On today's Pardon My Take... BRIAN BAUMGARTNER! Also known as Kevin from The Office, this recurring guest joined Mr. Cat and Mr. Commenter in studio to talk about his new book about The Office, the ongoing success of the show despite not filming for eight years, and Green Bay Packers Football. The trio got into it regarding the aforementioned book (which you can purchase here), and the behind the scenes of how it was made. Take a look:
Mr. Cat: So, the book. How long did it take you to write this book?
Brian Baumgartner: I don't know, should I say like 10 years? I mean, it's been essentially two years since the beginning to today. I don't know when people are hearing this, but it's freaking out. I actually just found out I signed like 7,000 books, we just sold out today. Breaking news.
Mr. Commenter: You should say that you wrote it during the pandemic, like how we got King Lear from Shakespeare, now we got "Welcome to Dunder Mifflin."
Brian Baumgartner: Yeah, that's right. Honestly, this was, you know, the show was big when it was on, right? And there's fans who watch it, it was a rabid, kind of cult following, though, right? Like it wasn't like "Friends" when it was out in terms of just like mass media production, whatever. And then the numbers started coming out about the streaming stuff, and I started walking into restaurants again and airports and going like, "This feels different than it ever has." So this was two years ago. So seven years since we have filmed anything, it's the most watched show on television, right? I was just heard the other day, people talk about "Squid Game," "Succession," more people are watching "The Office" now, now it's been eight years since we filmed anything, than anything else on television. And for me, it was like, "What? What the fuck happened? Like, how is it like what? What How is this possible?"
Mr. Cat: I'll tell you how - it's tremendously rewatchable. I watched it when the pandemic happened I watched it again full start to finish. And it is the perfect show that, and I think a lot of TV watchers fall into this trap now, where you have this anxiety of "What am I going to watch? What am I going to watch? What do I want to invest two house of my night into?" And The Office is like, "Well, let's put on the office and we'll figure out after one episode," and then it becomes like 10 episodes, you're watching The Office, that's just what you're watching.
Brian Baumgartner: Well, let me ask you a question. Do you think, does The Office bring you comfort?
Mr. Cat: Yes, definitely.
Mr. Commenter: Except for the volume of the intro song, which I think I talked to you about that last time. Did you get to chat with anybody, just lower it like three bars? It's so loud! The rest of it is great though, yeah it does. Like Big Cat said, it reduces anxiety watching it.
Mr. Cat: It also, I think it brings comfort now, a little less now because this job at Barstool is, you know, for the most part, a joke. We have a lot of fun all the time, but I think a lot of people I remember when I first watched it, I was in college still, and I remember being like, "I wish I could just find a job where it seems like people have fun." You know what I mean? And obviously, you guys, you know, it's a TV show, but I think there is that comfort to it too. Making corporate America or the job that you might not love, trivializing it and being like, "Look, you can have fun." So I think that's probably where some of the comfort comes from."
I totally see what the guys are saying here. There are some shows that you watch once and never think to turn it on again, but that is far from the case for "The Office." The fact that they are short episodes, too, makes it very easy to binge a handful of episodes in one sitting.