Best friends Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey can't wait to talk you through The Office
Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey couldn’t be more excited to give you one more reason to binge The Office all over again.
The real-life best friends and former costars on the beloved NBC comedy are reteaming for a new project: Office Ladies, a podcast in which they will break down every episode of their former series, while sharing behind-the-scenes stories and reminiscing with fellow Dunder Mifflin alums.
Ahead of Office Ladies premiering on Wednesday, EW chatted with Fischer and Kinsey about being “dorks” for their own show, becoming best pals, and what they imagine Pam and Angela are up to now.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Jenna, as you know from recently speaking to me for our oral history on Jim and Pam’s wedding, I’m a sucker for any Office content, so I’m glad to have more of that in the world now.
JENNA FISCHER: That story turned out so great. I forgot that John [Krasinski] had the flu, but once I read that back in the article, I remembered that he was super-sick and very worried about getting me sick. If I remember correctly, he was like vomiting in his hotel room and we couldn’t not shoot that day because we were in Niagara Falls. He had to tough it out.
ANGELA KINSEY: I read that yesterday and I loved hearing everyone else’s point of view of that exact moment. Jenna and I have been saying over and over since starting this podcast and rewatching episodes that we’re such dorks for own show. And when I saw that it was the 10-year anniversary and trending on Twitter, I was like “What?!” And then when I realized it was Jim and Pam’s 10-year anniversary, I was like, “Aww, that’s so sweet.” Then, I was like, “Okay, they’re not real people,” but I was so happy for them, wherever they are.
FISCHER: Even as Pam, I felt that it was so sweet that they had their anniversary.
And the thing everyone took away from the story was how a falling horse almost ruined the wedding.
KINSEY: I remember that! It was a heated thing.
FISCHER: People were like, “What are you talking about?! This is insanity!”
KINSEY: When a show really goes off the rails, they say it jumped the shark, and we were like, “We’re going to be the horse jump.”
I now look even more forward to the “Niagara” episode of the podcast. What was the origin of Office Ladies? Were you always hoping to do something together again?
FISCHER: That was part of it; we’ve wanted to work together again ever since The Office ended.
KINSEY: Jenna says we’ve wanted to work together since we stopped working together.
FISCHER: Which is true, because we’re best friends in real life, and it is such a blessing to work with your best friend, so I was looking to do that again.
KINSEY: We were trying to figure out exactly what we were going to do, and then I was trying to make the corner of our guest room into my home office, and I had these three Rubbermaid bins full of photos and memorabilia from the show that I had been holding on to. I was getting really nostalgic going through them, and Jenna had come over and we were hanging out and I was showing her stuff and we were thinking about, “Well, it’s the 15-year anniversary…”
FISCHER: And we started storytelling. We started to tell all these stories and we wondered if there was a way we could tell these to the fans in honor of the anniversary.
KINSEY: Exactly, we were kind of journaling out loud to each other about the show.
FISCHER: We’re very chatty, so podcasting seemed like the best venue.
KINSEY: And then Jenna found out that she could wear sweatpants, so it all came together.
Like you said, it’s a great feeling to be able to work with your best friend. Were you immediate best friends when you met on the show? Obviously it’s so funny because Angela and Pam weren’t exactly BFFs, especially in the early years.
KINSEY: They were kind of frenemies.
FISCHER: Angela was the person I spoke to the most right off the bat.
KINSEY: Jenna jokes that I wore her down because I just wouldn’t stop talking.
FISCHER: [Laughs] She wouldn’t stop talking to me, so I thought, “I guess this person is my friend?” But after the pilot, we did not stay in touch, and there was about a six-month lag between shooting the pilot and the rest of season 1. I thought it wasn’t going to get picked up, and that was an amazing experience and I’ll probably never see those people again. So thank goodness the show got picked up, because it was during the shooting of the rest of season 1 that Angela and I became best friends. It was during those additional five episodes where, I think even if the show hadn’t been picked up after that, Angela would have been my friend for life.
KINSEY: Yeah, we became friends for life in those first episodes. You have to remember after we did the pilot, to totally date us, there was no social media, we all had flip phones, so it was just a different time, where when you left a job you didn’t necessarily see those people again. So when we came back and found out the show got picked up, we were so excited and we were the little engine that could. The first season was only six episodes, and it kind of felt like we were doing this one-act play that we didn’t know if anyone would ever see, and there was a real camaraderie in the cast because of that. I think it really was the beginnings of all of us being very close.
I’m sure you’ve been recording and testing to see what works best, but what would you say a typical episode of Office Ladies will look like?
FISCHER: Well, we’re going in order and we’re starting from the beginning, and each episode of the podcast is an episode of The Office. We’ve got a little bit of a format: We start with a description of the episode, and then we do something called Fast Facts.
KINSEY: You can’t see this, but Jenna is smiling right now. Jenna loves her Fast Facts so much, and she’s coined the full phrase and gets really excited about it.
FISCHER: Fast Facts are three facts about the episode that are overreaching for that episode. So an example of a Fast Fact might be “This is the first time you meet Craig Robinson in the series,” and we will tell a story of what it’s like to have him join the cast. Then we will move into where we break down the episode more scene-by-scene and tell our stories and memories about those scenes.
KINSEY: It’s very much filtered through the eyes and experiences of our friendship. We are not the experts on The Office; there are many other people who have seen the show a lot more times than we have, but we are really now getting to enjoy it as fans. We’re rewatching an episode every week and we’re excited that the fans can do it along with us.
FISCHER: I should say, what the podcast is not is a critical evaluation of The Office, or of comedy, like you might have done by a television-critic-type person. We’re really sharing our personal stories and behind-the-scenes memories and taking questions from fans, so all of those things get weaved into the episode. Angela has become a little bit of our background expert, spotting these weird, obscure details in the background and then figuring out why they happened or what was going on.
KINSEY: We’re calling them Kinsey’s Tidbits. So we’ve got the Fischer Fast Facts and Kinsey’s Tidbits. And then we’re reaching out to crew and cast members. Our props master, Phil Shea, has already called in, Rainn Wilson has already called in, and we have some of directors and writers lined up. We have a felt real support from the cast and crew, which has just made us feel so wonderful. We’re so happy that they’re all rallying around us.
- You’re still early in the run, but is there an episode that you’re really looking forward to discussing and revisiting?
- FISCHER: We recorded one that I’m so excited about, “The Alliance,” and I just loved our stories that we had in that one, and that’s where we interview Phil Shea. I don’t want to say why, but there’s a big bit of trivia reveal that we have in that one centered around a prop.
- KINSEY: It’s hard, because saying which one we’re excited about is almost like saying which is our favorite kid. There’s so many, and there’s some that are our favorites because our character got to do something crazy, and then there are episodes that are really special to us as a cast on a personal level. I’m excited to break down the first Christmas episode, “Christmas Party,” because my character loses her mind with the Party Planning Committee and everything goes wrong. All of those big moments for my character are fun. Then we have ones that we are just fans of, like “Dinner Party.” I told Jenna that I also can’t wait, this is a little down the road for us, but I think it’s going to be really fun to take our podcast and do it live and have the fans right there. So there’s a lot for us to look forward to.
Did it feel like the perfect timing for something like this? When I was talking to creator Greg Daniels about the Jim and Pam wedding, he said that The Office is absolutely more popular now than ever. And the fact that the show is streaming on Netflix really does make it an ideal companion to your podcast.
FISCHER: I think the fact that you can stream the show lends itself really well to a rewatch podcast, because I’m not sure it would work as well if you were having to watch it live every week. And a lot of people do watch the series over and over, and now we can rewatch it with them, and I think that’s fun.
KINSEY: That’s really fun. And I also think timing-wise it was perfect for Jenna and I, because this was the first time we were both available and not on other shows and committed to other things. We actually had the time to do this, so that’s been fun to finally find this moment to work together again.
FISCHER: We had to make that happen. We had to give up other things in order to keep this time sacred, because we would always talk about working together and then one of us would get a job or be away, and so we saw this opportunity and we really protected it. We said, “No, this is what we want to do.” And it’s been really exciting for me, this whole new industry, and I’m really enjoying the challenge of learning a new skill.
As you’re doing this and rewatching old episodes and seeing things like a 10th anniversary for Jim and Pam, do you ever wonder what Pam and Angela’s lives look like now?
FISCHER: I just hope that Pam and Jim are living out their lives happily, and that Jim is really fulfilled in his new job and that he’s taken that to new places and their kids are well. And my hope for Pam is that she’s doing something artistic, that she’s artistically expressed, because I think that’s the one thing that didn’t quite get tied up for her. We show her doing the mural, but we don’t know exactly where she lands artistically at the end of the series, so that’s the one thing I always imagine, that she’s doing something like that.
KINSEY: I like to think that Dwight [Rainn Wilson] and Angela have made a lot more Schrute babies. They have their little Schrute army out on the beet farm. I joke that they’d be great at running a weird, kooky bed and breakfast. It’s not super-comfortable, you have Mose who works there, and it’s just them happily living on their farm with a ton of children.