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I'm Jenna Fischer, and I'm Angela Kinsey. We were on the office together and we're best friends and now we're doing the ultimate Office Watch podcast just for you. 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 where the office ladies.

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Merry, merry Christmas, merry, merry Christmas. It's Christmas on the office again. Well, someone showed up very festive.

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That's right. It's a Betty Christmas.

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Well, I think Angela Martin would let you know it's a Nutcracker Christmas.

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Oh, wow. Oh, wow. You're already going there. I am, lady. I am here. The party planning committee has arrived. Well, we'll talk about that. Guys, this is Season three, Episode 10, written by Jen Salada, directed by Harold Ramis, a Benihana Christmas. And this is an hour long episode. Yeah. So buckle in. It's going to be a supersized episode of Office Ladies. And we have some exciting news.

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We have two special guests this week, Rashida Jones and writer Jen Salada. So much fun. And both of these ladies will be joining us for interviews during the episode. Well, Jenna, how about giving us a summary? OK, it is Christmas at Dunder Mifflin. Carol breaks up with Michael the day of the Christmas party. After Michael Photoshopped himself onto her family Christmas card, he put his face on her ex-husband space from a family ski trip and sent it out to people.

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Yeah. Oh, Michael.

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Well, Andy suggests he and some of the guys take Michael to Benihana to cheer him up. Meanwhile, Angela kicks Karen out of the party planning committee. So Pam and Karen band together and start the committee to plan parties. We're going to have some dueling holiday parties. No, she should have better ideas.

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Oh, boy, you you are in it to win it today. And I came to play. I came to play. Well, later, Michael and the boys come back from Benihana with dates just in time for the two parties to merge. And we end with everyone singing their hearts out to karaoke.

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All right, fast fact number one, Harold Reavis, Harold Rima's, I mean, Jenah, my whole childhood or his movies legend, I was so giddy, nervous, excited to work with him. I mean, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters to Groundhog Day for Flippen sake. Stripe's strifes. Oh, my God. Yes, Stripe's.

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Oh, also Angela. He got his start at Chicago's Second City. Yes. He's just like so talented. He's such a great writer as well. You guys, he's a writer, actor, director. He was just a comic, a legend. And I was in awe.

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Well, you know, he passed away in twenty fourteen. I just can't believe that I got to work with him.

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Frankly, I know Harold Ramis was just a teddy bear of a human. He just made you feel so comfortable and he was so fun to talk to. And I have some great memories of him. We did a lot of conference room scenes, obviously, in this episode. I was in the conference room quite a bit. Right, because my party versus Karens and Pam's party. Yeah. And Harold was in the conference room with me and we were just chatting.

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And he told this great story about how when kids would come trick or treating to his house, he lived in Illinois. He would put on the Ghostbusters uniform and answer the door and his Ghostbusters uniform.

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Yeah, he did that every year. I thought that was so delightful. It was the sweetest story. All right. Let's move on to fast fact number two, which I'm calling guest star. Break down. OK, we got to break down all of our guest stars, the Benihana waitresses.

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The main waitress in the restaurant, Cindy, is played by Britney Ishibashi, who you might recognize from Runaway's.

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She starred as Tina as well as recurring roles on Hawaii five oh and Grace and Frankie. But here is something very interesting about Britney and me.

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But OK, weirdly, both Britney and I have had guest appearances on the TV shows Off Center and Mismatch, but we were not in the same episode. So The Office was the third project that she and I have both been in. But we've never shared a scene and we've never met. That's crazy.

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Our lives have sort of been intersecting. Britney, am I going to meet you one day? You're on track to finally be in a project together at the same time, on the same day, in the same scene.

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So, Angela, there are two more guest star waitresses. These are the waitresses that Michael and Andy bring back to the party. So first there is Amy, who is played by Kat on and she's done just a ton of sketch comedy, stand up, Funny or Die. And then there is Michael's girlfriend, Niki, who is played by Kulab Vlasák. OK, I worked with Kulab on Hot Wives of Orlando. It was the show on Hulu. It's a really funny spoof of The Real Housewives, and she was great in it.

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She's great in a lot of things, but that was a lot of fun to do. Well, lady, you know, I loved that.

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I know. OK, fast.

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Fact number three, I got the scoop from Kento Pedia on the Benihana location because we got a lot of fan questions about it.

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I wanted to ask about that because I was wondering if it's the Behney Hana's in Encino. It sure is.

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I have been to that Benihana and when I was watching this, the the way you walk into the restaurant, you know, it's the same. And I was like, yeah, come on, that's bananas in Encino, California.

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Well, lady, we got some fan questions from Ashley Hildreth, Rachel Martino, Hannah Holtmann, Mallea Holbrook, Abigail Haas, Rupinder GOSAL and many others all asked, where are the restaurant scenes filmed that are actual restaurant? How long did it have to be shut down? And is the chef at Benihana an actual Benihana chef or was it an actor?

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I'm going to say yes, because he was too good with that knife. Yes, we will start there. It was a real chef. We hired all of the chefs and all of the wait staff of the Encino Benihana to perform in the episode. And we also hired seventy eight background actors to play diners. We shut it down for a whole day. We rented out the entire place and it took about 12 hours to shoot those scenes.

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This is reminding me that we had a bigger budget because when the cast could we go in and be like, well, take the whole place.

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I mean, even Chili's was like an out of business boarded up.

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Yes, that's like restaurant. But this was like an actually like. Very successful restaurant that was always full of people, and we closed them down for a day while cities well and I did a deep dive on Benihana. And I'd like to give you now the history of Benihana, the restaurant, well, I didn't see that coming.

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So I'm ready. It's fascinating. This is from the Benihana website. And this is the first line from their description of the history of the Benihana restaurant. I'm going to quote it because it is fantastic. Quote. Like any good story, the history of Benihana begins with the descendant of a samurai warrior and a small Tokyo coffee shop. Are you intrigued? I'm riveted. OK, it's amazing. So this is what happened. So there's a couple in Tokyo, Eunice and Katsu, they started a coffee shop and in order to set themselves apart, Eunice would bike over 20 miles to get real sugar to serve with the coffee in his shop.

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And this little detail caused the shop to be a huge success. The name of their coffee shop was Benihana. All right, cut. Two years later, the couple's son, Rocky, moves to the United States with dreams of opening a restaurant. He starts by going to night school to study restaurant management. And during the day, he sold ice cream on the streets of Harlem. But here's what he did.

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He put a little Japanese cocktail umbrella into the ice cream. And this really set it apart. And eventually he earned ten thousand dollars, which he used to open his first Benihana restaurant, naming it after his parents coffee shop in Tokyo. Well, that was adorable.

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Also, I'm a sucker for anything with a tiny umbrella in it. Give it to me. Any drink with a tiny umbrella tastes better. It really does. Oh, yeah. I mean, that's a fact.

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I might have saved a few of those like from special occasions and there in my kitchen.

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I don't doubt it. That is very you. I know my you my husband's like, do we still need these.

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I mean the little stick is broken.

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I'm like, no, no, throw it away. OK, so there's more to the story. OK, his first shop, which was on West Fifty Sixth Street, it was exactly like how it is today.

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His vision was to have the anarchy grills set up in front of the customers with the chefs doing all the knife work. But it was it was struggling at first until six months after they opened the restaurant, got a boost when a famous food critic came in and gave the restaurant a fabulous review. Here's my favorite part of that. Can I tell you the name of the food critic, this famous food critic like you wanted this person to come to your restaurant?

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Are you ready? Who? Clementine, Paddleford, God, she sounds like a made up character in a Mary Poppins movie. She sounds like an improv game that I used to do when I did improv.

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Hey, guys, come on. We're going to do Clementine counterpart. Let's do it right. I was like, what does that mean? We're in a Disney film.

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I went, oh, wait, wait, wait. There's just so many ways I want to use that name now. Like, I want it to be a cocktail. I'll take a Clementine. Paddleford it comes with an umbrella.

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And thank you, Clementine, for giving Benny Benihana a rave review because the restaurant became a huge success. And there are now over 70 Benny Hunter restaurants in the United States, Caribbean and Central and South America. How about that? That is a really good one, and you know what, if your name is Clementine Paddleford, you are the best food critic in New York City.

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I mean, yes, I know your picture of this woman and her discerning food eating.

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Yeah, I need to see what she looks like. I only imagine her eating with, like, very tiny cutlery.

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Like a tiny fork in a right. Mm hmm. Why why is that? All right, lady, thank you for indulging my deep dive on Benihana and Clementine. Paddleford, are you kidding? I loved it. I need more Clementine Paddleford in my life. Same, same. But listen, should we move on now to our first interview? Yes. OK, guys, we had such a fun storyline with Rashida Jones in this episode with the whole Dooling Christmas parties.

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And it was such a blast to shoot, we couldn't wait to reunite with her and talk all about it. So let's get to it. Sam, run the interview with Rashida.

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I'm so happy to see your face. I know, me, too. This is so nice. I don't think the three of us have been well, we're not in the same place, but we have been all talking to each other for, like a decade.

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Oh, yeah. All in the same one place. Yeah, I think you're right. That makes me a little crazy. Isabelle asked me really random question the other day. She's like, Mom, who is your friends? Have you been on a boat with them?

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And I was like, well, I mean, she and I went on an ocean conservation trip for Oceana.

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So we were on a lot of boats.

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We had a lot I mean, we were like on a boat almost every day.

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That's true. That's true. That's true. We were we were like clocking how many boats. And I'm like, well, technically maybe same boat, but a boat every day. That one dive that we took that day where there was like it was like the one on one of the ocean. It's like sharks and eels and turtles was just the coolest.

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It was the coolest stuff. I know. Oh, that was great. I miss all of that.

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I know. But yeah, I just thought it was just like one of those questions your kid asks you and then she's like, wait, you've never been on a boat, which was like, you know, tuna. Have you guys never been on a boat? We've never been on a boat. We've got some adventures where you got it. You got to make that happen. You might have to do like a like a recording of your podcast on a boat.

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Oh, dear Lord. Rucci, to look at our set up right now, because it's so good to imagine, though, your future one day we'll be boating and podcasting together. Yeah. Oh God, I love it. Well, we can't thank you enough for being here. We're so thrilled to have you. I'm so happy to be here. Well, Rasheda, one question we always ask our guests is, how did you come to be on the office?

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I auditioned many, many times. I knew people socially before I joined the cast, and I. I went to college with make sure we were going to play together freshman year. Oh, man.

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Oh, Mike sure was like in college. He was the same. He was the same. Yeah. He was like floppy haired. I mean he was a little less. I remember like in our twenties he got like a fancy shirt for the first time and making fun of him for a really long time. So he was like he was like Mike without like any any sort of like socialization, you know.

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And we were like really bad force together. And yeah, we became fast friends and we took a lot of classes together.

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And anyway, so I knew Mike and I came to know about the US office because he moved from it from New York and said, I got a job in L.A. and I'm going to write the US office. And I was really mad at him, as I think a lot of people were, because we were like, how could you do that? The UK office, my favorite show, how could you even try?

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Yeah, and then it was in a lot of ways its own thing and even better and great. And but it was a big mountain, I'm sure, for you all to climb.

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Oh yeah. My first reaction was like, no, no, no, no, no. It's perfect. It's perfect. Right, right. And then, of course, I was like, so thrilled, you know, when it was like Greg and such smart people in the writers room.

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You guys had the benefit of playing characters that didn't have a British counterpart.

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Like, I was always worried, oh, no, I don't want to think that I stole my performance right from from Lucy Davis. Right. And so but I had seen her performance and I'm sure it seeped in. How could it not? And also the lines were the same in the pilot. Right. But you guys had a big part, I think, of getting to influence your characters. Is that true on your part? Washita Angeles kind of talked about that before.

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There was some remember, there was some third point in a triangle that showed up in the UK office.

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There was like a love interest for Tim that came up, but a completely different characterization of somebody who, you know, who who would be like a threat to that relationship. To end that other point, just to say that I auditioned many, many, many times. And I remember having a distinct feeling then when I got to the point where you and I sat in a room and read lines together and then got to improv a little bit like everything, just like made sense all of a sudden, you know, like it all.

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It was such a cool, like counterpart like it. It made me feel like, oh, I really like I feel like I really get this dynamic, you know, and I feel like you you kind of got me the part in a lot of ways. No way. Yes. No, you did. I had that same experience with you in the room. And it's very similar to when they paired me up with John. I was like, oh, when I'm paired up with this person, I just turn into Pam.

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I think I read with two or three different people. And Mike asked me, So what do you think? Who do you like? And I just went on and on and on and on and on about you. And I was like, I mean, she was amazing. I told him all those things. She made it so easy to be Pam. And he was like, OK, noted.

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But he didn't say, Oh, she's my best friend from college. I can't wait to tell her. So he played it so cool. No.

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And by the way, with me too, like, I wish if there were a time I really wanted a part and I had I could like curry some favor with people. I knew this was the time, but like, nobody would do anything for me because you know how Greg is, too. I mean, he was like asking everybody he could not make up his mind. There was like another woman. He was kind of trying to decide between us.

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I came in so many times. I waited for so long. Mike, Mike is like ethical Mike. So he wasn't going to be like, I'm going to just I'm going to gun for you. He was like, it has to be the right person for the part and everybody has to be on board. So, like, it was it was torturous. Like they really, really took me to the bitter end before I before I got the call.

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I'm so glad you got the part.

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It changed my whole career. Yeah. Yeah. I was like about to quit acting before I got the show. So it was it was a big deal for me, for Jen and I.

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This was the first time I had watched the whole Benihana Christmas. Like all in one sitting. Yeah, I'd seen little clips because, you know, it's the little drummer boy and people like send me clips of me doing that, but I hadn't really sat down and watched it all. And what about you? Is this the first time you watched it?

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Yes, I hadn't seen it, I don't think since it aired. And I was giggling so much and like a couple of things occurred to me. One was that we got that payoff. Jenna, finally, like that thing that came to life in the audition, I don't think it really got to really manifest until this episode, because up to now, we kind of like rivals, like sniffing each other's butts. That sounds gross, but you know what I mean.

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If we were dogs, I would have been doing that. Yeah. And and this is the first time that, like, I think the humanity in both characters recognized the mutual humanity. And the other one was like, you know what? Like it's Christmas and we work in this in these close quarters. And also we have a common enemy in Angela. So it was like it just was easy for us to to to like to to be a team, which I thought that was really cool.

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I don't mean to toot our own horns, but I think we had amazing chemistry in this episode. I just I mean, we are adorable. Can I say it? You can say it. You could say it. There could have been a spin off. That's all I, I just want to say totally. Pam and Karen Christmas special. Yes.

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I can tell you guys we would hang out between scenes and I would just start cracking up and just be with you guys. I'd be like, I'm hanging out, it's the girls. And then like on action, I had to be so mean to both of you and then you got to have this whole other hang out. It was hard.

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I know, Phyllis. Phyllis really gets to emote how much she's, like, missing the other party. I wasn't able to, but that's how I felt. I know.

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I know. But it's good because it all plays out in the episode because we like we join forces. Yeah. Yeah. We did what we needed to do, which is just like teach you a lesson and help you to stop being so controlling. And then you have to sing, you know, oh god, I was terrified.

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I don't like singing in front of people, you guys. That was really hard.

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But God, listen, I had to do it at that. In the. Wedding episode where dissing the police and I was so scared. Do you remember that episode? Whose wedding was it? Is that Phyllis's wedding? Phyllis's wedding? Yes. Oh, yeah. Yeah.

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It is interesting time to watch these episodes again. And I have talked about this a little bit. That was interesting for me to watch it. Now, how is it for you?

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I mean, listen, that was the second thing I was going to say is watching the I haven't watched the show since it aired. And I think so much of the show and so much of Michael and the and what works about Michael is this delicate balance between full cringe and like well-intentioned, lovable, like bad boss. And to watch it now in the current climate like that balance feels different. It just feels so different. I mean, there's so much stuff.

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It's not it's beyond cringe. It's like. Wow, but but it also to me, like, you know, I think there's so much conversation right now about what's acceptable, but also like in in retrospect, what we're allowed to kind of partake in in a time where things work were considered more acceptable, even if they weren't and they shouldn't be.

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I think it's good to have things that read really badly now and didn't read badly at the time, because it is a mark of our of our progress. And it's also like the show resonates because Michael reminds people of their bosses and people they work with and maybe a little bit of themselves. And it's really important that people see that like you have to measure up to the moment that you're in. So much of the show is like people putting up with, like his bad behavior and being like, oh, my God.

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And now I think people feel armed at work to be like, you know what? I don't like the way you're talking about that person or that woman or that whatever. Like, I don't that's not acceptable behavior anymore. You could say something and feel empowered is like an employee to do that. So it was super fascinating. I think a lot of times we on the show as characters, we would speak up by giving a look to camera. Or indicating our disapproval, but you're right, I think today we would speak up right to his face.

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Michael wouldn't have a job with that behavior, probably.

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Oh, it's one too many infractions, Michael. Jeez, he's like a human resources nightmare. And that's the funny thing, too, is that Toby is the enemy Toby's trying to like. He's sensitive and he's tried to take care of people and be tolerant and like Michael hates him so much for it because he's killing his party and like that this feels like like a relationship you couldn't even write today, really.

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You know, one of the notes that Greg gave Steve when Steve was like starting to perform as Michael is that he saw the character as this guy who thinks maybe Jennifer Aniston might see this tape someday, like so of sort of play it like. Right. And you also see in Steve's performance how Michael Scott thinks he's an entertainer. He thinks he's funny and cutting edge and pushing boundaries, and he's just so inappropriate. But I, I see his performance in a different way, knowing that note from Greg.

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Totally.

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Well, also, because there's a conversation around who is entitled to push the boundaries.

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And I think that entertainers feel like they can in a way that normal people can't.

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And so it would make sense that, like Michael would think, he's one of those entertainers and not one of those normal people, you know.

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Yeah, yeah. We have talked a lot about party planning, committee scenes and how much fun we had getting to do them as actors. Right. And I just loved loved Rashida that you got to be in on that and that you guys like that. We got to sit in there and play. That was the most fun.

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Fun particularly. There's that scene, Rashida, where you try to participate in the party. You try to throw out some ideas of things you guys used to do in Stamford and Angela just shut you down. Yeah, they're like good ideas.

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A raffle, very good, as we will see, played out in a successful party in the break room. She just had it out for me.

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I mean, I don't actually I don't take it personally. I think it was just like that's that was your place to shine and that was your committee for so long.

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Well, it's like the people that only have a tiny bit of power, but with that power, it just means everything. Yes, everything. Yes. I mean, so I think that was the party planning committee was her thing. And if you messed with it, she spiraled out. There's a deleted talking head that's not in the episode, but it's on the DVD. Oh, you're like, I don't know, we didn't have a party planning committee in Stamford.

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Like, I look like it's really funny because you're just like, why? Why is there a committee like. Yeah, I mean, I love I also love those scenes.

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Those are my favorite scenes on the show is like when you're all kind of stuck in a room and there's like a rhythm to the scene because a I get church cables even though I'm Jewish, but I do it.

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And and also, like, it's just so fun to watch the ping pong of, like, you know, Phyllis's eyes dart or like, you know, like Capi. Like, yes. Like, please, anything with alcohol. I'm in awe, like, just to see that I love watching the rhythm of like especially because it was like, it's all ladies. That's great. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It's just so fun. That's great.

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Rashida, I have to bring this up. We've been tracking this. I call it wishy washy, Jim, and I want to get your take on wishy washy Jim. I am annoyed that Jim did not tell Karen about his past with Pam at Dunder Mifflin. She walks into. This whole world, this whole thing, she has no idea, yeah, and then it's sort of he doesn't tell Pam that he's seen Karen. So there's this whole like many episodes where these two women, Karen is in the dark.

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Pam is like. Sensing something, but trying to figure it out? Well, I think this speaks to a larger thing, which is like in the law of the office universe, like, you know, I take umbrage with like what KARREN means now in the modern day, because I think neither neither receipt is definitely not accurate. And even Karen is from the office is not accurate, like because she's she's up for good time. She's not a tattletale and she's not a racist.

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But anyway, the point being, like there is this thing, right? Like Karen is sort of designed to be the third point in the triangle, which is was designed to be a thing to to, like, make people feel like they wanted they wanted Pam and Jim to be that drawn closer together, driven closer together. So, like, I was kind of a tool in that way, you know, and and so everything was like I remember like the writers talking about it, they just didn't want to push anything too far in each direction.

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But, yes, I think that the that the end end result is that Jim ends up being, like, not great to me and not great to you because he's like not really being honest with anybody. But I guess you could chalk it up to his confusion about what he wants. Yeah, but I agree with you. It's irritating.

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And I think in real life, that would be like super annoying, you know. Yeah. Well, I think what I found in the rewash is that I am siding more with your character. I'm having sympathy for her. Like, of course, I want Jim and Pam to end up together. But at the same time, it's it's making me like the tension. I just like this poor woman. She she just loves him. She's just and she knows nothing.

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She knows nothing. Knows nothing. Yeah. So it's making me very much side with your character, I have to say.

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And I'm Pam.

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It's like there's like this meme that's like like for kids who grew up watching the office, it's like, like that feeling when you realize that the only reason you hated Karen was because you wanted Pam and Jim to be together and you realized that she did nothing wrong. But that's like a thing that's like a thing that kids are like, which is kind of cool.

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It's like providing this opportunity to, like, see people in a more nuanced way for kids. You grew up being like, that's the enemy and that's the people that want to be together. Now they're like, wait a second. She's like, not that bad. It's just that I wanted her not to be with him. I wanted her to be with it. You know, they're growing.

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They're learning. Well, before you leave, do you have any other memories are behind the scenes stories that you want to share. It doesn't even have to be about this episode. It could be about just your time on the show.

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You know, it's funny watching it.

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I was like it made me really nostalgic because it just reminded me of all the, like, little moments and like, I don't like I haven't talked about in so long, but I just remember, like and I there's a there's a line where Andy says in this episode, oh, no, sorry.

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It's the next episode where he goes, there's only two left and I'm going to be the last man standing. And he was the last man standing. But like, Ed and I were like, it was so weird because we started in this like weird like bizarro world version of the office for like, none of you guys were there except for John. And then we, like, moved over to, like, actually work with you guys. And then, like, we didn't know how long we were going to be there.

[00:30:02]

And I was like signed up for we were set up for four episodes and then it was like ten. And then they were like the whole year. But it was this weird thing that was like, what is going on? Because we were like on this little train together where we were both like, just like what's going on. This is like a crazy, huge opportunity for both of us. And we would just have these little, like powwows at the trailers, tiny little trailers and just like try to check in and see what was going on, because it really was like it's such a game changer for me and like and everybody was so nice to me.

[00:30:31]

And it just just everybody was everybody so different on the show.

[00:30:34]

So, like, I think just to, like, get to know you all and feel like the ladies were like my favorite, like just so it was such a formative time for me in my life, you know. Yeah.

[00:30:47]

Really was. Well, Rashida, we loved you too. And I know we should probably wrap up your interview because we could talk to you forever.

[00:30:55]

But I want to give a little shout out to hashtag black. If it was so fun to get to work with you again, you're so hilarious in this. You play joyo. Yeah. That's such a fun character. So fun. She's so complicated. She is so complicated. She's so layered. Like she's like a good mom. She's a crappy mom. She's like all over the place like in her marriage. I know it's done in the mockumentary style too.

[00:31:18]

Like the premise is that your daughter is doing this documentary of your family, her dad, who's this writer and creator of a TV show. And it's for it's like in place of her Colonsay. Right. Is that idea. Yeah. Yeah. And so you guys do talking heads, but she's also like capturing video. And then more formally, sometimes you guys are performing for the camera a little bit, a little bit, you know, it's there.

[00:31:44]

You're such an amazing writer, director, performer, actress. Is there anything else we can share? I mean, oh, I have I, I produced a show that's on Quitte that I love and I and I think everybody should go watch if they have to be or if they don't, then they can, I don't know, get a trial or something. My friend Maurice Harris, he's a beautiful florist artist dancer is just like a magical person. And we produced the show called Center Piece, which is where he sits with an artist and they talk about their process and their life and their childhood.

[00:32:16]

And then he creates this beautiful, magical centerpiece that's like the embodiment of their life and art and journey. And it's just like a cool, like, wonderful little inspiring show.

[00:32:28]

I want to see it. I want a centerpiece, the centerpiece. Hey, guys, well received. A thank you so, so much. Thank you. So fine.

[00:32:37]

I'll come back. Come back. I mean, you didn't invite me, but if you invite me I will come back. OK, ok.

[00:32:43]

You are officially invited and you will officially come back. I can't wait. Great. Rashied, I hope we get to go on a boat again. I will podcast.

[00:32:51]

I do love a boat so I can I can be the recurring character on your boat.

[00:32:56]

Cast Votes Cast Trademark Trademark both casting with Jenna and Angela with special guest. Oh my God, I love it.

[00:33:16]

All right, guys, we're back because it's a Christmas miracle, Dwight has run over a goose. It's a Christmas miracle, that's what he said.

[00:33:26]

And then he flops it on your desk. Yeah, he flops a dead goose on Pam's desk. And then my favorite is when Toby comes in and he's like Dwight, we've talked about this.

[00:33:39]

He said we talked about it for like half an hour.

[00:33:43]

Yeah. You have to stop bringing dead animals into the office. Well, we had a lot of fan questions about this called Open Angela. OK, let's hear it. This one always delights me. Logan answer callosal Carrie Rice, Dimitra Lizzio and Hachita, Vermont. All asked if Phil Shea made the goose that Dwight carries.

[00:34:03]

And he did. Yeah, he had to make and find that goose. That's another day in the life of Phil. What are you doing today, Phil? I'm making a dead goose.

[00:34:14]

Actually, I'm making five different types of Dead Goose's, and then I'm going to take photos of them.

[00:34:19]

And then, you know, the executive producers and writers are going to pick which dead goose. But I have eight dead Goussis, you know what I mean?

[00:34:28]

That's more of what Phil Shea did that week. Yeah. He's going to have like a portfolio of dead geese. Jonah, so many people have huddled around Pam's desk about this. Phyllis, Kevin, Creed, Jim, Toby, they're all discussing this. Everyone is grossed out, but Phyllis. Yeah, Phyllis is kind of like that seems reasonable. She's got no problem with it. What's that about? What is that about? I mean I mean, I feel like this is the first time ever called me if I'm wrong out there.

[00:34:55]

Internet folks, this is the first time that Creed says something is crazy. Creed is like, that's crazy.

[00:35:03]

Well, we've got a fan catch. Angela Nyasha, a Christian Harper, Kimberly Classon and Rebecca McAllister all noticed that while Crede is in this cold open giving his two cents about the goose in the next scene, he enters for the day and takes a toy.

[00:35:21]

Yes, at four minutes, ten seconds. All of a sudden, Creed is arriving for the first time. He's in his coat, the whole thing. And I was like, wait, that's continuity error. So we probably shot that cold open a different day, right? Well, guess what?

[00:35:34]

And I went back to the old script or Rooney, and this entire cold open about the goose is not even in there. They added it. They added, they added it. The original beginning of the scene was Michael writing in on his bike. So we shot this cold open and added it later. And somebody obviously just forgot that Creed shouldn't be at work yet.

[00:35:57]

Yeah, well, I have a little bit of a catch that I'm going to call spiky crede hair. Oh, OK. Got some classic spiky crede hair in this one. All right. I mean, literally, it's like this, like I want to take a screen grab of it and text it to Creed and be like, what was this phase of your hair? It's very fluffy. I would describe more like fluffy than spiky. OK, fluffy crede hair.

[00:36:21]

Track it. OK, I have taken us on a hair tangent, but let's get back to the episode. Do you remember Steve trying to ride that bike in.

[00:36:32]

I about fell off my couch laughing from the memory of shooting that scene of Steve riding the bicycle into the office when he cursus, that was Steve and they bleeped it out and it was so funny. And you can almost start to see him break. But that was like I feel like that was take like seventy two or something. And he was like, fuck you guys.

[00:36:56]

You have to understand there was not a lot of space there and it was like, it was like, like an s do you know what I mean. So you, you had to come out of that elevator and then about five steps there's like a hard right then there's like a left, then a right. And he had to get on a bike and balance and then tried to maneuver this really quick zigzag into the office in one take and it was not easy.

[00:37:23]

So then Michael does something in this episode that I just love so much because I love a Christmas pun. I really enjoy them. I also really enjoy any pun. And like the hair salon genre, if you will, the hair salon puns are the best. Like hair today, gone tomorrow. I love all those. Now, let me ask you this question. Or is that hair like hair on your head, your hair like a rabbit hair today gone tomorrow and then it's a like a rabbit hopping away?

[00:38:00]

Why would why would if you were a hair salon, why would you have a rabbit and not use the word hair if you were a hair salon, why would you use the pun hair today.

[00:38:11]

Gone tomorrow. Because.

[00:38:13]

Because they cut it off. Yes it's OK.

[00:38:17]

Anyway, so he he hits Pam with a whole bunch of Christmas puns. I can't believe you're just getting that. What's happening. So he just is about to let him out one after another. He's like, I would like a nice slice of Christmas, Pam, with a side of candy Pams or perhaps some Pam drops. He's just like boom, boom, boom. He really does. Well, Michael has a talking head where he says it's going to be the best Christmas ever because his girlfriend, Carol, is coming to the Christmas party and he has a surprise for her two tickets to Sandals Resort, Jamaica.

[00:38:54]

It's all inclusive. He's just so proud that this resort is all inclusive. It's his selling point as he tries to get many women to go on this trip with him. So, guys, now Carol enters and she's looking for Michael. She goes in his office and she confronts him. She's upset that he Photoshopped a picture of himself onto her old family ski trip photo with her ex-husband, and he sent it out to people with the message Ski season's greetings.

[00:39:28]

He says A Christmas Carol Ski Season's Greetings. Oh, fan question from Allison Catriona's Sarah Jo. Lisa and Elise, were the kids in the Christmas card photo? Actually, Steve and Nancy's since they were married in real life? No, no. They had Nancy pose for a photo with a couple of kids and a really tall guy that was going to be her ex-husband.

[00:39:54]

And then they Photoshopped Steve's face onto his face. But those are not Steven Nancy's kids in real life.

[00:40:01]

I like that. It's a crappy Photoshop because I believe it. You know, it's not even well done. Well, clearly, Michael's Photoshop skills from when he Photoshopped us in that office group photo. Yes.

[00:40:14]

So he clearly has not learned anything from then until now. But Carol ends up breaking up with Michael, and Michael is devastated because he's like, no, Carol, can I tempt you to stay with me so that we can go to the all inclusive sandals resort? We leave day after tomorrow? Well, I mean, Michael, come on. She's a single mom with two kids. You can't spring a surprise trip. That's not to say you already did a grand proposal to her.

[00:40:44]

Now you have Photoshopped your head on her ex-husband and now you're going to like try to say, but we have this last minute trip that you haven't planned for.

[00:40:53]

This will seal the deal. I thought the same thing. I was like, she has two small children. It is the holidays. You think she doesn't have her own holiday traditions and a very complicated, like, custody arrangement, probably. You think she can just fly off to Sandals Jamaica with forty eight hours notice? This is just another example of the disconnect here for Michael in this relationship. Yeah, by the way, once you have young children, there's no last minute anything now as far as like your adult life, you don't just get to go out to dinner last minute or meet people for drinks last minute or take a trip last minute.

[00:41:33]

Those days are over. Michael and Carol have a pretty fantastic break up moment if you're Carol, because it's it's sort of a power play.

[00:41:41]

Michael goes you walk out that door and it's over and Carol goes, I know it's kind of it's kind of like boss lady moment. Yeah, I know. I'm walking out the door. Baby by. Should we talk about another gift that doesn't go well in this episode. Pam's gift to Jim. You mean the scene that I just wrote on my note card as. Yeah, oof, ouch. Pam calls Jim over to her desk and she's like, hey, I need to give you your present early.

[00:42:15]

I've been sending Dwight Communications from the CIA for a couple of months, and the gift is that you get to decide his final mission.

[00:42:23]

Oh, she's so excited. She has a little red folder she's handing him. She's so excited that this is just going to tickle Jim and they're going to be back together and they're prank wars with Dwight that Jim turns her down.

[00:42:38]

He's like, you know what? I just I just don't think I should be doing this anymore because of my promotion. But then he has a talking head where he says he can't fall back into doing all the things he used to do. Otherwise, what's the point?

[00:42:54]

He said it's a chance to start over. That one had to hurt when he walked away and didn't take the folder and pamphlets just holding this folder of these ridiculous CIA letters. You're look, it's painful.

[00:43:08]

Yeah, well, now Michael is devastated because Carol has broken up with him and he comes out and he says Christmas is canceled. He's canceling it. And Stanley's like, you can't cancel a holiday. And Michael is like on the verge of tears. And he's like dramatic New Year's away from Stanley. Like he's really about to spiral out.

[00:43:31]

Well, lady, did you notice that eight minutes and forty seven seconds. There is an amazing shot of the accountant stack. I say the accounting stack, but with Andy.

[00:43:42]

Yeah. Mm hmm. There you guys are.

[00:43:45]

You're all standing there at the edge of the desks and your accountants stack where we're standing there.

[00:43:51]

And this is the first shot you get of the blouse. I absolutely hated. I hated this blouse so much because it had and I counted thirty two buttons. What. Thirty two buttons. And they were tiny little pearl flat buttons like the size of your pinky fingernail like tiny and I had a button thirty two buttons and literally they would knock on my door like Angela they're ready for you on set and I'm like still buttoning. Well, couldn't you have just undone a few of them and pulled it over your head?

[00:44:29]

No, no, because it was so fitted in the armpits and I had and they buttoned all the way up to the top of my neck. It was like a turtle neck and full of buttons. Wow, I remember that now that you're saying it, I remember the week of the tiny buttons. Mm hmm. And I remember Carrie, our wardrobe stylist, saying to me, if we ever, ever use the shirt again, I'm to strip out these buttons and put a Velcro or something because it was driving us both crazy.

[00:44:59]

But I believe you never wear that again. No, I think Carrie and I were both like, forget it. There were buttons down the arms. There were buttons from my neck all the way like, I mean, literally to my thigh. That shirt was so long, too. I think it was such a good shirt for your character, though.

[00:45:16]

No, it was so fussy and Lacy and I know it was like Ye Olde Christmas and I had my nutcracker. I had my nutcracker pinned on because for me the theme was very clear of this party.

[00:45:31]

Well, I think this leads us very well into the conference room for our P.S. meeting on The Nutcracker Christmas, which you start by insulting Phyllis.

[00:45:41]

Yeah, I'm mad. And I take it out on Phyllis and repeat. That is Angela Martin. I tell Phyllis to get green streamers and Phyllis gives me a little Phyllis sass and says, I thought you said Green was Horesh. And I mean, Angela is not having it. She's like, no, orange is Horesh. Which is the color that Phyllis was wearing? Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Well, Karen now decides to propose a few traditions that were typical at Stanford.

[00:46:13]

We've got the raffle, we've got the karaoke. And Angela just shuts down everything and then throws Karen out of the meeting. Well, she suggests a Christmas drinking game. And I'm like, God help you. That's it. And I escort her to the door.

[00:46:33]

Angela is just so ticked off, she starts off, ticked off, she finishes ticked off. But I love to know that she just keeps going back to and none of them are on the theme of a Nutcracker Christmas, a Nutcracker Christmas.

[00:46:46]

I don't know if you've ever tried to coordinate a party with someone who's very, very big on theme. Have you? In your real life. I bet you, Jenna, well, that's what I was going to say. I feel like maybe you've done that when we've planned a party.

[00:47:06]

I think there are two types of people who plan parties. There's people who are just like, I will just throw it together, which is kind of me. I'm just like, yeah, whatever. Let's just I'll grab whatever snacks we have and we'll just invite people. But then there's the people that are like, I need a theme and we're all going to stick to the theme. And here's the theme.

[00:47:25]

And if you waver from the theme, I will be pissed off. And General, do you think Angela is I think you would throw the Marguerita karaoke party.

[00:47:36]

You would throw the party with just all the random most fun stuff. Yes. And you would throw the Nutcracker themed party and there'd be nutcrackers everywhere. Yeah. Nutcracker cookies, Nutcracker cake. There would be, I don't know, maybe a handout on the history of The Nutcracker, perhaps. I don't know. We'd have The Nutcracker playing on television, the ballet. You know what I'm saying? Yes.

[00:48:01]

Well, now we go into Michael's office and he is wallowing. He's listening to a clip of Good My Lover. He hasn't purchased it, though, just to keep just listening to the free part on repeat.

[00:48:19]

And Dwight enters and he's like, we're getting rid of everything that reminds you of Carol, we're getting rid of all of it.

[00:48:27]

Dwight is that classic Dwight thing, though, of while someone else is maybe hurting or trying to forget about something, he thinks he's helping, but he's just like, wow, Carol was a really good realtor. Oh, look what you did with this mold. She's like going through her condo, like, contract and like praising her. She's smart.

[00:48:45]

Yeah, well, Pam is over at reception and she sees Karen now.

[00:48:51]

She has a talking head where she says, I've been a little cold to Karen for no reason. She's never done anything to me. And then we see Pam walk over to Karen's desk and kind of apologize and say, hey, I'm really sorry that meeting was like that, that Angela was mean. And now I guess Pam and Karen are going to bond. And and if you look at the shot of Jim's face, it's so good. He's like, what is happening?

[00:49:17]

Yeah, well, listen, I mean, I feel like Jim set a clear boundary at the beginning of the episode. He's like, hey, listen, things are different now. I'm not going to get into it with you. And I think this is a little bit of Pam taking him at his word and being like, OK, well, you know what? I'm going to step up and I'm going to treat this person the way I would treat them if I didn't have a past with Jim.

[00:49:41]

Right. If this woman came into the office, this is how I would behave and that's how I'm going to behave. Yeah, I think Pam is trying to be a grown up, too. Well, now, the war has begun. I mean, Angela, of course, is being crappy to Phyllis. They're hanging up their signs. She's like, this should have been hung two days ago.

[00:50:02]

And then who just comes in and hangs up their sign over my sign?

[00:50:08]

Yeah. Our party also starts fifteen minutes before yours and our poster is more brightly colored.

[00:50:15]

Qadi and Kelly says this looks fun.

[00:50:18]

And then Kevin walks over and Angela's getting ticked off. So she rips your sign down. I know. And then Karen rips down a Nutcracker Christmas sign. I know it is on and there is a deleted scene. So right after I rip that poster down my character goes over to Toby and is like, you have got to cancel their party. We can't have two parties. This isn't like sanctioned. They don't have a budget. And on and on and on.

[00:50:45]

She's just reading him the riot act and Toby says they can throw their party. It's a free country. And my character slaps him across the face. What he does and then to me is like, oh, that really hurt. And then I say, I'm trying to wake you up, wake up. There can only be one party. And then Tobi's like, that really hurt. And you can't touch people. You can't hit people. And I'm going to write you up.

[00:51:19]

Wow. And then I say to Toby, you know what, Michael was right, you are pathetic. Wow. I know, well, so you know, Angela, what you didn't see in deleted scenes is that she goes to Tobey for help and he's no help. So now back in the real scenes, she goes to Dwight. But there would have been a progression. She was mad. She went to Toby. He didn't help her. Now she goes to Dwight.

[00:51:47]

Yes. As number three. How can he help her? He walks over to reception where Pam and Karen are on Pam's computer and he says, I am dismantling your party, I'm dismantling your committee and I'm canceling your party. As ranking number three, but then Jim walks up as ranking number two and he assembles a one man committee to determine the validity of the party planning committees, who I have to tell you, this is the the actual name of his committee.

[00:52:19]

Ready? I love how many committees there are. So there's the party planning committee. There's a committee to plan parties. Now, Jim is the sole member of the committee to determine the validity of the two committees.

[00:52:34]

I love that. I love that. And Jonah, what does he decide? He decides in favor of Karen and Pam. He says their committee to plan parties can stand. Dwight asks if he could please become a member of the committee to determine the validity of the two committees. And Jim says, permission denied. There you go. So now Michael is still moping in his office and Andy invites him to lunch at Benihana to cheer him up. And then Michael invites Jim, Ryan and Dwight, but Ryan has the delicious list of excuses as to why he cannot go.

[00:53:14]

He rattles them all off in a row. He says, I'm not feeling well. I've got a ton of work to do at MSG allergy, peanut allergy. I just ate there last night and Jim was like, wow, thanks for taking all of the excuses. And then Ryan goes, Doctor appointment, car trouble, plan rewards. Granddad fought in World War Two. He's got like a ton of them. He keeps them on his phone. He's like, I keep him on my phone.

[00:53:38]

You have to, like, stay sharp, Jim. Yeah, step it up, Jim. Welcome back.

[00:53:42]

We had a fan catch from K.C. Hilton who wants us to know that there is no Benihana in Scranton or even near Scranton.

[00:53:51]

I looked that up. They have one in Pittsburgh, which is a four and a half hour drive and one in Plymouth meeting, which is a one hour and 45 minute drive.

[00:54:00]

We didn't even try. We just were like, OK, clearly there's not one there. We're just we're just going to write it in anyway.

[00:54:07]

So they're getting their table at Benihana. And you guys know how it is. You all sit around like the stove top, right? Yeah. And and so Michael and Andy sit together and Jim and then there's a seat next to Jim, but a couple scotches in there before Dwight can get in there because Dwight and Andy were like wrestling for the seat next to Michael. And now there's a couple there. And you guys that have watched the podcast before, you will know Steven Sock's our stand in is the man in the couple.

[00:54:36]

He got to be in the scene, and I just love that. Well, you know, on IMDB, he is credited as playing the role of Justin Spitzer. The name that they gave to the character sitting at the table is our writer's name, Justin Spitzer, played by our stand in Stephen Sock's. I love that.

[00:54:58]

Here's the thing now. Dwight's on the other end of the table and he's going to have to shout throughout the rest of the time there. Benihana, he has to keep shouting and he's really annoying this couple in between. And I was just like, I know it's for comedy's sake, but, you know, that couple would have been like, do you want to trade seats?

[00:55:14]

So you're nice and same thing. I thought the same thing.

[00:55:18]

What they want this guy shouting over them through the whole meal lot. But you know what?

[00:55:24]

Maybe they'd already started to get their food or something. And it just felt like a huge headache. I don't know. But they they stay. They're like, no, we want to be in the center of the table. We want to see the chef most clearly. I don't know what their motivation was for not letting this guy sit with his group.

[00:55:40]

But so Michael is still being mopey, even though they're at Benihana. You know, he wants to call Carol. And Andy's like, let's start ordering drinks. He starts ordering this weird eggnog soki concoction. It sounds disgusting.

[00:55:54]

We had a fan question from Dan Solomon who wanted to know, was that a real drink or was it invented by the writers? It's a made up drink. This is not a real drink, Angela. Someone uncracked Dotcom did an article where they made all kinds of fake cocktails from different TV shows, like they made cocktails from 30 Rock and Parks and Rec, and they did a review of this drink.

[00:56:21]

Just to remind you, it is one part eggnog and three part suck.

[00:56:26]

So it's so gross. All right.

[00:56:29]

Here's what they had to say.

[00:56:31]

Quote, It looks like so many different disgusting things and none of them are anything I would want to put in my mouth. You can actually hear the eggnog curdling in the glass. Growls Then they said it's not the worst thing I've ever had, but it is far from the best. The real problem lies in the aftertaste. Both of these drinks have a tendency to linger on the breath by themselves, and neither is very pleasant. When mixed together, they make your mouth tastes like toes.

[00:57:06]

I wish I could say something nice about this drink, but every time I attempt it, I suddenly forget all the good in my life.

[00:57:13]

Oh my God. It. Well, what I want to know now is what were those guys actually drinking on the set? Were they drinking water mixed with eggnog? Were they just drinking eggnog? I don't know.

[00:57:26]

I don't like eggnog, so I'm not a big eggnog person. I liked it as a kid, but as an adult, it's just it's very thick.

[00:57:35]

It's like drinking a dessert. It's so sweet. Yeah. We should go back because I need to talk to you a little bit about the scene with Roy.

[00:57:43]

Mm hmm. Mm hmm. So Roy comes in, he's looking cute. He clearly just wants to talk to Pam. He's asking her about her gift wrapping techniques and she says she only uses three pieces of tape. Are you crazy?

[00:57:59]

Yeah. Well, Angela, Adrian Thorne, Blom, Sydney Leighton and Elisa Schroeter and Kelly Lubert wrote in to say, How on earth can you wrap a gift with only three pieces of tape? How yeah, they are all saying there must be at least four. Why is Pam giving such bad advice here, guys? It can be done. You can wrap a gift with three pieces of tape. I personally, Jenna Fischer can't do it. I use more than three pieces of tape when I wrap a gift.

[00:58:33]

But because Pam says this in this episode every Christmas when I, Jenna Fischer, give a gift and I use more than three pieces of tape, people comment on it. Oh, no. Do they really? Yes. Yes. They're like use more than three pieces of tape. And I'm like, I, I am not Pam. I can't wrap. Apparently, Pam can you can watch a ton of YouTube videos on how exactly Pam does it.

[00:58:57]

Many people have made videos on how to wrap a gift with only three pieces of tape so it can be done.

[00:59:03]

But hold up, lady.

[00:59:05]

Yeah, people commenting on your tape. That's got to be in your family because who you're giving at Christmas, you're like with your family. So you've got like some aunt that's like, oh, you use more than three business.

[00:59:18]

Yeah, yeah. I get grief. I get grief from my family and some friends for not being your character.

[00:59:27]

Yeah. I mean, that's the tricky thing about having a character that you played for a long time who makes grand declarations. It gets superimposed onto me. But, you know, do you know what I get almost every single year from a family member, I get at least one gift that has a cat on it? Yeah. I like Angela Martin likes cats. Yeah, I like cats, I don't need a gift every year with a cat on it.

[00:59:57]

Guys from my own family, my favorite is more than once, more than once I have gotten a cat calendar and there's usually a photo of a cat hanging for dear life from a tree. And it says, hang in there. Yeah, I've gotten that calendar more than one.

[01:00:19]

Oh, no. OK, wait, wait, wait. We have to get back to the scene because they're flirting. And then Karen sees the flirt, sees Roy and is like, he's cute. You should date him. And then Pam does not say a word she doesn't own up. And she just says maybe. Well, I feel like Pam can't tell Karen that she used to be with Roy without it opening up a lot of questions that might lead her to having to tell her things that she knows Jim hasn't told her.

[01:00:54]

I agree. Well, lady, I think we should pause our breakdown for this episode for a moment, because this is kind of the halfway mark. And we thought that this would be a good place to play our interview with Jen Salata.

[01:01:06]

Yeah, I think it would be great to hear from the writer of this episode before we dig any deeper. All right, Sam, will you play the interview with Jen?

[01:01:15]

Hi, Jen, Salada hydrogen guys look gorgeous, you look at it literally, it looks like time stopped since I last saw you. I love you. You stop it. So excited. My favorite guests are when we have writers on because you guys have this perspective that is totally different from the actors. And I could just listen to you guys talk forever. That's my it's my favorite side of the story that Phil Shay having to make all the weird props.

[01:01:44]

All I remember about Phil is constantly when if I had to come in on like a Saturday or Sunday because I needed to do a little work or I forgot something at the office, he was always there. He was always there making a prop. So he just never stopped working. He was just sick and brilliant.

[01:02:00]

Yeah, my my memory of him is him running. He was always like like a break, have things in his hand and I feel like I'll be like, hey, I just got to attach this had to the squirrel.

[01:02:11]

And then I'm like, what made me laugh when you told me that I forgot that he presented everything on a tray and the bird made me laugh so hard because I'm sure that is I can imagine that. I can picture that. And I wanted to tell you when I was listening to the bird stories that you guys were telling from your own, but I Googled it and I found out that there was an article about why we're seeing dead birds and birds that are struggling now.

[01:02:38]

It's because of quarantine. It was the most interesting article. They said that we are just around and we're noticing nature more and we're more aware because we're not like in our offices all day long, so that unfortunately, this is a time where birds struggle, but we don't usually see it. So I don't know, it's like yay or boo or somewhere in between.

[01:02:58]

But no, it wasn't Big Bird baby boom season this time of the year and a big part of because I looked it up to just a big part of a bird's lifecycle, is that between the nest and being a full adult bird, they actually nest on the ground. So they the parents kind of kick them out of the tree and they nest under bushes or on the ground for a couple of days and their parents visit them. But it's sort of like that's like they're going to college phase, you know, they're out of the nest.

[01:03:32]

But the parents are still kind of like sending a money from time to time. And so in that little period, like 80 percent of birds die because they are, you know, parol meets them.

[01:03:45]

Maybe it's, you know, a raccoon or a cat or something.

[01:03:51]

A squirrel. Yeah. This is the part of their life that where they meet the most doom. Oh, this is sad, but I read that somebody rescued another person like a bird fell into a pool, but they rescued it.

[01:04:03]

So it's like there may be more rescues happening because we're more aware and vigilant. Right.

[01:04:11]

Next year, an article that says a rise in birds due to people intervening.

[01:04:16]

And yet it has now bled us of all of the night. And it turns out gnats were necessary.

[01:04:24]

But I know this is Bandiana Christmas and I'm sure you will deal with this. But like I do remember reading articles that people's lives were saved because of staying alive in the safety training and safety training in the episode where people really stress relief. Yeah, because I remember I wrote that.

[01:04:44]

I wrote that. And I remember having to make sure I wanted to make sure it was correct in case anybody watched the show and actually used it. But then I started to hear news reports that people remember it from the office and are saving people's lives.

[01:04:56]

From that, I've read those same articles. It's crazy.

[01:05:03]

You're saving lives just a lot of.

[01:05:05]

Well, I don't know, Jen.

[01:05:09]

We always like to ask people when they come on the podcast how they got their job on the office.

[01:05:14]

I was on the show, Malcolm in the Middle, which I really enjoyed that show. But I every every morning after the after the officered, I would come in and just talk about the office forever.

[01:05:26]

And they were like, let's get to work on a Malcolm story. So I was like, yeah, yeah, sure. Did you see what happened on Diversity Day? So I was a big fan and I actually wrote a short story about a woman falls in love with the middle of a man. She works in quality control in a button factory, and she sees the middle of people walking by window all day long. And she puts all her hopes and dreams in the middle of this man.

[01:05:53]

And oh, my God, I love God. That is brilliant. It was so crazy.

[01:05:59]

I had never really thought story before I wrote it. It took me forever to write it because I took me forever to sit down and figure out what I had to say. If I did, I have anything to say. And it kind of anyway, I wrote it and then Susanne Daniels, I found out that they have piles of scripts the Daniels house has. Files of scripts to the point where the kids have told me that they almost forget that their scripts, they think of them as furniture with a coffee table somewhere to put their legs up.

[01:06:24]

And Suzanne Daniels, I guess, grabbed my short story, probably thinner than the rest of the scripts on the dial and responded to it and gave it to Greg. And then I met him at a coffee bean, had a meeting right before he was about to go to uptrends for season two, and it just begged to be on the show. I was really excited and just loved him, loved meeting him, and that's how it happened.

[01:06:48]

Oh, my gosh, that is such a fantastic story. Well, Jane, we have a question for you about obviously we're talking Benihana Christmas today. What was the inspiration for this episode? Do you remember how it came about, how you came to be the person to write it, like sort of the beginning of what was Benihana?

[01:07:07]

Your initial idea was Michael goes to break up and I can almost see myself leaping out of a chair at that moment. In fact, when I came in the room saying this, I need to have this episode because I just felt like. Taking Michael through a breakup is just like having. How would a 14 year old boy deal with a breakup? You know, it just kind of just the riding those waves for the first time. Is you ever been that close to a person to have a romantic partner, to have those waves?

[01:07:36]

You could really take them to the point where he's lying on the floor. So I put in a little bit of 14 year old boy and then a little bit of me listening to James Blunt, goodbye, my lover break ups, that there was a smush of the two of us, my version of Michael stuff.

[01:07:54]

And when I ended up leaving the office, which is devastatingly difficult to do, but I ended up telling Steve that I was leaving and I'll never forget his comment to me. He said, I think this is going to be really difficult for you. And I said, Yeah, definitely.

[01:08:12]

But he's like because I think you work a lot of your own stuff out through my character, because I was like, there's this game that people play with. Who are they in the office?

[01:08:23]

And I'm like, I can't be Pam or Angela or I'm Michael because I'm like to see where Steve was aware when it was against a lot of script. Oh, well, we're going to work out some issues this week. And so I, I think that for the breakup, I put myself as being sort of delayed in that area and experiencing a breakup. I think my first break up with a boyfriend was late mid 20s. She's experiencing that. And then also just having, you know, just thinking of a younger boy going through it.

[01:08:59]

And I just I wanted it so badly. And so I think I probably just wrestled to the ground for it. My God.

[01:09:05]

Well, John, I would love to talk to you about the party planning committee versus the committee to plan parties.

[01:09:12]

What the hell you were saying on a previous podcast, Jenna? That I really am drawn to Angelov writing for Angela. And there was something I'm starting to think about why that was just being brilliant. And it's so funny and it's just fun to write for you. But I was thinking I can't stand sometimes rules and bureaucracy and all of that stuff. And I feel like your character represented so many of those lines and things you can't do and limits. So somehow it was like cathartic for me to go deep in there and have you push those lines with people.

[01:09:48]

You know, comedy writers oftentimes want to push against authority and rules. And so you were you represented that. So I just kind of love to give you that. So then what do you do to your character threatening her with a rival party and just kind of up the stakes, a rival, a planning committee, and upped the stakes and have you kind of lose it when you run out to try to get the permission from Dwight that the party needs to start now?

[01:10:15]

It's just like the intensity with which you're clinging to. The fact that you need to maintain the balance of your structure is like I just I just delight in that.

[01:10:25]

I remember that scene. I remember actually talking to you about the dialogue and you and Harold and and I guess the first take I did it. Maybe I didn't have that urgency, like and you guys, like, pulled me aside and you're like, no, like like think like the buildings on fire, like I have to get out of here, you know, and that kind of like stakes.

[01:10:46]

And then gin, while we're talking about this, I had a line where I said to Meredith, and she's deciding which party to go to. I say, Meredith, like, if you go to that party, you're going to be very, very sorry. That and then Meredith is like, is that a threat? And I go, no, it's an invitation. Like, I don't think I really got the joke on the first time I read it.

[01:11:11]

And you're like, aren't you? Like, maybe when you say it's an invitation, switch gears to like a smile. And I remember it changed the whole scene. Like, I love that moment. That moment reminds me of in horror movies when, like, the deranged ex-boyfriend is like those up and then then there's like silence.

[01:11:36]

And he's like, Monica, I'd love to come in.

[01:11:41]

And you're like, whoa, that is super creepy. Oh, that's scarier than the banging on the door. So that's when I watch that scene.

[01:11:49]

Angela, it's an invitation was like super unnerving. Was like what happened?

[01:11:55]

That was a note. That was a note for a lot of us. Just a peek into her brain maybe. But there's definitely an alternate reality where the offices of Horror and Angela, I think there are moments where you're standing by the copier and then just jump out. But I feel like there's something where you get to see. Angela's struggle of her real feelings in the episode because they leak out all over the place, but then the pop back to this is this is an office.

[01:12:28]

We have to be professional. So we get to see that moment where you where the threat comes out. And then, you know, this is office decorum spokesperson. It's so creepy because we just saw what you really are or what part of you is.

[01:12:45]

Oh, yeah, I love the storyline, too, because it serves that whole purpose. And then it also serves the purpose of putting Pam and Karen together and freaking Jim out. So that's why it's so rich with storyline. Should we head over to Benny Honna? Because, Jenn, we were not there that day that you shot in the restaurant and there are so many delicious scenes. Delicious. I feel like that was a really good use of is that a like a metaphor because Betty.

[01:13:17]

Food I don't know.

[01:13:18]

Well, I think that the idea of Benny Hannah might have come up because it always cheer me up when I was a kid and sick or if I could grade, we'd go to Benny. And I remember they used to like flying shrimp in your mouth. I heard that when I was doing research for this episode that they stopped doing that. We think that they were worried about it being dangerous and so flinging hot shrimp across a restaurant.

[01:13:43]

Gin, I love to know, like how Benihana with like part of your childhood memory, because our youngest son, when he turned eight, the one thing he wanted to do was go to Benihana. Oh, well, that was like our eight year old's birthday dinner and a show, I remember.

[01:14:02]

So there was a scene where Dwight talks about the knife that the chef is using and how all that you're bummed that you want this other knife and the chef saying, no, no, this knife is better. Dwight, you don't know what the best knife is. And I kind of put this together when I was watching the episode, but when we were there, there was a problem making The Onion volcano, so that was sort of the biggest hold up of the day.

[01:14:34]

The chef couldn't make the onion volcano, and then they brought in another chef to make the onion volcano, but we couldn't get an onion volcano off the ground. It was. And I think we had one of the more celebrated onion volcano chefs there. And what immediately happened to me, even though I wrote the scene with white talking about knives, is I was like, well, maybe this is the oven hot enough.

[01:14:59]

Are you sure that the right positioning of, you know, I mean, volcanoes, I don't know, unin volcanoes, but we're desperately trying to get this. And so all of us were sitting around giving notes to a person who was already a difficult time making the onion volcano, trying to get help. You know, how can we help this so secret? Little fun fact.

[01:15:21]

The steam from The Onion was added in post because we never hear the volcano never erupted on the day there was, I think, a fluttering of smoke that came out after, I want to say, hours of trying to get this off the ground.

[01:15:40]

And I think it was Dean Holland who is that in the episode was like. Here's what we're going to do. We're going to add we're going to add some smoke to the onion. We can do this. And I can just imagine my passion crying at that moment to release The Onion sputtering would not lift up a heartbroken Michael. And, you know, we needed we needed that to do its part. Yes. Yes. Oh, my gosh. I love that story so much.

[01:16:09]

So, Jen, now we want to talk about the storyline with the bounty hunter waitresses and how Michael can't tell them apart. And I know we traded emails about this, even though we're saying, Michael, you should know better. What you're doing is wrong. Is it even right to put that storyline out there? Can you share your reaction to watching it?

[01:16:28]

You know, it's like I feel conflicted about the whole like there was this like Archie Bunker, Michael Scott, David Brent thing that we would make a joke that this is clearly inappropriate. But some of that stuff is just not appropriate, even if it's being made fun of. And some is and I don't know where some of the line is, but what is what is offensive? What is going to hurt somebody? What is making fun of a character who does this and is that even OK, where is the line for that?

[01:16:53]

We're constantly growing and and have to understand, even if our intention was to do something to show how ridiculous this behavior is at the time, how does that portrayal come across and is that affecting people and just taking it all in and. Just trying to educate myself as much as I can about how what we put out there affects people. Yeah, absolutely. I feel like as a creative community, we need to learn and and re-evaluate how we tell stories.

[01:17:24]

Yeah. And and like you said, Jan, how those stories affect people. Yeah. Yeah. All right, John. Well, before you go, can we ask you just a couple of quick little questions about this episode? OK, first of all, everyone wants to know, is there a significance to Jim and Karen both giving one another a copy of Bridget Jones Diary? Is there a story there? I as far as I remember, it was that they saw it together.

[01:17:52]

I don't think they were fans of it. And they kind of gave it to each other as sort of a joke gift. I remember we were talking about they wouldn't be giving each other a really significant gift. Right at this point. It's not like a really big gift, but at the same time, it should be a gift that if Pam is watching, will feel like, oh, God, they're on the same wavelength. So it was like, you don't want him to give her jewelry, but at the same time, you don't want just two different gifts where it's just, you know, a for just the efficiency of a script where they have to both be explained.

[01:18:31]

Why does this mean something? Why does this mean something? So it was a quick way to sort of say they're on a similar wavelength, but it's not a real serious gift. There was a debate between Mindy and Mike about that movie because Mindy would talk about her classic comedy movies. And this is more about her age. She would say Bridget Jones is like a classic comedy. And Mike would probably talk about, can you remember the examples of the apartment or just make sure it's right.

[01:19:01]

So Mindy got Mike a Bridget Jones Diary poster and signed it and Mike hung it on his wall. So I think the fact that it was a bit of a joke between Mike and Mindy ended up getting back to the specific that we used. So it wasn't just to make fun of a movie that's super popular and great. Angela, you wanted to ask about karaoke? I did.

[01:19:25]

I wanted to ask you, Jen, how you guys decided on the songs that each character would sing. Kevin sings You Ought To Know by Alanis Morissette. Michael and Andy sing Your Body is a Wonderland. John Mayer. Kelly sings We Belong, which is hilarious by Pat Benatar. Creed sings his own song, Spin and Reelin. And then, of course, Dwight sings Lady by Styx. Yes. So all right. I remember we belong. Definitely me.

[01:19:53]

I came up with that because I as soon as I like the guy, I would start singing that in the shower.

[01:20:00]

That is me. That is where me and the Kelly Kapoor character collide. However, I am 99 percent sure it was Mindy that said We belong together, Ryan. But I did not have. I just had her.

[01:20:16]

Singing is genius. It makes the moment. It's so good. I just looked up. I had in my writer's first draft.

[01:20:23]

Kevin singing One second please. More money mo problems by Notorious B.i.g. instead of Alanis Morissette. So somehow during the rewrite process it became You ought to know, which is just fantastic, where he just goes for it at the end. I watch that scene and I notice I don't know if it's Jim or if it's John where you see him.

[01:20:48]

So he's smiling at Brian. It feels like he's breaking it. But I, I agree. I'm not sure I wrote an entire code and everything. He's clearly breaking. You can see his cheeks bulging and that's why he doesn't turn around. He's like faded on Kevin because John is breaking is that's amazing. And I do remember we wanted to sing one of his own songs. We just thought that was incredible. Yeah. Like, just what a cool opportunity.

[01:21:14]

How often do we have that?

[01:21:15]

Like, well, dude was in a band. He was in a band. He's phenomenal. I was going to say one thing that's in another song thing, but not from here. I wrote a joke where Michael says, I got two tickets to Paradise. He says, Pack your bags. We leave the day after tomorrow. And the sound mix. I found out from Kent that that was a sixty thousand dollar joke. I was like, it's a fine joke.

[01:21:41]

None of my jokes I've ever written have been to sixty thousand dollar joke. But I remember not so long after that we had some of our music budget pulled away from us. And I think I mean, I was sitting at the mics and had no idea that because you sang that song, that song had to be cleared and that joke was sixty thousand dollars. Jen, Salada, you're such a delight, I just enjoy you so much and we just want you to come back as many times as you will, please.

[01:22:11]

Oh, I mean, it's so much fun. It's so much fun. All right, Jim, thank you so much. Thank you so much, Jen.

[01:22:27]

OK, we are back, let's break down the rest of this episode, we are at the Habashi table and Dwight is decided that he knows more about knives then the Benihana chef.

[01:22:40]

Yeah, he's sort of like, oh, is that an inquiry? And the chef is like, no, it's a soba. And Dwight's like, oh, I bet you wish you had an inquiry. And the chefs like actually this is better for large quantities. Yeah. And Dwights, like, I'm not sure. And then I, I wrote down a restaurant lady says I love this moment so much and the actress's name is Anaesthetic. And she says, I think he would know.

[01:23:10]

And then they look at each other, they like glare at each other.

[01:23:14]

But I loved the way she delivered that line. I also want to give a shout out to the chef in the scene who I believe was a real Benihana chef. That's what Kent told us. I also noticed this is his only credit on IMDB. He also really knew what he was doing and his name is Chatree. You visit Sjaak. Good job schooling Dwight Chatree. Exactly. Well, there is a deleted scene that happens right here, Jonah, and it's so good.

[01:23:41]

Michael sneaks off to call Carol and he asks her what he did wrong.

[01:23:46]

And he's on the phone for a long time. And then he says, well, all right, could you tell me something that I did right? And then she hangs up. Oh, no. Oh, oh, that's crushing.

[01:24:00]

But just watching Steve as Michael play the moment where he's listening to her rant and he's like, OK, well, did I do anything right?

[01:24:08]

It was really funny after that phone call is that when he would go back to the table and then Andy's trying to cheer him up. Yes, exactly. Then Andy's like, let's get around to drinks going, you know, and he tells them about this smoking volcano onion that's going to come so that he comes back from the call, really dejected.

[01:24:26]

Oh, and this is what we talked about in the interview with Jen about the the steam from The Onion. I tracked it. It's twenty one minutes. Forty four seconds.

[01:24:35]

If you want to see a real good shot of some fake onion steam, I try to look at my timecode and everything. I got really excited. OK, where are we.

[01:24:48]

Oh, well, we're back, we're back at Scranton and Pam and Karen have announced that their party is starting and this is when Angela starts to spiral out and she's like, I have a very important announcement and she's trying to, like, make sure her party starts before theirs.

[01:25:04]

Yes.

[01:25:04]

And then this is when Angela calls Dwight and she announces that her party has started early. And it's also here. I tracked this, Angela, because we talked about this with Jen as well at twenty minutes, 50 seconds. This is that scene where you say it's an invitation. Yeah, it's not. It's right there. It's an invitation.

[01:25:25]

That's that's when you see how Angela Martin would be in a horror movie.

[01:25:28]

Well, also in this scene, we didn't talk about with Jen at twenty three minutes. Twenty seconds. There is a really good shot of my gray tights that I'm wearing instead of panty hose. That's all. That's all. Well, Jenna, I have something that I got really excited about. This is a great background catch for my folks that love the background like I do. I mean, I froze it. I took a picture of it. I'm very excited at twenty three minutes, ten seconds in the deep background and screen and accounting, looks like someone was surfing the Internet.

[01:26:03]

Zoom in.

[01:26:04]

Oh so then at twenty three minutes, twenty eight seconds there is a picture of a cat with a cowboy hat screensaver on Andy's computer.

[01:26:16]

I want to say, Angela, this same thing happens in the cold open when Dwight comes in with the goose. I am surfing the Internet and then the next shot when you see me at my desk, I have changed it to a screen saver.

[01:26:32]

We were really surfing the Internet in this episode, clearly what happened? We were just like they're like, you know, paying our bills and shopping. So now Angela has announced that her party is starting. Do you know who the very first person to go to the other party is? Stanly he stands there for a long time and looks back and forth and then picks Karen and Pam's party and he gives a look to camera. Is this Stanley's first direct look to camera?

[01:26:58]

Yes, I think it is. Yeah, I think it is. I also want to say, Stanley, what were you mulling over? I mean, what took so long? There was there was a chance you were ever going to go to Angela's party. A lot of suspense. Well, he might have to put up with Phyllis, you know, because, you know, Phyllis is going to my party.

[01:27:20]

So maybe maybe it was more layered of a decision. All right. So here's a breakdown of who goes to Karen and Pam's party. You have Stanley and you have Kelly and Ryan and Meredith. And then later we see that Darryl and Roy and Creed are all there as well. The only people that go to Angela's party are Hannah, who's, by the way, really starky, she's so snarky and Kevin and Phyllis.

[01:27:47]

Yeah, but then Kevin is going to leave your party and come to my party. I know. I know. We'll get to it. Something I want to point out to everyone is that there is this huge Pam, Karen, Angela. Stare off, right.

[01:28:01]

Yeah. Yeah, it is for nine seconds. That's nine seconds of dead air time. It starts at twenty four minutes. 30 seconds. It goes to twenty four minutes. Thirty nine seconds. And I don't know why but I wrote that's longer than you have to stay on the ball and like professional bull riding you get eight seconds to stay on the ball. We stared at each other longer than you have to stay on a ball and professional bull riding.

[01:28:27]

Well, Angela, I loved that you traktor stare in bull riding seconds. I think that should be a new standard on our show here. Welcome. You're welcome. Is it longer or shorter than a bull ride? Well, Angela, this leads me into your talking head. It's so wonderful you explain that you don't back down. It's a source of pride. And in fact, you have not talked to your sister in sixteen years because of an argument that you guys got into.

[01:28:57]

You're that good. You don't even remember what the argument was about. Yeah, she's really proud of it. She's proud that she hasn't spoken to her sister. She doesn't even know why anymore. But she's not making that phone call. Well, we had a fan question.

[01:29:13]

OK, Hannah Mack, Lindsey name, Allie Burke, Veronica Ramirez and Jessie Clark all said, Angela says that her sister was her best friend, but they haven't spoken for 16 years. But then later, her sister Rachel appears at the end of the series and her bridal shower where Angela describes them is being very close. Is this the same sister? OK. I don't know what you have to say about it, Angela, but I have some facts about it.

[01:29:43]

What is your answer? No, no, I want to hear your facts. I looked it up in the show Bible. Oh, and here's what it said.

[01:29:50]

Season five, Episode 13, It is revealed that Angela has several sisters.

[01:29:57]

So later at the wedding, we're referring to one of her sisters, Rachel, although in the wedding it sort of implies that you only have one sister again. So it is a little ambiguous. What's your story here? I always assumed that I had several siblings. You know, I have that line in the Martin family. We say looks like someone took the slow train to Philly. I just assume there was more than just me and my parents, you know?

[01:30:22]

Yeah.

[01:30:22]

So I assumed I had more siblings and that the sibling at my wedding was not the one that I haven't spoken to unless she reached out to me. I'm still not talking to her.

[01:30:34]

Well, you made that clear in your talking head. Yes, that's for sure.

[01:30:39]

All right. So should we go back to Benihana now? Michael is getting wasted and he is going to steal some steak from a stranger's plate because he claims it's family style. And Jim is like, no, it's not, Jenna.

[01:30:53]

This brings me to I think we need to start tracking some drinks, OK, of it.

[01:30:59]

If if. How could we do this podcast without you tracking drinks? It's your favorite thing, truly. It's like my purpose in life is to track these ridiculous things.

[01:31:09]

So I'm going to take us back for a moment. But at 19 minutes, 40 seconds, that's when Andy orders the first round. Right. OK, Michael's come back from this phone call that we didn't know about and now Andy orders the first round. Andy, Michael and Dwight all get these cocktails. Jim gets what looks like to be like a Coca-Cola of some kind. It's like a brown looking soda for my own peace of mind.

[01:31:32]

I'm going to make Jim their designated driver go on. Oh, he's one hundred percent is OK. And then at twenty one minutes, twenty five seconds, you see Michael downing his he's like slamming it back then at twenty one minutes. Thirty one seconds. Cindy is giving them a second round now she just gives it to Andy and Michael. I don't know about Dwight but at twenty five minutes, eight seconds there's two more drinks in front of Michael and Andy.

[01:32:00]

So wow. Am I tracking. I think they've had at least three. OK, so now we have the scene with the waitress where Andy is asking the waitress to close your eyes and imagine her dream house and then describe it to him. And Dwight can't hear any of this. So he asked Jim to explain what's happening. Jim says, oh, she's trying to describe how to butcher a dead goose, but she can't figure it out. So then Dwight chimes in and ends up being very creepy and random.

[01:32:28]

And can I just say I was in food service, guys, stop being pervy and weird.

[01:32:34]

Yeah, just be cordial. Be cordial. I mean, when they asked her to close her eyes, like, oh, did you see how many tables she had? She is so busy she's probably in the weeds getting everything out to all these tables. She doesn't have time to, like, humor some guy who wants to flirt.

[01:32:50]

You're at a restaurant with chefs doing a whole food show for you. That's your entertainment. Leave your waitress alone in general.

[01:33:01]

Leave your waitresses alone. Come on, everybody. Oh, but before we move on from this table scene, I want to give a shout out to the guest actress who plays the woman at the table. Yes.

[01:33:11]

Anaesthetic. Who gives Dwight so much sass. Yes, guys, she's amazing. I feel like she's only got the one line to Dwight, but her expressions and all of her reactions during the scene are so great. And she is a company member at the Groundlings. She's had recurring roles on Silicon Valley and two broke girls. And I did a deep dive on her IMDB and I found this little interesting bit of trivia.

[01:33:38]

Angela, what? She was on Curb Your Enthusiasm where she played, quote unquote, Buffet woman. Mm hmm. And then she was on Cougar Town playing female chef. I just thought it was interesting that she's had three guest roles involving food.

[01:33:53]

I'm also really envious that she got to play by a woman because of the role of my dreams. Yes, exactly. All right.

[01:34:06]

We're back now at the party's Angelas is not going well. It's pretty boring. Phyllis is, like, desperate to get out of this party. She really is one of my favorite things in this whole episode. Her yearning to be at the other party is so brilliant. Phyllis is so brilliant. And there is a deleted scene that's great. That really would have amplified this.

[01:34:27]

She pours herself like a drink and it's like ginger ale. And she says, oh, there's not a lot of fish in this. And she starts to make her way to the door. And I'm like, no, no, no. She goes, I might get some more ginger ale. And I'm like, no, no, no. And I block her from leaving. I was like, I'll go get it.

[01:34:44]

You stay. That is amazing.

[01:34:47]

But her reaction when she pushes and she's like, there's not a lot of things.

[01:34:53]

Like you see her plotting to get out of the conference room. Well, I also quite enjoyed it in the scene, Hannah. If you look at her in the background, she is like really examining the napkins. She is giving your napkins like the third degree. I'm sorry, she's not going to stick around longer. Well, we'll get to that in future episodes. Yes. All right. Well, Pam and Karen's party is a big hit, except the karaoke machine won't work because they don't have the right chord.

[01:35:24]

But don't worry, because Darrell is going to go get his keyboard. And then there's this scene that I absolutely love. As Darrell walks past the conference room, he's like, hey, when you're done with your meeting, there's a party in the break room.

[01:35:39]

But it's the way Craig does it, because Craig is like, hey, guys, when you get done with your meeting, it's like he doesn't quite know what to go with. Like I do a meeting.

[01:35:50]

You should come to the break room because we're having an actual party and I love it. And that's when at twenty eight minutes. Twenty four seconds, Phyllis is standing in the doorway and she sort of gazing at the other party and then Ryan comes to get his jacket. She's like, are you cold. That'll help. Is it cold in there. You know what that was an improv. That was a pit stop. Yeah. Which part. The final line.

[01:36:17]

It was scripted that Ryan would come and get his jacket and that Phyllis just says something like, how is it in there? And then he's like, huh? And that was the end of the scene. And then he walks away. So Phyllis being like, maybe that'll help. It's a cold in there. That was Phyllis. Well, her maybe that would help. Like it had me fall out of the chair. Her runner is just absolutely one of my favorites in this whole episode.

[01:36:45]

So now the guy's return from Benihana and have brought waitress's with them. So we covered a little bit of the Benihana waitress storyline with Jen, but we did not really talk about this.

[01:36:59]

And we got a lot of fan questions from Emma Bloom, Kelsey K. Colobus Abbie Role, Tinsley's Samantha Munden and many others want to know why do the actresses playing the Benihana waitresses change when Michael and Andy bring them back to the office? Is that supposed to feed into the ongoing joke that Michael and Andy can't tell them apart?

[01:37:21]

So, no, the idea here was simply that Michael and Andy couldn't land the original waitresses that they'd been flirting with all night. And then they managed to get these two younger, kind of more naive waitresses to come back with them to the office. And in the script it says Michael and Andy walk in, not with Cindy and her hot friend, but with two other twenty to twenty five year old Asian-American waitresses. So the idea was that these two older, sophisticated women would never go back to a party.

[01:37:57]

But these two younger gals, college age gals, would be like, oh, yeah, like free drinks will go for Karros. Like they're more up for it. Yeah, free drinks. And Michael's like, and I have a present for you. It's a bicycle.

[01:38:11]

Yes. And she's thrilled. She's like, I love it. Yeah. Well I have a background catch at twenty nine minutes when they walk into the office the girls have on a lot of makeup and then at twenty nine minutes, twelve seconds later no makeup. What happened.

[01:38:28]

Well Angela, a lot of other people noticed this as well. Sonia Maria Raposo wrote in with a theory. Oh she thinks that they appear with makeup at first because that's how Michael perceived. Them to be because he's drunk and then they appear with no makeup, because that's what they truly look like, it's not the case. Jen did a little bit of a deep dive and she actually found an interview that her and Greg did on an office panel about this exact thing.

[01:38:55]

And she said basically it was a continuity error. Yeah, exactly. She was telling us that the first day that they worked, they put makeup on them. Then they watched the dailies and they were like, well, wait, that doesn't really track for who they are in the show as their characters, these younger college girls. And, you know, they shouldn't look at that sophisticated. So the next time they worked, they toned down, didn't have them have makeup on.

[01:39:19]

So it was as simple as that. They really wanted to drive home this idea that these were college girls to kind of further emphasize how ridiculous Michael's infatuation and belief that he's found his true love is. Yeah, and Michael now starts going around the office and introducing Nicky as his new girlfriend.

[01:39:38]

Everyone is like girlfriend, huh? Really? Well, they realized pretty quickly that Angela's party is super lame. And as they leave, Nicky takes one of Angela's decorations and Angela is ticked off and she insults her with the Hello Kitty backpack line.

[01:39:57]

It's just a horrible thing to say. And Michael wants to get Nicky away from Angela as soon as possible.

[01:40:05]

So he takes her to the really fun party. In the break room, we have Kevin singing karaoke.

[01:40:14]

Yeah, go to thirty one minutes, 14 seconds and please watch Ryan. It is the most animated I've ever seen him. He's like swaying back and forth, singing like you're good at now. He's like so into it. I'm like, what's happening, Ryan? Is he drunk too? Well, I did have a fan question from this scene from Sasha Larra, who wants to know, does Craig Robinson play the keyboard in real life?

[01:40:37]

Oh, Sasha, yes, he does. He definitely does. Oh, he's phenomenal.

[01:40:43]

Are you kidding? He's amazing. And in those scenes on the show, when Craig would get out the keyboard, it really did turn into a party like that was really fun to shoot. Angela, I'm sorry that you weren't in there, but we were having an amazing time. And between takes, Craig would play and we would sing and Cate would sing show tunes. And I mean, it was like it was exactly as much fun as you would imagine it would be.

[01:41:08]

I'm bummed I wasn't in that scene to be able to hang out with you guys like that. But I cherish the times. We were all in the conference room. And if Craig four in the latter years, he was in the main office bullpen and he and Kate would start singing. And Ed, I have found a video on my phone. Oh, my God, Jenna, it's us in the conference room. And they just start making up a song and like and everyone is singing and it's so great.

[01:41:36]

I love it.

[01:41:39]

Those are some of my favorite memories. I'll text you the video, ladies, should we go back to your super sad party? No.

[01:41:46]

Yes, Angela's having a horrible day, but a big thing happens here, which is that Dwight holds Angela's hand.

[01:41:54]

I know. It's like a very, very small moment. She's holding her boombox in her lap and they hold hands.

[01:42:01]

Well, this is when then Karen enters and announces that Dwight won the raffle, which, of course, is like a super passive aggressive thing to try to lure Dwight into the fun of their party. And as Dwight is excitedly opening the gift, Pam kind of clocks Angela's sadness and pulls Karen aside and says, I feel kind of bad for Angela.

[01:42:26]

Hold up. Did Dwight really not win the raffle? No, lady, we just did that to try to lure him to our party this whole time. When did he have time to enter the raffle?

[01:42:37]

I don't know. But this whole time I thought he won the raffle and I was like, oh, my God, do I won the raffle. I mean, I always took it to be like another like how we lured Kevin away from your party, this is how we were going to lure Dwight away by coming into your party and, like, trying to poach him. Oh, my God.

[01:42:57]

I mean, girls, here I am all naive thinking like, way to go, Dwight. I mean, I don't think he won the raffle.

[01:43:06]

That was my take on it was that it was a little bit of a mean girls moment and Karen's Park.

[01:43:12]

But you get Karen to come around and now you guys try to make amends. We do, and by the way, I mean, we may be passive aggressively let Dwight win the raffle, but you stole our power cord and hit it in a plant. I know. I was about to say you guys are dreadful and I'm shocked by that. How could you? But I full on stole the cable and hid it in a plant. Yes. You sabotaged our karaoke machine.

[01:43:40]

OK, so now the parties have merged and the karaoke machine has its chord. And we opened with Andy and Michael singing Your Body is a Wonderland. Michael is not sure which waitress's his girlfriend here, so he's singing to both of them. So we talked a little bit with Jen about all the different songs that people sing for karaoke, but we did not touch on this one. And I have some really good trivia about it. Let's hear it.

[01:44:07]

So we reached out to John Mayer to ask him if we could use a song, Your Body is a Wonderland. And it was actually B.J. Novak who reached out to him because B.J. knew him, knows they're pals.

[01:44:19]

He reached out to him and he was like, can we use this? And at first, John Mayer was like, I don't think so.

[01:44:26]

What he told his friend not happening. He was like, I don't think so. And he actually wrote about this on his blog. He was like one of my favorite shows on television.

[01:44:39]

The office wanted to use my song, Your Body is a Wonderland, in a scene for their Christmas episode. And he was like, no, I'm not making apologies for my work, but it's safe to say I don't get asked to use Wonderland for strongman competitions and documentaries about aircraft carriers. I usually get asked so that people can goof on it. So I initially turned down the request, but after thinking about it, I decided to go for it.

[01:45:05]

But with one stipulation.

[01:45:07]

What was it? He wrote, I want to Dondi I. So B.J. presented him with a Dondi for tallest music dude. He is very tall, he's very tall, and then he agreed to let us use the song.

[01:45:24]

Well, look, I get it. Andy and Michael are being total idiots in this episode. And so do you want your song to be the song The Two Idiots picks? Right. Right. But he agreed. And Angela, we have a very fun story about John Mayer. We danced at the Walk Hard premiere party with John Mayer. And you were very pregnant. Look, this is like true friendship because I did not feel like being in a dress or in any kind of fancy shoes.

[01:45:51]

But this was a big premiere for you. And I was so excited to celebrate it. And then, of course, because you and I have to we had to dance.

[01:45:58]

Listen, I left the after party before 10:00 p.m. I was like, I'm out.

[01:46:02]

But I was going to have one dance with my best friend at her big movie premiere. And John Mayer was on the dance floor and he was dancing with someone.

[01:46:11]

And I'll never forget, he turned around. And I'm sure he was really surprised to see a huge pregnant woman, like, directly behind him.

[01:46:20]

And he was like, oh, my gosh, you, because you're so beautiful. And then he touched my belly and he said, Blessings, blessings.

[01:46:31]

I will never forget it. My belly was blessed by John Mayer. And John, thank you from us for letting us use your song. Yeah.

[01:46:40]

And he said he still has his done day, by the way. He still has it. He better still have his dondi. I have both of mine. I have both of my so now we have the scene that where Michael is over with Roy and Kevin and he's kind of trying to brag about his new girlfriend, but it's very clear that he doesn't know which one is Nikki. Right. Kevin and Roy are like, you don't know. You should know, Michael.

[01:47:06]

You should know.

[01:47:08]

This leads Michael to really spin out he needs to figure out which woman is his girlfriend, so he goes into the kitchen and he does this whole elaborate bit where he's like, where's my girlfriend?

[01:47:24]

Where is she? Is she in the refrigerator? And it's this as such, this awkward moment where finally Nikki says, Michael, you know where I am. I'm right here. So then when Michael goes in for a hug. He takes out a pen and he marks Nikki's arm because this is now how he's going to be able to determine which one of these women is his girlfriend. And Angela, this moment really made me cringe.

[01:47:54]

Yeah, it made me cringe, too. I, I just don't think the storyline would have been written today.

[01:48:01]

Yeah, I don't think so either. All right.

[01:48:04]

Well, let's get back to the party. It's going really well. Everyone's having a better time. Karen and Jim exchanged Bridget Jones Diary and Jenn told us the story about that. Yes. And Pam gives Toby a robe where she got it. I don't know. Maybe it's her robe. That was a fan theory that Pam gives Toby her robe. I like that. Yeah. And that's when the waitresses decide to leave, though. She's like, you know what?

[01:48:32]

This party kind of sucks and we're going to take off.

[01:48:36]

And Michael's like, no, don't go, don't go. She's like, I'm going to go. And that's when he invites her on a trip to Sandals, Jamaica. It's all inclusive. He is determined to get someone to go on this trip. That is the third person in one day. He is asked to go. He asks Carol, he asked Pam, and now he's asked Nikki, the waitress.

[01:49:00]

Yeah, but she's like, no, I think I'm just going to take my bike and get out of here. Get out of your lame party. I really love that she takes the. Oh, I do, too. Just like I have this bike, at least. Yeah, so Michael is devastated and he's on the couch with Jim and Michael is really mopey. He's like she was the one. She was my true love and she's gone. And Jim is like, you barely knew her.

[01:49:27]

You knew her for three hours. She's not the one. She was a rebound. And Michael's like, oh, my God, a rebound. And Jim's like, yeah. And he goes on to say, which don't get me wrong, can be a great distraction. But when it's over, you're left thinking about the girl you really like, the one who broke your heart. And Jim is I mean, we know who Jim's talking about in that moment.

[01:49:52]

He's talking about him and Pam and he's basically saying Karen's a rebound, just like Nicki was a rebound. Mm hmm. Yeah, but all Michael hears is that he's had a rebound and he's he's super excited. Yeah. But, Jim, we hear you, we hear we hear you, Jim, we hear you, you love Pam, we hear you.

[01:50:15]

Now, Angela, we need to discuss Little Drummer Boy, OK? We had a fan question from Amanda Gervais's, huh? Hey, spelled differently than Ricky Gervais, but she wants to know how was it decided that Dwight should hold the microphone for Angela?

[01:50:36]

I found this choice really interesting because they don't want to look like they're dating. But this was kind of the first impression that they gave of interacting in a personal way in front of the entire office. Well, here's here's my story. I was terrified to sing the song in front of everyone. I do not like singing in front of people, I, I just am not comfortable singing in front of people. It's kind of crazy to my whole family because I will do improv, I'll do standup, I'll do crazy sketch comedy.

[01:51:09]

I'll be all these weird characters. I have no fear ever getting up on stage, but if you want me to sing in front of people, it's like I, I shut down like my brain computer is like I can't do it. And there's been a few times in my career when I've had to do this and this was the first time and I was terrified and I'll never forget. I went up to Harold Ramis, who you guys, you know, we've said he was just a teddy bear.

[01:51:39]

And I went up to him and I was like, here's the thing, Harold, I. I can't do it. I can't do it. I, I really just can't sing in front of people and I can't do it. And he really calmly put his hand on my back and looked at me and said, But you will. Oh, my God. Oh, God, oh, no, I'm doing it, I am doing it. But Angela, I looked in the script and this bit of Dwight holding the microphone is not in the script.

[01:52:14]

So how did that happen? I shared with rain how scared I was.

[01:52:18]

You know, we did it take her to where the microphone was on a stand, you know, and I'm standing holding my hands, like in this very sort of like, I don't know, I'm I'm clutching my hand and proper, very prim and proper, clutching my hands in front of my chest. This was an idea that Jan had, you know, and so I'm standing like this because she was saying that she thought I should look like I'm in a very serious church choir stance or something, you know?

[01:52:43]

So OK, so I'm standing like that. And you guys, I was so nervous. I was digging my fingernails into the skin of my other hand. I had marks on my hands where I was just like like death gripping myself. And after the first take, I showed rain my hands. I was like, I am. Look what I'm doing. I'm so nervous. And rain, you know, listen. He just came through for me, you guys just came through for me, I was having a hard time, even though I know the song, I was so nervous and everyone was looking at me, I was having a hard time staying on beat and.

[01:53:21]

He dropped he took the microphone, improvised this, he took the microphone, he dropped to his knee and to help me, like, find the song, he's just started going up, up, up, bum, bum, bum, bum. And. All of a sudden, I wasn't alone. Rain was with me, I mean, rain, a six foot three. So when he's kneeling down, he's almost my height. It was like he was standing side by side with me and then I could do it.

[01:53:48]

And you see, if you watch ever so slightly, you see me smile. I'm not smiling because Angela loves Dwight and she's getting to sing a Christmas song. I'm smiling because Angela Kinsey sees her friend Rainn Wilson come through for her. Well, lady, I knew that story and I was there when it happens.

[01:54:10]

And when I watched this scene, I 100 percent saw that this was a scene between Angela Kinsey and Rainn Wilson.

[01:54:18]

Yeah, the way he's supporting you and the way you're smiling at him, it is so wonderful. And then it translates into this moment between Dwight and Angela that just enriches that relationship. What a wonderful, wonderful moment it really is. Anyway, so Rain, thank you so much for coming through for me with your pumps and getting me through that scene.

[01:54:46]

Now, during all of this, Angela, Oscar and Gil walk into the party. What? And he's like too soon.

[01:54:55]

What brilliant timing, though. I mean, that was such a well-written moment. Here he is making his return to work. You know, he's bringing his boyfriend. That's it. Oscar is back. Right. And then he's Angela of all people singing Little Drummer Boy. And he just does a pivot. He's like, nope, not happening. Also during this in the background, we see Roy give Pam a Christmas gift. And we had some people write in to ask, what book did Roy get Pam for Christmas?

[01:55:30]

Was it a really thoughtful gift? This was asked by Juliette Wilson, Donna Miller, Celia Quiggle, Dimitra Lizzio, Sarah Thorpe, Sarah Fletcher and Brooke Biegel.

[01:55:41]

A lot of people want to know what the present was. You guys, it was an art book. It was a very thoughtful present. Roy is winning me over. He wasn't the best boyfriend you can say, but he's really trying. He's, you know, invested in how to learn, how to gift wrap. And he's dressing nicer and he's getting in shape. And he is like, I'm going to buy you a thoughtful gift and. I know.

[01:56:09]

This was intentional. There was a part of the season where I thought Pam might be won over by Roy and they weren't even sure in the writers room, right?

[01:56:18]

They hadn't decided. No, no. I had this whole conversation with Greg where I was like, Greg, wouldn't it be like a crazy, crazy thing if the real true love story is Pam and Roy? Like, what if all this time, Jim is just a device that leads Pam to her real, true love of Roy and Roy completely rehabilitates himself. And that's the love story of the office. It would blow people's minds. And Greg was kind of like, yeah, I hear what you're saying.

[01:56:55]

I also think it's going to be Jim and Pam.

[01:56:58]

But I was like I'm just saying, if we really want to shock people, maybe it's Pam and Roy.

[01:57:04]

Well, there. And he is like, yeah, I don't know. There are people listening right now and are like.

[01:57:08]

Oh, I said a jam fans, there would have been POIs fans, POIs fans.

[01:57:18]

Ram, famm, ram fans, well, I ultimately I do believe that it was always going to be Jim and Pam, but we we had to break and pause. We had a moment, I think, partially because David Deadman's performance. We were all a little bit falling in love with Roy right now. Yeah. Yeah.

[01:57:36]

He did a great job. I think it was such an excellent foil to see Roy step it up, you know, and I think that needed to happen. I think Mehndi sort of touched on that when she was a guest that like we needed to see Roy, like, really make a go of it. Yeah, well, I want to say something. What's up with Jim? Jim clocks this through the window and then all of a sudden he's like, Hey, Pam, I want to do your CIA joke.

[01:58:05]

Oh, do you, Jim? You do. Interesting timing. Well, that you're suddenly invested in the CIA joke. Why couldn't he have just left well enough alone? Well, Pam was delighted it literally saved the day for her. Yeah, she was thrilled and it's very fun they decide that they're going to tell Dwight that a helicopter will be picking him up. And he goes up to the roof and then they play that final prank on him right now, and then he throws his phone off the roof.

[01:58:42]

Amazing. Right. Come on, buddy.

[01:58:45]

Well, we can't. And this episode without the major cliffhanger, which is that we spot Michael on the phone in his office, inviting someone, a fourth person to Jamaica.

[01:58:56]

And they say, yes, and the look on his face, he's like, oh, OK, he's like, oh my God. But who he has called, we don't know. It will be revealed next week in Back from Vacation.

[01:59:09]

I remember at the table read for this when he read that last line, there was such a buzz in the room. They're like, oh, we know who it is. We know, but you guys know. And next week we'll talk all about it.

[01:59:21]

Well, that's it. We had a Benihana Christmas. We had awesome guests. Thank you, Rasheeda. Thank you, Jan. And thanks you guys for listening. Yeah. We'll see you next week by. Thank you for listening to office ladies office ladies is produced by your won't Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. Our producer is Cody Fischer. Our sound engineer is Sam Kiffer.