There something I wish I’d known before walking into an interview with Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey: quoting them would be nearly impossible at the end.
Not because they’re not well spoken or don’t have interesting things to say – in fact, the whole reason they’ve been given their own podcast, the reason we are talking in the first place, is because they have so much to say about their time on one of the most beloved American comedies of this generation.
But what these alums from “The Office” will tell you – and eventually show you – is that they are best friends in real life. And not, it seems, Hollywood “best friends,” the people you would invite to an event as a plus one but not over to your house when you’re wearing sweats. They’re real best friends – the kind you can call out for hoarder tendencies without fear of hurt feelings and effortlessly finish sentences for.
The latter makes it hard to quote them. The realness of their bond makes it easy to like being around them.
That’s what they’re counting on with “Office Ladies,” a podcast launched Wednesday in which Fischer and Kinsey take a stroll down memory lane with the goal of reliving every single episode from the show’s nine seasons in a way only they could.
Only they can talk about the struggle of having audio packs with Velcro straps snagging on pantyhose or when a very-pregnant Kinsey had to get through a scene in the “Dinner Party” episode with her daughter furiously kicking her. Only they can talk about the moments and storylines that came to life from impromptu brainstorm sessions between scenes or what it sounded like when John Krasinski took a hit to the face from a basketball during a scene.
“I think there’s so many memories from each episode and so many fun things to talk about in each of them that it became difficult to choose which ones to pick and choose episodes,” Kinsey said. So they decided to do them all.
The idea for “Office Ladies” was born when Kinsey and Fischer came across several plastic bins worth of memorabilia from their time on the show during respective cleaning sprees. The desire to put their memories in one place to preserve and share with fans was a mutual one – as was the desire to work together again for the first time since the show concluded.
Fischer begins to explain another reason for their desire to do the podcast, but stops herself.
“I know what you’re going to say,” Kinsey pipes in. “You were saying, like, ‘How can we work together and be in sweat pants?’”
“I WAS!” Fischer shouts. “I was like, ‘I don’t know how to say that.’”
“I know your mind, lady,” Kinsey says, smiling.
During the show’s run, the cast of “The Office” would get together for watch parties at each other’s homes. This was in the days before social media and PR-prompted live-tweets. These potluck viewing parties were for them and were extensions of the kinship they felt was building on set.
The benefit of revisiting these years after first watching them, Kinsey and Fischer say, is that time has allowed them the space to see it through a new lens.
“At that time, we were so close to it. And you feel so vulnerable, and you have to go back the next week and make more of it,” Fisher says.
“It’s job when you’re doing it and now we can just be an audience,” Kinsey adds.
The support for the endeavor has been abundant.
After the announcement, cast members Krasinski, Rainn Wilson and several others that had desks inside Dunder Mifflin Paper Company gave words of support. And Fischer and Kinsey say they want each of their co-stars on as guests, as well as directors, writers and other people whose work behind the scenes crafted the show that’s found new generations of fans since signing off in 2013.
Taking their talents behind the mic for the first time has been different, but Fischer says she’s taken to producing well and “leaned into it.” She’s the one who walks into her meetings with a laptop and lists.
“There were like three people who I would go into battle with, and number one is Jenna Fischer because she would have an organized formation. She would know her opponent. That’s who you want on your side,” Kinsey says.
“I do have some Dwight Schrute-ian qualities,” Fischer admits.
Though the intention is to cover the whole series, contractually, the pair has committed to recording the first two seasons of the show, with episodes to be released weekly. When we met prior to the “Office Ladies” launch, they had a few episodes done, but were leaving room for evolution based on listener feedback.
They plan to take questions and play audio messages from listeners on the show.
“We really want it to be the fans getting to rewatch the show with us – like they’re coming over, they’re sitting on the couch with us, we’re going to watch, and chitty-chat,” Kinsey said.
“Office Ladies,” from Earwolf, is available on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and anywhere you can download podcasts.