Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Bizarre Chair Stunt Jenna Fischer Had To Do On The Office

For a sitcom set in the Scranton branch of a paper company, NBC's long-running hit series "The Office" had a surprising amount of physical comedy. Michael Scott (Steve Carell) sparred with Dwight (Rainn Wilson) at his karate dojo. Meredith (Kate Flannery) got attacked by a bat and Michael's car. Andy (Ed Helms) punched walls and drove his Prius into Dwight. Stanley (Leslie David Baker) had a heart attack. Oscar (Oscar Nunez) fell through the ceiling. Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) danced her way into back spasms. And Michael grilled his foot.

While those slapstick moments made for hilarious television, there were also some physical challenges thrown at the cast behind the scenes. Take for instance the cold-open of "Performance Review," where Jim (John Krasinski) pops Dwight's exercise ball. The scene required numerous takes to get the stabbed ball to deflate at just the right speed. However, the take that made the final cut was when Jim stabbed the ball, which exploded instead of slowly deflating, sending Dwight crashing to the floor. For Jenna Fischer, who played Pam Beesly, one of her most challenging physical stunts might actually have been easier if she'd been using an exercise ball.

For The Office, it was chairs vs. a copier

In Season 5, Episode 10, "The Surplus," Michael informs the office that a surplus of $4,300 must be spent by day's end in order to justify the coming year's budget. Upon hearing the great news, the office splits into two camps. Oscar and his team push Michael to invest the funds into a new copier, while Pam leads the rest of the office in a call for new desk chairs. A third faction, consisting only of Toby (Paul Lieberstein), wants to use the money to improve the office's air quality. However, they're quickly dismissed.

Throughout the episode, Team Oscar and Team Pam pull out all the stops to convince Michael to choose their side. To prove how sorely the office needs new chairs, Pam has Michael sit in her old chair. When he does, the chair ever so slowly lowers, almost imperceptibly at first, until only Michael's head is visible above the desk.

Jenna Fischer worked her glutes for The Surplus

The "Office Ladies" podcast, hosted by Fischer and "Office" co-star Angela Kinsey, recently revealed some behind-the-scenes information regarding the scene. According to director Paul Feig, the chair required a few tweaks in order for it to slowly drop. Unfortunately for Fischer, who is filmed "sitting" in the chair just before letting Michael try it out, she couldn't actually be in the chair because it was rigged to descend. 

Thus, Fischer had to squat over it to give the appearance of sitting without actually sitting. As she explained on the podcast (via CheatSheet), "I had to squat and hold my butt and hover ... I kind of had to like, you know, really, like, spread my legs to get like a good solid squat on the chair ... above the chair.'

We can only hope that the scene didn't require too many takes. Although, if Fischer had been using an exercise ball like Dwight, those squats would have been far easier.