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)

61 comments

  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 NBC.com 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 NBC.com 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.

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