This week, Brian Baumgartner — who played Kevin Malone in the NBC sitcom, The Office — launched his new podcast on Spotify, An Oral History of The Office Podcast. Based on the first three episodes, it is a well-produced, fairly thorough and entertaining overview of The Office and a good compliment to Office Ladies, a rewatch podcast hosted by best friends and The Office cast members, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey.
According to an IAMA on Reddit, part of the reason Baumgartner created this new podcast was in response to Andy Greene’s The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, a comprehensive account of the series’ nine seasons. “Every quote [Greene] attributed to me was something I said at some point, but not to him. And potentially taken out of context. An Oral History of The Office was created in part in response to the book you refer to. We wanted to tell our own story,” Baumgartner said.
However, the first three episodes hew closely to the contents of Greene’s book. For obsessive fans of the former NBC sitcom, while entertaining, An Oral History of ‘The Office’ doesn’t add very much new to the story in the first three episodes, except one fascinating Easter egg that I do not remember reading in Green’s book. It comes from Randall Einhorn, a frequent director on the sitcom, but also the director of photography. Einhorn — a veteran of reality television — is basically the guy who established how the camera would work in The Office’s faux-documentary format. The camera was the 10th cast member, so to speak, and Einhorn delivered the camera’s performance.
Interestingly, however, he spoke of an “Easter egg” that I never picked up on over the course of the series. It’s probably easier to explain by way of illustration. Here’s four random characters from The Office in their talking head interviews.
All of these shots have something in common. During the talking head interviews where characters would sit in a conference room and talk to the camera, “everybody was shot pointing into the office,” Einhorn said, “where where Leslie [David Baker] was sitting, so in front of Stanley.” As we can see in the image above, Stanley is over everyone’s shoulder. That is true of all the characters, except Jim.
“I thought Jim was the one person,” Einhorn continued, “who was going to leave that place. And he had something bigger he wanted to do, and so with Jim, his position was looking out the window into the parking lot and the sun. Eventually, Jim and Pam got together, and Jim and Pam were both in front of the windows, because both were going to leave this place and go to someplace better.” Sure enough, the evidence proves as much. Here’s Jim by himself (with the parking lot behind him), Pam by herself (again, with Stanley), and two photos of Jim and Pam together, both of which look out into the parking lot and the sun.
“That’s an Easter egg for the kids,” Baumgartner added. It’s pretty cool one, at that.