‘Company Picnic’ Q&A with Jen Celotta

Q. Are you still hoping to one day be a Shrute? | Little Fish in the Big Apple

Jen C: Yes! Yes! A Million times yes! I’ll wear a neck beard! I’ll cut one leg shorter than the other! Whatever it takes!

Q. Am I reading too much into things or is Dwight becoming a little more relaxed and “cooler”? ie participating in pranks, the hug that lasted a bit too long in the volleyball scene | Jonathan

Jen C: Yes, you’re reading too much into things. Stop reading so much into things, Jonathan!

Okay, no, I think it’s possible that Dwight has become a little more relaxed in certain situations — I like that on this show, we can write for the characters to evolve a little — but mostly in the volleyball game, with the hug, he just got carried away in that moment because he was very focused on winning and forgot for a second what he was doing.

Like in “The Duel” in the middle of Dwight/Andy challenging each other, they high-five.

Q. How come Karen was missing from the company picnic? Or any mention of Utica? | Mani

Jen C: Karen is on maternity leave — the Utica branch was there in the crowd — they were worried about getting shut down.

Q. Were the extras instructed not to laugh at Michael & Holly’s “Slumdunder Mifflinaire”? It must have been a challenge to not laugh at that! | Jeff

Jen C: The extras were instructed not to laugh, and a funny thing happened on the first take.

Steve and Amy went out and gave their all to their skit performance, and then Amy said she was a little thrown because the audience wasn’t giving them anything (the audience was told not to react at all but Steve and Amy didn’t know that) — so there was a bit of actual stage fright/worst nightmare coming true for them when you perform and no one in the audience even giggles a little. It was fun to watch and seemed so real.

I like the kids’ reactions to Michael/Holly’s play — I love that children of that age, who really shouldn’t be that discriminating, are like “What? Why are we being forced to watch this nonsense?”

Q. I noticed that the opening credits were cut very short and that there was no tag at the end. Was this strictly because of timing issues or because you wanted to leave the audience with that shocking JAM moment? | Cait

Jen C: The crazy fast opening credits was out of necessity to try and get the show time down to 21:35. Same thing with the tag.

There were a bunch of questions about the show being a half-hour versus an hour, too… In previous years, when we’ve had a bunch of moves to make at the end of the year — like in Goodbye Toby (Toby’s last day, Holly’s first, Jan’s pregnancy, Michael falls for Holly) it seemed to warrant an hour-long — also in “The Job” there were so many moves to make.

We’ve found that it is hard to fill up an hour without a lot of plot moves, so when we were talking about the finale this year, we realized we didn’t have a lot of things to wrap up, so we thought that the best creative choice was to do a half hour.


  1. Thanks a lot, Jennifer. Your answers made me salivate for season 6.

    And you definitely need to play a Schrute. Else, your resume would just state “Street Hooker #1” in the acting credits section and that’s not a good thing to find a job.

  2. I don’t think it would be that hard to get Jen on as a Schrute. Considering how difficult it will be to get Mike Schur on the show now, they can have it where Dwight deports Mose back to the “Old Country” (Germany)for stealing beets and is given back his 20th cousin once removed, Annie Schrute to help tend to the farm, livestock, and Dwight’s bunyons. She wears an actual chastity belt.

  3. Thank you so much, Jen and Tanster! These Q&A’s are always amazing! Jen and Mindy are my favorite writers and I just love anything that they do! Wonderful episode, Jen (Paul too)! Thank you so much!

  4. Yay! Such a great Q&A — thanks so much for answering my question, Jen. And thank you, Tanster, for your continuing awesomeness! I’m totally on board with the petition to get another Schrute in the show!

  5. Great Q&A for the final episode! Especially liked Jen’s comments about the creative choice for non audio at hospital, and that we were privy to some of it – but not all of it! Wish she explained how Pam found out so quickly she was pregnant though…the hospital would have done blood tests and they take longer than that for results! Can’t wait to hear what made you cry Tanster!

  6. Thanks Jen, Tanster.. now to get season 5 DVDs so I can watch all the deleted scenes, and commentary.

    Is it too late to ask NBC to insert the deleted scenes into the episode.. Have two options, as aired, and with deleted scenes?

  7. I don’t know if I can wait until for the next season!

    And I would totally sign a petition for Jen to be a Schrute. Question: why not in her next episode she write in a Schrute for herself to portray? Just a thought.

  8. This was ridiculously awesome as are all the Q & A’s. Thanks so much. It’s great to hear the writers’ perspective and to know how passionate they are about their show.
    Also, Jen deserves to be a Schrute! Where do I send my Beet-O-Gram?

  9. Thanks for the interview. (both parts)
    Jen could so play a Schrute.Didn’t Dwight mention having a cousin named Helga? They’ve already got a name, and person to be her. It’s perfect.

  10. I always thought that it would be really funny if Dwight had a totally normal sibling. (after all wasn’t it mentioned that he has quite a few brothers and sister?)

  11. Ok where’s the petition? I’m so ready to sign! It’d be epic if Jen appeared as a Schrute in the episode as Mose!

    Thanks again tanster & Jen for taking the time to do these for us!

  12. Wow! You saying John is most like his character seriously made my week! There is hope that men like Jim do exist in this world!

  13. I respect Jen, and all of the writers, so so much for coming up with such amazing material. They are truly inspirational to me as I am aspiring to be a director/actress/screen-writer. Great question and better answers! Thank you Tanster for always making my week with these Q&As!

  14. On Dwight’s Dunder Mifflin emergency chain of power chart there is a Shirley Schrute, that could be Jen!

    I’m glad you guys were honest about the Volleyball thing, so I forgive you guys!

    I don’t mind Michael/Holly taking awhile since as Jen put it Pam/Jim are evolving and progressing. So no Ross/Rachel please! :)

    This was a great episode and a great Q & A.

  15. a possible explanation for the pam volleyball story:

    she played in high school, but pretended to have pms during gym because, come on, why would someone on the volleyball team want to play with a bunch of idiots who can’t play?!

    i played softball in middle school, but whenever we played it in PE, i hated it, because everyone else sucked.

  16. Thanks for setting up this Q&A! Regarding the Karen thing, I swear I saw her playing volleyball at one point (I paused it on my tivo and it looked exactly like Rashida Jones.) Her pregnant bump was gone, so I assumed she’d “had” the baby and was just there for the day. But I guess not, especially because Rashida was probably working on Parks and Rec…

  17. Am I missing something here? I didn’t really see tears rolling down John’s face, but I definitely saw that he was teary-eyed. I even rewatched it on iTunes and saw the same thing. Did people who have HD televisions actually see tears rolling his face?

  18. Thank you Jen and Tanster for caring about us fans so much and giving us so much! I really thought that was Jenna in the Mindy song. The double even walked like her!

  19. Thanks a lot, both of you, for the Q&A that will help me get through the summer without a new Office (webisodes notwithstanding). Great work!

  20. This was great. Sniff. Three months until a new episode…I cannot wait.

  21. Thank you Jen and Tanster! Awesome Q&A from the best show ever! Glad Jen was straightforward about volleyball thing… but really wasn’t that big of a deal- even for us diehards :)

  22. JennyL, the hospital wouldn’t have had to do a blood test- simple urine test! went to doc about 4 years ago thinking my appendix was bursting, found out in less than 3 minutes about my pregnancy with now 3 year old twins!!

  23. Awesome Q&A! Thanks for answering my question, Jen! I will totally sign the petition to make you a Schrute!

  24. Thanks yall for the Q and A! It answered quite a few questions I had and I am excited about that little spoiler. I was hoping though to see what Pam and Jim actually said since we won’t be getting audio. Never the less, thanks :)

    It would be awesome for Jen to be a Schrute. Maybe have her be a distant relative in from Germany during Oktoberfest, getting away from all of us tourist and drunkies. (I went over to Germany last year, it was fun, but the locals just view it as another day with the U-Bahn packed with more drunk foreigners.)

  25. This is great! And about the volleyball thing, I just think that Pam being Pam really wouldn’t want to play volleyball in gym class… even if she liked the game. Oh well, doesn’t really matter!

    Vote Jen for Schrute!

  26. My first thought was, “Jen Celotta is way too pretty to be a Schrute.” Then I thought, well what if Dwight had this super-hot cousin who was totally normal, and she had been somewhat exiled from the family because of her normality? How would Dwight handle someone like that sharing his superior genes?

  27. This is great Tanster! It was so nice of Jen to give us so many answers! Loved the conversation betweeen Jen, Paul and Mose, lol! And I can’t wait to hear about how Jen made you cry. :P
    (and I would sign that petition in a heartbeat)

  28. This is why The Office is the best show on television. Period. Thank you Jen, thank you Tanster. You rock.

  29. You know how Jenna Fischer once mentioned that she’d love to see the JAM wedding take place at Schrute Farms, maybe the writers will consider that and Jen C. can be a Schrute girl then! He he

    Thank you for the awesomeness in this Q&A!!

  30. Jen Schrute = Marilyn Munster???????

    I hope you get to wear a neck beard.

  31. Awesome Q&A thanks Tanster.
    Jim and Pam wedding= me dying a happy person.

  32. I totally echo Katie, #14! What a great read. I’m so surprised that the Jaws thing was improvised!

  33. I’m right there with flonkertonchamp. I played volleyball in school and after playing team volleyball for a year, playing PE volleyball sucked. I would totally lie to get out of it if I was Pam. Still, like other people said, the “oops” isn’t that big of a deal and I enjoyed the episode immensely.

    I know I’m being all “high school crush” here but to hear that John is most like his character and to hear that his tears at the end were real and all his, just made me a little weak at the knees. I hope to find a man as awesome as he seems to be.

    Great Q/A! Thanks :)

  34. I’ve been a big fan of Jen playing a Schrute ever since she originally mentioned it in a commentary or at the convention…can’t recall the specifics. I think it would be hilarious if she popped up as the long-lost totally normal Schrute that Jim and Pam have theorized exists but never believed they would actually encounter. There could be some before and after pictures as proof of her childhood Amish-ness. Kudos to Melissa (#29) for that idea!

  35. *cough cough*, where is the uncontained excitement over hearing that erin will be returning for season six? that was the best news of all! i am so glad the writers also think she is a fabulous addition to the dynamic of the show. one of my favorite moments was when she sprinted off to join her volleyball row. yay! erin!

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