Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey on why it would've been 'sad and wrong' for The Office to go beyond season 9
Important memo for all former Dunder Mifflin employees: The Office could have run for at least two more seasons rather than end at season 9.
This detail is shared in Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey's forthcoming book The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office From Two Best Friends Who Were There. Out May 17, the book offers an intimate look at the making of the beloved NBC comedy with behind-the-scenes stories and never-before-seen photos from the set.
According to Fischer and Kinsey, poducer Greg Daniels informed the cast that NBC offered to extend the series for two more seasons. Much of the cast's contracts were up, however, and there was concern over what the show would become without many original cast members. At that point, too, longtime writers Mindy Kaling, Jen Celotta, Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg, and B.J. Novak had already departed for other projects.
A similar anecdote is shared in Andy Greene's 2020 book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, but Fischer and Kinsey take fans deeper into the "sobering moment" that Daniels asked the cast how they felt about ending on their own terms, together, at season 9. The producer approached the cast before preparing to film the final season's "Work Bus" episode, Fischer and Kinsey share.
"I obviously can't speak for Greg, but I know… [there] was a very thoughtful decision of, 'Well, what is the show without possibly the core cast?'," Kinsey tells EW over a Zoom call. Fischer adds, "I think it really points to the collaborative bond and trust that we all had as a creative collective, that Greg even made us a part of this conversation the way he did. And that we had the kind of trust between us that we could all talk about this really openly and come to a decision that we all felt really good about and were excited about."
Fischer and Kinsey say the idea of continuing on without much of the core cast just felt wrong. "I mean, the idea of slowly kind of losing people," Fischer says, "it just felt like, I don't know. It just felt sad and wrong." Kinsey agrees: "It felt wrong. It felt wrong and like it would just ruin the [Office] world to slowly make up excuses of why people are leaving. One of the things I loved and we all got excited about was being able to know what the end was."
Kinsey continues, "As soon as we collectively made that decision, then we could start — the writers in particular — could start developing an end and having a story and having all the characters have their arc towards the same goal." Kinsey says Daniels invited the cast to pitch storylines for their characters for the final season. "He invited us all in to meet with him, to talk about, 'What is something we always had hoped for our character?' or what we always hoped for the show, and we got to share with him. I mean, that was just such a gracious thing that he did."
Fischer says she and costar John Krasinski were very involved in Pam and Jim's storyline. "We spent a lot of time throughout the entire season, working out the nuances of that story and introducing the character of Brian, the boom operator, [and how] this long distance relationship was going to impact them and their marriage. A big pitch of John's was that Jim would ask the documentary crew to put together a video for Pam of their romance to watch together."
Fischer continues, "I just remember him coming to the set and saying, 'Don't you wish you could go back and see a video of the moment that your romance started up until now? Wouldn't it be so amazing?' Jim and Pam can do that because there is footage of all those moments from reception to their kiss to being married and their kids. Their life has been documented and they've never seen it. If you could go back and someone had taped your first date, that would be incredible. We just got so excited about that idea and that ended up being a big moment in the final season."
These stories are just a few of many shared in Office BFFs. To celebrate the release of the book, the BFFs will take the stage at Town Hall in New York on May 18 for an evening of candid conversation on all things The Office and Office BFFs. "We've been writing this book for a very, very long time, over three years," Fischer says. "So we just could not be more thrilled to release it into the world and to have this celebration at Town Hall with everybody."
Get tickets for Office BFFs at Town Hall here.
The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office From Two Best Friends Who Were There is out May 17, and available for pre-order now.
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The mockumentary-style sitcom chronicles a group of typical office employees working 9-5 at the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.