During the latest episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey reflected on one of the more serious moments featured in The Office. The scene was from season 3, episode 12 "Back From Vacation," which found Fischer's character Pam being consoled by Dwight, who was played by Rainn Wilson.
The shot shows Pam crying in private after she helped Jim (John Krasinski) get through his first fight with his then-girlfriend Karen (Rashida Jones). Pam initially insists she was happy to help, but her involvement eventually causes her to break down. Dwight walks in on Pam sobbing and hands her a handkerchief, before awkwardly assuming her tears were due to PMS.
"Angela, I watched this scene and it just brought tears to my eyes, because I remember shooting it so clearly," Fischer said during the podcast, as reported by Mashable. "This was, like, early on in the show, and whenever we had these really emotional scenes like the parking lot scene between Jim and Pam we would just kind of shut down everything. And I remember that we shut down the set and we took hours prepping and shooting this crying scene."
Fischer went on to say The Office showrunner Greg Daniels really pushed for real tears, which she said was somewhat of a challenge.
"They did not want to put fake tears in my eyes ... He wanted me to really go there," the actress recalled. "This is a really big challenge for an actor. And so what they did was they made everything really quiet and no one talked to me for about a half-hour. I put on the saddest music I could find, and it was sad because it was personal to me … It was music that brought up memories of breakups — music that I listened to at different times in my life when I was having a particularly hard time — so it would bring up a lot of emotions."
Kinsey said she also became emotional while re-watching the scene, mostly because she saw Rainn's authentic reaction come through.
"You really wanted to get it right, and you were doing all the prep," Kinsey said. "And in rewatching it, Jenna, it made me tear up, it's so beautiful. And I think I see Rainn as Dwight tearing up. But surely Dwight wouldn't tear up, but I think Rainn, your friend, is tearing up watching you cry ...
"I just saw Rainn. I just saw him, and he's tearing up, and he has to snap back to Dwight and say the line, 'You're PMSing pretty hard, right?'" she said with a laugh.
Fischer said it was difficult for Rainn to remain completely in character in the scene, as the sight of Pam crying caused him to become emotional.
"Rainn simply couldn't do that scene without empathizing with Pam. Every time we did a take he teared up when I cried harder," she said. "It was like Rainn Wilson the man was incapable of sitting next to a person in pain without feeling their pain, and this is a thing that we know about Rainn. It's a thing that we love about Rainn, and when I saw it in the scene it just made me miss Rainn so much, because that's who Rainn is to me on a personal level."
You can listen to the full Office Ladies episode below.