‘The Office’: This Famous Cold Open Was Inspired by a Real-Life Experience in the Writers’ Room

One of the most loved cold opens of The Office had a simple enough premise — and it turns out it came from a real-world situation. Office co-stars Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer recently shed some light on how the scene came together.

The cast of 'The Office'
The cast of ‘The Office’ | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The famous opening of ‘The Office’ featured an exciting moment

Life in the Dunder Mifflin office could get boring, but when boss Michael Scott had a meeting in the conference room, the employees noticed something captivating behind him. As Michael discussed dry office topics, a DVD logo bounced around the screen in a screensaver on the TV behind him.

The employees couldn’t look away, as Pam claimed that she once saw the logo perfectly align in the corner. As Michael droned on, the office employees watched the logo almost make a perfect landing in the corner, only to see it just miss that corner spot.

When the cube finally lined up perfectly, they all cheered and Michael believed that he really inspired his employees during the meeting.

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The ‘Office Ladies’ explain the real-life inspiration behind the hilarious scene

During the Jan. 13 Office Ladies podcast, Kinsey and Fischer did a deep dive into the fan-favorite cold open and revealed the real-life inspiration for the hilarious scene.

The former co-stars set up the scene, explaining how Michael’s “very boring” meeting is spiced up by the riveting background screensaver.

The co-hosts reached out to Jen Celotta, who wrote the “Launch Party” episode, to shed more light on how she got the idea for the exciting DVD logo screensaver moment.

“Michael’s having a meeting and behind him is this TV screen,” Fischer explained. “And you don’t really know what’s going on at first because it just keeps panning around to everyone in the conference room. And we are oddly riveted by what Michael is saying.”

In a talking head interview, Jim explains how they all were watching the little cube bounce around to see if it will perfectly land in the corner. “And he says he doesn’t think it can happen and that Pam claims she saw it once when she was alone in the conference room,” Fischer added.

“So then the boring meeting continues and then finally it happens,” Fischer shared. “The little cube goes in the square and everybody cheers. And Michael thinks that it is because he has said something brilliant.”

The co-hosts shared how the scene was choreographed and shared an audio clip of Celotta discussing how this very thing happened in the writers’ room and inspired the cold open.

“So the inspiration for the cold open, where the DVD logo bounces around the TV screen and everybody’s transfixed, was definitely the writers’ room,” Celotta explained. “I was obsessed with it. We would all watch the little DVD logo and I remember that I saw it once hit perfectly in the corner that the edge of the logo lined up with the edge of the TV and it just felt so good.”

She continued, “And I remember there was at least one nonbeliever in the room and it would hit like kind of close to the corner and they’d say that was it. That must be what you remember. It’s not going to hit perfectly in the corner. And so I was transfixed with the logo and watching it a lot of the time and maybe not paying attention as much as I should have to the task at hand. So that is where the inspiration for it came from.”

Fischer noted how “deeply relatable” this kind of ordinary moment is for so many people.

To capture the scene and get the timing right, Celotta shared that there was a blue screen on the TV monitor during filming and the cast was told when and how to react. Later, they added the DVD logo screensaver so that it looked seamless.