Jenna Fischer of The Office remains in sitcom history for her portrayal of Pam Beesly for nine seasons on the NBC comedy. Though there were plenty of rumors of being cancelled throughout the first season, the show gained traction and is now a fan favorite.
In her recent book, Fischer recalled an episode from season one that changed her penchant for a particular dessert.
Jenna Fischer gives advice to aspiring actors
In her 2017 book The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide, Fischer provides helpful tips and words of wisdom for those looking to make it in show business. Covering topics from headshots to set etiquette, The Office star also advises on how to handle eating in a scene.
“When you shoot a scene, you don’t just do it once,” Fischer revealed. “It takes hours, over and over, from different angles to shoot a scene. If you have a scene at a dinner table, you won’t just have to eat dinner once, you’ll have to eat dinner all day long.”
The Splitting Up Together star recommends opting for something light if given the choice and to keep in mind the food will be served cold so it won’t spoil. Fischer recalled an early acting gig where she didn’t follow these tips.
“They gave me a menu and told me to pick a meal,” Fischer shared. “I was a starving artist so I sheepishly said ‘Steak and potatoes!’ … Cut to hour eight of me eating cold steak and potatoes. Oh my God, I was so sick. And so full. Now, I order salad or penne pasta.”
‘The Office’ throws a birthday party for Meredith
In the fourth episode of season one entitled “The Alliance,” Dunder Mifflin manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) charges the party planning committee to organize a birthday celebration for staffer Meredith Palmer (Kate Flannery). Michael tells them to order a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake, despite the fact that Meredith is lactose intolerant. Fischer recalled Carell’s advice on pacing herself despite her enthusiasm on getting to have dessert during scenes.
“We were filming party scenes around 7:30 a.m. Mindy Kaling and I were in the background of the scene, very excited to be eating cake at work,” Fischer explained. “We were taking huge bites, one after the other… Steve Carell saw us and offered a warning: ‘Guys, you may want to ease up on the cake … You don’t want to get sick.'”
Rather than taking Carell’s recommendation, both Fischer and Kaling continued to consume the cake through each take.
“By 9 a.m. I was bouncing off the walls with a sugar high, laughing hysterically and ruining takes,” the Office Ladies podcaster revealed. “I must have been so annoying to everyone in the cast. Then at lunchtime, I started crashing.”
No more ice cream cake for Jenna Fischer
Fischer continued on her downward spiral throughout the day, trying to fight off the after effects of her fluctuating sugar levels.
“I started to feel sick and lay down in my trailer. But after a few minutes, I was called back to set,” she recalled. “I was feeling totally queasy and close to crying.”
Making matters worse, Fischer was scheduled to be in the main frame of her upcoming scenes.
“There were more cake scenes to shoot,” The Office star said. “Only now, instead of being in the background, it was time for my close-ups, which meant I couldn’t pretend to eat the cake – I had to devour it. Just holding the plate of cake made my stomach turn. … I was gagging every take.”
After wrapping for the day, Fischer took to her bed to sleep off her sugar debacle only to find out she had to continue filming cake scenes the following day.
“Two days of that awful mint chocolate chip ice cream cake,” Fischer lamented. “If you watch the episode, you barely see anyone eating cake. – it all ended up on the cutting room floor. … I ate all that cake and it never even made it into the episode. And now I hate ice cream cake.”