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You'll get ad free episodes of office ladies, access to candy bag episodes and your premium subscription helps support the show. That Stitcher premium dot com promo code office. I'm Jenna Fischer. I'm Angela Kinsey. We were on the office together and we're best friend. And now we're doing the ultimate office rewash 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.


Hello, it's the merger. Hi, everyone. We're merging. Or are we merging two? We are merging two worlds. Today, Angela, the Stamford and the Scranton branches, not all of the Stamford branch, but some will be merging with Scranton.


I also feel like we're merging as friends because I'm looking at you. I think we have almost the same outfit on today.


No, I mean, seriously, like they always say, like pet owners start to look like their pets. Best friends start to look like each other and like husbands and wives of partners. Like I feel like we're starting to look like each other.


We might be also neither one of us has had a haircut or a hair color in a very long time. I did my own hair color lady. I did, too. Well, actually, Lee did mine with my hair colorist on face time. I did mine, but no, I haven't had a haircut and I kind of have given up on a makeup, just lipstick. Do you notice I only wear lipstick? Yeah. You show up to these zooms in in lipstick.


I was walking out to my that's what she said to start the zoom and I put on a little lipstick and the kids were like, why are you put on lipstick? And I was like, because I am. Yeah. Because like yes. No, I will be honest Zoome. I'm going to be on a zoom. All right. Well, this is Season three, Episode eight, written by Brent Forester and directed by Ken Whittingham. Do you want a summary?


I do want a summary. All right, good. The Stanford branch merges with this grand branch, which means Jim will be returning to his old stomping ground.


Oh, well, I was so excited. Michael does his best to welcome the Stanford transplants, but he goes a bit too far, causing one employee to quit. But Michael tries to save face by then firing him, leaving Dunder Mifflin with having to pay a sizable severance. Jams not happy, Janna's not happy. Meanwhile, Pam senses something is going on with Jim and Karen and Dwight clashes with Andy. Good summary, lady. Thanks. You know what I started realizing, but you know how I have that Bible from the office.


Yeah, Bible. Yeah. Yeah. Every show has a summary. Every episode has a summary in the office Bible. So I've been able to now refer to the office Bible summary. I tweak it a little.


I put a little judge on it. But yeah, I used to just sit down at a blank page and think, how do I summarize this episode? And a team of writers have done it for me. And it was just sitting on my desk. So if you've noticed my summaries are getting better, it's thanks to the office Bible. Wow.


How excited were you when you realized the same reason there? You must have been so excited, lady. Yes. So excited. Fast. Fact number one, this episode was directed by Ken Whittingham. We've talked a little bit about Ken before. Hand directed nine episodes of the office, including this one.


And we reached out to him. Yes. And he sent in some audio clips. Were really excited to hear him talk about this episode.


And Jenna, he is gonna come on and be a full Zoome guest for Phyllis's wedding. I don't wanna get ahead of ourselves, but we're very excited. Yes. And Phyllis's wedding is such a milestone episode. And so is this. We wanted to ask Ken. What was it like to merge these two worlds? And a lot of people wrote in wanting to know how did they decide where everybody would sit in the office? Like, if you notice, suddenly the desk pods go from two to three.


Yeah, I remember being so happy that Ken was the one directing this because we already knew Ken really well. We were so comfortable with him and this was big even for the cast. You know, there was a buzz because we hadn't been around these people and, you know, we barely got to see them at table reads and things like that. So there was a real sort of buzz on set.


And I remember being happy that Ken was there because he's so calm and like, yeah, he was gonna guide us through the merger.


Well, here is his audio clip explaining how he and Greg decided where all the new people would sit.


Introducing the characters from the Stampfer brass would be very important to establish these characters and how they interacted with scrammed employees, their likes and their dislikes for each other. I remember Greg Daniels asked me to decide where the new characters would sit and why. So he and I walked, I set and I laid out where I thought everyone should be. Says Ryan had taken Jim's old desk. I decided that Jim was sent directly across from Dwight, which would be fun for Jim and irritating to Dwight.


It would also put Jim in the middle of Karen and Pam, which also made Jim uncomfortable, and Pam to be able to check out interactions between him and Kip. I said Andy, in between Kevin and Angela two established and his instant attraction to Angela and also they would be in Dwight Tideline two great Dwight jealousy. Andy would later move on to Karen's desk. I placed Tony in the back near Toby at a very obscure desk because he would be quitting or getting fired in that episode.


We also discussed how important it was to build Pam's awareness that Jim had moved on and was interested in Karen. I love how much thought went into where everyone sat. I love it so much. I love the idea of depending on which character, who could see who. Right. Yes. Yeah. And thinking about it from Pam's perspective, and I remember sitting at the desk and there's even a moment in the episode when Pam realizes she's not gonna be able to see Jim's face anymore.


Yeah. There's a whole deleted scene about that lady where you actually come up to him. You're like, it's just kind of weird. I just stare at your back. Now, it's.


Yeah, it's a great deleted scene. And you and Jim start doing a bit. And then Ryan's like, can you guys stop? I'm just trying to get some work done.


Oh, my gosh. I want to go back and see that. Yeah. Because also, after I heard Ken's clip, I was thinking about how. Wow. So now Pam can see parents face. So if Karen is making flirty googly eyes at Jim or something, she doesn't know if Jim is reciprocating or not because she can only see the back of his head. Yeah. So in terms of Pam trying to track this relationship going forward, she's only going to have that one thing she can see.


I just I just love I love all the thought that goes into these choices. Yes.


And I and some people I saw wrote in and asked, why would Andy sit in Oscar's desk and whereas Oscar. But you have to remember, Oscar is on his paid vacation leave. Yeah. So his desk was available. Yeah. Although I will say this, Angela, someone wrote in to note that the character of Hannah is technically an accountant. Oh, yes. So maybe that's another layer why my character feels so threatened by her. Yeah. Things are going to be one bitch in accounting.


All right. Well, I love that. Let's move on to fast fact number two. This is the first episode featuring writer Brent Forester. Yes. And Bread also sent an audio clips. We asked him a lot of questions and he sent in clips as well. So all throughout this episode, you guys, we're gonna have clips from Ken, the director and Brent the writer, which is just so fun. Yeah, I love getting to have those different perspectives.


So, Angela, you asked Brandes about what it was like for him to write his first episode. Yeah. This when his first episode and it's such a huge one. I was like, Brent, that Phil's very intimidating. You know, you're writing the merger of Scranton and Stamford. What was that like? Yeah. And this is what he had to say.


Hi, I'm Brent Forester, the author of the merger. I was not part of the original writing staff of the office.


Greg Daniels, the show creator, was a writer with me on The Simpsons, and he had me as a writer on King of the Hill. He brought me in. In season three.


And what I remember most about writing this draft was how I totally failed in the first draft to capture the tone of the office. I was trying so hard to be funny. I wrote witticisms for every character in the office every time they open their mouth. And Greg was so horrified, he made Mike sure. Jen Salata and Paul Lieberstein, the three senior writers on the show, sit me down and explained to me the tone of the office, which is the tone of naturalism, where we don't require characters to be saying funny things all the time, where we let things be dramatic for long stretches and where we get comedy from performance.


Above all, while I transformed as a writer between draft one and two of the merger. And I learned the tone of the office real fast during love that I just was.


Yeah, I got it wrong. They kind of like, let me know what was what. And then I gave it another try. Well, what people should know is that Brent went on to be a co executive producer of the office. He ended up running the show with Paul Lieberstein. So he he figured it out. He figured it out.


Yeah. He did just fine. That's right. OK, I'm so excited. We're going to have more clips from him coming up, too. Yeah. Fast, fact number three. Let's talk about the transfers from Stanford.


Yes. OK. First, here are our new characters. We have Tony Gardner, played by Mike Bruner. We have Ursula Burton, who plays Hanna. And we have Wayne Wildenstein who plays Martin Nash. Now, you might recognize Mike Bruner because he was he did have a small scene with Washita in an earlier episode. Hanna was in the background of a few scenes over in Stamford. She had this storyline and some deleted scenes with Jim, but they had been cut down.


Then you might recognize Wayne because he had a big recurring role on Veep. And by the way, now he's in Greg's new show upload. Nice. And I want to take a tangent real quickly, Angela, to say that I'm really loving upload it is. I know it's like sci fi e, but I'm super digging it because I realized something about my sci fi thing. What? OK. I really like Black Mirror as well. And I feel like Upload has a type of sort of a comedic black mirror thing going on and.


Is that sci fi is black mirror sci fi fantasy? Yeah, I would say it is.


It's it's a lot of like, alternate realities and sort of. Yeah, it is. I think it is.


OK. Is Handmaid's Tale sci fi. Fantasy. Oh. See what I'm saying? This is this is the category that I like. I like a tiny spin. I love zombie movies. I love it. I like zombies. Horror, though. I know. But I feel like it's falling in this new category that I want to designate, which is like it's some of life as we know it.


And then some new rules, slightly altered reality, altered reality. I'm holding a lot of gestures right now. You are. I wish you could see Jenna. She's like cupping the air and then, like, spinning it over her head like it's a world a ball. I opening think this is reality and this is altered reality.


Here's the thing. Jenna Handmaid's Tale. I don't think you can handle it. I watched it. It's fantastic. I couldn't sleep at night. I was like, oh, my gosh. Oh, I.


I watched one episode of Handmaid's Tale and I had nightmares for three nights. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And I've seen a lot of horror films, but that was I mean that got in my head.


Holy moly. OK. So here's what I'm saying. I, I feel like there is a there's a tangent. Here's what I will not let go. I think there's a tangent of sci fi that I'm super into and it's altered reality sci fi. OK, fair enough lady.


Fair enough. Also transfers that you have to mention are Karen Filippelli and Andy Bernard. Oh, my gosh.


Of course. Yes. Yes. We have those guys coming over as well.


So it's a total of five, a total of five new employees from Stamford that come to scram. We had a fan question from a lot of people. OK. Jessie Kay, Seth Anderson, Connor McCulloch and Molly Frank all asked, did the writers and cast know that Martin, Hannah and Tony. Those three of those five transfers were only temporary characters. Yes, we did. We we did, we didn't know how many episodes, right? But we knew they were gonna be part of this new wave that came over that Michael slowly alienates.


Yes, I remember that there was a conversation that was after the merger. Each week, one of the new employees would quit until we were just left with Andy and Karen are the two people who would stay home. All right, lady, maybe we should take a break and then let's get into this episode, because I have a big catch right out of the gate and the cold open, and I'm really excited to talk about it. All right. We will take a break on that and we will be back with Angeles.


Big catch. Yeah, big catch. Oh, wow.


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Better help is a truly affordable option. And listeners get 10 percent off their first month with the discount code office ladies. That's better. H e l.p dot com slash office ladies talked to a therapist online and get help. All right, guys, we're back. We start at the Stamford branch. Has a talking head, he tells us Stamford Branch is closing. Andy made Stamford. All right, p hats for everyone. Andy asked Jim what Michael Scott is like.


Yeah, well, you want to go out and tell he wants some intel, he wants to know how to work the system over there. Yeah, and Jim's like, you know why? You just kind of have to meet them. You have to meet them. But when did you notice when Andy was asking him about Michael? He was like, what kind of magazines does he like? We now we know what magazines American way he at. Yeah, he loves American way.


If Jim had given Andy the list of magazines, would that have helped Andy? I feel like if someone gave me Michael's list of magazines, I would be like, I am even more confused about this person.


I'm intrigued. Mean the person. So then Jim and Karen, they have a little moment. They agree. This is going to be a big adventure. Karen gives Jim a real flirty flirt look. But Jim doesn't see it. Right. But like, she's pining for life. I think I feel like Karen flirts and then Jim high fives, which for any woman that's into a guy. If you flirt a little and like, maybe cut some eyes at him and you get a high five, it's like we are like, yeah.


And there are so many signs here. Don't do it. We're gonna get into something. I've started tracking called wishy washy Jim. Oh, well, welcome. Welcome to the club. I mean, he's been wishy washy for a long time. Yeah.


But he does a lot of super big wishy washes in this episode.


Now, right now, we're back in Scranton. Toby has come up to Pam at reception and he's talking about how he completed his run.


And I have a catch. Oh, and is this what you teased us about before the break? This is what I do is you about. It's now I've set it up. It is going to be so lame. But at a minute. Six seconds. New plant alert, naturally high alert at front reception. You have a friend in Hadley Locke who wrote in to say, Angela, is that a new tree at Pam's desk? Hadley. It is a new plant.


It's an a maroon ceramic pot. Like not just like usually Pams plants are just like that plastic crap that comes from the store. You know what I mean? Yeah. This isn't an actual pot. But Hadlee, my friend Hadley, did you see what happens to the plant later in the episode? What happens? Where's it go, Hadley? Did you notice that at a minute? Six seconds. There's the one plant. But then go to five minutes.


Twenty five seconds.


It's a totally different plant. Whatever plant we used in the cold open, I don't know what happened to it. They couldn't find it. Someone got a different plant. It is a different plant. The plant at a minute, six seconds is like small light green leaves. And then at five minutes, twenty five, it's the big dark green kind of leaves and it's in a different potholder. It's in like the like. Oh what it is like the clay looking potholder.


Whereas at a minute, six seconds it's like a shiny maroon potholder. Guys I know, I know this is what you're here for but this is some serious plant gate plant. Nate, you have found the evidence for something I was wondering about. I think we filmed this cold open on another day. Oh, I do. I think we inserted this cold open that it wasn't in the original shooting draft. So I think we came back and did this whole Dwight Toby running thing at a different time.


And that's why the plants are different. Yes, that would make sense. They knew there was a plant on your desk. They couldn't they couldn't get the same one. So they just had the budget. OK, because here's the thing. Pam takes Dwight down to the parking lot, right. Because he says that he can run faster than Toby faster than anything. He's not impressed with Toby's running time, Jenna.


He can run faster than a snake, a mongoose and a panther somewhere in there. That's his speed.


Right. So Pam is like, all right, I'm gonna I'm going to time you. And she makes Dwight run around the building. She's holding a digital thermometer. She has this sort of long kind of sort of a talking head. She's kind of talking out loud, talking to the documentary crew. And then she just goes inside. She abandons Dwight. We had fan questions from Spencer, Brandon, Matteo's, Almeida and Angie. Does Raine actually run around the whole building in the cold open?


How did they time it out for Dwight to be running around the corner just as Pam finished talking? All right, Angela, I watched the scene. It is a one shot. There is no cut. So did Brain really have to run around the building? Well, you reached out to Ken Whittingham, right? And I asked him what he remembered. And he said. He did not film this cold open, no. Which, again, is further evidence to you that we filmed it on a different day.


So someone else had to direct just this cold open because it was an insert, right?


Yes. I was trying to remember shooting the scene. And I have a memory that yes, the reason I'm talking kind of so slowly is because rain really had to run yet at the same time. I didn't think he ran around the whole building. So I reached out to rain and. Raines said he cut through the warehouse a whole lot smaller, if you notice, the camera pans to me and he cut through the warehouse, through the building, to the door on the other side.


And then he ran around the corner. So he was still running a significant amount.


Here's what I also thought when I watched that is once again, Pam has become the gem of this office. She's the prankster now. She's Trimingham. What's a thermometer making him run around the building? Pam is Jim.


Oh, I bet she can't wait to tell Jim what she did when he finally gets there. Too bad he's not gonna wanna hang out with her. Sorry. Doesn't engage. Now, we'll get to that. We'll get to that. All right. So now here it is, Dwight and Michael, they're prepping the office for the new arrivals. They're going around. They're putting nametags for everyone. There's gift bags. I have to think the party planning committee had to stuff those bags with pencils and coupons.


You know, I wanted to discuss the gift bags, Angela, because I thought they were a really nice gesture. I think they are, too. I you know, I sort of appreciate we have to go out of town a lot, right. For work. And I always appreciate when the film company or the television company, they'll put like a little binder full of local restaurants and attractions for me to let them through, as I am now about to spend two months in this location that I don't know.


I think it's lovely to offer people little coop, local coupons, suggestions of where to eat. Very thoughtful, nefarious debacle. I'm I'm the type of person if I check into a hotel and they give me a bottled water, I'm like, thank you.


Oh, no. I love small gestures. And I think this is really sweet. I do, too. And I feel like it just doesn't get the sort of appreciation that it should. The nifty gifty bag. I thought it was very thoughtful of Michael.


Also, I want to I want to start using nifty giftee. It's a that is a fantastic phrase.


Nifty gift to he's nifty gift D to give D.


Okay, so as they're walking around prepping the office, Dwight suggests Michael fire Anthony Gardner before noon to consolidate power. But Michael's like, I'm not gonna do that, Dwight. Not gonna do that. But he's planting the seeds, someone must go today. Yeah. OK. So at four minutes, Pam enters and she's carrying food. Michael asked her to set it all up in the conference room. Jenna, you're holding two really big grocery bags.


Yeah, and I have what I liked. I but I'm gonna start calling her a random prop alert.


Yeah. Jenna, you know the story behind those bags. Oh, yeah.


You and I both know those are Saiki bags. They're fakie bags. Guys keep bags. Here's what we mean. Those bags, they're they're made of this material that won't make any crinkly noises. Yeah. It's super weird that it's almost like a fabric, but it's really stiff. Yeah. How would you describe it? I don't know how to describe it. It's like it is it's sort of like a stiff fabric felt kind of exterior. But as soon as you spot one, you'll spot them in every show you ever watch.


I'm telling you guys any show you're watching where someone goes to the store and comes in with, like, anything that looks like a grocery bag. It's the fakey bag. Yeah, because the real bags make too much sound for the sound engineers, for the boom operator. So the props department came up with these kind of fake bags in every single TV show uses them. You see. You'll see. You'll see. I they fascinate me. The first time someone handed one to me, I was like, what is this item?


What is this made of? This fabric is stiff felty. Fake Gucci. Yeah. Yeah, I'm I'm always fascinated by them. And you're right, once you see it, you can't unsee it.


You can't unsee it because the brown paper bag, it doesn't look like paper. Look closely. It doesn't. You're like from what. You'll see it. You'll see it. So there's never any printing on it. There's never any like name of grocery store. It's just this solid brown bag. Yeah. So next, Pam has her talking head and she is she's excited to meet all the new people and she's excited to see her old friend. She's definitely in a good mood.


We had some fan questions, OK?


Alice, 64. Jessica Scott, Harrison Perez, Amy Ardella and Jamie Kerns all asked about Pam's hair. They noted that Pam's hairstyle changes from the little smaller scrunchie curls to bigger, smoother curls. They wanted to know if this was intentional for Jim's return. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, for sure. Someone surged it up and then decided to wear a sweater that her mom made her because that's how you judge up when you fellas come in. Let me get that sweater.


My mom knitted me with the extra big button right in the middle.


The button is so cute, but. All right. Maggie Mendez, Diana Swanson and Morgan Österreich all asked, is Pam Sweater really homemade? Oh, look at it. No, I thought I could have done a better job of finding you a sweater that looked a little bit more homemade. Well, that was a store bought sweater. They did alter it a little bit to try to make it look homemade. The giant button was an ad.


Oh, well, creature. Oh, my gosh. I am not throwing shade. I'm just taking a sweater. Was hilarious. And to me. Listen, listen. The wardrobe department did not have time to knit me a sweater. I mean, they got the script. What are they going to do? I guess they could have tried to find some homemade sweaters. We did try a bunch on. But here was the other thing. They wanted the sweater to be flattering.


You know, like they wanted Pamela. Q For Jim. And so this was our compromise, a story about a sweater that we altered a little.


Mom, I need you to knit me a sexy sweater. Exactly. It has to be sexy, Mom. And only one button, please.


Now, here's something no one brought up, but I totally noticed. Purple eye shadow. Oh, purply eye shadow and a little gloss on the lips. Well, I noticed the gloss, but clearly all I notice her lips these days. So that's where you're at and that's where I'm at.


Well, you know, the new transfer start to arrive in Jenna. We like to track things. I just want you to know I tracked and Michael insults every single person except for Andy. Yes, we have a series of racist and sexist micro aggressions courtesy of Michael Scott.


Here they are. He tells Hannah her ball and chain is over here. He calls Tony Gardner the big guy. He tells Karen she looks exotic and asks if her father was a G.I.. And then he tells Martin Nash that he will show him where all the slaves work. Yes.


Michael manages to find a way to start everyone's first day with a completely inappropriate comment.


My goal. My goal. Well, Pam can't do her trick where Michael gets three. Do you know how, Pam, he doesn't put a call through the first time because his first instinct is always the wrong instinct. Yes. Hannah arrives first. Michael shows her to her desk. Yes. And he walks her to her desk and they walk past accounting for minutes, 41 seconds. Kevin is at his desk, but Angela is not. I mean, I feel like we're what Kevin made it to work before Angela.


I'm just saying Angela is running a little late today. Where's Angela? Where is Angela? I don't know. All right. So Tony Gardner is the next to arrive.


And guess who's standing right there? Who? Hannah. What? Didn't she just get walked to her desk? How is she now back at reception. Why isn't she at her desk? Mm hmm. I think this is a continuity error. I didn't notice it, but in hearing it, I'm gonna have to agree with you. Yeah. All of a sudden she's right back. Now Karen arrives and her and Pam. They kind of immediately hit it off.


There's a lot of nice banter, if not for Jim. Pam would finally have a friend in the office. Right. She would have another woman around her age who is nice to her.


Yeah. Who she can have a conversation with, because I think Kelly is nice to you. But Kelly just wants to talk about, you know, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's baby.


Yeah, I guess that's true. Kelly is nice to Pam, but they don't have a lot in common. Karen is someone she could actually be friends with, but. Nope, no, it's not gonna happen. No.


So then we have Andys talking head down in the parking lot. He's about to arrive. And I love this talking head. He says he plans to be the number two in Scranton within weeks. He lays out his game plan. Here's what it includes. Repetition, personality, mirroring and never breaking off a handshake. He says, you always have to think one step ahead like a carpenter who makes stairs. I want to discuss this. I think this is a really good strategy.


I kind of want to try it. Oh, no, no, Jenna. I don't see this going well. Don't. I don't know. You can't, like, walk up to someone and just start imitating how they talk and their movements.


I don't know. I mean, I think it's personality mirroring. Is that an actual thing? Is that at leadership seminar somewhere? Because it feels this feels very much like Andy went to a leadership seminar and they're like, here's how you make a good first impression. Say their name a whole bunch. Yeah. Name repetition. Never break a handshake. I don't know. Ange, can we try it? I'm going to meet you. OK, go ahead.


I'm gonna be Andy. Go. Hi. Hey, how are you? I'm good. How are you, Angela? I haven't told you my name yet, Creeper. How'd you get. No, it was me. Have you been stalking me? Psycho.


I Googled you before our meeting. Oh, no. I'm not going now. I felt like I did a terrible job. You failed in three sentences. Oh, boy. All right. Maybe not. Good. OK.


So Andy arrives. He gets his nifty gift. He's and he does. He does his strategy. And Michael loves it. Yes.


Michael thinks he's awesome because Andy is do an impression of Michael. So Michael probably feels like he gets me. Yeah. He loves it. We had a fan catch. Angela Oh. Veronica Ramirez noted that when Andy was in the parking lot doing his talking head. Yeah. He has his tan jacket on. Yeah. But when he walks through the door, it's nowhere to be seen. Where did he take off his jacket? Where did he put his jacket?


He left it with that other plant.


There in a warehouse. Somewhere in a box of lost things. Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Guess who's making his big debut? Jim. He walks in with Martin. They're talking sports, Pam, about does a cartwheel to get to him and hugs him. I into his arms. Really? Yeah. I've got to say, if this is not just a hug she like she throws her cell phone. Yeah, but can I say something? Say yes.


Seven minutes. Twenty seven seconds. I have a giant zit next to my chin and they have tried to cover it up, but it's like a little bit like. When you try to cover up like super big sets, this is one of those it's. And I honestly remember it. Believe it or not. And when I saw it, I was like, oh, yeah, I remember that. It was. It's one of those it's that feels like it's throbbing on your face.




They use it. That has a heartbeat. That's what I. Yeah. It has a heartbeat and you can't squeeze it because it's so underground. But it's like a beacon shining off your face. And here it was. We had to film this scene where Pam is going to see Jim for the first time. And I was like, I cannot believe we're dealing with this today. And the makeup department, I mean, their did their best. They catered a bunch of makeup on it.


There's all but it is all they can do. There's only so much. And it's there. Yeah. And it still bums me out today. Okay, lady. I had a big sit in the Valentines episode and all the photos we took. Remember we did. It was like a yes photo day. There's like photos of me looking up at Dwight this like Valentine's photo and I have an enormous that. So, you know, I can't remember what episode it is.


But I'm going to ask Greg, because there was a future episode that was like a huge Jim Pam thing. And I had another one of these big zits. Mm hmm. And then when I saw that episode, it was gone. And I swear, I was like, Greg, what happened? He said, You know what, Jenna? We decided to take it out and post G.I. Jr. away because it was really distraught.


Dick, how embarrassing. Jenna said there was a room full of people who didn't even know who had to have a conversation about do we have it in the budget to Scooty out her zit? And like, post at it. And then it was someone's job to painstakingly remove it frame by frame.


Yeah, it was so distracting. Oh, Lord. Well, Jenna, you're not alone. Hadley, who also noticed the plant, wrote in and said at the talking head at three minutes. Fifty five seconds. Does Dwight have a little pimple on his right cheek?


Oh, no. Why were we also pimply in this episode? Was it the summer where we're just all hot and sweaty? Oh, I don't know. Maybe so. All right. So Jim now enters and Dwight and Jim are reunited. Jim messes with Dwight immediately by pretending like he's meeting his eyeline, even though he's not. Yeah. Jim and Dwight are right back at it. And if you guys love to track a really good John Krasinski, do white go to seven minutes, 53 seconds.


Oh, God. Hi, Dwight. Nice. So everyone has arrived now. And we had a fan question. A lot of people wrote in Kristen F, Sarah Hodges, Connor McCulloch, Eric Hassans, some and more. All wanted to know what was it like having all these new actors on set from the Stamford branch? And what was it like to have John back? I wrote about this in my journal. Of course you did. Of course, you journal do this.


I said we were really excited to shoot the merger. It was like we were meeting new people. The Stanford and Scranton branch was shot on different days and different soundstages. So we almost never were together, except for maybe just a few times. And we all really miss John's presence on set. So when the branches merged, it was the first time we were all acting together as a group and it was a blast. Ed Helms made me laugh so loud, I pulled a Phyllis and snorted.




That's it. Yeah. It was great. It was great to have this new energy and new people and I just have such fond memories of it. Yeah, I will tell you, the place where I snort laughed when we get to it. OK. I wrote a little note.


Can we talk for a second about one of my two favorite scenes in this episode? Yes, it is the Ryan gym desk dance. Oh yeah. They both set their bags down on the same chair. Yeah. I I love it so much. They're both doing that sort of like polite thing like, oh, I'm sorry, are you. Was this you? You're sitting here now. Are you? Did you. And then Ryan ends up getting the desk and I love his talking head so much.


I talked a little bit about this with B.J.. Where I said, as an older person, I am looking back on the office and I'm super loving the character of Ryan. I don't know what it is.


I think maybe when you get older, you just you give zero more often. And I feel like Ryan gives zero.


I feel like you're you're connecting with Ryan because you feel like you've finally aged to his place of zero F's. Exactly. I think that's what it is. And I just love his talking head. And he's like, yeah. Jim's a nice guy. That's why I got the desk. Yes. And I'm like, that's so funny. OK. I want to say something in the script. There was a different talking head. What was it? So that talking head that made it in wasn't Alte.


OK. A talking head in the original script. Ryan was supposed to say why? Because this is Ryan's desk now.


Oh, I like it. I like the one that made it in better me to get to. I like layer olt. Yeah. More layered. Well, Jenna, up next is a pretty big moment for the characters of the show because we have two adversaries meeting at nine minutes. Seven seconds, Dwight and Andy. Yeah, neither will break the handshake. That handshake goes on forever. They see that.


They are each other's enemy. They know it immediately. I love that their rivalry is borne out of a competition for who has seen more films or appreciates movies more.


Well, you know, a director, a director has more power. That's, you know, that's a whole thing. Yes, but Dwight has seen two hundred and forty films. So over over 240. Over two hundred and forty. Yeah. Yeah. I'd love to see that list. He's got a spreadsheet. OK, well, we are coming up to one of my very favorite scenes in this whole episode. I have to I think I think my second one is maybe one that you like as well.


But this one I loved.


And if you're relating to Ryan, Jonah, I think I'm relating to Toby, though, because he comes over and Toby is excited to see him.


And I think Toby just wanted to be cool and he tries to do a fist bump. And then Jim is like, oh, is this what you're doing now? And then Toby is like, I just forget it. Just forget it. I'm sorry. I don't know why I did that. She has, like, such self-loathing in this moment and my heart just breaks for him. But I feel like I feel like that's what I do. Like, whenever I try to be like I'm going to be cool.


It's like, oh, forget it. That was lame. Yeah.


That was definitely Toby's glitchy up in here moment. Yeah. It got glitchy up in there Toby. But it was so like it felt so honest. Like it felt. Yeah. Loved it. Also I have a little bit of a beef with Jim in this moment. Same T knows that Toby's trying to be cool. He knows that Toby just wants Jim to like him and he should have just this bumped him back instead of commenting like, oh, is this what you're doing now?


And sort of giving him shade. Sorry, I have issue with you right there. Just fist bump back. Don't comment on the fist bump. Just do it back. Agree. Agree. I need to bring up something called Shredder Gate. Oh, Angela. OK. Which version of this did you watch for our re watch. Oh. Did you watch the I tunes version or the Netflix version or the DVD version.


I watched the Netflix version and the DVD version because I watched this episode three times. OK, I watched it on I tunes and Netflix. Mm hmm. If you watch the I tunes download, you will see a whole storyline with Kevin shredding things using a Staples shredder. It has a giant Staples sticker on it and he talks about what a great shredder it is and yada, yada. If you watch the Netflix version, this storyline is not in there.


It is also not on the DVD. So folks who watched the I tunes download like I did. Here is what that was about. This was an embedded advertisement for this staple shredder, which actually existed at the time and was launching. And they paid the show to feature it on the show. By one of our characters, they picked Kevin. Something that people should know, like if a show gets money to make a character drink a Coke versus a Pepsi, the actor does not get any coin for that.


No, no, no. But also, people noted Staples is Dunder Mifflin main competitor. So it was especially strange. I mean, it's the staples theoretically is the whole reason this merger's happening, because that's how they lost Josh Porter. Yes. So it was an odd thing. It was odd. OK, Angeles. So now Michael is ready. Yeah. He's making everyone go in the conference room. Yeah. He has a gigantic performance. Jenna, that's.


Yeah. Coming out. It he they he has named this the official merger day. All family welcome breakfast. He's put out some food but only the guests are allowed to eat and drink.


So you see the food though. It looks like little pieces of like toast and salmon. I didn't see anything else in champagne. Yeah, I mean, Pam, Carrie. To fake grocery bags into the office. And this is what was in it. I feel like this is on Pam. Is this all Michael gave her money for or did Pam just do a horrible job of shopping? Also, was Angela Martin like I did the gift bags. I'm out.


I'm out. I have to say, I don't think Michael used the party planning committee at all here. I feel like Michael put together those gift bags. I don't know. I think the reason this buffet is sad is because the PPC was not involved. I think if you only have two items, it can't be a buffet. It's gone. Well, you're like buffet expert pay expert. I think it's like three items or more. Also, I loved it on their very first day.


He is going to insult them all and then also give them champagne. He's like, my goal. My goal would be fired. Michael should already be fired.


First year. First year. Also at 12 minutes. Thirty six seconds. I see.


Mindy break. So you do. Yeah. Yes.


So after Michael tells Kelly to consider the salmon to be poison beef, Mindy starts to break and puts her hand up to her face as she walks away.


Oh, I have to go back and look for that.


So and we asked Ken Whittingham, our director, how did he fit everyone in the conference room? I mean, Jenna, we could barely fit in it before five new people. And remember, also in the room with us, our two camera operators, two boom operators and usually a first A.D.. So there were also additional crew members. Should we play the clip? Yeah. To see what Ken said about getting us all in there.


Yeah, it was very challenging, staging and shooting in the conference room scenes. I wanted to create a us and them kind of situation, so I put each branch on opposite sides. However, in the first conference room scene, Karen was the only person from Stanford that put on the Scranton side. I remember where she'd ask me why she was the only person on that side. And I told her the reason being is to put her in Pam and Jim in the same shot to capture all of their reactions.


When Karen passes Jamas take a go to peek Pam's curiosity.


OK, this leads me to wishy washy Jim and the stick of gum. Why is he wishy washy if he takes a stick of gum? Listen. Are they dating or not? Are they not dating? Because when you bring a girl that you are dating into a new office where you used to work and then you don't sit next to her in the first group meeting, wishy washy, what is that? I feel like I'm watching normal people all over again.


You watch that show. My God. No. All right. Well, yeah. I don't know what he's doing. I don't know. You know, here's the thing. I do think he's wishy washy. I don't know if I supported in this moment because for all we knew, like he went in to sit down and to save her seat. But then Pam sat down and now he's like, oh, crap, what do I do? Maybe he's just a little deer in headlights.


Well, then maybe he should have moved back to the back row and sat next to Karen. I don't know. Here is what I'm saying. I'm saying we're going to learn at the end of this episode that they're dating. And I don't think he is regarding Karen as a woman. He is dating right now.


I agree with that. Also, he doesn't even say who he's dating at the end of the episode. That, too, he doesn't even own that.


So she it gym or shower wash.


I actually got to sit next to Rasheeda in the scene and it was really fun. She was great. And we got to chat in between takes and stuff. So I remember being excited. Oh, well, that's very nice. So Jim's loss was my gain. So there you go. Wishy washy, Jim. There you go. Wishy washy, Jim. Should we talk about lazy Scranton? Angela, I can't wait to talk about it. This made me laugh so hard.


And, of course, you know, there had already been lazy Sunday on SNL. So this was like inspired by Lazy Sunday. And it made me laugh so hard when we watched it.


So many of Michael's bits are based on the bits of Saturday Night Live and or other comedians. He he really writes no new material. He thinks he's a world class comedian. I mean by because he just re structures and redoes other people's bits.


But he truly thinks he's like an amazing comedian. He even called this meeting, which should be just like a new employee orientation meeting. He calls it his gigantic performance. Yes. Yes. Michael reminds me of a cruise director. Oh, gosh. Wait. That's perfect. That's how you need to stay. I'm sure there's a story here, but that is the best example. Michael is a cruise ship director. Yeah. What do I have to tell me?


The story, what happened on the cruise ship? Well, I took a cruise. This was when cruising was still happening. And our cruise director, like fifteen years after Austin Powers had come out, his bet was to dress up like Austin Powers and be like, oh, baby. Hey, you. Oh, my God. And I remember thinking, like, has he been doing this bit for 15 years or where is we are. I don't know.


And then that, you know, of course, there was some Borat thrown in there. It was like it was like watching Michael Scott live. But I'll tell you what, by the end of the cruise, I don't know this guy. I was on board like one of the rules.


He was like, yeah, baby. Yeah. He were like, I'm in.


By the end of the cruise, I was full on doing like a scavenger hunt with my mom. And my sister was a cruise I took with my mom and sister. It was like, you know, a girls a girls trip. Girls trip. Yeah. And and we were with a bunch of other strangers and we were doing this scavenger hunt and like my four sisters could be.


So bears would tell the story. The the thing we had to find was just like a piece of woman's clothing. So my sister took off her bra and like took it out of her shirt and was like waving her hair. She got her way. And we were like, oh, hey. Oh, my God. It wasn't safe. I love that story, Jenna. And you know what? Having now competed with your family and family feud. Yes.


I know how competitive everyone in your family is. I believe Emily was like a we will win this if I have to take my bra.


We're gonna. When she was. She was. And we we didn't win. Oh, say. Well, sadly. But they gave it our best effort. You sure did. All right. So we asked both Ken and Brent what they remembered about filming Lazy Scranton. And here's what Ken Whittingham had to say.


One of my favorite scenes in the episode was creating the lazy Scranton video, which was as fired from SNL as Lazy Sunday sketch. We kind of went off script and created a bunch of really funny extra scenes to make the video really hard to watch for the Dunder Mifflin employees. Unfortunately, we can use all of them.


Are you telling me there's extra footage from this? Yeah, there must be. I need an extended cut. I want the extended cut of lazy Scranton. I know. I know. Because this was one of those moments where Rain and Steve got to go off on their own and shoot a bunch of stuff. And we didn't get we only got to see what the audience sees. We only got to see that final version. Yeah.


Can I went those extra scenes. All right. Well, we also asked Brent and here's what Brent remembers about shooting those scenes.


What I remember about shooting that lazy Scranton video was just being in awe of Rainn Wilson and Steve Carell as performers. These guys are such serious actors. And between takes, they would be talking about this performance like they were the Royal Shakespeare Company. And then the director would yell action, and they would suddenly become these cartoon characters bouncing off the walls like Bugs Bunny and then cut. And suddenly they're inside the actor studio for about two minutes and then action.


And it's Benny Hill. It was so wonderful to watch. And it ended up, I think, in a kind of classic little bit of comedy film in the middle of the episode.


I wish we would have asked them also about the little clip of Michael doing the Scranton Witch Project. Because that's something else they filmed. And I'm sure Steve did a whole bunch of stuff that didn't make it. Well, speaking of stuff that didn't make it. Brent sent us in some insight into something that I saw in the script, which was Michael went on to do a magic show for us after showing us lazy Scranton. But we'll let Brent tell you about it.


What I remember about filming this episode is that we ended up with too much comedy. The premise for Michael Scott was so perfect that he would have these new employees and a new audience to perform for and impress that. We just ended up writing too many comedy bits for him. And I remember one that made us laugh so hard we had made a giant deck of cards for Michael Scott. And in the conference room, he says, if you put your heart into your sails, you will be a king of hearts.


And then he has an employee pick a card and it is the king of hearts.


And he says, and if you all put your hearts into your sails, then you will all be a king of hearts.


And he flips his deck of cards over and there. All the king of hearts. And then he acts like he's blown their minds when in fact, he's just done the worst magic trick ever. It was so funny. And we just had no room for it because the episode was so packed.


Good stuff, Angela. I remember shooting that. I remember the giant deck of cards. God, how he fanned them all out. Well, it's in the deleted scenes. Oh, it is. We have to watch that. Oh, yes.


So if you have the DVD, that one made it. I remember Steve's handling of the prop of the cards and the Kings of Hearts and how he did just like the worst magician hand work with the cards.


I just remember trying so hard not to laugh. It was so hard to not laugh.


All right, lady, that kind of sums up the first conference room meeting. Oh, there's going to be another one. But should we take a break and then we'll come back? Yeah. Let's take a break and come back, because I'm Andy continues to try to win over everybody. We'll talk about that when we come back.


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Yeah. And he compliments your smile. My what? Smile. Look.


Look at my face. I remember doing the scene and I remember Ken Whittingham and Brent Forester and I just brainstorming a little bit. What how how big would my actual smile be? You know what I mean? Like, sure it would it be just like it couldn't be a smirk. It couldn't be a full smile. It sort of was like this. Pursed lips, barely reacting, but slightly amused. So we did. We did a few takes of like me, sort of like trying to not smile, but seem like I'm somewhat happy.


And and that, like, is something that I laugh thinking about because I remember Ken and Brent both being like, OK, maybe even less of a smile are OK. Maybe you've got to do something. I think if we Wevers like trying to dial it and find it. Well I love where it landed. I think it's perfect. And it is probably more smiling than we've ever seen from Angela Martin. So.


Well, I think the biggest smile my character has had is when she realizes that Dwight gave her a key. Yes, that's a very good wry smile, but this is this is amused, you're slightly amused. Besides your smile, I was very distracted at 15 minutes, 50 seconds with your all brown outfit. This is a new color for you. You're usually in the gray tones. These are striking moments because like rain almost always wears mustard yellow. But I noticed in a recent episode he's in green.


He's like, but it's monotone like. That's the other thing. Both you and Dwight dressed in, like a monotone. Mm hmm. Have you noticed it?


Yeah, like. Yes, I absolutely I mean, it was a brown skirt and then I had a brown button sweater over, like a black shirt, like it was so weird. The whole outfit was so bizarre. Yeah. Should we move to the. The heart break in the break room. Oh, lady, do you know what I titled the scene on my note card? What? Very hunchy. Oh, yeah. Very hot. Sure.


That's Gergely. But it's it's so true.


And you know why she's doing it. OK. Joining us set up the scene, Jim is getting a water instead of his usual grape soda from the vending machine. And Pam comes in and she is finally she has him alone. Right. So she wants there old banter back and she's like, oh, no grape soda, huh? And he's like, yeah, no, just water. He doesn't meet her there. Right. And she's like, oh, you've changed so much.


And he's like, oh, yeah, I don't know. And then Michael comes in and. Pam tries to give Jim a little like look a little bit like, oh, gosh. And Jim does not return. No, he is giving you nothing back. And he says to Michael, you're not interrupting anything because nothing's happening. It's kind of cold. And he just leaves. And Pam was like, Yeah. And then Jenna, it looks like if you could have crawled inside your socks, your sweater that your mom had knitted you.


Yeah. You would have because you hunch way into yourself. And I was like, oh, Pam. So Hunchy, there's a country song here called Heartbreak in the Break Room. Getting Hunchy.


I was wearing a sexy sweater that my mama gave me. And then I went in the break room and he broke me. So what did I do? I tried to crawl in to my sexy sweater. I got my heart break in the break room.


Our country music sings really breathy. It's not like it's not like peppy, like country life. There's a heartbreak in the break room. Man, I'm gonna tell you why.


Oh, good Lord. Okay. Oh, good Lord. Patient. And put it out there. Anybody want to write heartbreak in the break room? Heartland. Here are your key words. Heartbreak in the break room. Very hunchy, so much sweat. Almost sexy sweater. Yeah, momma knit me a sexy sweater for my heartbreak in the break room. Oh, there it is. Momma knit me a sexy sweater. But all it got me was heartbreak in the break room.


Oh, come on. All right. So now where do we go from here? I mean, where do we go from here? Hannah is pumping in the bullpen. Creed is leering at her. Creed's so gross. Ryan is like, hey, I'm sorry, it's distracting. Angela does not approve. Jenna, you and I both breastfed. We both had pumps. We had a pump at work. But I would not have pumped in a bullpen.


No, I wouldn't have pumped in a bullpen. I've pumped in lots of places I have pumped while driving down the road. I had a driving while I was driving. I had a day where I had to go to a meeting. And the traffic in Los Angeles is so bad that I was not going to make it home in time. To pump and or breastfeed? Yeah. So I put after my meeting, I got in my car, I hooked up my pump with my hands free bandana thing.


You had the hands free one. And I just pumped as I drove. I, I also pumped in restroom at the airport. That was really the grossest experience of my life. I. This was before airports had, you know, nursing lounges. Yeah. I am I pumped and the coat closet of the Screen Actors Guild Awards. I remember that. And Lady, a couple of years later, I did the same. And I remember you being like, Oh, Jenna.


I'll show you where to go. Here, here's this coat closet I used several years ago. Yeah. And I was like, great. Really? You helped me out. So, Jenna, now we have basically the Stamford branch and the Scranton branch trying to work all together. And it's bumpy, right? It's like having that new roommate. And it is they're having to sit next to each other like Crede is laughing way too loud on the phone.


Hannah is pumping in the bullpen. Martin tries to have this moment with Stanley. And then, of course, there's Karen and Phyllis. We'll get to that. Yes. Well, we got a fan question about that moment between Martin and Stanley, Kenya. Hunt wrote in to say, As a black American, I personally lived for the really intimate details about blackness in the show. Like Darold teaching Michael Dinkin Flicka, for example. Another example is the moment between Martin and Stanley in this episode.


Martin tries to give Stanley the black nod, the nod black people give each other as a sign of understanding and mostly white spaces. And Stanley rejects him. It is too funny who wrote that part or was it improvised? Well, we asked Brent Forester, our writer, about that.


And here's what he had to say that was written into the script. But the performers, Leslie, David Baker and the great Wayne Williamson, who played Martin. They did make it their own.


And it was directed by Ken Waiting Hamm, who never thought it was very, very funny. And yeah, that was that was a collaboration for sure. So glad you like that.


And here's what our director, Ken, had to say about that moment. The interaction between Martin and Stanley was written by Brad Forester. And yes, it was scripted. And I laugh out loud every time I watch it. It just really kills me.


Some of us know that guy.


OK, so now is one of my favorite scenes in this whole damn facade. Sam, I mean, Joe, I didn't even talk about this. And then this morning, when we were getting ready to do it, we both had this scene down as like we've got to hear the scene because we love it so much. Karen is sitting at her desk and she is like, what is that smell? Smells like a funeral home.


Smells like a funeral home. She says, Yeah, we come to find out it's Phyllis's perfume. Phyllis is like, Oh, I'll help you find the smell. And then Karen is like, Oh, oh, I think I'm allergic to your perfume. And Phyllis has a response that I love so much. This is this is Phyllis Sass, right, Ingela. Such Phyllis says so much. So there's part of it I want on a T-shirt. It's so great.


Can we play a clip of it?


Yes, please.


Oh, no. Never. Never one. What is it? I think I'm just allergic to your perfume. My perfume.


It's just my crazy nose. Used to different smells. Bob Vance bought this perfume for me in metropolitan Orlando. It's made from Real Pine. Bob Vance, you've a lot to learn about this town, sweetie.


Oh, the first lady of Vance Refrigeration is not pleased. Phyllis is pissed. Yeah. First of all, she insults her perfume. And it's from Metropolitan Orlando. Hello. Yeah, it's made with real pine. Angela, then Karen doesn't know who. Bob Vance's.


Oh. Oh. Alina. Erin, good luck. You really stepped in it. Karen and Stanley, how's that amazing talking head? Where he is like, I don't know who these new people think they are, but I have sat downwind of Phil's the Stinky Perfume for years, and I have never said a word.


Oh, man. No one's getting along. No one's getting along from the new branch. And it's it's all gonna come to a head.


I love throughout the series the sort of subtle tension that happens from time to time between Phyllis and Stanley. I have to say, every once in a while, Phyllis gets real annoyed with him. And then now we're getting a peek into what Stanley has endured in that desk clump. Years of this perfume. They're like an old married couple.


The two they are. They really are. They have each other's back. But they also, like, drive each other crazy. But it's a sort of like subtle, quiet anger. They definitely eat dinner in silence. Mm hmm. Right. Yeah. That couple in the restaurant and they haven't said a word for 30 minutes.


It's because they've been together so long. They've said everything they need to say. Exactly. Exactly. Oh, I love it so much. Angela, I have to point something out here. This is a tangent, but it's short. You know, we're talking about how this is Phyllis Sass. You really coined the sass. A fan sent in that on one of our episodes in the podcast notes. It says that our guest on the episode is Michael Sass.


What? Yes. Like on the Apple download site, it says, like our guests are. And then it lists the guests. And one of the guests is Michael Sass.


There's no photo for him, though. That is hilarious. Whatever the algorithm is that, like, listens to your podcast and then picks out guest stars to highlight somehow this computer program believes that there's someone on our podcast named Michael said because we've said so, so many times, it's never like the thing the computer picks up on. Yeah. Sass is one of our guests. Oh, man. All right, so, guys, it's hard to believe, but Michael didn't feel like one conference room meeting was enough.


Well, he makes everyone go inside for what he's now calling the integration celebration. Well, he's really noticed that no one's getting along and he's worried about it. And so he has, you know, I mean, a great show can make people forget about their differences. You got to give him another great show, everybody. Yes. So what he decides to do is re-enact another Saturday Night Live bit this time night at the Roxbury. And this is what Michael thinks.


This is this is the way to bring everyone together to imitate these idiots at the nightclub. But his boombox doesn't work. No. So Andy comes to the rescue and he sings for him and he starts gone, paying your opening poem, being involved here.


You start doing that? Well, none of us knew what that was going to sound like. Really? Right. Yeah. It was just in the script that he would provide the music. Right. And so I don't think we were really prepared for Ed Helms as Andy to go full out. And we lost it. And that's when I did my snort laugh because we're all in this little room and it's totally quiet. And then with full commitment, Ed is like pee pee ha.


Here we go. Yeah. So crazy.


Sorry, I dropped my pencil. I was like, huh, who's crazy? That was amazing. I'll never forget that. And also remember, Ed was new to us. So we we were like, oh, oh. He showed up in full uniform. Ready to play today. Yeah. We didn't know I was coming.


Yeah. It got so hard. So next, Michael asks all of the new employees to sit up on the conference table. This is to illustrate that the older employees are not above them. I have some fun trivia from Dunder Pedia. Oh, at this moment, okay. Dunder Pedia. What do you got? Dundar P.D.A notes that in the British version, they have an episode called Motivation. And the manager, David Brent, says he would never make his employees stand on a table because it's against health and safety regulations.


Kind of fun little thing, fun little thing. I guess Michael never read the health and safety memo your liver.


This is really Toby's whole life is having to try to catch Michael up on every regulation.


Yeah. So there's one person who's not on the table. It's Tony. And Michael says, Tony, let's get you up on the table, right? And Tony is like, yeah, I, I can't I can't get on the table.


And Michael's like, oh, yes, you can. He's thinking there's like. Right. Like, he's like giving them a pep talk to get on the table. And then Tony is like, no, I, I like I physically can't get on the table. But Michael will not let it go. He's like, we'll help you. We will physically help you get on the table. Yeah. And then he gets Dwight involved and and then it's just it's really crunchy.


And I remember like even when we were there being like, oh my God, oh, my God. Oh, my God.


And then, you know, Tony is like, stop it. I'm done. I am done. Yes. And he says, I can't work here. I can't work here. And of course, Michael is like, oh, my God, is it Toby? And Tony is like, no.


Toby was actually very kind and helpful. It is you. It is your management style. But like, Tony is being nicer about it than I am. He's like, no, Michael, it's your management style. And Michael cannot believe it. He cannot believe that there would be someone who doesn't think he's an awesome manager. Michael cannot hold up the mirror to see himself. He just can't. And throughout the course of this day, he's been disrespectful to all the new employees.


And Tony has had it. He's not. I work in this environment anymore. But, of course, Michael gets hurt and embarrassed and turns it around and says, you know what? You're fired. I'm fire. You, too. Dwight's delight. Dwight is like, that's what I said. I said, we should fire him. So Dwight takes it as a win. And Tony is just like I. I can't. I can't even. Yeah.


And you start to see that Hannah is like, yeah, he's he's got the right idea, right? Yes. And it's unraveling. All of this is unraveling. And Michael is starting to spiral. Now, we had a few fan catches and questions about the scene. First, I'm gonna give you this fan catch from Luke Jensen. He says, I noticed a potentially huge mistake in Season three, Episode eight, the merger. The episode depicts the entire merger day.


And Tony Gardner gets fired, right? Yeah. But then in the threat level midnight movie, Tony Gardner is playing the piano. How is it that Tony Gardner ended up in this movie of threat level midnight? There's no way that Michael filmed threat level midnight on this one merger day. Right. That is a great catch. Here's the thing, B.J. Novak gave an interview about this. Oh, B.J. said that the writers thought that it would be very funny for Tony Gardner to have a cameo in Threat Level Midnight.


And they have this whole weird backstory as to why he appears in threat level midnight. They think that Michael had this realization and he called up Tony Gardner and apologized profusely for the way he treated him and then said, I would like to offer you a role in my movie. And Tony was like B.J. in the interview says, like in his mind, Tony was like either like, well, I don't know, I have nothing else better to do.


Like, maybe he's bored. He's like, you maybe wanted to be in a movie. Maybe he was aspiring actor on a high. Maybe he's a cinephile and is like, yeah, I'd like to be an actor. Why not? Oh, the movie. But that this was this was like a choice that they would have this person that Michael wronged in an earlier episode have this cameo in Threat Level Midnight. I like it. I like it.


There you go. I want Michael to have growth. I want him to learn and evolve. Now, here's another fan question. From this moment at twenty two minutes, 56 seconds, Tim Althouse, Sidney palls, Ben Pavey, Grace Bromley and Declan Jensen all want to know who is the man wearing business attire who is standing next to Andy in the conference room when Michael fires Tony. Did you notice that, Anj?


Oh, I noticed it. I noticed it. And I and then I saw all the questions pouring in about it. Yeah. Philip S.A.. That's who that is. Guys, he was one of our male stand ins for the actors. It was Philip and Stephen. Socks were two male standards. And you will probably spot Stephen in some future episodes, in some scenes. And his wife, Laurie, has already been in one. That's who that was.


Good catch. Good guys. Very good catch. So Michael's really bombed. He says that today was supposed to be a love union, but it's more like when his mom moved in with Jeff and now his job is to fix it.


He's got to fix it, you guys. And how does he decide to fix it? He goes into the parking lot and lets the air out of everyone's tire.


And he's like, yeah, oh, my God, we got punched. You know, they they got us good. Come see. Like, he thinks this is gonna bring everyone together. Yeah, that's right. But Angela, everyone's tires except Michael's. Yes. And he got a hate note that says that that you guys suck. It's from Vance Refrigeration.


And yeah, that they suck because Vance Refrigeration would suddenly for no reason decide to hate on Dunder Mifflin. It makes so much sense. But they would spare Michael's car. Well, they saved the worst for him with the hate note, according to Michael. Yeah. And everyone's like, oh, come on. They totally know he's full of crap. Now they're really annoyed. But I guess Michael in some way, Jenna. He was kind of. Like on the mark, because what brings people together more than a common enemy?


Yes, the enemy, though, is Michael. Yeah. Because then you have that great scene of everybody standing around. Karen and Phyllis, they have a nice moment because Phyllis says, oh, Bob has an air pump and they're going to put air and all of our tires so we can get home. And then Karen is like, oh, you mean Bob Vance from Vance Refrigeration? And Phyllis is like, yeah, she's got it. Yeah.


Everyone is starting to bond. I can't breeze past the moment, though, where Pam Cloth's Karen scratching Jim's back. Little scratchy. Scratchy. This is what I'm saying. They're clearly dating. Why? Why does Jim come into the new office and not tell the new woman that he's dating, that he's kissed the receptionist? And why doesn't he give Pam a heads up? Wishy washy gym kids, the receptionists. How about the fact that he told her, I love you?


I know we've discussed this, we've talked about this is our beef with Jones, our beef with Jim. Well, now Michael's in trouble, though. Michael's in trouble because Jan finds out that he fired Tony when Tony was quitting. And now they have to pay Tony a big severance package. Yeah, exactly. And Michael's in trouble with Jan and he tries to blame Dwight. He's like, well, this was the advice of my number two. And Jan is like, he's he's not your number two.


Jim is your number two. So then Michael calls Jim, Dwight and Andy into his office and makes it seem like he's chosen Jim to be his number two, even though we know from this phone call it was mandated by Jan. And now Dwight and Andy want to know who's your number three? Day four. It's so it's so funny to me that they so quickly gloss over that neither one of them is number two. They're just interested in like Walt Dow, who's number three.


Yeah. I mean, I would imagine that Dwight would have been mortified that Jim got number two over him. But I guess now he's just more worried about Andy getting three. And having Jack and Andy over him. So everyone's leaving. This insane day is done. And Karen calls Jim. He's in his car. Invite some out for a drink. Yeah. And Jim's like, wait, can I call you right back? Because he sees Pam and Jenna.


Is this this moment where Jim is going to try to be real with her? Maybe. But it's too little too late for Pam. She's really stung. She's embarrassed. She would have liked this information. I mean, she really would have behaved differently in the stay had she known. And so she kind of cuts him off. You know, he tries to say, oh, hey, I'm sorry. I think things were a little awkward today.


And she's like, you know, I don't know seem. It was fine. I don't know. We were talking about. And he's like, yeah, well, you know, I'm dating someone. And she's like, Yeah, well, you can do what you want because we're friends and we'll always be friends. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, she was. She was kind of cold in that moment and kind of shut him down. But, you know, I see both sides.


I see her being hurt. But I also see him as being like, you're not the person I share with anymore. So I don't need to tell you I'm dating anyone. It's none of your business. Oh, yeah. I mean, you know. Yeah, well, Brent Forester sent us an audio clip about this. Jim Pam storyline that runs through this episode. And now it's going to seem like I paid him to say the stuff. I just want to preface this clip by saying I did not know he was just a fan.


So let me tell you, there's going to be like balloons and confetti going off when he mentions Jenna's name.


He really he really, really admired your performance. Yes. So, everyone, this is not a paid endorsement. Go ahead.


If you look at the structure of this episode, you can see it was kind of designed to be a classic office episode. It's got that big a story performance piece for Steve Carell, where Michael Scott has twice the audience, twice the family to perform for.


And we knew that she was just going to kill it in these big performance conference room scenes. We also knew that we had this clash of two comedy characters who had never been in any scenes before. That was Andy Bernard and Dwight Schrute. And sure enough, that two hander is just so funny to watch those guys performing together for the first time.


But what really distinguishes this episode is the Jim and Pam story, where once again, we relied for the emotion of the episode on Jim and Pam and look at the tremendous performance that Jenna Fischer delivers here. She does so much with so little right from the start where she says it'll be nice to see my friend again. And, you know, the what she means is I can't believe Jim and I can get together for the first time and then watch how she discovers that Jim is dating Karen Filippelli.


It's just done in little looks where she notices a piece of gum passed between them all.


It kills me that it's the greatest performance and it's part of this tremendous ongoing performance that Jenna Fischer did as Pam Beasley, one of the great performances ever captured on TV, in my opinion.


Yeah, it really is. I really agree. One of the greatest performances ever captured on TV. I wrote that out for him and I felt like he delivered it perfectly. No, thank you, Brian. No, listen, in your defense. It is a fantastic performance. And that that was just a heartfelt message from Brent about how moved he was. And really, everyone is by Jim and Pam. They break our hearts all the time because that is what a sort of star crossed lovers courtship is.


It's one moment you're available for that other person, either physically or emotionally, and the other person isn't. And then it flips and they break your heart over and over until they hopefully find each other.


Well, here's the thing. You know, I did not make up any of that performance. That was all written for me by the great Brent Forester. But truly, he it's like that. Those directions were in the script. I didn't invent those, you know, all of those moments of embarrassment. Those were all described to me in the script and I just had to play them. So, you know, it's that some of the beautiful detail that we would get in our scripts that I so appreciated as a performer.


Those quiet moments that they allowed to play out, those moments of silence, moments of realization. We always took our time with those and it and it allowed me to, like, really go for it. I loved it.


Well, it's it's great. And that scene broke my heart. There are a lot of moments in this episode where I was just as excited as Pam was that Jim was gonna be back and then he's just not available to you. So it's really hard to watch.


Yeah, it's like a brick wall. Like a brick wall. Well, luckily, this episode does not end there. It does not end on Pam's heartbreak or this awkward moment. It ends with a fantastic scene between Andy and Dwight, where they are arguing about their cars, their eye cues. They have an amazing, like coughing. They do. They insult contest it like this with your finger. I have a fan catch in this final scene. Reese Peirsol wrote in and said at 28 minutes, 42 seconds, if you're watching the I tunes version.


So Dwight and Andy are fighting over their car. And he's like 1985 called once it's TransAm back. And Dwight goes, huh? Well, it's an eighty seven. So there. But in the pilot, when Dwight is describing his car to Ryan, the temp, he says it's a nineteen seventy eight TransAm.


Oh. All right. So fantastic. Catch Reese and oh hold up. Sam is saying he has a little a little info about this car, Sam.


Yeah, I think I can solve this one, actually. I think from the pilot in the first couple seasons, he has a 1978 niece on two eighty Z. And I think you can see it in the grief counseling episode when Pam and Roy walk outside to talk about her new car.


And then at some point he gets a nineteen eighty seven Pontiac TransAm. That's the maroon one you see most of the season. So it's just two different cars. And I know this because I grew up in the 80s in a car family and my uncle had the first car and my brother had the second car. And I listened to much Motley Crue in both of them say, Wow.


Wow. Say, I'll add to your list muscle car knowledge. I love it. I have one thing I noticed about this scene, Angela. So we know that this elevator goes nowhere. Yeah, we know that when Andy and Dwight stepped into that elevator.


It was just a room on a stage, and I clocked the moment when then the elevator doors open and there suddenly, quote unquote, downstairs in the lobby, they had to film that at two different times in two different buildings. And you can see the moment that the camera cuts. And that's the moment it starts to move, it pans to the left. And then there's a cut. And that is when they were now relocated in the different stage for the exiting of the elevator.


And so it's a fun little moment to watch a thing.


You and Reese getting all the catches in that final scene. But it looks so seamless. It looks so seamless. It really seems like that elevator went from one floor to another.


Well, I have one deleted scene I want to talk about before we close out the merger here. You know, General, we've talked before that John and I rarely interacted as characters. Yeah. We rarely spoke to each other on camera. Well, in the deleted scenes, there is a scene where Jim goes to accounting. Kevin says that he hit his Eminem's under his desk. If he wants any, they're under his desk. But he didn't want the other people to have him.


And then Jim looks at me and goes, Hi, Angela. And I go, You need a haircut? And he goes, Oh, wow. And he goes by Angela and he leaves the scene and that's it. That's all the scene was. But then they left the camera rolling and we improvised a beat and it made it in the deleted scenes. So after Jim leaves, Kevin goes. It is his first day back. And I say his hair is flipping out on the sides.


And Kevin goes, I like him. And I say, Oh, my Lord. Well, here's something, though. And you said earlier in the clip that they ended up using of Kevin hiding his Eminem's. You're not even at your desk. I know I would have been there because then Jim would've walked up. I don't know, guys, I'm out. Interesting. I'm hanging out with the plant from the other day. I don't know where I am.


I'm. Yeah. You're with Andy's coat in the plant. Just the three of you. I'm in the box of. What are you doing? A box of lost things like this. Oh. All right, guys. That was the merger. We want to thank Ken Whittingham and Brent Forester for sending in those awesome audio clips. Ken is a prolific director. He is directing just about every TV show out there. The Upshaw's American housewife.


Yes. Also, bless this mess. But I will not hold that against you, Ken, because, you know, bless this mess is the show that replaced my canceled show splitting up together? Oh, it's OK. OK. I'm not bitter.


I'll let you guys get into that when he is on Phyllis's wedding day. And Ken left us a little clip saying goodbye and where you can find him on the socials.


Thank you so much, Angela and Jenna, for having me do this. Of all the television I've done, some of my best memories are being with you guys. All they are is so. So let's do some more these five casts and talk about Phyllis's wedding and some other episodes are done. So Ken winning him at Ken Winningham on Twitter. And Kenny went on Instagram.


And also, thank you to Brent Forester. We're gonna have him back again in the future, guys. Brent Forester is the head writer for Space Force. Season one, and he also online has Brent Forester's Comedy Knowledge School. It's awesome. It's a six week workshop on half hour comedy writing. You can Google it. You can also find it over on YouTube at Reach for a Star.


I love that. I absolutely love that. Well, everybody, that was the merger. Thank you so much for listening in. And we can't wait to see you next week. See you next week. Thank you for listening to. Office Lady's Office Ladies is produced by Airwolf. Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, our producer is Cody Fisher, our sound engineer, Sam Peeper. And our theme song is Rubber Tree by Creed Bratton for ad free versions of the show and our bonus episodes.


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