By Caroline Morris
It all starts the same way: two friends talking and suddenly one says, “We should start a podcast!” Thankfully, most of these podcasts do not come to fruition, and if they do, they get lost amidst the plethora of others that have had the same idea. But there are diamonds in the rough, and the Office Ladies, the ultimate rewatch podcast of NBC’s comedy The Office, is one of them.
This show is hosted by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who played Pam and Angela on The Office. The two became best friends while filming the television show and conceptualized this podcast in order to rewatch and break down an episode of each week and give insider information that only the actors working on the show would know. The podcast is family friendly with stories from the set of the show, the cast as a family, and the lives of Fischer and Kinsey. The two often include guest stars on the show, including Rainn Wilson who played Dwight Schrute, Creed Bratton who played in the show under his own name, and Greg Daniels who created the American version of the show.
Fischer and Kinsey are both well identified with their roles on The Office. Fischer playing Pam Beasly, half of the romantic duo “Jim and Pam” that gave the show a softer side among sometimes crude humor, and Kinsey playing Angela Martin, office stickler with an obsession for cats, Christianity, and a certain beet farmer.
But they have both continued to work after the show’s ending in 2013. Fischer was the lead of the ABC comedy Splitting Up Together that was cancelled after two seasons. Kinsey is currently the host of the Disney+ show Be Our Chef, a cooking competition between families that must make Disney inspired meals. Both now currently work with Earwolf to create the Office Ladies podcast, revisiting their most memorable roles.
The first episode of the podcast aired on October 16, 2019 and has since released 26 episodes, each one breaking down the respective episode of The Office. The show is produced by Earwolf, a company that produces many other celebrity podcasts including those of Conan O’Brien and Nick Offerman. Fans can also receive ad-free episodes and extra content by signing up with Stitcher premium through Earwolf. The podcast is well loved by listeners, scoring a 4.8/5 on the iTunes charts. It has also received award attention, as it won a 2019 Discover Pods Award for Best TV & Movie Podcast and is currently nominated for a Shorty Award in Best Podcaster.
The Office Ladies rewatch is approaching the end of the second season of The Office, which fans will know is one of the most important episodes of the television show. But there are many iconic episodes that come before this season two finale, “Casino Night.” One of my personal favorite episodes of the podcast is “Christmas Party,” the podcast title matching the television’s episode title. The “Christmas Party” episode is the first of many office Christmas parties and one of the most significant ones at that. The episode follows the office’s Christmas party which is planned by the party planning committee with Angela at its head, and includes a Secret Santa gift exchange between the coworkers with a $20 limit. Jim gets Pam a teapot as a gift and fills it with sentimental gifts and a note revealing his feelings, an exciting moment for fans as Pam is engaged and Jim is clearly in love with her, but Michael spoils things in a few ways.
This episode of the television program is already significant for the show plot-wise, which makes it a fun rewatch for fans. Additionally, there are many behind the scenes gems that listeners get to learn from listening to the podcast. Fischer and Kinsey talk a lot about the relationship of the cast in this episode. Kinsey describes her own annual Yankee Swap parties that she hosted with all the cast and that she once made the entire cast t-shirts with the quote: “A real man makes his own luck. Billy Zane, Titanic.”
The two also reveal that though this episode was filmed in L.A. in October, there was real snow on the ground, and that the snowball fight in the parking lot at the end of the episode was impromptu, just a moment of the cast messing around as friends that got captured.
They also discussed the process of deciding on the teapot as Pam’s gift. The writers knew where the plot was heading but needed a gift that fit many criteria: a gift to hide other gifts inside, something personal, stressful when Dwight takes it, something Dwight really wants, and could only cost $20. They settled on teapot and now this idea is famous, Fischer often receiving messages of fans proposing through teapots.
Fischer and Kinsey also break down the different bloopers and deleted scenes from the episode, and the different directions they were given, one of the most interesting being that Angela needed to get more and more pissed off until she finally broke down. And of course, Fischer addresses the teapot note, which comes back in season nine of the show, and reveals some information that she has never before told about the contents of the note. But you can listen to the podcast to find out what it is.
This podcast is a funny, informative, and an engaging listen, good for huge fans to learn more about the show they love or a great opportunity for people to watch the show through for the first time and learn as they go. I listen to it as I take my daily quarantine walks. And remember, as Michael Scott tells us, presents are a way to say, “Hey man, I love you this many dollars worth.”