Got a ‘Company Picnic’ question for Jen Celotta?

I am so delighted that The Office executive producer Jen Celotta has agreed to answer your questions about last night’s season finale, ‘Company Picnic’!

Jen co-wrote the episode with executive producer Paul Lieberstein (“Toby”).

Here she is hard at work. :)

Submit your question here.

This post will close at 11pm Pacific Time tonight, so get your questions in today!

P.S. I am really looking forward to this, since I’ll probably be able to contribute to it from an extra’s perspective. :)


  1. Will the hospital scene be released with audio, much like we got to see the proposal without audio? I’m curious as to what was said! Very excited for the new little “Jambino!”

    Thanks for taking time to answer questions!

  2. When you write a season finale, do you write it based on what’s coming ahead in the next season, or is the other way around (write the next season episodes based on the season finale)? Thanks for your wonderful work!

  3. How in the world did you ever manage to get Brian Stack in this episode, especially when he was in the midst of prepping for the new Tonight Show and moving to LA?

  4. Tanster told us in the spoiler section that CGI would be used for this episode. Did you apply it for all volleyball scenes?
    I loved the way how you shot the pregnancy scene.

  5. Was Pam and Jim’s hospital the set of Scrubs? It looked a lot like Sacred Heart. Thanks for taking the time to answer questions!

  6. Also, was the H.R. guy that Toby was talking to, the infamous Kendall? The bizarro-world Toby that works in the corporate office and whom David Wallace mentioned that he hated in the Season 3 finale?

  7. I loved the baby reveal scene without any sound. It was beautiful! But, now I’m dying of curiosity. What did Jim and Pam say to each other in the doctor’s office?

  8. Was Holly & Michael’s skit scripted or were they able to improvise a little? Holly and Michael really have a great rapport- will we ever see Holly again?
    Thanks for your time:0)

  9. Hi Jen! As a resident of Buffalo, I was wondering why you or the writers chose to close the Buffalo branch? It was a heartbreaker!

  10. Was this ever considered as an hour-long episode? How did you eventually decide to make it a regular-length episode, and/or when was that decision made? (Suck-up time: I thought it worked great as a half hour!)

  11. Tanster revealed that Jenna/Pam’s volleyball skills were aided by CGI. Were there attempts to shoot those scenes for real or was CGI always the plan?

  12. Can we see a repairing of Dwight and Angela’s relationship coming up soon, after what happened last night?

  13. I really liked how Michael handled the end of the episode with Holly. His talking head toward the end seemed very mature and confident (which we’ve seen more of lately). He was polite to her boyfriend as well when they left.

    Was this direction agreed upon by all people involved? I could see Michael making a huge fool of himself and Holly like the old Michael would (like him and Jan) but the choice to take him on a higher road is a great one to me. I was just wondering if you knew it was going to go that way from the start?

  14. If you are planning some other bombshell, then totally ignore this question, but if not, can you clear something up? Is Pam actually pregnant for the time being???? The boards and fans are going crazy out here; which I assume was your goal!

  15. First off… seriously… well done! Thank you and the cast/crew for another great season!

    What is one scene that ended up on the cutting room floor that you wished had made it into the episode?

  16. When Tanster was invited to be an extra, was she specifically placed with Buffalo to get the most exposure or was it a happy accident? It was so cool to see so much of our girl!

  17. Michael’s predicted that his relationship with Holly would last a long time, maybe she’d be with someone one year, then he’d be with someone the next year. This seemed like a subtle jab at the usual “Ross and Rachel” relationships that we get on TV so often. Was it?

  18. Last season in ‘Job Fair’ Pam specifically brought up pretending to have PMS to get out of volleyball. In this episode she said she played volleyball throughout middle school, high school, and college, and went to volleyball camp during her summers. What’s up with that?

  19. Where did the picnic actually take place (on the show, not in real life)? Bringing Buffalo, Scranton and NYC must have taken some logistical planning. Why didn’t the Utica branch attend? What was Kelly doing during the picnic?

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

  21. Hi Jen! I love that you’ve taken the time to do this, and I really enjoyed the finale, there’s just two things I am wondering about!

    I felt that they way some scenes were shot were not in a documentary style, for example the scene with Michael and Holly discussing their little ‘skit’ there was about 3 cameras on them. Was this a deliberate choice to shift towards more of a sitcom style? Also, what was the reasoning behind letting us hear the proposal in ‘Weight Loss’ from across a busy road, but not hearing the pregnancy news from behind a closed door?

  22. Were there any storylines written for this episode that ended up being totally omitted from the final cut?

  23. First of all you and Paul are my favorite writers on the show and Congrats and thank you for such an amazing episode! My question is, Did you and Paul decide that there would be no sound during the “baby reveal” or was it a genious decision by the director?

    Thanks again! Enjoy your summer

  24. I loved seeing Holly again, she is so perfect for Michael. He handled it very anti-Michael, which is good I guess, very mature. Still, the romantic in me wanted to see the other side of it, there are so many more comedic opportunities with Michael in a serious relationship than him single. To put it simply, will we ever see Holly again, or is this it?

  25. Why did you decide not to use a tag like all the other episodes? I really wanted to know who won the volleyball match!

  26. Is Pam really pregnant? I know we all think that and it seems very obvious, but since there were no words said, maybe you’re throwing us off? And what did they all say (the doctor, pam, and jim) in the room?

  27. I enjoyed the episode but would like to know why the writers chose to only have it be a 30 minutes season finale? Why wasn’t it set up as parts 1 and 2 (beginning with last week’s episode) so that it would have a full hour?

  28. John’s reaction to the Pam’s pregnancy hit an emotional chord during this episode. His teary eyes were especially perfect. Did the director/writers give John much direction with the scene?

  29. Jenna kicked butt during the volleyball scenes! Did you specifically choose a volleyball tourney to be the game of choice after discovering her talent?

  30. How did you cast the perfect Toby and Dwight doubles? That was genius to include in “Company Picnic” and provided for the best laughs of the episode!

  31. Jen –

    Excellent episode! I loved how all the branches were incorporated. My question is: When did the idea of the pregnancy surface? Because I can see some foreshadowing in previous episodes (Jim saying she’s “the future mother of my children” and Pam talking about their future children after everything with her dad) and I was wondering if that was intentional. Thanks!

  32. Although this episode was beautifully written and acted, it left me totally depressed because we’ve been deprived of a romantic wedding (preferably a garden wedding in their back yard.) After five seasons, I thought we romantics (including Pam and Jim) deserved it! Why did the writers do this and is the wedding lost forever?

  33. Great episode, Jen. Kudos to you, Paul, Ken, and everyone else at the Office.

    I love David Wallace but of late he’s been showing signs of poor lack of judgement. Is this leading to him being more like Michael than originally seen? Also, is Charles ever going to be seen again? His and Jim’s hate storyline really didn’t get resolved. Really wished that Jim finally tells him off or something.

    Have fun breaking stories for Season 6. BTW, it’s not the final season, right?

  34. Where was Karen? Does she still work for Utica or was she stuck in a pit somewhere?

  35. I really like Rolph, Dwight’s friend. How did you come with the character? Was he originally supposed to be Mose, before Mike Schur was forced to focus on “Parks and Recreation”? Would you like to reuse him in other episodes?

  36. Awesome episode, I was cracking up through the whole thing. Was there anything that hit the cutting room floor that you REALLY wish could have stayed in the episode? And are you still hoping to one day be a Shrute?

  37. The ending of this episode was amazing. Can you give us any insight into what it was like to film such a monumental scene?

  38. The finale featured a callback to “Booze Cruise” when Jim and Pam experience the infamous 27 second silence. I loved how Michael got to stand in Jim’s shoes for awhile. Was that easy or difficult to write those scenes?

  39. I’m pretty sure that the ending scene meant that Pam is pregnant. Does this mean that there will be a wedding next season?

  40. I absolutely LOVE Jim and Pam and I’ve been disappointed that we haven’t seen much of their relationship in the past couple of episodes (I would LOVE a JAM episode) :) But the ending was AMAZING…can you give us ANY insight to what will happen in the Fall?? And is it safe to assume THEY’RE PREGNANT!!!!!!!!! :)

  41. Hi Jen –

    Thank you for doing the Q&A and thank you for such a fantastic episode!! I have a quick question and a more complicated question. Where exactly was the picnic? Was it mentioned somewhere and I just missed it?

    Was there any discussion between the writers about the company spending what seemed to be quite a bit of money on a huge picnic, right before they close a branch? If I were one of the employees, I would have been furious about that, but it seems like a very “corporate” thing to do, to create a false sense of camaraderie before delivering bad news.

    Thanks again and enjoy your summer!

  42. can you tell us what was said in the hospital room with the doctor and jim and pam, also where was kelly in thios episode?

    great episode btw

  43. Was the nurse at the reception at the hospital the same person as Meredith’s nurse in Fun Run? And does this mean that the company picnic took place in Scranton this year?

  44. Can you explain the direction that was given to John and Jenna for the ending scene? Were they just instructed to look joyful? Why you choose for it to be (mostly) silent?

  45. 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

  46. Do you already have the next season mapped out, however tentatively? For example, do you know if the new season will pick up right after the company picnic, or if it will jump ahead a few months?

  47. Hi Jen, we so appreciate all of your amazing hard work this year – writing 28 episodes, wow I am in awe and hope you get a little rest now :)

    Having really enjoyed Pam’s personal journey this year – coming into her own outside of JAM – will that aspect continue to develop along with her pregnancy next season?

  48. I love this show, and I love the writing. I am with this show through thick and thin, and have been since its’ hayday!

    Now for my question:

    What are some things you couldn’t do this season that are in the bin because they were only pitched because of this season’s setup (i.e. the Michael Scott Paper Company Arc), that would have concluded in the finale? For example, did you ever plan to have a wedding this season after showing us two being planned?

  49. Is Erin coming back for Season 6? She is a really nice character to have on the show.

  50. hey Jen and Jennie!
    i just have a question for Jen…how soon into writing the episode was a Jam baby introduced? was it the basis of the episode or just added in, with you saying, “wow what a great idea”. thanks!!!

    <3 u guys!

  51. There seemed to be a hint that Andy’s interest in Kelly Erin will continue…but then there’s the tramp stamp, the pierced ear, and the earnest enthusiasm for Oscar. Where are the writers planning to go with Andy?

  52. I would have sworn that Phyllis was pregnant! She’s always up for Flonkerton or basketball, but she’s sitting out volleyball. Who’s responsible for the subtle little clues?
    Great writing all around!

  53. Is Jenna Fischer really that good at volleyball, and did that allow you to make Pam good at it or did you decide earlier that Pam would be the best volleyball player on the team and make Jenna practice a whole lot?

  54. Hi Jen! GREAT job this year!!!

    I was so disappointed last year when you guys didn’t record an episode commentary for Goodbye Toby…Can you tell us if you did one for Company Picnic? That would so make my day!

  55. I was fully expecting Pam and Jim to make it back to the picnic JUST in time to win the game against corporate–so the end came as SUCH a total surprise! I loved that we learned what happened through their reactions, and it seemed like a call back to Tim talking to Dawn without mics in the last episode of season 2 of the original Office. Were you thinking about that particular sweet scene when you wrote the end?

    The chicken pot pie opener was so wonderful. Just the words ‘family sized chicken pot pie’ made me laugh so hard. How did that opening scene idea come about? I loved it.

  56. A tip: as with past Q&As, your question is more likely to be answered if it relates more to behind-the-scenes stuff for ‘Company Picnic’ and less on speculation of future episodes. :)

  57. Hey Jen, great episode!

    A lot of shows go to great lengths to avoid spoilers about the secret scenes in their finales, some going so far as to shoot fakes or leave pages out of peoples’ scripts. So, I was wondering how many people were involved with shooting yours, and if you took any special precautions to avoid leaks.

  58. Question for Jen:
    Could we get a feel of the discussions/proposals for JAM’s pregnancy? Maybe other ideas for what the audience would see and experience? She’s definitely pregnant right? :-)

  59. Was Toby wearing a sweatshirt to make us think that he might have on a black New York corporate T-shirt like the other HR guy? And if all of HR was wearing black, why did Holly still have on her green Nashua shirt?

  60. Did you have to train Jenna to be awesome at volleyball, or was she naturally good at it?

  61. Jen, not to be Debbie Downer here, but I feel this season ended on a rather anticlimactic note. The pregnancy makes for a cute subplot, but I thought the big bang happened when Michael Scott quit Dunder Mifflin.

    Seeing Michael walk out of David Wallace’s office saying, “You don’t know how high I can fly” would have been an awesome way to leave the viewer hanging for the next four months. Was there ever any talk of having that storyline be the finale? Just thought maybe you couldn’t because of circumstances beyond your control (a la Idris Elba’s schedule with other projects).

  62. 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?

    Also, where was the picnic filmed (in real life)? With extras and such an open and public space like you had here and with the grocery store in Goodbye Toby, how you you manage to keep episode spoilers under wraps?

    SUCH a great episode. Thanks so much!

  63. How did you decide on volleyball? And what parts of the volleyball scene were CGI?

    Thanks a bunch

  64. Hi Jen! You are so great! The Office is my life. Pam and Jim are my favorite people EVER.

    I was wondering if we would ever get to hear the sound during the final scene, where the doctor reveals to Pam and Jim about the baby? I’m just dying to know exactly what was said.

    Thanks! (:

  65. Jen,
    Congratulations on the BEST episode of the season! My question is, were Jim’s tears at the end in the script or was that all John?

  66. I just wanted to give big kudos to JKras. That was a very emotional scene and really made me feel like it was a genuine joy that he was experiencing. The ending was so beautifully written and the acting was the cherry on top! Congrats to JAM!

  67. Sorry, I decided I had another question.

    During an Officetally video with Creed and Ed singing a song for Mindy, Jenna walks in the background with her visor on, and a few seconds later another person with Jenna’s ponytail and pants and shoes walks by in the other direction without a visor. Then Jenna walks by with her visor on again.

    Was a stunt double required for Jenna?

  68. What the idea behind the silence in the hospital? Hospital regulations ala The Injury (even though Jim could be heard when he left the room)? Using a boom mic that couldn’t pick up in the room (which makes since due to filming a giant picnic that day)?

    And was it an intentional nod to the British show or mere coincidence?

  69. Every finale in the past has either been supersized (“Casino Night”) or one hour (“The Job,” “Goodbye Toby”). Did you and Paul feel limited when writing the episode with only 22 minutes for the finale?

  70. Obviously the final JAM scene implies they are pregnant because what others news from a doctor would make them so happy. However, I’m wondering how that even came into play during the exam when Pam was there to check out her ankle?

  71. 21 kip .. the reference was to the JAM relationship, Pam and Roy, Jim and Karen.. etc

  72. Jen fantastic episode all around with the Michael Holly story line and the start of a mending Dwight and angela relationship and like everyone else the JAM suprise at the end was so amazing. Amazing acting on John’s part there. I do have a couple of questions.

    1.Because of the office taking place in real time are we going to come back to find pam 4 months pregnant or is there going to be an episode like weight loss to show what happened over the summer?

    2. I know others have asked this but what about the pam volleyball discrepency? She avoided it in gym class faking PMS now all of a sudden she played in College?

    3. Lastly any scoop on the dwight angela situation?

    Thanks for taking the time to answer these for us Jen!

  73. The picnic scenes were pretty big in this episode. Were they among the most crowded scenes you’ve ever done, and what were the biggest challenges while filming these scenes?

  74. When do you guys start writing episodes for next season? Do you get time off?

  75. What were Jim and Pam saying at the end when the camera was outside of the room? I know Pam is pregnant, but what was the dialogue that was said and was the dialogue scripted or unscripted?

  76. Hey Jen!
    Thanks SO SO SO SO much for The Office! :] My question is: how do you guys come up with the infamous JAM cliffhangers?

  77. Hi!
    Loved last night’s episode! My question is about Pam… I was wondering why she was so great at volley-ball (and apparently played a lot when she has at school) but in Job Fair she said that she pretended to have PMS so she could avoid her gym class (including volley-ball)?
    I know my question is very specific!(I love The Office too much I think :P)

    Thanks for your time and your amazing show!

  78. Hi jen! great job! such an awesome episode!!!!

    my question is…when Holly and Michael are talking about having lots of material for next year’s company picnic, there’s a pause, and then she replies she couldn’t wait… the chemistry there tells me that she still has something for Michael.
    Is there a possibility that they could get back together?

    PS I absolutely loved the end scene. John was awesome and sooo adorable!

  79. Question: How come Karen was missing from the company picnic? Or any mention of Utica?

    Thanks a lot for the great episode!

  80. Hey Jen,

    Was vollleyball the first and only game you thought to put into this episode?

  81. 71, Deanna-

    A kind soul in the episode thread pointed out that the doctor would want to know with absolute certainty whether Pam was pregnant before running her through an x-ray machine. Pam wouldn’t have been 100% certain, hence the pregnancy test.

  82. Where was the picnic supposed to have taken place that people from all the branches were there? Even if it was in a central location, some people would have had to travel a ways to go to it!

  83. Great cold open, great episode, great ending. But one thing is still bugging me.
    When is Jim going to stick it to Charles?
    Charles thinks Jim is a worthless moron, which we all know is ridiculous, but when will Jim prove his worth to Charles?! I was waiting for the volleyball game to come down to the final point and Jim spiking it in Charles’ face. Didn’t happen. Charles still thinks Jim is a deadbeat. Please tell me this changes at some point next season and Jim is vindicated.

  84. Great episode! I have two questions, but one of them is a two-parter:

    1 – Who wrote the “you had to be there”/”geography joke” interchange? Might be my fave line. No offense, if it wasn’t you. :)

    2 – What was the easiest and hardest part of writing this script?

    Thanks! You and Tanster are awesome! We love y’all!!

  85. How many takes were done for the final scene? Was there much debate to keep the celebration in silence and just see the reaction?

  86. Absolutely amazing writing! Especially the very end when JAM found out that they are apparently having a baby? Was this scene your idea or was it the entire crew’s? Did they decide on this a while ago, or just… what happened?


  87. I’m still puzzled by the motivations of Charles. Are we going to learn more about what drives him as a person? What causes his enmity toward Jim and some of the other office staffers? And why is he such an unabashed suck up to his superiors?


  88. I would also love to know if next season will be done in real time and what was the Jim and Pam dialogue at the end? If you can’t say, will we find out next season? And I’ve noticed an absense of Pam’s art ‘escapades’ lately- will we see more next season? Thanks!

  89. Were all of the writers on board with the pregnancy story or were there some discussions about whether to do it or not?

  90. My question for Jen is about Holly: obviously most of us LOVE her character, but she just seems so together some times, and so CLULESS at other times. Specifically, she seems somehow too smart to not catch on to the fact that Michael is obviously flirting with her – in his own way: lying down in a secluded area of the park, bringing her chocolate covered cherries…what gives? If she is building a house with A.J. then why ditch him for the entire day to hang out with Michael – other than to tempt viewers!!! ???

    And Tanster! Congrats! It was SO fun to see you on the show last night! Did they have to use heavy security to block off a huge park? What were the logistics of having a ton of people outside all day? Did anyone get sunburned? Bug bites? Was it really cold (I noticed in your pics that directors were wearing puffy coats)?

  91. I noticed that the corporate volleyball team were all huge tough men. Was this deliberate to make them seem more intimidating?

  92. Is there any way you could tell us some variation of what was said behind the glass in the final scene? :)

  93. Was it harder to write a finale for a half-hour time slot or easier than the usual hour-long finales we’ve seen in the last few seasons? In other words, did the writers have to sacrifice some material and save it for next season because of the half-hour episode? And why did NBC opt for the half-hour finale this season?

    Thanks! I love the site!

  94. Is there a plan from the beginning of the season to the end of how the overall story will progress and who gets to make the final decision on which substory is told in the episode?

  95. 1) How does Mose feel about Dwight’s new best friend Rolf? How does Michael Schur feel about being replaced? And will you ever become a Schrute?

    2) Did Meredith think it was another “casual” day with her whole outfit?

    Seriously though, props to you & Paul (& tanster) & everyone at The Office for a wonderful season. Thanks for taking time out of your hectic schedule to do this Q&A! Can’t wait till the DVD comes out & really looking forward to Season 6!

    P.S.: tanster, was there supposedly another Q&A out there or am I thinking of something else?

  96. Will next season pick-up where this season left off, or will it be done in real time?

  97. This episode was perfect from start to finish, so thank you for giving us a great finale!

    Now to the question: Did you know the episode was going to end the way it did from the beginning of the season? It seems like the finales belong to Jim and Pam, which is definitely a good thing.

  98. While obviously I want to know exactly what Jim and Pam said to each other at the end, I’d also like to know how long it took to decide, and how long you’ve known, that Pam would get pregnant. Why was it decided to take place this season, when they’re already dealing with the upcoming wedding and Pam’s newfound ambition?

    That said, I absolutely LOVED the finale, and the end completely shocked me. I can’t wait for the fall!

  99. I thought John Krasinski hit the ball out of the park in that last scene but I really would have loved to have seen more of Pam’s reaction since, you know, the baby’s gestating inside of her which is kind of awe-inspiring and shocking and strange on a whole different level when compared to the guy who knocked her up (much as I love him and was/am so happy for him). Was it a conscious decision to show more Jim than Pam? Were there takes where we saw more of Pam’s reaction?

  100. A great episode, I love it, but I was expecting a Michael/Holly closure or something. Is there any hope for them? Thank you!

  101. I realize this question has already been asked but I second it…Why does Charles treat Jim the way that he does? Does he see something in him and this is way of motivating him or does he really just not like him? Thanks!

  102. My biggest question deals with Holly: Her scenes with Michael were incredibly touching, and I got the feeling, especially that second end scene with their silently exchanged looks, that she still feels strongly for him. Are there any plans or desires to have Amy Ryan resume the roll of Holly Flax next season? If not, can fans expect her to show up the final season to give some resolution to Michael’s character?

  103. My family and I were so hoping to get a bit of Packer in this episode (a little Packer goes a long way!) Can you tell us if Packer is still at Dunder Mifflin, and is there any hope of us seeing him again?

  104. This thought kinda tickled me: were there any people who laughed and ruined the take during Michael and Holly’s skit since the reaction was supposed to be silence? I thought the skit was wonderfully uncomfortable.

    The Office is such an incredible show and congratulations on the 100th episode!!! Thanks for answering and thanks to Tanster too

  105. Great finale! THE SILENT SCENE that said it all!!! Who’s idea/concept was it for the pregnancy reveal to be silent on camera? John and Jenna couldn’t have acted that scene any better.

  106. This was, without a doubt, one of my favorite episodes of all time. But I was kind of disappointed to see such a massive contradiction with new volleyballing Pam…in Job Fair not long ago she reminisced about pretending to have PMS to get out of playing sports in gym class, and I’m pretty sure she might have mentioned volleyball in that list.

    I guess I really shouldn’t complain because it made the ankle twisting-hospital-PREGNANT! storyline possible (and awesome, I will add), but I was wondering if you guys were aware of that contradiction or simply decided that the storyline was too good to pass up and you were going to just go ahead in spite of it?

    Also–Jenna Fischer wasn’t ACTUALLY serving those, right? It looked like it was possibly fabricated–she’s not tall enough!

    PHENOMENAL episode.

  107. When did you choose to mute the dialogue in the hospital room – did you always know or did you decide after you shot the scene?

    Also, did Jenna Fischer actually play volleyball in school?

    Thank you for an amazing finale and 100th episode, and for answering our questions!

  108. As you intended to bring back many Dunder Mifflin employees to be at the company picnic, was David Koechner as Todd Packer ever considered for an appearance? Will we ever see him back on the show again?

  109. Will Ryan’s issues ever be dealt with? It seems they have been swept under the rug. I’d like the spotlight on Ryan for awhile, especially since the Michael/Ryan relationship took a hit recently.

    Thank you, Jen!

  110. Why is Pam a vball queen (love it) but otherwise so klutzy? I wondered the same thing about Jim – great at basketball, but fails at other sports?

  111. Great episode, Jen! Thanks for a great season.

    Did the writers plan Pam’s pregnancy as long ago as last summer while breaking stories for season five? If not then, when did it come up?

    Hmm? That’s what she said.

  112. Dwight standing up for Angela was pretty cool, but does that mean they have closure–or a potential future together?

    This was an awesome season finale. When we heard it was a normal-length episode my sister and I were “ahhh”… but this episode was one of our favorites!

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