scene our actual accountants are in. Because they had to go back to work.
JENNA: They did.
ANGELA: They had to actually go back to being accountants for the show.
JENNA: I think this is an interesting tidbit. Phyllis Smith who plays Phyllis on the show, she was the casting associate for The Office. So when I auditioned for The Office, she read my audition scenes with me.
ANGELA: Everyone. I read my scenes with Phyllis. That’s who I read my scene with.
JENNA: Yes and Ken Kwapis the director was so taken with how she did her readings with the actors.
ANGELA: She’s so earnest, you guys. She is so earnest.
JENNA: And so real that he said to Greg Daniels, I want her on the show. Can I give her a part on the show? And so Phyllis went from being a casting associate, which she had done for years with Allison Jones the casting director to having a part in this pilot. And I think because we all thought the show was going nowhere, it was fine. And after the pilot was over, she went back to being a casting associate.
ANGELA: She went right back to work. Phyllis has a great story that she tells that the way she found out she got Phyllis is that she got sides and they said Phyllis.
JENNA: So there was a character and they named it Phyllis.
ANGELA: And Ken was like, that’s you. You’re Phyllis. And she was like what?
JENNA: We wrote a part for you. Based on the numerous readings with actors.
ANGELA: You’re now in the show, Phyllis.
JENNA: Which is just so cool because Phyllis had wanted to be an actress. She had been an actress, she had been a burlesque dancer.
ANGELA: No one can shimmy like Phyllis. And she has a great shimmy. She has an amazing photo on her desk because Ken Kwapis wanted us to personalize our desk for the pilot episode and moving forward. So we all brought something from home. I had a photo of myself and my grandmother and a frame that said I heart grandma and my eyes are closed in the photo but my grandmother framed it anyway. And so I had that on my desk and it just kinda tickled me and made me think of my grandmother.
JENNA: I had a picture of me and my sister swimming in the lake at the Ozarks.
ANGELA: Yes and Phyllis had a picture of herself in her full burlesque outfit with a red feather boa draped over her shoulders.
JENNA: Angela, let’s take a quick break.
ANGELA: OK, Jenna.
JENNA: You gonna get a snack? Why? Because you always get a snack during the breaks.
ANGELA: I do.
JENNA: So then we get to that crazy scene where Michael is walking Ryan the temp around. So he’s just been told that we need downsizing and then he hires a temp. It’s the opposite of downsizing.
ANGELA: Can I just say one thing I loved too? When Dwight has his talking head and he said, I’ve been talking about downsizing for years. I brought it up in my interview. Like, who does that? Who’s interviewing for a job and says you should downsize?
JENNA: I would like this job. I suggest you get rid of three people. Um, so here’s a little fun fact. It’s not a Fast Fact. A fun fact is that BJ Novak was the first person cast on this show.
ANGELA: He was?
JENNA: He was. Greg Daniels saw him doing standup comedy. And he thought this guy, I want this guy. So he offered BJ a role as both a writer and the role of Ryan the temp on the show. So when I came in for my audition, BJ was already cast. He was the very first person. And he was also the first example of that synergy of having people who were both performers and writers for the show.
ANGELA: Which was so great. Something that we haven’t talked about but will talk many times as the show goes is what a wonderful creative collaboration we had between the writers and actors. And that’s because of Greg Daniels. He sort of set the tone that he wanted this creative collaboration, that he wanted to hear our ideas and wanted writers on the set. And I think we were so much better for it. I’ve been on other shows now where the writers and actors are separate and there’s not a lot of collaboration.
JENNA: It feels weird after having experienced something else. No, Greg really trusted us to be the experts of our characters. So whenever he was trying to mull something over or justify something he would come to us and ask us. Just in the way that he went to Steve and said, hey, do you have any thoughts on who Michael Scott’s heroes would be? He trusted us to have done our homework and know our characters so well that we could contribute.
ANGELA: Yeah it was really special.
JENNA: So also in that scene. That is the famous stapler in jello. The staples goes in jello. I’ve seen so many people recreate this. How?
ANGELA: I am blown away everytime I see a fan tag me in a photo where they put something in jello, I am very impressed. Way to go.
JENNA: Something we haven’t mentioned in the flirtation between Jim and Pam in this episode. And it goes on through the whole first two thirds of this episode or three quarters of this episode. Little things.
ANGELA: What did I write on my pink notecard, Jenna?
JENNA: Mixed berries.
ANGELA: In quotes. “He’s on to me.” That is one of the cutest things. It’s so pure.
JENNA: It is.
ANGELA: That’s like flirting for them. That he knows your favorite yogurt.
JENNA: But up until the end, you are just sort of following this flirtation between the two characters and then all of a sudden, Roy walks in the door.
ANGELA: David Denman.
JENNA: Carrying that weird trash bag. We never know what’s in that trash bag. What is he carrying?
ANGELA: I loved it so much when John and Jim is like, what’s in the bag? And Roy’s like, just tell her I’ll meet her in the car.
JENNA: But I think it is such a… I remember watching the pilot with people and having them be like shocked. Like, oh wait.
ANGELA: Oh crap, she’s been engaged for three years. Holy moly.
JENNA: And then Jim has that heartbreaking talking head. Do I think I’ll be invited to the wedding? Oh Jim. Breaking hearts. John Krasinski breaking hearts.
ANGELA: Right out of the gate he’s breaking hearts.
JENNA: He really is. So another really cute flirty moment between Jim and Pam. After the conference room scene where we find out there’s gonna be downsizing. The camera cuts to different groups of people talking about downsizing. But when it cuts to Jim and Pam, we are not talking about downsizing.
ANGELA: What are you guys talking about?
JENNA: We are talking about your cat party. Do you remember this?
ANGELA: I do.
JENNA: So this is I feel like this is really significant and kinda goes on the heels of what we were talking about with Greg wanting to collaborate with actors. So, they set up the camera and the idea there is that everybody is talking about downsizing but they wanted me and Jim to just be talking flirty or whatever. But whatever I guess they had written wasn’t working. We weren’t making it work.
ANGELA: It was a little stilted.
JENNA: A little forced. So Ken said, listen, I’m just gonna roll the camera. You two just talk to each other. Don’t push it. Just talk. Make each other laugh.
ANGELA: And so here’s something you should know. Earlier in the scene, Ken had asked me if I would pass out papers in the background. I only had three lines in that episode. Otherwise, I was just background basically for that pilot. So he asked me if I would pass out papers and I had just doodled out a little drawing of a cat and I said you’re invited to Sprinkle’s birthday party. I just sorta made up that my character had found a cat in the parking lot. I was just sort of bored and–
JENNA: We all made up backstories for ourselves.
ANGELA: I had just made up a backstory that my character had found this cat in the parking lot.
JENNA: But I think that’s really significant because you in your character actory prep work decided that your character was a crazy cat lady.
ANGELA: I guess I did.
JENNA: Because you kinda decorated your desk with some cat stuff.
ANGELA: Now the prop department that set my desk had a paperclip holder that was a cat laying on its side and it holds paper clips. I took it from my desk. I still have it. I might’ve stolen it as a memento. And so I think I was just looking at that and I was doodling and truth be told, there’s only about three things I can draw in real life that look like the actual thing. And one of them is a cat.
JENNA: That’s kind true for me too.
ANGELA: I can draw a palm tree. I can draw a cat. And I can draw Snoopy.
ANGELA: There you go. And I guess I had just doodled a cat. So maybe my poor skills at drawing is what also gave birth to this moment. But I drew this cat and I wrote you are invited to Sprinkle’s birthday party in the parking lot.
JENNA: And you gave it to me.
ANGELA: I handed it to you earlier.
JENNA: It was weird. I remember getting it in the background of the scene thinking, I don’t know what this is. But I stuck it to my computer monitor.
ANGELA: Yeah it was on a Post It and you stuck it to your computer.
JENNA: So when Ken Kwapis asked me to talk to John about anything to do this scene. Just talk to each other. I noticed this Post It note and I said, are you gonna go to Angela’s cat party on Sunday? And he’s like no, definitely not. And then we giggle. And that is the bit that they left in the episode.
ANGELA: And that’s the birth of sprinkles.
JENNA: That was the birth of Sprinkles. That turned into this cat birthday party. Greg honed in on that. He was like, what is the cat birthday party? And I said, well Angela gave me this Post It note about her birthday party for her cat or something. And he loved it. And then for four seasons we discussed Sprinkles until his untimely death in the freezer.
ANGELA: Yes, but that’s another episode. Because it’s one of my favorite Michael moments too. Yeah, so that was really fun how just these little elements of us in the background sorta being bored and improvising made it into the show.
ANGELA: It’s so special to me. Alright so I have something that I am so curious about. And Jenna, I don’t even know if you know this. Fans out there, I don’t know if you know it. Or if we need to text Dave Rogers our editor extraordinaire. So my Dwangela fans, did you notice that in the pilot episode that Dwight is singing Little Drummer Boy as he unpacks his desk?
ANGELA: He’s singing like “Come they told me, parump pa pa pum.”
ANGELA: But then he goes *drum noise* and then in season three, I karaoke Little Drummer Boy and Dwight joins in and sings with me. Now that story is that I was very nervous to sing. I don’t like singing in front of people. And Rainn as Dwight just kinda jumped in and supported me so I wasn’t up there alone. And he kneeled down and he held the microphone for me. And I’m just like, oh my God. I mean, what?
JENNA: That’s weird.
ANGELA: That’s crazy.
JENNA: I feel like that has to be a coincidence.
ANGELA: I think it’s a coincidence but so many fans say to me what amazing synergy it is that Dwight is singing Little Drummer Boy in the pilot. And then in season three, I sing it to him. Now, did a writer remember that? Was that something that or was that in the subconscious of the show? I don’t know.
JENNA: I dunno. You know what I found? I found this article and I can’t remember where. I apologize. I found an article that was all about secret messages in the pilot episode. And one of the secret messages that somebody points out is that in the scene where Roy comes in the
door for the first time, the boom mic dips into frame. And someone wondered was that a nod to the boom operator Brian that we will meet in season nine.
ANGELA: No, that was just an accident!
JENNA: Was it? Was it foreshadowing to let us know that there are three men in Pam’s life. Jim, Roy, and Brian.
ANGELA: No no, that was just a boom operator accident and they left it in because it’s a documentary.
JENNA: Yes, we left that stuff in all the time. That was a thing that we… we coveted that. We loved it if the cameraperson fumbled or if the boom accidentally was in shot, we still used it. And we could and that was actually great. Because sometimes you’re on a set and your best take is ruined because of some technical accident on set. But we were able to use all of it. We didn’t have to put it on the cutting room floor.
ANGELA: Okay, so yeah, so no conspiracy. But yeah, I don’t know if Dwight singing Little Drummer Boy in the pilot and Angela singing it in Benihana Christmas in season three is just a crazy coincidence, but it’s cool right?
JENNA: It’s a pretty cool observation.
ANGELA: It’s pretty cool.
JENNA: I actually love these fan theories because I like to think that these accidents or coincidences, if they are accidents, are part of a fun collective conscious thing that kinda lent itself to the magic of the show.
ANGELA: Wow, Jenna. That was really deep.
JENNA: It kinda was. I got really philosophical there.
ANGELA: Oh my Gosh, I felt like I just got a vision of what you were like in college. Like you sat around, you wore black turtlenecks.
JENNA: I was kinda like art show Pam.
ANGELA: Art show pam.
JENNA: With my turtleneck. My jumper. Spilling philosophy.
ANGELA: Well I like it.
JENNA: Alright, Angela. What do you got for us?
ANGELA: I only had one speaking scene in the pilot and so did Brian. It was back in accounting when Angela and Kevin are trying to figure out who’s gonna be fired for downsizing. We were really nervous about shooting the scene. It’s the only time we speak. And it was at the end of the day. Ken Kwapis, who’s the nicest guy, said, go ahead. And I said, somebody’s gonna be fired. I bet it’ll be me. And Brian as Kevin says, yeah it’ll probably be you. And Ken came up to me and said, hey Angela, do it again and give it like half. Give it half. So I guess I was too big? Was I like, somebody’s gonna get fired. I bet it’s me! And then I was like, somebody’s gonna get fired. It’ll probably be me. Then he came up to me and was like, half of that. And I said, okay. So I said, somebody’s gonna get fired. I bet it’ll be me. And he goes, half of that. And I go, oh my God! I’m gonna get fired because I’m like a sketch and improv comedy actor and clearly I’m too broad. And so ultimately, the take they used, by the end of it I was literally like, somebody’s gonna get fired. It’ll probably be me. And then Brian’s like, yeah it’ll probably be you. And Ken was like, we got it!
JENNA: Do you wanna point out what you noticed about this scene as well? About Kevin?
ANGELA: So here’s my tidbit, guys. When I watched this, and Brian I wanna call you about it, you just sound like Brian to me. You don’t sound like the Kevin voice. Can we play it?
ANGELA: I bet it’s gonna be me. Probably. It’s gonna be me.
KEVIN: Yeah, it’ll be you.
ANGELA: That’s Brian!
JENNA: Oh my gosh.
ANGELA: That’s Brian.
JENNA: That is Brian’s voice. That is not– because Kevin would’ve been like, yeah it’ll probably be me.
ANGELA: That’s a horrible Kevin.
JENNA: We just did not do that well.
ANGELA: Oh my gosh, I wanna call Brian about it. But when I watched it I was like, wait a second. That’s Brian. But I think in the pilot we were still figuring out our characters and who they were.
JENNA: However, I have to say, Angela, I went into the deleted scenes of the DVD season one and there is, this is something we did on the pilot. Some of it was an acting exercise where they called us each into the conference separately and they just asked us unscripted lines about our characters and about our relationship to other characters.
ANGELA: It wasn’t written.
JENNA: It was not written.
ANGELA: We just improvised.
JENNA: So this was sort of an exercise that Ken wanted to do. That Greg and Ken came up with, in addition to that thing where they filmed us just working. They also filmed us being interviewed in character. And I think Greg thought this would be great, maybe I can use some of these tidbits here and there. Well, there’s this series of interviews with each of the members of accounting.
ANGELA: Oh my God.
JENNA: Where you guys are all trash talking each other very subtly and Angela, you have this incredible deleted scene talking head where they ask you about Oscar.
ANGELA: Is this where I compare him to a stapler.
JENNA: Yes. Sam, can you pull that up so we can listen to that?
ANGELA: Oscar, how do I describe him? He’s like a stapler. Do I need a stapler? Yes. But I am still the one who has to push it down. I did, I improvised that because I was trying to think about how does Angela see Oscar? And he’s just like necessary, but he ends up being more work for her.
ANGELA: He’s annoying.
JENNA: What was so clear to me while I was watching them was this accounting dynamic had already started.
JENNA: This little pod that guys formed. This little trio. It was there from the very beginning. Also, I do have to point fans, all of the deleted scenes are fantastic. Rainn Wilson has some talking heads. There is a long extended deleted scene talking head of him talking to Ken Kwapis
who played the documentarian for us. He would ask us the questions, our director. All about where the boom microphone was. Rainn as Dwight was very distracted by the boom. And he was saying I really need you to move that. And Ken says we can put it in your blind spot. And he says I don’t have a blind spot, I’ve been trained, so that’s especially distracting for me. You need to understand that I’m highly trained. And it’s just this little non-presentational conversation between Dwight and the documentarian about how to be mic’d.
ANGELA: I just wanna say one thing. So many great things were established in the pilot that you go to see for years to come. Of course, one of the big ones is the Jim vs Dwight. Their battle and the pranks that Jim is gonna do on Dwight. And I love that it started out so simply with Dwight pushing all of Jim’s papers back to his desk and then Jim making his pencil wall. It’s just ridiculous.
JENNA: Well that was borrowed from the British show. In the British show they have the same desk war but instead the Jim character piles up a bunch of boxes. He makes a box wall between the desks. And we did that when we filmed the pilot. We had Jim make a box wall and in fact, you can see it in the background of conference room scenes. You can see a bunch of boxes piled up on Jim’s desk.
ANGELA: M’lady. I’m gonna go back and look.
JENNA: Later when we got picked up, we reshot that scene and turned it into a little pencil thing. And you can also see that Rainn’s hair is a little bit different in the pencil scene compared to the rest of the pilot.
ANGELA: It’s not as poofy.
JENNA: That’s right. Exactly.
ANGELA: Rainn as Dwight went through poofy hair phase which looks like they used a miniature rolling hair brush to blow dry his hair. And then he went through flat parted down the middle phase.
JENNA: Well, Rainn created the hairstyle for Dwight and he said before that it is based on the hairstyle he wore when he was a sixteen year old boy. So he did his own hair for the pilot.
ANGELA: That makes me laugh. I’ve seen those photos of Rainn. They’re crazy.
JENNA: You wore your own clothes in the pilot.
ANGELA: I wore my own clothes in the pilot.
JENNA: Alright so the last sorta thing we need to talk about is this big prank on Pam quote unquote. This scene where Michael fake fires her.
ANGELA: Well he’s so excited because Jim has just had a very successful prank and Michael just wants to be in the spotlight. He wants to be the funny guy.
JENNA: So he’s gonna show off for Ryan the temp. He’s gonna fake fire Pam. And of course it goes horribly wrong and she ends up in tears. And we shot that scene probably thirty times.
JENNA: And at the beginning of the scene, you can see everyone in the background getting ready to leave for the day. And all those people had to wait for hours. They would have to start in the background and we would do this whole scene.
ANGELA: Oh I know, Jenna. You know. I was there. I had to grab my jacket, my coat, my purse. Put them down. My coat and my purse.
JENNA: I think of any scene in the entire history of The Office, this is the one that I’ve done the most because we did about thirty takes of it that day but it was also my audition scene. This was one of my audition scenes so I auditioned for months for this role.
ANGELA: I did that scene one time when I auditioned for the role of Pam and I didn’t get it!
JENNA: This is such a crazy bit of trivia. Your first audition for The Office was for the role of Pam.
ANGELA: Was for the role of Pam and I wore a pink sweater.
JENNA: What? We both had the same instinct.
ANGELA: I wore a pink sweater and my hair down and I was told to look not too fancy, so I didn’t do too much with my hair and makeup and I went in and I did the scene and it was for a room full of people. The producers. And when we got to the point where Michael fake fires you and you start to cry and you call him a jerk.
ANGELA: When I called him a jerk, everybody started to laugh. And I thought, I did something wrong. I don’t think they’re supposed to laugh at this moment. And of course Jenna, you were so brilliant that you brought such a vulnerability to Pam that even though this job sucked and she hates it, she needs it. She needs this crappy job.
ANGELA: And you really felt her in that moment. My heart broke for her. And when you call him a jerk, it’s just like you’re really wounded and it checked Michael in his place. Like this wasn’t cool.
JENNA: Well it’s funny because this was somewhat of a controversial scene about whether or not it be included. When Ricky and Stephen were counseling Greg, I understand that they told him that he should consider cutting the scene. Because they said that it’s in their pilot and they felt like they always had to fight to come back from it. That it made the boss a little too mean and so later they really leaned into his buffoonery. But Greg fought to keep it in. He thought, no we’re gonna try it. We’re gonna let her cry. We’re gonna let Michael be mean to her. Now there was an alt line where I think that sometimes instead of saying that you’re a jerk, I said that you’re a sad little man. And they said that’s too harsh.
ANGELA: You can’t come back from that. That is harsh. So, here’s a little fun tidbit, Jenna.
JENNA: Another tidbit, not a Fast Fact.
ANGELA: A tidbit from Angela Kinsey. When Michael wants to prank Pam in front of Ryan the temp, Michael as Steve turns to Ryan, BJ, and says, have you ever seen prank shows? Have you ever seen Punk’d? BJ was on Punk’d.
JENNA: He was on Punk’d.
ANGELA: He was on season two of Punk’d. So I thought that was a nice little nod that he was looking at someone who was on Punk’d and said do you like Punk’d? And BJ’s like, yeah, as Ryan. Anyway. That’s a Kinsey tidbit for ya.
JENNA: So the end of this episode, Pam has been crying and Jim wants to cheer her up so he puts Michael’s World’s Best Boss mug in Jello. Now this was exclusive to our show.
ANGELA: Yes. It’s not in the BBC version.
JENNA: Right the mug itself is a setup in an early talking head and then this convention of ending the episode with Jim doing something sweet for Pam by putting the mug in Jello. That was all Greg Daniels’ idea. And I think it’s such a sweet way to end the show.
JENNA: Yeah. And of course the iconic World’s Best Boss mug. And that was the last shot.
ANGELA: Oh my God, Jenna!
JENNA: That’s it.
ANGELA: We just did it.
JENNA: We did it.
ANGELA: We did it. We’re really nervous.
JENNA: You guys. We were really nervous. Actually in the middle of doing this, I was getting so nervous that Angela made us turn off the microphones and have a dance party to loosen me up.
ANGELA: I did. I put on Taylor Swift’s Paper Rings and I made her dance around and get out of her head.
JENNA: I was spiraling.
ANGELA: You were. But here’s the thing. This is why we’re nervous because the show means so much to us and we are new obviously to the podcast scene and your support has been overwhelming. I literally teared up when we let you know we were doing a podcast and the immediate support from all of you out there, I got a little emotional.
JENNA: Me too.
ANGELA: So I just thank you guys so much and just know how much it means to us that this show that is so special to us keeps finding an audience. It just really means the world to us.
JENNA: It’s changed our lives.
JENNA: Yes. So thank you.
ANGELA: Thank you guys!
JENNA: Alright, first one.
ANGELA: First one. Send in questions.
JENNA: Yeah you can send us questions at firstname.lastname@example.org If you have any questions about an episode put that episode title in the subject line and we will read them all.
ANGELA: And then they also said that if you want to leave us a voice memo, we can actually play you asking your question in the podcast.
JENNA: Which would be kinda cool. You can also find us at @officeladiespod on Instagram or twitter.
ANGELA: We’re setting those up. And we’re gonna have a website called Officeladies.com and you can find out everything we’re doing about the podcast.
JENNA: That’s a lot of ways to find us.
ANGELA: That is. Is it too many?
JENNA: Maybe. I dunno.
ANGELA: They’re gonna be like, we get it, we get it.
JENNA: Next week, since we’re going in order, we’ll be talking about Diversity Day.
ANGELA: So much fun.
JENNA: So if you wanna watch it with us, watch Diversity Day by next Wednesday and then we’ll talk about it.
ANGELA: Yes. And you hear that? That’s our theme music by my neighbor, Creed Bratton. It’s his song Rubber Tree.
JENNA: With Mr. Ed Helms on banjo. Thank you for listening to Office Ladies. Office Ladies is produced by Earwolf, Jenna Fischer, and Angela Kinsey. Our producer is Codi Fischer. Our sound engineer is Sam Kieffer.
ANGELA: Remember you can listen to ad free versions of Office Ladies on Stitcher Premium. For a free month of Stitcher Premium, use code Office.