‘The Office’: Jenna Fischer Revealed the Tricky Move She Had to Do for 1 Hilarious Michael Scott Gag

The Office star Jenna Fischer revealed that she had to pull off a bit of a physical feat in order for a Michael Scott joke to have the full impact. The behind-the-reception-desk move put her strength to the test and the actor said if you look closely you can kind of spot it in the scene.

The Office star Jenna Fischer as her character Pam, smiling at the reception desk at Dunder Mifflin
‘The Office’: Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly | Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

‘The Office’ episode has everyone taking sides over surplus money

During the August 4 episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Fischer and Angela Kinsey discussed The Office Season 5 episode “The Surplus,” in which Michael finds out he has to spend budget surplus money. The employees take sides, with some wanting new chairs and others focusing on a new copier.

Each side tries to butter up Michael to get what they want and while he agonizes over making the decision, he discovers that if he returns the surplus to the company, he personally gets a percentage of the money as a bonus.

Michael considers taking the bonus and tells the office employees that there’s no need to buy a copier or chairs because they’re in good condition. While demonstrating this, the copier clearly doesn’t work and the reception chair continues to sink as he tries to make his point.

Jenna Fischer shared that she had to squat at the reception desk for 1 scene

The chair was rigged so that when Steve Carell sat down, it would slowly start to sink as he tried to argue that the chairs were fine. That meant that Fischer couldn’t actually sit in the chair for the gag to play out properly.

Director Paul Feig provided an audio clip on the podcast about “one of his favorite memories from shooting this episode,” Fischer explained.

“There were so many fun things in season 5, but weirdly, one of my favorite episodes that we did was ‘The Surplus’ … I just think it’s got some of the funniest stuff in it,” Feig shared. “I think I laughed harder during that… one of my favorite gags that I ever got to do on The Office was when Michael’s trying to convince everybody that they don’t need a new copier and all the chairs are good.”

He continued, “And we have that gag, Jenna, where he comes behind the desk and just tries to prove that your chair is not broken. And I had them rig up this thing because the whole joke is supposed to be he sits on your chair and it just sinks down below the desk. And so I worked really hard to have them rig this chair up that sunk so slowly … it takes you a few seconds to realize that he’s just very slowly sinking down behind the desk.”

Fischer shared a behind-the-scenes tidbit that she couldn’t sit down but had to appear like she was seated. “In order to make it work, I could not be sitting on the chair at the beginning of the scene,” she explained. “So it looks like I’m sitting and then he comes over and takes my seat.” 

She added, “I had to squat and hold my butt and hover. And you can tell a little bit because, in order to do it, I kind of had to like, you know, really, like, spread my legs to get like a good solid squat on the chair… above the chair.”

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