Tag: Jenna Fischer

Well, it’s funnier than “Gulliver’s Travels” anyway

After presenting the disaster of a trailer mentioned in the title of this post, last night, I thought long and hard about this one for “Hall Pass.” This trailer for an all-star comedy bringing us Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis as a couple of married buddies who are granted a temporary suspension of their marriage vows by wives Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate isn’t very consistent and just generally feels below par and tired.  At least that’s my take. See what you think.

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NBC offers a sneak peek at the new season of “The Office”

Excited for the season premiere of “The Office” on September 17? NBC’s counting on it — and to whet your appetite for more laughs from the gang at Dunder-Mifflin, they’ve put together a behind-the-scenes sneak peek for you, featuring interviews with Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, and other stars from the Thursday night comedy, now entering its sixth season. Can we expect a wedding for Pam and Jim? A reconciliation for Dwight and Angela? And will Michael woo Holly away from her new boyfriend at the Nashua branch?

You’d be a fool to expect many definitive answers from the clip, but you’ll get a taste of what to expect on September 17. Watch it now!

TCA Tour – “The Office” set visit

During my time at the TCA Press Tour, I was fortunate enough to visit the sets of two CBS series (“NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Three Rivers“), two Fox series (“Bones” and “Dollhouse“), and two ABC series (“Castle” and “Private Practice”), but when you get right down to it, my excitement level about all six of those sets probably still didn’t equal out to how psyched I was to visit the set of just one NBC show: “The Office.”

It was an absolutely surreal experience to pull up in front of a building in Valencia, CA, and see a sign which read, “Scranton Business Park,” but it got even more bizarre as we stepped into the Dunder-Mifflin warehouse and immediately saw members of the cast milling about. We were quickly divided into small groups and taken on a tour of the actual Dunder-Mifflin office by cast members, and I was fortunate enough to be part of the group led by Angela Kinsey, who plays Angela Martin on the show.

My wife and I met Angela in 2007 when we attended our first TCA Awards ceremony, as “The Office” had taken home the award for Best Comedy Series that year, so I was already well aware that her real-life personality is the polar opposite of her character’s. She’s constantly laughing, and you could tell that, although she was no doubt drafted into the task of giving us this tour, she loves her job and doesn’t mind talking about it in the slightest. It was incredibly cool to be able to see the intricacies of the various certificates on the walls of the office, as well as the personal photos on each of the desks, but I think my favorite moment was when she told us that Brian Baumgartner, who plays Kevin, still has a post-it on his desk that was written during the very first episode of the show. No, wait, I take that back: it might’ve been when she recited back to us the way she used to have to answer the phone when she was an operator for 1-800-DENTIST. Well, either way, it was a real treat to have her give us the tour personally. We were also given the opportunity to take our photo at Michael Scott’s desk, which I absolutely took advantage of, but all things considered, I think I actually might like this shot from Pam’s desk better:

After the set visit, we returned to the warehouse, where we were each presented with our own nameplates which declared us to be Assistant to the Regional Manager of Dunder-Mifflin…and you can bet that mine sits on my desk at this very moment. From there, we were offered coffee and pastries as we sat down for a Q&A with the cast (minus Rainn Wilson, who wasn’t feeling well) and producers of the show.

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How “The Office” has kept the Jim/Pam romance fresh

Brian Lowry of Variety lauds the fact that the writers of “The Office” have kept the Jim/Pam dynamic from going stale.

Much of the credit goes to the writers and performers involved, and it’s a testament to their talents that Pam and Jim have recently enjoyed a relatively stable, even happy relationship — despite her impulsive decision to join boss Michael (Steve Carell) in his stand-alone business endeavor — without sending that key aspect of the show toppling into disarray.

In most instances — and “The Office” hasn’t been immune to this — taking the romantic plunge has subsequently required erecting some arbitrary impediment to again pull the same characters apart, usually with varying degrees of credibility. Mindful of the fact that happy couples are hardly the fixings for good drama (and can be equally challenging in comedy), writers thus find themselves dismantling romances that they have meticulously labored to inspire the audience to root for — as evidenced by the visceral thrill of the “Office” second-season finale, when Jim finally let Pam know how he felt about her.

Lowry mentions “Moonlighting” and “Cheers” as shows that suffered after the two leads finally got together, but doesn’t go into much detail about how “The Office” has been able to avoid the usually inevitable staleness.

To me, “The Office” is much more than Jim and Pam. I don’t know that you can say the same thing about “Cheers” (Sam/Diane) and certainly not “Moonlighting” (David/Maddie). “Cheers” featured a strong supporting cast, but Sam and Diane were still the central figures. On “The Office,” one could argue that Michael Scott is the main lead. Jim and Pam are up there, but the whole show doesn’t revolve around them. Once they got together, the writers deftly transitioned the more romantic storylines over to Michael, who continues to struggle to find companionship in his life. By doing this, the writers are able to check back with Jim and Pam from time to time and highlight the best (and funniest) things about being in a secure, committed relationship, while continuing to mine Michael’s love life — as well as the whole Dwight-Angela-Andy love triangle — for consistent laughs.

The bottom line is that, at heart, “The Office” is an ensemble comedy, and by spreading around the wealth, the writers can spread around the risk. If handled correctly, this characteristic can make a show “jump the shark”-proof (or at least “jump the shark”-resistant), which is one reason “The Office” has been so strong for so long.

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