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WOMEN+POWER 2023: The Office Ladies

You might not know it from their often-frosty relationship on-screen, but after spending the better part of a decade together playing frenemies on NBC’s hit sitcom The Office, actresses Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey are actually straight-up besties in real life. 

The Office remains one of the biggest comedy hits in modern history, with the original nine-season run remaining some of the most-watched and beloved programming on Peacock.

Fischer and Kinsey played fan favorites Pam and Angela for all nine seasons of the series, and though their characters were rarely chummy, the real-life stars became lifelong friends early in the series’ run and remained just as close even after the series ended more than a decade ago.

Though they had been cordial as co-stars and colleagues since the pilot episode, it wasn’t until the fifth episode of The Office’s first season, “Basketball,” that the pair spent time together and realized just how much they had in common. The episode found the office staff playing against the warehouse crew in a basketball game, with Pam and Angela sitting on the sideline keeping score. The pair recounted how they spent hours upon hours sitting on a bench beside one another while the episode was being filmed, and basically talked and got to know one another the entire time.

“We were leaving the warehouse and we were so giddy. We had this really fun friendship. You don’t expect to make a friendship like this when you’re older,” Fischer said. “We had to walk through this big parking lot, and it was at night. Like school girls, we linked arms and started doing Schlemiel and Schlimazel from Laverne & Shirley and Steve Carell was walking up behind us. We were so embarrassed. Steve was like, ‘No matter what happens, this is what you’ll take with you. This.’ And he pointed at the two of us. He was so right.”

With The Office remaining as popular as ever in streaming, Fischer and Kinsey decided to put their real-life friendship to work when they teamed up to create the “Office Ladies” rewatch podcast in 2019. The podcast, which finds the pair rewatching and reminiscing over all 201 episodes of the series, has become a massive hit among fans. The two share little-known anecdotes from the set and look back on the personal moments of how their time on the show influenced and affected their own lives.

“We are big journalers so we journaled about our days on set. And Angela is a digital hoarder,” Fischer told the Associated Press about how they were uniquely prepared for a rewatch podcast. “She kept every email I ever sent her. It was so great. When I was writing the chapter on the romance between (characters) Jim and Pam, she had an old email that I had written her. She forwarded that to me, and I was able to use that.”

Kinsey and Fischer stopped by The Kelly Clarkson Show to catch up, and they dished about everything from Halloween to hospital visits. The three women bonded over how tricky it can be to balance work and parenting, something so many fans can relate to.

“That’s one of the things we trade messages about all the time...strategizing,” Fischer told Clarkson. “Strategizing how to be where you need to be for work and how to be home when you need to be home for the important stuff.” 

It was so inspiring to hear how much Fischer and Kinsey show up to support each other.

“Many years ago I was working on a new show called Splitting Up Together, and they came to me and said I was going to have to work on Halloween,” explained Fischer. “My kids were little at the time, and Halloween was everything to them.”

Knowing how hard it was for Fischer to miss the occasion, Kinsey swooped in like a true BBF and saved the day by hosting a pre-Halloween Trick or Treat event, even enlisting the help of her neighbors. 

The gal pals also shared some tips for making it through tedious events from the book they co-wrote, The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office From Two Best Friends Who Were There. 

“We kind of had to learn how to be at these fancy shindigs together, and so we came up with a bunch of these rules,” said Fischer. “Definitely eat, they don’t feed you,” laughed Kinsey. “And there’s a lot of adult beverages.”

Kinsey and Fischer’s rock-solid friendship has been going strong for almost 20 years. After Fischer took a bad fall, fracturing her back in four places, Kinsey rode in the ambulance with her and held her hand at the hospital. “My favorite thing was the nurse was like, ‘Would you like your friend to step out while we give you a catheter?’” said Kinsey. “And [Jenna] said, ‘I’d like her to stay and hold my hand.’”

Now that’s what friends are for. 


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