Jenna Fischer TV Guide blog: The Fight

From Jenna Fischer’s TV Guide blog, dated April 20, 2006:

Inside The Office’s “Fight” Club

We are airing another rerun this week [Thursday at 9:30 pm/ET on NBC]…. This time it’s “The Fight.” I know what you are probably thinking: “I want a new episode of The Office! Why should I watch a rerun?”

In this episode Dwight earns a purple belt in karate and wears it to work. This sparks an argument between Dwight and Michael about who is tougher, which escalates until they agree to meet at Dwight’s karate studio at lunch to duke it out. You should watch this rerun because it is so packed with laughs it will leave your head spinning. Don’t believe me? Our director of photography, Randall Einhorn, used to work on Survivor so nothing surprises him — he’s a total pro. He never laughs while shooting. He can’t, the show is shot entirely on handheld cameras, so if he laughs, it’s over. But during the scene at the karate studio where Michael and Dwight are fighting, Randall was laughing so hard he had tears streaming down his face. He had to take the camera off his shoulder and hold it away from his body so it wouldn’t shake during the scene.

And if that’s not enough to convince you to watch a rerun, I’m about to tell you a bunch of often-missed jokes and insider trivia to make it even more fun. And I’ll even throw in some answers to your frequently asked questions along the way. You can keep this with you while you watch the episode… like a cheat sheet!

1. Rose from Warrington, Penn., wrote, “You’ve played a lot of jokes on Dwight. Which one is your favorite?” It might be the one at the start of this episode when we put Dwight’s desk in the bathroom. Look for Kevin in the background at the end, when he leaves one of the stalls. He has a lit candle and a newspaper. For all of you Office geeks, it was this moment that lead to Kevin’s line in the “Office Olympics” episode about the bathroom candle smelling like cookies. It really did smell like cookies.

2. Pat in Fox Lake, Ill., asks, “What is it that B.J. Novak holds up in the opening credits? It looks like a plastic bag or something.” That shot is from the Season 1 episode called “Basketball.” B.J. is holding up a bag of gym clothes to show Michael he is ready to play basketball at lunch.

3. Does Dwight’s sensei Ira look familiar? He’s Lance Krall, the guy who played Kip on The Joe Schmo Show. Clayton from Minneapolis, Minn., wrote in to ask, “Since your show is somewhat of a ‘mock reality show,’ do you have any other favorite mock reality shows?” Yes, I do, Clayton: The Joe Schmo Show. It’s the greatest. I was very excited to work with Lance. I spent an entire lunch grilling him about The Joe Schmo Show.

4. Jane from Los Angeles wants to know: “It looks like you guys have a lot of fun on the set, but I’m curious, was there a scene where the cast just couldn’t go on without breaking?” Well, I’m very bad about laughing during scenes; I ruin a lot of takes with Steve Carell because I end up laughing in the middle. Before this episode, I made it a personal goal to make it through one show without breaking. My first scene after that with Steve was the scene where he tells Ryan to start an emergency-contact list. Meanwhile, I confront him about signing some overdue forms. I was so concentrated on not laughing at Steve that when B.J. Novak looked at me and said the line “updating emergency contacts,” I lost it. We had to do the scene about 20 times because every time B.J. looked at me I started to laugh. The only way I got through the scene was by not looking him in the eye. It was a mess. A fun mess, but a mess.

5. The way Kevin says “Stacy” when asked about his emergency contact is an often-mimicked line among the cast. We really like the way Brian Baumgartner said this line. It’s one word but it goes through about four octaves.

6. I love the way John Krasinski’s fingers move when he reveals that he stole Dwight’s purple belt. For some reason it reminds me of when Mr. Burns from The Simpsons says “Excellent.”

7. Some often-missed jokes: Did you catch the name of Michael’s “gang”? The Damn Rascals. Did you catch that Michael and Dwight spent a New Year’s Eve together watching Armageddon? How about the fact that Dwight’s grandfather was a Nazi? Listen to his interview: His grandfather was a World War II vet (normal); he killed 20 men (OK); and then spent the rest of the war in an Allied prison camp (Nazi).

8. One of my favorite scenes from our entire second season is the scene when Michael and Dwight face off in the kitchen. John and I almost started laughing about a million times. I like the constant misuse of common phrases: catch-22; “Two hits: me punching you and you hitting the floor”; and my personal favorite: tit for tit.

9. When we all pile into the elevator, be sure to check out Kevin’s face as the elevator doors close.

10. It was really hot the day we shot the scene at the karate studio, and the air-conditioning in our trailers wasn’t working. Trailers are metal, so it was like changing your clothes in a sauna. I was supersweaty, but I had to wear a sweater because we had established it earlier inside the office. I felt bad that John Krasinski had to get so close to me and lift me up. I’m sure I smelled. He says I didn’t, but I think he was just being nice.

11. Randall lost it when Michael pinned down Dwight in the fight and started to spit on him. If you notice, in the extra fight scene after the show is over, Lance Krall was laughing in the background.

12. As a former secretary, I really relate to the dynamic between Pam and Michael in this episode. During one of my early secretarial jobs, I had a boss take so long to do his end-of-the-month report that I had to drive to the airport to send it FedEx because the airport has the latest drop time.

Whew! I hope you enjoy rewatching “The Fight.” Next week we’ll have an all-new episode!

Oh, and many of you have written asking me if you can get a Dwight bobblehead. Well, now you can. They are available in the NBC online store for $15.

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