Do deleted scenes ‘count’?

A few weeks ago, the post for Business School deleted scenes generated an interesting debate on whether these scenes “counted” in Dunder Mifflin reality, even though they never officially aired.

Well, according to Office show runner Greg Daniels, yes, Virginia, deleted scenes are canon:

Daniels is rare among producers in his belief that the deleted scenes have as much validity as the ones that made it to air, explaining, “For the writers, in our minds, those scenes have happened. We wrote them, we shot them, and at the last minute, I cut them in the editing room, but we’re relying on them anyway for the mythology of the show.”

Link: On the Web, a new life for deleted scenes (link no longer available)


  1. Wow. I’m really surprised to read that. I’m one of the people whose brain is too small to make a special place for deleted scenes and am always confused about their place. I’ve never heard a director, writer or producer say quite what Daniels said. It actually makes it even more confusing to me because, in truth, they rarely follow up on things that happen in deleted scenes.

  2. this makes sense since it’s supposed to be a documentary. it would be weird to do one and say oh, the stuff we didn’t air didn’t actually happen.. :P

    tsk tsk tsk karen..

  3. doh, reading the article, we failed the experiment…

    “We had the idea that the online fans would somehow transmit the information to the fans who just watched the show, and they didn’t.”

    i only had one friend who didn’t get to see the uncut version, and i told them!

  4. I’ve had to explain to alot of people where Andy went, and what deleted scenes were, why they counted, and where to get them countless times over the last week at work.

  5. I was surprised to hear that the opinion that deleted scenes “experiment” has definitively failed. It makes me wonder if the producers of the show monitor what’s going on with sites like this one – here, most people follow the deleted scenes, and I would say that truly dedicated audience that this site represents ought to be noteworthy to someone like Daniels….how did they arrive at the “failure” conclusion? Poll taken? If a poll had been taken here, I’m sure the results would have been strikingly different.
    I think the “deleted scenes” technique will eventually deeply change the nature of the medium of television…it will be less about a rigid broadcast time-slot with advertisements inserted every 2 minutes and more about a more fluid way of following the story.
    Even so, “failed” technique at this point or not, Daniels still upholds that the content of the deleted scenes are part of the story.

  6. I love deleted scenes! I wish The Office were longer than a half-hour show and that the deleted scenes wouldn’t have to be cut, but at least we can view them online, and later on the DVDs. I, too, look at them as stuff that really happened and consider them part of the storyline, even though they weren’t included in the broadcast version of the episode.

    Question… What’s your opinion on how the deleted scenes are handled on the DVDs? I remember that on the Friends DVDs, the producers seamlessly incorporated deleted scenes back into the episodes. If you were a real hard-core fan, you’d immediately spot the additional footage that you never saw on TV. And 99% of the time, the deleted scenes flawlessly fit into the DVD version and worked with the story. But there was no separate deleted scenes only option on the DVDs. I’m sure there was more footage, but they only included deleted scenes that worked to improve the episode or flesh out certain scenes.

    I originally wished that The Office producers would do that with their deleted scenes too (work them back into the broadcast version where they belonged). But now I think I prefer being able to watch them separately (online immediately after the show airs, then later on the DVD).

    I think about these things too much… :)

  7. Of course they must be canonical. Andy got sent to anger management training in a deleted scene and hasn’t been seen since. That scene explains his absence. And it was directly referred to on the most recent episode.

    I remember reading (in EW, I think) about a scene cut from last season in which Angela tells Dwight that she is pregnant – but it was excluded since it was a storyline they didn’t want to pursue. And that scene never made it onto the DVD. So, we can assume that never “happened”.

  8. “It was the most important piece of information that we ever left out of an episode without fixing it in the next episode, and it was sort of an experiment,” he says. “We had the idea that the online fans would somehow transmit the information to the fans who just watched the show, and they didn’t.”

    This literally made me laugh out loud. Hey dude, I did my part. But only like three people asked me.

    It was an interesting experiment but I think the number of casual viewers will always outweigh online fans in huge numbers.

    And honestly, as an “online fan” I watch the producer’s cut versions of the ep, but I don’t usually watch the deleted scenes at because I feel I won’t have anything fun to look forward to when the DVD comes out.

  9. It’s so nice to be vindicated. But, far be it from me to gloat, so I will refrain.

    And with regards to the “failed” experiment, I wonder if the Daniels and the other producers and writers look at the message boards at IMDb, because about every other thread over there is a “where’s Andy?” thread. Of course, those threads (like every other IMDb thread) usually degenerate into childish name-calling, so I don’t know how much creedence they should be given.

  10. I think part of the problem is that the producer’s cuts have been advertised as an online bonus, rather than as being the official versions of the episodes that they are, as Greg Daniels made clear in the Variety article last month (link: Online ‘Office’ enriches viewer experience). I think more people would watch the producer’s cuts if they knew that the producer’s cuts are what’s going to be on the DVDs. If they advertised the producer’s cuts as “the official versions,” and the TV versions as “edited for time TV versions,” or something like that, then a lot more people, though still not all, would watch them and would have known where Andy’s been.

    Since Daniels confirms that deleted scenes are canon, I think this is a conundrum for the small but vocal minority that insists on not viewing the deleted scenes until the DVD comes out so that they have something to look forward to. I don’t understand this (if it’s so important to have something new to look forward to with the DVDs then why not stop watching the episodes altogether? There would just be that much more to look forward to!). I think the promise of instantly accessible pristine audio & video presentations of all the episodes is plenty to look forward to (even more so now since in the last couple weeks my cable provider has decided to start cropping primetime network programs, including The Office, from their original widescreen aspect ratio to a reduced fullscreen 1.33 to 1 ratio that results in the sides of the picture being cut off), and the commentaries and whatever else are just an added bonus. For those that don’t watch the deleted scenes as they’re made available in order to maintain the expectation of future happiness from watching them later when the DVDs are released in exchange for present happiness from watching them now, now that the deleted scenes have now been comfirmed as canon, this practice now officially has the added detriment that one won’t always be able to fully understand and appreciate either the episode the deleted scenes are from or subsequent episodes that have added depth from information only available in deleted scenes. In the case of Battlestar Galactica, with the deleted scenes not being canon, I could see how watching the deleted scenes would make things more confusing and hard to understand than not watching them all. But with The Office, I think watching the canonical deleted scenes as they’re made available is an integral part of enjoying the show to the fullest.

  11. then how do they explain ryan and kelly breaking up in the deleted scenes, yet they are still together rite now?

  12. Ryan and Kelly never broke up. She tried to be angry with him for like .5 seconds before she apologized and explained why she was upset (he didn’t have her a Christmas present so she hid his Christmas present, but when he finally did bring her the present he’d bought, his had gotten thrown into the trash somehow).

    So they both went out to the dumpster and she was searching for it. He was attempting to discuss if they were happy in their relationship but they never broke up. The final deleted scene was Ryan telling her she was perfect.

  13. I agree with sean in post 10. I think there are likely more deleted scenes than those put on the website each week and on the DVDs, as sean mentioned. However, with Greg Daniels’ statement in mind, we can reasonably say that those deleted scenes that are indeed put on the website and on the DVDs would be considered canon (i.e. part of “The Office” universe), and those that are not made available to fans/viewers would not be canon.

  14. I did watch the extended episode where Andy went to anger management. And right I’m thinking about Karen’s line about Stanford employees in the Cocktails episode while erasing the knowledge of Andy beforehand, and found it a funnier acknowledgement. Subtler, without mentioning Andy’s name.

  15. if it was really ‘canon’ then kevin would be in a steve miller cover band(which he stated in more than one deleted scene i believe), not a police one. and i think he said he played guitar in that deleted scene too.

  16. Of course the deleted scenes are canon–at least those they choose to put online. I am sure there are tons of funny things they did not choose to air online because they did not fit with the storyline. I remember reading or hearing a writer or Daniels (can’t remember who) specifically refer to the TH where Jim talks about his worst first date. He spoke as if it was part of the storyline and to me that was an acknowledgement that all such scenes were. But that’s not to say this was always true. Some earlier things don’t fit as seamlessly such as Kevin’s cover band. Let’s just pretend he realized that he loves to sing that Sting falsetto.

  17. so i’m supposed to believe that ryan couldn’t recognize stanley’s daughter? a girl who when he simply talked to led to him being yelled at and him being as frightened as he had ever been in his life (he said something to that effect). He couldn’t recognize a cute young black girl in Scranton Pennsylvania?


    that scene made no sense. they all realized this. but it was funny and we’d all enjoy it so they slapped it on the website.

  18. “This literally made me laugh out loud. Hey dude, I did my part. But only like three people asked me.”

    Hey, Tori_Weber, YOU literally made me laugh out loud when I read THIS.

  19. I never used to see anyone debating about deleted scenes being canon before Season 3 (maybe I just didn’t see it). It began to confuse me that it was even an issue; I thought it was a given that the deleted scenes would be canon. Then I started to see a pattern – the whole canon argument seemed to come up every time someone didn’t like the way the deleted scene portrayed their favorite character. Suddenly the canon factor became debatable. I’m not making a generalization, but that is the case for some fans, and that’s pretty lame.

  20. Obviously the deleted scenes are canon in addition to the actual television airing, the PRODUCER SAID SO. I think the deleted scenes may not necessarily be an absolute necessity for show, but instead just add further depth and hilarity. The one exception to the rule is Andy Bernard’s anger management. Other than that, the deleted scenes are simply meant to enhance the existing characters and plot line for those who have access to them, without being imperative for understanding the show.

  21. Re: post 26

    Ryan had been drinking, so it’s fair to think he may not have been operating at 100 percent. And, after Stanley’s first reaming in Season 2, he probably blocked her out of his memory forever out of pure fear.

  22. i should say maybe 90% of deleted scenes would fit perfectly well in the show. but i just think the scene with karen nearly taking down pam’s flyer and stanley yelling at ryan for talking to his daughter are exceptions.

  23. Okay, why are we still debating this point? We now have Greg Daniels confirming that both producer’s cuts AND deleted scenes are canon. End of discussion. Done. Finished. Over. Why is there still confusion and argument about this?

  24. blao #26–

    Well, I was surprised by that too, but in thinking about it, it really isn’t all that unbelievable. First, Ryan probably had already had a few drinks, which has been pointed out and which would lower his guard. Second, he was in a bar, a place he NEVER though he would ever see this girl. I’m sure if she showed up in context, ie, the office, bells would be going off all over the place. Third, she appeared al lot older in this scene than she did on Take Your Daughter to Work Day. So put that together, and I can see Ryan just blanking.

  25. RE: blao (post 26)
    What’s the deal with mentioning cute black girl and Scranton, PA together? Scranton is a city with a diverse population, not some country, white-trash town. I’ve lived there, and there are a LOT of black people there and many of them are attractive.
    I agree that Ryan should have recognized Melissa, but your implying that she would be one of very few black girls (and presumably even fewer cute black girls) in Scranton is just idiotic.

  26. #38

    i did make an assumption there’s not many black people in scranton. man, i forgot about darryl, too. but i never thought it was a white-trash town. also, “cute, young, black” was just a description of the stanley’s daughter and nothing more. if you say there many black people in scranton, i am sure many are cute and young, and i am sure many are ugly and old.

    i feel like i started this whole discussion and i’m sick of it too. are there really no new episodes until april?

  27. For what it’s worth (I’m guessing not much) blacks comprised 3.3 percent of Scranton’s population of 67,314 people at the time of the 2000 census. Whites comprised 92.2 percent. Not very diverse, actually.

    There were also 15,320 owner-occupied homes, though no word on whether any had terraces at the time of the census.

    Enter Scranton and Pennsylvania in the search box.

  28. Why are people still debating over this?

    Didn’t the PRODUCERS of the show themselves say that THEIR deleted scenes are Canon, that they wrote them, hence THEY HAVE HAPPENED.

    Goodness, if you’re wrong then you’re wrong. Just accept it and move on.

  29. P.S.

    As for the Ryan deleted scene with Stanley’s daughter, I honestly didn’t even recognize her until the camera panned to Stanley.

    Give it a rest. The Producer and the wrtiers said it themselves, that deleted scenes count. What more do you want? Are you waiting for God to come down and give you divine intercession? Please just move on and go out with dignity.

  30. Personally I’ve never counted deleted scenes as cannon. It’s interesting the Greg Daniesl feels they are. I’m sure if you look back at some of the deleted scenes things happen that contradict stuff that actually made it to the show.

  31. RE: 42 Jill
    “Why are people still debating over this?”

    1. They’re on the eventually loser Team Karen.

    2. We have about six weeks until a new episode and about five weeks until a new promo, so people will talk about literally anything to fill the void.

    3. Someone will find a new deleted scene to try to prove that they’re not canon, like the deleted scene from the Dundies, where Kelly says she hated Toby’s kid. Of course that might be inconsistency in writing, and heaven knows that has never ever happened.

    4. Did I mention pointless?

  32. #33, Fat Jim Halpert, excellent points. I completely agree and I think you present the best argument (outside Greg Daniels himself) for the deleted scenes being canon.

  33. ok jill, because you didn’t recognize stanley’s daughter right away, that makes it plausible that ryan didn’t as well. SURE !!!!!!

    executive producers make mistakes, too.

  34. #48 blao,

    “executive producers make mistakes, too.”

    And I guess you don’t make mistakes?

    How come you’re right, while the Writers/Producers are wrong?

  35. Come on everybody, we’re all Office fans, can’t we all just get along? Speaking of a long month, anyone else feeling like rallying to get a super-sized episode on April 5th?

  36. That would be awesome Fat Jim Halpert.

    What with all the Jim killing, it HAS to be super sized. I mean, what if Roy kills him in a deleted scene?

  37. The season finale is going to be an hour long! Well, with commercials like 42 minutes. Pretty super.

  38. I know, but I am interested in pushing for a super-sized April 5th episode. How would we go about that? It only seems fitting after a 6 week deprivation.

  39. Just wanted to pause this forum for s second..


    Thank you
    Just thought I would throw that reminder up there.

  40. Wait a minute…

    This isn’t a real documentary?!?!

    I’ve been duped!!!

    (Note the obvious sarcasm)


    Yes, it’s tv, but it’s GREAT tv!

  41. I’d sign a petition to make it an hour show, standard. Think about it: Daniels says his first cuts are always 45 minutes of PRISTINE material. An hour show is 41 or 42 minutes. I’ll sign a petition for anything!

  42. Voltaire, I’d sign that petition, too. The half-hour versions are woefully inadequate, especially upon viewing the deleted scenes. The deleted scenes offer real depth to the development of the show and sometimes answer questions that the thirty-minute episodes leave unanswered.

    If an hour-long episode can’t be finagled, then I suggest that every ‘Office’ episode released on iTunes be a director’s cut with the “45 minutes of pristine material,” give or take. After all, I think the loyal iTunes fans deserve a little more bang for their buck.

    The episodes go so quickly when I watch the “live” broadcast Thursday nights. I blink and it’s over.

  43. The reason that the producers cut the scene w/ Stanley’s daughter was not because the writers “made a mistake”; it was because the show is 22 minutes and this comedic bit was irrelevant to the more substantial plot lines in the series. Stanley, his daughter, and Ryan (although admittedly less so) are not main characters and Cocktails was not focused on telling their story. I don’t see anything odd about Ryan forgetting what Stanley’s daughter looks like. He has only met her one time. I certainly can’t remember everyone I’ve met only briefly.

    As far as the Karen flyer scene goes? It may help explain events that unfold during a later episode. If season three ends and nothing ever relates back to that deleted scene, then I will accept that it was a “mistake.” But not until then.

  44. I really do hope they start making the DVDs available with the option to watch the broadcast version or the big ol’ fat version with all the deleted scenes.

  45. I like the timing of the article. Do you think Greg Daniels lurks on OfficeTally? Not to be too off topic, but I wonder how much The Office writers/producers/actors follow what we say online… any thoughts/out-of-the-closet cast members who are secretly users of OfficeTally?

  46. They say on the DVD commentary that with working computers and looooooooots of free time when filming they surf the net alot. As a group I’m sure they frequent most of the big fan sites. (LIKE THIS ONE!)

  47. I have been watching full seasons on Netflix, and I am not sure if the episodes on there are the DVD versions with deleted scenes or not. Does anyone know how I might be able to find this out?

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