On a recent episode of their The Office podcast, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey detail how and why the iconic parkour cold open came together.
The Office stars, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, detail how the show’s iconic parkour cold open came together. Fischer, who played Pam Beesly, and Kinsey, who played Angela Martin, host a weekly podcast, called Office Ladies, that dishes behind-the-scenes stories and facts about the making of the uber popular American sitcom, which is based on the U.K. sitcom of the same name. The latest subject of the former The Office stars’ podcast focuses on the season 6 premiere episode titled “Gossip.”
The Office, which is known for its relevant humor and themes, was never shy to touch on pop culture phenomenon and norms at the time. For example, season 3’s episode. “Beach Games,” which aired in 2007, saw Michael Scott selecting his successor by way of having his employees compete in games in the style of the popular reality TV show, Survivor. Moving forward, 2009’s episode, “Gossip,” features a memorable cold open in which Michael, Dwight, and Andy perform a series of parkour moves around the office. Fans can now learn how that scene from The Office came to fruition, thanks to Fischer and Kinsey’s podcast.
On a recent episode of their Office Ladies podcast (via Mashable), Fischer and Kinsey discuss how the iconic parkour cold open came together. Fischer explains that she reached out to Paul Lieberstein, who wrote and directed the episode, for more information about the scene, because the script apparently just read that Michael, Dwight, and Andy “parkour through the office.” As Fischer further explains, the scene wasn’t choreographed, and the cast had “no parkour training whatsoever.” Fischer says that Lieberstein simply told the guys that they “couldn’t do anything wrong,” and that their “goal [was] to just mess up the room as much as possible.” Lieberstein also told Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, and Ed Helms to shout “parkour!” before every move, which he believes greatly contributed to the scene’s hilarity. View Fischer’s explanation of the iconic parkour cold open from The Office below:
“I reached out to Paul Lieberstein, who wrote and directed this episode, because in the script it really just says they parkour through the office. And he said that the direction he gave Steve [Carell], Rainn [Wilson], and Ed [Helms] was just a basic route to move through so that the camera could capture everything. He said obviously, none of them had any parkour skills. They did no parkour training whatsoever.”
Fischer also goes on the explain that the very ending of the parkour cold open, in which Andy jumps into an empty refrigerator box, was actually performed by Ed Helms’ stunt double, Shawn Crowder. However, while that particular scene featured a stunt double, the rest of the parkour scene, “when they’re running across the cars in the parking lot,” are the actual actors, Carell, Wilson, and Helms. Perhaps owing to their lack of parkour training, it seems the three actors accidentally “dented some of the hoods of those cars,” which meant they “had to be repaired.”
Much like other episodes of The Office, the entire parkour scene would go on to live in the pop culture zeitgeist, so much so that even the show’s cast and crew would yell “parkour” randomly on set after the scenes were shot. This same sentiment would carry over to fans of the show as well, who are very keen to yell that same word when performing an “extreme” move. Because the scene holds such a fond memory in the hearts of fans, it’s really interesting to learn behind-the-scenes information about it, which is all in thanks to Fischer and Kinsey’s The Office podcast.
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