‘The Office’: The Inspiration for Pretzel Day Came From an Interesting Real Life Experience

One of the more memorable Stanley moments on The Office involved his excitement over “Pretzel Day,” the one day a year when the office building’s employees get a morale boost with free pretzels. Find out how a real-life experience inspired this special day.

Leslie David Baker as Stanley Hudson and Steve Carell as Michael Scott on 'The Office'
Leslie David Baker as Stanley Hudson and Steve Carell as Michael Scott on ‘The Office’ | Dean Hendler/NBCU Photo Bank

Stanley and Michael bond over pretzels

No one shares the thrill of Pretzel Day quite like boss Michael Scott and it gives Stanley and Michael a storyline that has them bonding in the sweetest way.

The Michael and Stanley Pretzel Day moments are part of the theme of this episode, it turns out. During the June 24 Office Ladies podcast, host Jenna Fischer shared how the director for season 3 episode 5 “Initiation,” Randall Einhorn, wanted each of the three stories to have the same theme of “making connections.” If you recall, Dwight takes Ryan to the beet farm to initiate him as a salesperson, Michael and Stanley share their love of Pretzel Day, and Jim and Pam reconnect during a phone call.

Stanley has never been happier

In a talking head, Stanley explains why this day matters to him so much. “I wake up every morning in a bed that’s too small, drive my daughter to a school that’s too expensive, and then I go to work to a job for which I get paid too little. But on Pretzel Day? Well, I like Pretzel Day,” he says.

While Stanley and Michael stand in the long line for pretzels, they stop Phyllis from cutting the line, by booing her and sending her to the back, then celebrate with a high five.

There’s also a deleted scene where Stanley gets to say Michael Scott’s iconic catchphrase. The two sit together and eat their pretzels together and Michael says, “They taste so good in my mouth” and Stanley responds, “That’s what she said.”

RELATED: ‘The Office’ Fans’ Favorite ‘That’s What She Said’ Moment Is the Sweetest Jim and Michael Scene

Where did the idea for Pretzel Day come from?

While talking about the episode on Office Ladies, Fischer and co-host Angela Kinsey shared that the inspiration for pretzel day came from a real-world example. During season 1, the writers for The Office were taken to visit real offices to find inspiration for storylines and episodes and they even visited a paper company.

Writer B.J. Novak told Fischer that at one office park he witnessed a spin on pretzel day — the employees were given a morale boost with free food and the were so excited about this company perk. The writers put the idea on a card in the writers’ room and B.J. thought that Stanley would be the character who is most excited about the free snacks.

To bring the idea to life, the show rented a pretzel cart from a prop house and ordered 100 pretzels and the toppings, and the leftovers were eaten by the cast and crew of the show.

Stanley’s pretzel order for his big day was simple enough, though the line didn’t make it into the episode. Fischer said that in the script, his order is “salty, with extra mustard.” Michael, meanwhile, gets “the works,” all 18 toppings, which causes him to experience a sugar rush and later crash.