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 rewatch 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.
We're the Office Ladies. Hello, everybody.
Today is very important, we have to do a very important legal procedure.
Oh Lord, I was like, wait, what's happening? And then I realize you're talking about the episode.
I was like, Jenna, what do we have to do? Did I miss an email? What's happening?
No, we have a very important deposition today, Angela. It's season four, Episode 12,
Lester Lewis, directed by Julianne Ferrigno.
Hit me with a summary.
Here it is. Michael and Jan go to corporate. And Michael is deposed as a witness in Jan's wrongful termination case against Dunder Mifflin.
What was Jan thinking? Why would you ever put Michael on any kind of witness stand?
I don't know. I'm so glad she did. Well, while they're gone, Jim and Daryl play ping pong in the warehouse, which sparks a rivalry between Pam and Kelly. Fast Fact number one this week, Angela, is Lester Lewis, the writer of this episode. Before writing on the office, Lester had worked on the Larry Sanders Show and Caroline in the city. He was one of the original members of our writing team going back to season one. And this is a tough one for me, Ange. For both of us, I know. Lester passed away in 2013 and I don't even know where to start. I loved him. I loved this man. We bonded over our love of autobiographical comic books. We both loved those. And I just have such fond memories of being with him. And he was so funny and he was so just kind and warm.
He was so kind.
And just a good, good person. And I miss him.
Yeah. I mean, Lester was someone that made time for everyone. You know, those people, they make time for everybody. And he was just a wonderful part of our show. I relistened to the DVD commentary for this particular episode. Lester is in the commentary, and it was so wonderful to hear his voice and also made me sad. It was bittersweet. But if you listen to the DVD commentary for this episode, you will just hear what a thoughtful person he was. And I'll share a few of the things that he said on the commentary as we record today, Jenna.
You know, I love that.
Well, lady, what is your Fast Fact number two?
You know, ping pong features very heavily in this episode. So I felt we needed a little history of ping pong.
Oh, my gosh. Did someone do a deep dive on ping pong?
I did. I want you to know it has two other names. Table tennis or wiff waff.
Wiff waff? That sounds made up.
Do you want to play some wiff waff?
I'll play you some woffle wiff waff.
Oh dear. I'll check it out. Yeah. What else you got about ping pong.
Ping pong began in Victorian England--I know you'll like the sound of that, Angela--in the eighteen eighties, when lawn tennis players adapted their game to play indoors during the winter.
Oh, where's my Netflix show about that.
Right with WFF Episode one, the Duke of Edinburgh comes to play with WEAF, but the game quickly caught on and as early as nineteen oh one tournaments were being conducted with over three hundred participants in nineteen to a visiting Japanese university. Professor took the game back to Japan, where he introduced it to Japanese university students. The First World Championships were held in London in nineteen twenty seven. They were won by a Hungarian doctor. Jacoby. Congratulations Dr Jacoby. Go to see him for a checkup.
But little do you know he's a ping pong master.
The Olympic Games started featuring ping pong for the first time in nineteen eighty eight in Seoul. The television coverage of the men's singles final attracted a worldwide audience of two billion. Wow. Yeah, here was something I found very interesting. There are many different ways to grip the paddle and all of those groups have names.
Oh gosh. Here's how you can hold it. You can give it the old pen, hold the shake hand or the C Miller.
The C Miller is actually named after an American table tennis champ, Danny Miller, because that's how he held his paddle.
He puts his little finger out. That's what she said. There are also a bunch of different strokes. Oh, gosh. That's what she said. Oh, Lord, there are offensive strokes. The hit the loop, the counter hit, the flip, the smash.
Then there's defensive strokes called the push, the chop, the block and the lob and the biggest part of the game. The biggest thing that these guys work on is their spin. And you can do a top spin, a backspin, a side spin and a cork spin.
Do you remember how good Forrest Gump was that ping pong? Yeah, he was so good.
I wonder if he was using the similar maybe the pen hold. I don't know.
I think you do know that my husband turned our beautiful dining table into a ping pong table.
Lady, I know this. I watched this happen and I knew you were going to regret it. You guys were real excited and I thought that's going to come back. They haven't regretted it.
Jenna, there's only one person that regrets it. Can we explain what Angela did? Guys, here's what her family did. They got one of these ping pong table tops that fits over her kitchen table.
It's meant to go over a pool table, right? Oh, it's meant to set on top of a pool table. Josh got it. Because, you know, we've all been quarantining and at home and so we're running out of things to do.
Kids are bouncing off the walls. So we bought this thing because it's way less expensive than buying an actual ping pong table. And you just put it on top of your dining table. Of course, it doesn't fit our dining table, so it hangs off.
Well, also now, guys, she has nowhere to eat. OK, Angela. This is now your dining table. It's just so I don't know, Josh and the kids love it.
What I didn't factor in. I knew I'd be eating, like, awkwardly for the rest of our time. But what I didn't factor in was the bouncing ball sound. I'm talking at like 8:00 a.m. because they want to play a game before school starts, you know, so it's like bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.
It is nonstop. Yeah, you come down the stairs, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.
It doesn't matter what time you've got that and then all your appliances are beeping. Oh, don't get me started. It's so much noise. Anyway, here's an interesting tidbit from the commentary.
Jenna, I know how much you love the wall in the writers room with all the note cards, right? Yeah. All the different possible story ideas.
It's one of my favorite things to go look at at my lunch. Well, Lester shared there was one for this episode that didn't get used, simply written it was Dwight get stuck in the wall.
So if we didn't have this ping pong competition, the other thing that might have happened is that Dwight was going to get stuck in a wall.
Yeah, that was going to be Dwight storyline instead of helping Jim or the ping pong, I don't know how it would have played out.
Ultimately, they couldn't make it work in this episode. So.
Oh, man, I have to say, I love this ping pong story. I also would have loved to have seen whatever that was going to be.
How would he have gotten in the wall? How would he got stuck in there? I was laughing so hard when they were talking about it.
That is some good stuff. All right, fast. Fact number three is all about the writers strike.
Oh. Mm hmm.
This was the last episode of the office that we shot before the Writers Guild of America went on strike and we had to shut down production.
Now, this was really significant, guys, because NBC ordered 30 episodes for season four of the office 30. Wow.
This was a huge episode order. You know, typical seasons are like twenty two to twenty four episodes long. But then in November 2007, the Writers Guild went on strike. So if I remember correctly, Angela, we were allowed to shoot any outstanding scripts, but there could be no new writing done and we could not have a writer on set with us.
Exactly. No writers were showing up to work period. Well we really relied on our writers to be on set with us while we were shooting. That was a big part of our process on the show is they would pitch alternates and they were so important to the show being great. And not only that, three of them were also actors. And Steve Carell was a member of the Writers Guild union and he would not cross the picket line for work. That's right.
And I know that meant a lot to our writers that he stood with them. Yes.
So we shut down and any unused scripts were just tabled and the strike lasted over three months. Yes.
And for those of you that are on the old preggers belly tracker, the Kinsey preggers belly, this was really weird because I left work not really showing and just wait for dinner party.
Well, actually, you also went out with some of the other actors and you picketed. I remember I did.
I went over and I picketed with our writers. And I remember Ed was there the day that I went and it was very bonding experience. The Writers Guild wasn't asking for the moon. They were just asking for really just basic, decent, fair treatment from studios. And I was really happy to help get their voices heard in any way that I could.
Well, we always appreciated our writers.
But I'll tell you, Angela, you and I are writing a book right now who and I will say there is nothing harder than staring at a blank piece of paper and putting something on it.
Yeah, I know. I think that writers have the hardest job in our industry because all the rest of us, we get to start with something. We get to build on something that already exists, but the writers have to manifest it from nothing. Well, yeah, I know. After the office I went into development, as you know, Jenna, I wrote and I sold pilots and it was so hard because not only do you write this thing that you love, it becomes your baby.
Then you have to hand it over to like studio heads and network. And they have all these notes and they just carve it up.
And you're like, my baby. Yeah.
Guys, we love our writers. Yep. And a lot of people always ask, why was season four of the office so much shorter than the others? And that is why. Because of the writer's strike. Yep. We made fewer episodes that year.
Well, Jenna, we were very lucky because our show Survivor. The writers strike, we both had many friends who are actors and writers and producers who were on shows and the strike went on for so long that they weren't able to resume. So we were actually really fortunate. Yeah, well, there you go, guys.
Lady, that's all I got. I have a fun little thing. It's not a fast fact.
Maybe it's a Kinzie tidbit. What is it, Jenna?
Do you remember that Ed would do an impression of Tom Brokaw? Yes.
And it would make us laugh. It was so good. It would make us laugh so hard. OK, so what he would do is, Ed, as Tom Brokaw, he would start out telling a news story and then he would tell us what our hot snack of the day was on set.
And there was a particular time where we had Albon to gossip and he made that into part of Tom Brokaw's news announcement. And on the DVD commentary, they were talking about it. And Ed did it. Oh.
Sam, will you play it, could you give us the Tom Brokaw and say the magic word that makes Steve giggle?
The Israelis have once they launch an all out assault on Al Barnegat Soup, that's what keeps us going.
Yeah. Oh, my gosh, what a gem. I'm so happy that has been recorded. I know, I know.
So if you guys want to know what behind the scenes moments were like Ed was doing, Tom Brokaw and John was doing impressions and we were all watching them and just cracking up. Oh, my gosh.
That actually brought tears of joy to my eyes. I know I'm very tired today, and maybe that's made me a little emotional, but.
Oh, my goodness. Wow, that took me back. It did me to Jenna. It just made me laugh and it warms my heart. These were the behind the scenes moments that I treasure.
All right. I'm going to let that take me into break. I'm going to pull myself together. We'll be right back.
All right, guys, we are back and Michael is in a series of very important meetings, the first meeting is with the accounting department, seems very serious. Pam comes in hands. Michael, a Post-it note.
Yes. And Michael says with great authority after reading the note, you know what? I need to just call them back. I can't talk right now.
Everyone is very perplexed when he does this, by the way. Well, Pam explains in her talking head that Michael does not get a lot of phone calls. But one time he got a phone call and she interrupted him during a meeting with a Post-it note. And he was so delighted by this gesture that now he has asked her to do it every time he's in a meeting, but he doesn't get any calls, so she just makes it up.
Yeah, I would like to point out at thirty five seconds I'm titling this Happiness in the Break Room.
Oh, I think this is the most functional moment we ever see. Jan and Michael, they're eating lunch together. She is laughing at whatever he's saying. Pam brings in the note. He says, you know what, I'll have to call them back. She's impressed. I think this is peak. Jan Michael, happy moment. Yeah, you're right.
They're being so functional. I know.
Well, we had a fan question about this series of notes from Marijana W. Walter P, the Lippa J and Coryna.
Oh. Did Jenna make the sticky notes that Pam hands to Michael or were they made for her guys? I did not make any of the sticky notes.
None of the words, none of the drawings are mine and the very famous Hi Buddy with the little hot dog that was actually drawn by our showrunner, Greg Daniels.
Yes. Lester talked about it in the commentary and he said that Greg Drewett just freehand quickly on their white message board, you know, in the writers room. And then he had the props department come up and look at the drawing on the message board and they had to copy it and make it look just like the one on the message board. But then I heard they were not successful.
And so they just handed Greg a sticky note and he redid it himself so that, I don't know, they tried.
I want to point out one thing, though, as the scene is happening between Michael and Ryan and Pam is there, she's handed the note that says, hi, buddy. And then Ryan's like, no, you should take the call. Take the call. Yes. And Michael's like, no, you're my friend. I will not. And he's saying, I'm telling you, it's a work call. Take it.
Jenna, your looks back and forth to Michael and Ryan in this moment and then how you pick up the phone and you you hit the extension and hand it to him.
It's so good. Your reactions made this scene for me. Oh, you're so nice. I loved shooting that scene. It was so fun to watch them go back and forth. I loved the scenes where I got to just watch, you know what? That's who the audience is relating to, because the audience is like, oh, my God, oh, my God. Oh, my God.
What's going to happen? What's happening? Well, next up, we are in the car with Jan and Michael. They're going somewhere. We find out they're on their way to New York City because Michael is going to be deposed in Jan's wrongful termination lawsuit.
And we had a fan catch from Veronica right at one minutes, 53 seconds, you can see that Jan has on flip flops while she's driving the car.
Oh, my God. Really, Mom? Now, that's because, guys, Melora was really driving that car. You can see out the front window we had a camera operator in the back, probably Randall Einhorn, capturing this. And so Melora was actually driving and performing.
And again, the PT Cruiser because Michael's car is still in the shop, the Sebring from when he drove it in the lake. Does he ever get it back? I guess we'll find out. I don't know.
This is our second episode where we see the PT Cruiser. Janna's coaching Michael on what to say. And Michael decides the best way to remember his testimony is to create very elaborate word associations.
I wrote them all down. They're amazing. Here's Michael Short shortcut to remembering things for this deposition.
Jan says they displayed a pattern of disrespect, inappropriate behavior. Michael says, Pat, turn, Pat, earn. My friend Pat took a turn. Does Ray my friend does Ray got new specs, does respect my friend and a pro drives a Prius with his behind neighbor. What?
What. Yeah, and then John is like, does this really help you?
And he's like, oh yeah.
We find out that Jan might win four million dollars. That's a lot of guacamole. It sure is. Michael, though, is getting overwhelmed with the information that Jan is trying to get him to learn. Jan has a line that I thought was really funny. She's like, the truth is very complicated. So we had to go over it a few times. And Jonah, Michael needs the top down because he's going to puke. He's going to vomit.
He's just getting too hot and flustered.
Yes, Jan obliges, even though it completely messes up her hair. So now we're in the lobby of corporate Dunder Mifflin and we meet Jan's lawyer, Lester Schneider. He was played by Patrick O'Connor, who has also been in Christmas with the Kranks Passions and Gray's Anatomy, among other things. Well, I have some very important plant alerts at Corporate Laham on me. Three minutes. Thirty three seconds. A big bamboo plant, three minutes, 49 seconds, a white orchid, three minutes, 53 seconds.
A tree, a plant outside the front door. Three minutes. Fifty five seconds. A pink orchid. What the heck? They have so many plants.
It's corporate. They're fancy. They do.
We had a fan question from Gary K. Sophea A, Libby B and Marende B, where were the corporate headquarters scenes filmed? They were just right on our warehouse stages. They built what is called a swing set. The little lingoa come coming atcha will set Lingoa. So a swing set is something they build that they can put up and take down. And every time we had characters go to Dunder Mifflin Corporate, they would bring out these walls and they had all their pictures to make sure they did it exactly the same every time.
So they were just shooting right over in the Dunder Mifflin warehouse on a swing set.
Lady, I have a little location breakdown for you about corporate what is it? The corporate reception area with all the orchids in the plants also became the deposition room. Oh, yeah. They only made one set. They set dressed at first for all the front reception scenes at corporate. And after all those scenes were done in the front reception area of corporate, they came in set dressing, redid the whole room and made it into the deposition room. Well done.
There you go. So good wall location worked out for. Yeah. Location Breakdown with Kinsey. Oh well. Kinsey pedia because it gives up idea. Well Jenna at three minutes. Fifty three seconds Ryan comes in flanked by two guys right. Yep. Lester talks about this runner that the writers came up with that ultimately didn't get to be in an episode where Ryan only surrounds himself by guys that look like him but are shorter than him. I remember this.
Now, listen, Troy, he's the guy on the BlackBerry. He's going to come back for a few other episodes. But this whole idea that he's surrounded by a posse of look alikes, but smaller but shorter, that never made it in.
But Troy stayed back at Dunder Mifflin Scranton. Jim and Daryl are playing ping pong in the warehouse. Pam explains that the warehouse got a ping pong table. Jim comes down to play Darryl and she sometimes brings some juice.
That's what's going on.
Well, apparently there was a big debate about these ping pong games. Should they CGI the ball, you know, in the game or should they let you guys really play? Yeah, and they decided to let you guys really play. And they talked about it in the commentary that this was kind of a disaster because you can't have continuity.
Like they couldn't be sure that Craig is Darryl would hit it the same way every time or that John would hit it back the same way. And this little scene that you guys had at that beginning establishing ping pong game took like four hours.
It was such a debacle.
It was so insane. I also want to say, Angela, the ball makes noise and it would ping pong on the table through our dialog. Oh, my gosh.
That must have been so hard for the sound department because you guys are talking and then there's like bank, bank, bank, bank. And then it's probably bank banking at different times on different words every time. Right. Oh, so any time the camera comes a little tighter on me and Mandy, there was no ball.
Right. You might see some gestures from the guys, but they would try to get that clean sound because bank bank bump. Bump. Yeah, yeah. It's going to ruin a scene.
Well, Mandy has a line is Kelly that I loved when she said, I don't talk trash, I talk smack. They're totally different. I want to say I looked this up in Merriam Webster dictionary.
You looked up trash talking, smack talk. Oh, gosh.
Here's what it says.
Trash talk is defined as disparaging, taunting or boastful comments, especially between opponents trying to intimidate each other. But do you know what it says when you get to smack talk? No, it says see trash talk. No, it does.
Yes, it does. Which I kind of thought was a little bit of smack talk.
I have to say, the dictionary is like throwing shade at trash talk. Smack talk is trashing trash talk. Oh, my gosh.
Yes, I thought that was so funny. I also want to point out in the scene and throughout this episode. Jim's shirt, which he's untucked, it looks a lot like the one he wore to the convention.
It also looks enormous. Yeah, it's like I know this wasn't the 90s, but it could have been.
Well, Jenna, there's going to be a moment where you get a real good shot of Pam's outfit will get there.
I have the time code.
What's that supposed to mean? There's a lot of edge in your voice. I know I had a lot of thoughts about itself.
But Jenna, did you know that this ping pong storyline was inspired by our writers in real life? Yeah, they got a ping pong table down in the warehouse and those guys used to play all the time.
Not only did they have a ping pong table in the warehouse, but the writers had made a ping pong table. Lee and Jane had made this ping pong table just using a regular table and kind of like what Pam does in the conference room.
She makes this table will. The writers had done that before they got the actual ping pong table. So this is all inspired, like that Call of Duty storyline by what was happening in our actual writers room.
I totally remember that. Yes. And like you said, Angela, Pam turns the conference room table into a ping pong table. She closes the blinds and she tells Jim, you have to practice, you have to practice so that you can beat Darryl.
And she tells him about Kelly smack talk. Mm hmm. And he's like, all right, I'll do it.
But I did love how Jim immediately was like, oh, I can't be Darryl. Look, I know that's not happening.
Back at corporate, Michael meets Diane Kelly, the corporate legal counselor who was played by Holly Maples. You might recognize her from the show in plain sight. She played Eleanor Prince.
And he also finds out that Toby is going to be present for his deposition and he says, I want him gone. I don't talk until he leaves. And they're like, Toby is here is your representative, Michael. Well, then Michael is sworn in. Jenna, I have to share this. I have to share right. As he's sworn in, there was a deleted scene that didn't make it in. That is so good. Michael stands up to the room and says, I have an opening statement.
Oh, my God. Are you serious? Yes. It's so good.
He does this whole heartfelt opening statement to this room of just stoic faces. And they're like, what is he doing?
And he does it as if he's in a legal drama, like a television show, like all the movies he's ever watched about lawyers.
Every TV show he makes an opening statement, a plea to the jury, just like it's so ridiculous.
It's wonderful. It's in the deleted scenes.
All right, Angela, please tell me that you're going to play this clip. Sam, can you play Michael's opening statement? I would like to make an opening statement, but please be brief.
Ladies and gentlemen of the table, I would just like to say what a joy it is for me to be here today.
But frankly, at my age, it's a joy to be anywhere. I'm only forty four, so I'm not old. And I guess that doesn't really play. But the point is, I have a sense of humor and I implore you all to have a sense of humor as well.
Jan David, my wonderful girlfriend, my gorgeous company. Why don't we all just take a big deep breath and just relax?
Good. That feels good. All right, everybody feel better. I don't know where to begin. He tries to do a joke, it doesn't land, everyone is looking at him like like they're dead inside, you know what I mean?
They have that kind of gaze. And then he's like, OK, that didn't play. Then he implores them to have a sense of humor. It's a deposition.
Should we talk about his testimony? One thing I would like to point out, as Jan does her talking head at six minutes. Thirty five seconds. You know, corporate has a name for their conference room. Did you know that? But, yeah, corporate conference room has a plaque. It has a name. Do you want to hear it? What it is the Robert Mouflon Memorial Conference room.
Is that hanging on a plaque over Jim's shoulder? Yes. Great catch.
Hi, Carol. I love me. The plaques on the walls, guys. As Michael's testimony begins, he very quickly gives a that's what she said joke.
And it completely derails the deposition because the lawyers take everything literally. They're like, who said that?
Who is she? Who who is she and what did she say? Here's the question the lawyer asked. And you were directly under her the entire time, Michael. That's what she said.
It's so, so amazing. All of their line of questioning to Michael was so good at seven minutes, eight seconds. The lawyer says, how long have you known the plaintiff? And Michael says, I haven't actually seen it, but I have seen the firm and I am planning on renting the Pelican Brief.
Oh, my God. By the way, I don't think John Grisham has a book called The Plaintiff.
He should. It's called The Client. Oh, that's right. It's not.
I read them all. I want you to know, I really appreciated in this whole episode.
I really appreciated the callbacks. Yes. They were so well thought out.
A big one comes up in this scene when Michael displays his document that he signed for HRR, his love document. It's a callback from COCKTAIL'S because it's in a frame. Michael said he was going to frame it and he did. There it is framed.
And he didn't bother to take it out of the frame to bring it to the deposition. He brought it in the frame.
Also, Angela, at eight minutes.
Forty eight seconds, there is a super cool Dunder Mifflin mug on the table in front of Michael. Did you see it?
It's black with silver letters. I did see it.
And I thought, well, fancy corporate has fancy mugs. I want this mug. I don't think they ever did. Mirch of this mug. What a missed opportunity. It's a classy mug. I loved it.
Yeah. We never got one now. We always got the white mug with the blue letters. I want the corporate mug with the silver letters, please.
Michael has one line, Jonah, that I had to write down. Eight minutes. Twenty eight seconds to be delicate.
The hang off milady's chest.
Oh, his whole description of Jan's breasts, you know, when he's he's trying to explain that he thinks she got fired because she got breast implants.
But he won't just say that sentence. He says it's because of the twins.
They hang off milady's chair to be delicate. They make milk.
And they're like, what is this guy talking about? All right, this deposition is going to continue, but I do think we need to check in on the folks back in Scranton. Pam has gone around and has been recruiting people to practice ping pong in the conference room with Jim. She gets Kevin to go in there by saying Jim needs help processing his travel receipts.
Well, this completely confuses Angela and Oscar because you would never ask Kevin to do this at six minutes, 58 seconds. There is a shot of Angela and Oscar looking very suspicious. Why is Kevin being called to do anything? The shot is cropped so high, Jonah, that you don't see my belly. And also baby jazz poster is they're still they're still there. Hmm. You and Oscar have worked something out in regard to the baby jazz poster. We'll never know.
We never know. But it's made it back on the wall.
I love the scene with Kelly and Pam in the doorway to the bathroom. Pam's leaving the bathroom. Kelly's entering the bathroom. And they meet in the doorway. Who is going to let the other go by now? Of course, custom would have it that you let a person exit, right. Same with elevators. Let the people get off before you push on. Yes, that's social etiquette. Yeah, but there's a standoff. So Pam moves aside and Kelly's like, yeah, that's what I thought.
Kelly is so like aggressive in this whole episode.
She's just like hardcore. She's working some stuff out. Clearly.
Before we go back to the deposition and discuss my favorite moment from this entire episode, I think we should take a break.
What is your favorite moment? I don't know. OK, wait, I'll wait till after the break.
OK, OK. Let me just say the star of this episode is stenographer. Oh yeah.
OK, I know the one. All right, we'll be back. We are back and Angela, during the break, I asked Sam to please pull this clip of the stenographer reading back some of Michael's testimony.
Oh, so this happened right after a commercial break of the show. The first scene back was just the stenographer reading. And it's so brilliant. Sam, will you play it?
Mr. Scott, do you realize you just contradicted yourself? I did. Yes, you did. Can I go to the bathroom? No, I really have to. I've been drinking lots of water. You went five minutes ago. That wasn't to go to the bathroom. That was to get out of the question. You still have to answer it first. Can I go to the bathroom? No.
She is perfection lady, we got so much mail about her, Caitlyn F, Brittni T, Lindsay H, Sarah C, who is the stenographer, she is fantastic. How in the world did she repeat those lines back to the room with a straight face?
And her cadence is so perfect, guys.
Her name is Valerie Ross. She most recently played the role of Eunice Simpson, O.J. Simpson's mom in American Crime Story. But let me tell you, she has done a ton of work as a dramatic actor.
But I went to her Web page and in her biography on her website, which is amazing, by the way, guys, I'm going to put a swipe up to it in the stories because her life is amazing.
But I discovered that she completed the two year program at Second City in Chicago, famous improv comedy. That's the same place that Steve studied. She also did improv with eight pieces of gold in San Francisco. She did comedy at the Comedy Store. She worked all over Los Angeles and improv theater. And yet her resume is like all dramatic work. It was so fascinating to me. I also have a connection with her.
We both had guest starring roles on the TV drama Cold Case. Not in the same episode, but I found that interesting, Valerie and I. Mm hmm.
I really felt like in my deep dove of Valerie Ross that it pointed to something that our show was so great at, which was hiring people for the realism, which made it funnier than if someone played it for comedy.
That is right.
That's why it's so funny, is because when you hear her read off the testimony, it's like every courtroom you've ever gotten to look at, right? I don't know. I did jury duty. Have you done jury duty?
I did jury selection. I was not ultimately picked. But you sat on a jury. I sat on a jury. What was your case, can you say?
First of all, I always get called for jury duty and I don't know, Jenna, what is it? I always get picked. There's only been one time that I haven't been picked. I sat on a case and it was a car theft case. OK, I was the alternate. And you still have to go every day, but you actually cannot weigh in when you go to deliberate the case.
You're only there if someone doesn't show up and then you can say something. So I just had to sit there quietly as they deliberated. I couldn't say any of my opinions. It was very hard for me. Did they vote to convict or acquit?
Acquit? Would that have been your choice? Yes. All right.
So I maybe was making a lot of facial, like, responses as they talked.
You know, I don't have a poker face, but while I was in this case, they did have the stenographer read back some testimony.
And this is exactly what it is.
It's no nonsense. They just read it right back. There's no intonation. It's just exactly how Val did it.
Do you know the famous story of Steve Carell showing up for jury duty? No.
At the height of all of it, like 40 year old Virgin Steve's blowing up.
His face is on billboards everywhere.
He got called for jury duty. And, you know, when you go to jury duty, they ask you questions. You get a sort of interview in the court. What is your profession? Do you have anything about your life that might make you unable to deliberate this case fairly, all that kind of stuff? Right. Well, they ask Steve what his job was and he said, I am an actor. And the judge who did not recognize Steve said, do you do any other work as a day job?
And he said, no, just the acting. And then he got placed on the jury and he deliberated this, I believe it was some sort of civil case. Well, know, the last time I went for jury duty, I think it's when Netflix had really kicked it into high gear for the office. And they went around and asked us each those questions, what is your occupation? And I said, I'm an actor. And he said, Have you ever acted on a law drama?
The judge said this to me. I said, no. He said, just you just stick to workplace comedies.
That's very funny. I said, yes.
And the whole courtroom started laughing. Clearly, the judge had watched the office.
I know a lot of people always are trying to do these tricks to get out of jury duty. But I would love to be on a jury. I think the whole thing is fascinating. Sign me up. You know, it seems great.
I think that's why I've been picked so many times before the office, because I actually show up with a notepad and a pen. I'm taking notes and I think. One side, either the prosecution or defense is like, we need her, she's taking notes. Yeah, well, in summary, Valerie Ross is the star of this episode. She's incredible. She's so good. I wanted more stenographer. You know what I could listen to?
I could listen to her read all of Michael Scott's testimony. That would be a wonderful extra feature. Imagine if Val had read back his opening statement.
Oh, my gosh. Oh, I want to contact her and see if she'll do it. That's amazing. Should we go back to Scranton, Angela? Jim has just beaten Meredith at ping pong in the conference room and Dwight Bussin, and he demands to know what is going on in here.
Well, Jim says he's got a big client that plays ping pong and he needs to, like, impress them. So Dwight's like, I'll help you, right?
Yes. And he's got this talking head where Dwight says all of his heroes are table tennis players who knew?
And he lists all of these names of actual people. And in the commentary range shared that they actually put those names on a cue card for him, a big cue card so that he didn't have to memorize them and he was able to read them off. Well, I'll tell you what, Angela, we had a fan catch, what, from Macy Gessler, who said you can see a white square in the reflection no of Raynes glasses during that talking head.
That is the reflection of the cue card.
That is such a great catch. Mm hmm. And I paused and I looked at it and sure enough, it's there, really.
Dang, I got to go back and look at that. That's so good. Big moment happening over at corporate. The deposition is going off the rails because this is when there's a lot of questioning about when did Jan and Michael's relationship really begin. And Michael has testified to one thing and they try to prove him wrong by showing this picture of Jan on the beach in Jamaica, call back to back from vacation that Michael accidentally sent to everyone as proof that their relationship started before.
The love document says it did.
Jan's lawyer says that photo actually isn't proof. And we have Michael's journal to prove it. And Michael is like what? Jan brought Michael's personal journal and they begin to read out of it. It's so embarrassing for Michael. Well, he's written all about his trip to Jamaica with Jan, and it's written like a 13 year old boy wrote it.
It's written, you know, the way I would write in my journal, like when I was eight years old, Dear Diary. And then at the end, I'd be like, Zozo, like, what am I? Is the diary a person?
Yeah. So it's like that. Or it's like me writing about meeting Patrick Dempsey.
Very similar. You know, John, and I know you guys, you know this, right? We shared the Patrick Dempsey Journal on this podcast. Yes, we're big journals. I counted actually how many journals I.
I don't even think I could count. I've got over two dozen.
I mean, there's so many. So many. I have 15. Oh, wow. Well, you know, lady, I did the artist's way. It's a 12 week self led creativity seminar in a book. It's amazing if you're an artist, but it requires you to journal three pages every single morning first thing. So I have legal pads and legal pads of these handwritten journals from when I did the artist's way.
And I did the artist way twice because the first time I didn't finish it. So I have like so much journal.
Here is the journal entry that Jan's lawyer reads. I quote from an entry dated January four of this past year. Just got back from Jamaica Tan almost everywhere. Jan almost everywhere. He he oh diary. What a week. I had sex with my boss. I don't know if it's going to go anywhere. Jan was very specific that it is not going anywhere, that it was a one time mistake.
But we had sex six times. So you tell me. I am definitely feeling very Irey.
But he says Eri will correct some more tomorrow. Ekso Ekso Michael.
Incredible Angela. I looked up the definition of Irey. You did? Yeah. The lawyer thinks he meant eerie, but Micheal's like it's Irey. He's been in Jamaica. Yes.
And it means nice, good or pleasing and it is used as a general term of approval in Jamaican English.
So despite everything he's feeling pretty irey. I have to say Michael is absolutely crushed and feels betrayed by this reading of his journal.
It is embarrassing and he is right to feel that way. Jan is horrible.
This was horrible and this was premeditated. Yeah, she brought it from their home. Now they decide we're going to make copies of the journal. We're going to make ten copies. Tobey's like actually make it eleven. Michael is just sinking further and further into this, like, embarrassing spiral. And Lester talked on the DVD commentary about one of the challenges of writing this episode was taking Michael through these layers right at the beginning of the deposition. He's feeling confident and slowly with each layer.
It's just all falling apart.
It's hard to believe that it's going to get worse from here. And yet it does. It's so tragic. And now they go to lunch and everyone in this corporate lunch room is reading his journal.
All I could think of was corporate, has a cafeteria.
I believed it, Jenna, because you know, those big buildings in New York? I do. They have cafeterias and food areas. Lady, I love a corporate cafeteria.
I'll tell you what, I only experienced it once when I worked at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Los Angeles. It's where they bottle the soda. I worked on the complaint hotline there. Do you did?
I did. I took all of the complaints and basically the policy was anyone who called to complain got free coupons for soda. I had to listen to all the complaints and log all the complaints and then mail the coupons. That was my job. It's kind of off in a remote area, this factory. You get thirty minutes for lunch. There's nowhere to go.
So you had to bring your lunch or they had a corporate cafeteria and lady, all the soda was free so you could drink as much as you wanted all day.
The fountain sodas were free.
But I love a cafeteria. I don't know what it is about it. I liked it when I was in high school. I loved it in college. I love a cafeteria.
This is going to melt your brain for a moment. About a year and a half ago, I met my friend Derek Höss, who works on Chicago Fire, Chicago PD. He's like the showrunner creator. He's like amazing, talented writer. We went to college together. He's like, and come have lunch, let's catch up. I'm like, awesome. He's like, you know, our offices on Universal Studio lot. I said, yeah, he was like, so come meet me.
We'll go to the NBC Universal commissary.
I said, what? He said, Have you never been you're on an NBC show. I was like, no, we filmed over in this little soundstage in the middle of nowhere. He said, Oh yeah, NBC has an amazing commissary. What?
Jenna, it looks like you're at the Four Seasons.
I'm talking like fabric napkin, the water glasses that are the big glasses, you know, where your iced tea comes with like a lemon wedge.
Yeah, Jenna, we never got the NBC commissary treatment, but it was really good.
I also went there years, years later to have lunch with Terry Weinberg, who is one of the executive producers of the office. She works on the lot. She invited me for lunch, the commissary, and I thought the same thing.
I thought, wow, Greg could have chosen to have our show on the lot, but he wanted us to be more independent and have our own space, which ultimately I loved and was the right decision except for that damn cafeteria.
I mean, I would have really liked that cafeteria was legit.
This is not to say that we didn't have the greatest food on our set because our caterers were amazing.
I just really like a cafeteria experience. It's not the food necessarily. I love the tray. And you go down the little thing with the silver bars. You know, I love a Souplantation.
This is why I think, lady, you don't have to even talk about this with me. You've you've heard my thoughts on a Vegas buffet.
I know. It's just things we like. Guess where we filmed these corporate cafeteria scenes, Angela.
I know, but I'm not going to say. You tell us at the Universal Studios commissary. So crazy.
We filmed them for one day. We rented the entire space. So everyone who is working there didn't get to eat lunch there that day because all the people in the background were hired by us for non-speaking roles. We had that cafeteria that day to shoot these lunch scenes.
Well, Jenna, Michael is walking around the cafeteria and he doesn't know where to sit. Everyone's reading his journal. He's feeling a bit lost. And, you know, he's at the bottom of the barrel when he goes and sits with Toby and Toby tries. Toby is so kind. Yeah.
He brings up his parents divorce and how it made him feel.
Both of his parents wanted him to testify. And he's like, but I just love them both so much. Yeah. And he's sort of saying, Michael, I know you love Jan and you love Dunder Mifflin. So I see how you're pulled in two directions, too.
That's the subtext. Michael responds by pushing Toby's tray onto the floor and his entire lunch goes with it. So Lester talked about this moment. He said in the script they had written where Michael just goes off on Toby, like makes a big speech and they filmed it that way. And then Paul Lieberstein pitched, Hey, why don't we do one take where he just shoves my tray off the table and walks away and doesn't even respond to me. And they did it.
It was just like in the moment idea in the moment. And that's what made it in so good, so funny.
When the deposition continues, they are still reading Michael's diary.
They have some questions.
They say, who is this other woman, Ryan, who you refer to? No, Toby cannot keep his composure. He is cracking up.
Michael just so looks up to Ryan and his admiration of Ryan is one of my favorite little tidbits of the show.
Well, he has a man crush on him. And, you know, Ryan got to do all the things I think Michael had hoped for. He went to college. He got his MBA. He's at corporate now. He represents something to Michael that Michael always hope to have.
Yeah. That kind of status.
And now they're going to start reading from Jan's performance review of Michael, which we find out she wrote after they were together.
Oh, and her comments are so harsh and mean, really mean.
She recommends that he be let go from the company. She's out of carrots. She's out of sticks.
Yeah. Nothing works with Michael and that he's best suited for sales, which, by the way, Jonah, I don't think she's wrong. I don't think she's wrong either.
But this guts Michael. Yeah. He said you expect to get screwed by your company, but you don't expect to get screwed by your girlfriend.
We got some mail. We did.
This is from Lou Chen, who says, As a lawyer who's taken depositions, I felt that the Michael deposition, as depicted in this episode, was impressively true to life while still being hilarious.
And Kate P and Peter W. pointed out something I thought was very interesting. Why didn't they use that documentary film footage for proof in the deposition?
Oh, interesting. Yes, interesting. They would have. They could have. Yeah, we could see a lot of stuff on tape. They didn't ask. Hmm, but they agreed to have the cameras in the room. Yes, so interesting. Well, you know, Jenna, in the deleted scenes, there's a moment where Michael is like, listen, she didn't mean it. She was going through a divorce at the time. She was drinking a lot.
And then Jan makes a face, right? Mm hmm.
And then Michael goes of water because she was taking all of those pills.
It just it just keeps revealing all of the stuff that's making it worse and worse. And they had to trim some of that for time, but I just loved it.
Speaking of water, do you know how much water Tom Brady drinks every day?
What? Yeah. Tom Brady, where is this coming from? It's coming from the fact that the Super Bowl was recently. Yeah. And Tom Brady won. Yeah. And he looks like he's still twenty four. And I became a little obsessed with his athletic ability. And I read and this is common knowledge. Apparently Lee was like, welcome to Tom Brady, Jenna, thanks for I don't know what is it.
He has this very, very, very strict diet that he adheres to. He has a personal chef and he eats this mostly plant based diet. But it also involves drinking gallons and gallons and gallons of water a day like half his body weight and water. And all I could think about was No. One, this is such a great advertisement for drinking water. But number two, how does he make it through a whole football game without having to pee constantly?
How does he do it? I drink eight glasses of water a day and I feel like all I do is pee. How does he drink so much water? And every time now, ever since learning this, that anyone brings up water, I think of Tom Brady.
Well, maybe he does pee during a game. Maybe it just goes down his leg. I mean, you would never know.
Oh, my God, Angela, listen, I would have thought that was crazy until, you know, Josh, who played soccer, Josh was a big soccer player all through high school and he played in college and he said, listen to this. He said on a soccer field during a long game, sometimes you can just, like, take a knee and whip it out to the side and just pee for a second. So those soccer games, the guys are peeing.
So when they're like they're pretending to maybe lace their shoe or something.
Yeah, yeah. They just flop it out and take a whiz.
But football players were super tight pants and stuff. I feel like you would see it.
No, you wouldn't. It's all padded. You wouldn't see it. I bet they can pee in their pants. Oh my gosh.
I need to know football players. Someone right in. Have you ever peed during a game and did anyone know also a person who interviews Tom Brady next about his diet and about his water consumption, will you please ask him about this? Because I need to understand when and how often the man goes to the bathroom. I need to know this seems unmanageable.
Here's my take away. Don't go on a road trip with Tom Brady unless you like making lots of stops.
If we want to continue the Tom Brady tangent, I remember one time, Leigh and I read about the new house that he and Jazelle purchased and it was humongous and it had like a gazillion rooms. And Lee said something that was so funny to me. He said, Can you imagine if Tom Brady gets to the kitchen and he realizes he left his cell phone in the bedroom, how far he has to walk to get it?
He's like, I get annoyed when I have to walk because I forgot something in another room. But think of how far they have to walk.
And it's always stuck with me because it's true. You know what they do? They go like this and someone goes and gets it for them.
Oh, they have a staff. They have a staff. That's what it is.
The butler gets it. Tom Brady doesn't walk back to his bedroom for his cell phone.
He's too busy drinking water. He's too busy peeing.
Speaking of outstanding feats of athleticism, back in the conference room, Dwight is beating Jim at ping pong Dwight.
It looks like he's barely making any effort to beat Jim. He's on his phone. He can just hit the ball no matter what. And Pam comes in at sixteen minutes. Twenty one seconds. Jenna, I'm going to show you your outfit.
I took a screen grab of it. Oh, is it time this time? Because this is the moment if you really want to see your outfit here. What is this outfit? What is your gripe about this outfit? It's we have black tights, a long black skirt just below your knee, a blue buttoned up sweater.
I'm just saying Pam went through this phase in the beginning of her courtship with Jim, where she was judging herself up a little.
And I think this outfit says I am now comfortable in my relationship. Do with. What you will? Well, I take it as an insult, it seems phrased that way. I think maybe Pam is just a little cold. It's winter. She has exchanged her panty hose for tights, which is something we did for her in the winter months. But I don't think she has gotten comfortable in any way. She just had a day where maybe she didn't pair the right things together.
That is all I think you'll see in our party coming up. She's going to wear an adorable little cocktail dress. So don't worry. All right. I will back off Pam's attire. It did crack me up. I have an observation about this scene. Jim keeps saying, Spencer of Spencer, that is not a thing. I looked it up. Spin is not reserved for a serve. And of the top five table tennis serves, only three of the five involve any spin.
And I'll tell you what they are. Number one, the short side spin pendulum serve. Number two, the short side spin reverse pendulum serve. Mm hmm.
Number three is the fast no spin crossed serve. Number four is the fast no spin down the line serve. And number five is the long side spin serve. So there's no such thing as just spin serve. You have to be more specific, Jim. Is it a short side spin? Is it a pendulum? Is it alongside spin? And by the way, just because you're putting spin on it doesn't mean you're mastering the game, because there's a couple of great serves that involve no spin at all.
I don't know why I felt the need to put Jimenez place about this spin serve, but he was just saying it with such authority. And it's not a thing, Jim. It's not a thing.
Well, don't tell my husband that because he thinks the spin serve is where it's at. He's going to spin it on over.
Listen, it's just that there needs to be more specificity.
Well, I'm going to tell him that next time he was playing well, I'm trying to eat at the ping pong table.
Please. Do you put him in his place? Josh, that's not the long spin side spin. Short spin. That's a short spin. There you go. Well, Jim says he's ready. I'm going to go play Darryl.
I'm so excited. They go down to the warehouse and right away it's not going Jim's way.
And Kelly starts doing all of her smack talk. Trash talk. She's making up a song. Hey, hey. You you. I don't like it, but friend, she's doing a whole thing.
Pam has had it. Yeah. She's like you and me right now. We're going to play and they are both horrible. We had a fan question from Coryna. Oh, Naomi Y and Lizzy M are you and Mindy actually bad at ping pong or did you have to pretend?
Let me say this. Mindy and I were not great at ping pong, but we weren't that bad at ping pong, so we were pretending to be that bad. And the point was that we would never get past a certain number of vollies is are they called vollies and ping pong?
You should know. Oh, I didn't get that far in my research.
And also I know that John is actually good at ping pong and he had to pretend to be not as good as he was. Yes. And by the way, we played a lot of ping pong while we were just waiting for various camera setups and things like that. This was a really fun day of shooting, actually, because we had this toy which then stayed in the warehouse. Then we would play well. And there are a lot of deleted scenes of all the other office members playing ping pong that didn't make it in.
Phyllis and Stanley play at the makeshift ping pong table up in the conference room, Meredith has a turn.
I yell off camera, I'm next. So it's like everyone is getting in there to play ping pong.
Lady, the deposition is almost over.
And it's so sad because they've read David Wallace's testimony about whether or not he was ever really going to hire Michael for this corporate position.
And you can tell in the testimony that David is really struggling to admit this. But the truth is, Michael was never a real contender.
Yeah, David says, listen, come on, he's a nice guy. Yeah. And he didn't want to have to go on record saying, truthfully, Michael isn't anyone he considered. But, you know, what's interesting is of all of that crushing information, what Michael heard was that David Wallace called him a nice guy.
Yeah. And when Jan's lawyer says, wouldn't you agree with Miss Levinson that the company exhibits a pattern of disrespect towards its employees?
Michael says absolutely not. Yeah, he tanks. Her lawsuit there goes the four million dollars. Now they're only going to be able to get Chinese food for dinner.
Oh, it's going to be a rough car ride home. But there is a very sweet scene where David Wallace goes up to Michael and is like, hey, I'm really sorry that you got dragged into this. I never wanted that.
And Michael's like, it's OK.
There is this moment, though, Gina, where David is like the father Michael never had. And it looks like Michael is trying not to cry. Yeah, like when your dad comes up to you and says, I'm sorry, buddy, you OK? It's like that moment. Yeah. In Michael's like for the record, I think you're a nice guy, too. It's a really sweet scene.
I have a great little behind the scenes trivia for you for that car ride home with Michael and Jan. Oh, tell me. Lester said that they had put lipstick cameras in the PT Cruiser for that car ride home. Mm hmm. And when they got the footage back, it was all just completely dark.
The little light that they had put in the car, like on the dashboard where you couldn't see it. It was going to illuminate Melora and Steve's faces. I guess there was something wrong with the light and it clicked off and all the footage was dark.
Oh, no. The only footage they had of that car ride scene was from the follow car that was in front of them, right? Yes. So they had a car in front of them filming them. And that's the only camera that worked. And I actually really like it. And they talked about this a little bit in the commentary that it made it seem just way more real.
Mm hmm. That there was this distance between the camera and what was happening. Kind of like what Randall talked about when he was on the further away you were, the more intimate the moment feels to the viewer.
Absolutely. This episode ends with an epic ping pong match between Dwight and Mose, who has left Schrute Farms. I believe for the first time we're seeing him off the farm.
They are playing ping pong in the warehouse.
It's clearly after hours it's dark. Not all the lights are on and they are amazing. We had a fan question, Angela from Ben, Ask Keith and Bethany and Kib. Were Raine and Mike Shaw actually playing ping pong in this scene? Are they that good? No, no.
This was all CGI. I think by this time they had learned how hard it was to actually film actors playing ping pong.
So that was CGI. Yeah, those guys were just moving their arms and they put the ball in digitally and post.
Before we wrap up this episode, you guys, there was a deleted scene. That is delicious. It's Crete's turn to practice ping pong with Jim in the conference room at Dunder Mifflin. And Creed's like, yeah, I played I learned to play in Cambodia. Gems like Great, they start playing Crede loses a point right out of the gate, starts taking off a shirt. Jim's like, hold up. What's what's happening in Creed's like. But this isn't strip pong.
And Jim's like, no, no, no. Creed's like, OK, wow.
Crede thought when you play ping pong, you have to strip when you lose a point. Oh, that's funny.
I wish that stayed in, you know. That's what she said. Guys, that is the deposition.
I hope you will join us next week for some ossobuco dinner party. Oh my God. Next week is dinner party. Yep. Holy crap. Sticks dinner party. We're here. Jenna will show up for it. Guys, I can't wait. I can't wait. All right. We'll see you then. Bye. Have a great week. Thank you for listening to office ladies Office Ladies is produced by earhole Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. Our show is executive produced by Cody Fisher.
Our producer is Kasey Gerkin. Our sound engineer is Sam Kiefer, and our associate producer is Ainsley Mubako. Our theme song is Rubber Tree by Creed Bratton. For ad free versions of Office Ladies, go to Stitcher Premium Dotcom for a free one month trial of Stitcher Premium Use Code Officer.