The Office: Your Questions Answered!
by Jenna Fischer, aka “Pam”
So… there is no new episode of The Office this week. NBC is airing the Olympics. Have you been watching? They have actually been pretty cool and exciting.
Since we don’t have an episode airing tonight, I thought it would be a fun to answer some of your questions. Here we go!
Quick question: Do you write these blogs personally, or does someone from NBC do it? Come on, be honest! — Scott in Anthem, Ariz.
This seemed like a good first question. It kind of makes the rest of them more meaningful. Yes, I (Jenna) do write this blog myself. Not only do I write it myself, I sometimes write it at work from my desk on set. We have real working computers. When I am in the background of a scene (like I am right now), I will sometimes take the opportunity to work on my blog. Or e-mail friends. Or play Spider Solitaire. But, yes, it’s really me.
What do you think of Dwight and Angela? — Beth in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
The Dwangela romance is one of my favorite parts of the show. Aren’t they wonderfully creepy? I love the fact that the audience knew about the romance before anyone else in the office. And now Pam is the only one in the office who knows. She hasn’t even told Jim. Dwight and Angela don’t know that Pam has figured it out, either. In an upcoming episode, Pam confronts Angela about her secret. It’s awesome!
In the “Boys and Girls” episode, your character could draw. Is that something you do in real life? What are some things you like doing? — Vanessa in Chatsworth, Calif.
One of my hobbies is cartooning. I don’t do it much anymore, but I really love it. Back in Season 1, when we were first developing the role of Pam, I was excited to learn that she would have a secret talent and passion for drawing. Pam is a much better artist than I am, though. I mean, she could do it professionally.
Other things I like doing in my free time: playing with my pets, shopping at Target and watching TV with my husband. (We are rooting for the gray-haired guy on American Idol.) I also like putting together photo albums and scrapbooks.
Is the dialogue on your show scripted, improvised or both? Sara in St. Louis, Mo.
Our shows are 100 percent scripted. They put everything down on paper. Our glances to camera, our hesitations… everything. It is the actor’s job to make it seem fresh and natural. But we get to play around a little bit, too. Steve [Carell] and Rainn [Wilson] are brilliant improvisers. They often come up with funny alternate jokes within a scene. Some of Steve’s stuff on the streets of NYC in the “Valentine’s Day” episode was improvised. And in “Sexual Harassment,” when Dwight is asking Toby about the female body, Rainn improvised that. It makes working with them very fun.
But the writers are great at writing dialogue that sounds real. Here is what that famous Jim-Pam scene from “Booze Cruise” looked like on paper:
EXT. SHIP – BOW
SPY SHOT: Jim and Pam watch the wake.
It’s getting kind of rowdy in there.
Sometimes I just don’t get Roy.
Jim looks at her curiously. What’s she up to?
So… is it fun to date a cheerleader?
Jim almost says something more but doesn’t. Pam looks at him encouragingly. He still doesn’t go on. A moment passes.
She turns back inside. Jim takes a deep breath and shakes off a sense that he just blew something, then follows her.
And here is an example of a Michael Scott monologue from the episode “Email Surveillance”:
INT. MICHAEL’S OFFICE
Michael is glued to his computer. He glances up at the camera from time to time.
Oooh, Meredith got an Evite…. Looks like Jim’s
having a BBQ… tonight? That’s odd. How come
I didn’t get my Evitation? Oh, here we go —
Click here for the invite list….
Angela, Stanley, Oscar… hmmm…
I don’t see… Meredith, Phyllis…
(looks at camera)
You guys are on here…
(back to screen)
… Kevin, Creed… must be… no.
Besides “getting the best sex of your life,” what would be the perfect Valentine gift, in your opinion? — Alex in St. Louis, Mo.
I think it changes depending on how long you’ve been with someone. The first year we were married, my husband gave me some peach-colored roses. They were similar to the ones I carried in my wedding bouquet. I was really touched. This year, he changed the filter on our water-filtration system and brought our laundry downstairs without me having to ask. We also watched TV and ate giant heart-shaped shortbread cookies. It was perfect.
I am a 1995 grad of Truman State University (NMSU). I don’t think we ever met, but you seemed so familiar that we probably had a class together or something. Anyway, my question is: Did you ever sing Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll” with the pep band between women’s and men’s basketball games? Or am I thinking of somebody else? — Troy in Cincinnati, Ohio
Wow! Yes, that was me. I also worked with the pep band on an original country song I wrote called “I Should’ve Never Had the Wine.” It was a short-lived union as I am not the greatest singer and they had other obligations. But it was fun. I was committed to the performance. Do you also remember my ridiculous outfit — black crushed-velvet hot pants and a ruffled purple top? Yikes. If you have a photo of this, please give me a chance to buy it from you before you put it on eBay.
Thanks to everyone for your nice notes and questions. A lot of people asked where they can get a Dwight bobblehead. That was specially made by our props department for the Valentine’s Day episode. I’m sure Rainn will get to keep it after the show is over. I’m jealous, too.
Until next week…