3 out of 5 stars
One of the most beloved American comedies of the 21st century, “The Office,” had a long and successful run from 2005 to 2013, lasting nine seasons. If you’ve already rewatched “The Office” on Netflix a million times like I have, you might be ready for new content.
Although characters Pam and Angela couldn’t be more different, the actresses that play them became best friends in real life while filming. Almost seven years after the final season aired, actresses Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela) have started a podcast called “Office Ladies” in which they rewatch an episode of “The Office” and reflect on funny behind-the-scenes moments and delve into the reality of filming the show. So far, they’ve committed to reviewing seasons one and two.
They begin the pilot episode by giving the necessary credit to the United Kingdom version of the show, which aired in 2001. The pilot was a reworked version of the script from the U.K. show, and Fischer and Kinsey both gush about how they are huge fans of the original show, and that being cast for American version was intimidating.
“When I heard I got the part as the receptionist, I nearly pooped myself,” Fischer says matter-of-factly.
Kinsey admits she also auditioned for the part of Pam. There are some moments of tension throughout the podcast as Kinsey awkwardly jokes about not being part of the “main cast,” which included characters Michael, Dwight, Jim and Pam. She talks about her character Angela’s one line in the pilot, and Fischer dives into details about her multiple scenes with Jim and Michael. The feeling of competitiveness is hard to ignore, and although they laugh about it, some of the laughter between them comes across as tight and forced.
The pilot is an interesting episode to learn about because it differed so much from the rest of season one. Fischer and Kinsey talk about the struggle of filming it in an actual office, but how that really made the documentary aspect of it believable for both the viewers and the actors.
Both women have their ways of presenting topics for discussion, Fischer with her “fast facts” and Kinsey with her “tidbits.”
One of the most interesting “tidbits” is how Kinsey created her character’s cat Sprinkles in the very first episode. Before starting filming each day, the actors were told to spend 30 minutes doing “work” at their desks and keeping busy as if in an actual office. Kinsey, already honing in on Angela’s character, drew some cat birthday party invitations and passed them around the office. The invitation became the talking point Fischer used in Pam’s first scene with Jim.
There were lots of little things about the pilot I had never picked up on before listening to “Office Ladies.” For example, there’s a short clip in the episode of a random office building that is certainly not the outside of the Dunder Mifflin building, the building used in the show. The character Meredith, though she doesn’t have any lines in the pilot, is played by a different woman than in the rest of the show. There are also a couple of extras that fill out the conference room during a meeting who are never seen again.
For fans of “The Office,” the backstories of such a genius comedy are entertaining, despite some of the cringe-worthy commentary. In subsequent episodes, the “Office Ladies” host other guests and reveal more about the behind-the-scenes of the classic show. If you’re a fan of “The Office,” it’s worth checking out for yourself.