The Shocking Real Life Story That Inspired The Office's Women's Appreciation Episode

Beloved and revered as one of the best sitcoms of the 21st century, The Office finds unending humor in one of the most unexpected places: A paper company's Scranton office. It takes a mundane American work environment and twists it into a comical extreme. Often, the show delves into either the highest of office worker fantasy, like the exciting office Olympics, or into their worst nightmares, like when Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) pretends to give birth to a watermelon. 

However, while the characters often do things that would only fly on TV, the premises are often based in reality. For example, the episode "Women's Appreciation" begins with Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) walking into the office, upset because a man just flashed her in the parking lot. Most of her coworkers try to comfort her, while Dwight runs off to track the man down and Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is, predictably, terribly insensitive about it. When the women of the office ask to be treated with respect, Michael calls a conference room meeting to discuss women's appreciation. 

One of the cast members, Angela Kinsey, recently revealed that this episode may have been inspired by her real office experience.

Angela told the story of a flasher on her and Jenna Fischer's podcast

Actors Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela) have been busy since the end of The Office. In between their other acting roles, Kinsey started a baking-themed Youtube channel with her husband, and Fischer wrote a book. They also came back together last year, to start a podcast titled Office Ladies. Each episode, they break down a different Office episode, and give interesting insight into what happened behind the scenes, like how Phyllis Smith was originally a casting associate on the show.

For the "Women's Appreciation" podcast episode, Kinsey revealed that she had told The Office's writer's room about a flasher at her old job at 1-800-DENTIST. She said a man hid in their women's restroom and flashed one of Kinsey's coworkers when she went in there. The company took the issue very seriously, and reacted by installing a new security system that required fingerprint scans to get to their hallway.

"I'm not sure that this episode is 100 percent from this story, but I like to think it was a little bit inspired," Kinsey said on the podcast. "I told the writers that we had a flasher at work and it caused all this big hullabaloo."

It makes sense that the writers would find inspiration amidst the strange office experiences of the cast and crew of the show. While it's most likely that no one had seen something like a watermelon birth at work, real experiences can certainly inspire hilarious new scenarios, as this episode demonstrates.