‘The Office’: Why the Blow-Up Doll in ‘Sexual Harassment’ Had to Be Just Right

The Office creative folks behind the scenes always made sure that all the little details were just right. Whether it was the characters’ wardrobe or involving Jenna Fischer in selecting the engagement ring that Jim had when he proposed to Pam, there was always great attention to the little things. Getting the right blow-up doll for the “Sexual Harassment” episode was perhaps the strangest detail, however.

The Office: Steve Carell as Michael Scott on the phone in his office
The Office: Steve Carell as Michael Scott | Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank

‘The Office’ had to find the perfect blow-up doll for 1 episode

During the December 2019 Office Ladies podcast, Fischer and Angela Kinsey discussed The Office Season 2 episode “Sexual Harassment” and shared some behind-the-scenes information about how there was an involved process for selecting a blow-up doll.

In the episode, Toby has to provide a review of the company’s sexual harassment policies to the employees. Michael shows up with a blow-up sex doll.

Fischer explained, “When Michael crashes Toby’s presentation, he walks in with the blow-up doll. Do you remember the days and days of those guys trying to figure out which blow-up doll should be the blow-up doll?”

The actor went on to share how there were a variety of dolls that they tried.

“So it was like, should she have on an outfit? Should she be wearing underwear? Should she be wearing a bikini?,” Fischer recalled. “They had a variety of blow-up dolls. This is a weird thing about working on a television show or in a movie or anything — are the really just very matter-of-fact discussions about odd things.”

They had to choose the funniest doll for the episode

Making the decision was critical because the doll was a big part of the episode. “I remember seeing our props master and [show creator] Greg [Daniels], and I think it must have been [writer] B.J. [Novak] and [director] Ken Kwapis, but like, there was a group of people looking at different blow-up dolls and having a very matter of fact discussion about what is funniest,” Fischer noted.

Kinsey recalled one disturbing inflatable doll that wasn’t used. “There was one that had a more open mouth … that one was so off-putting.”

“But the other thing, too, is we’d walk on set and, you know, backstage we would have like props and things,” she continued. “And I remember walking past like five blow-up dolls every morning for like a week.”

The two recalled how there was “a lot of comedy with that blow-up doll,” including when Jim (John Krasinski) does a talking head with it. “So the blow-up doll got a lot of play in this episode — it’s very important that we pick the right one,” Fischer added.

RELATED: ‘The Office’: Inside the Jim and Pam Moment That Ends So Awkwardly ‘It Breaks Your Heart’

‘The Office’ episode required a warning, but 1 TV station refused to air it

The “Sexual Harassment” episode was full of racy content and needed a warning about the “adult subject matter.”

“You know why? It all came down to the word: ‘boner,’” Fischer explained. The network wanted the word changed to “schwing,” but Novak didn’t think it was the right choice.

Since the network allowed the word “boner” in the episode, they included a disclaimer for the episode. One Kentucky TV station refused to air the episode due to the content, however.