Sometimes the festive season really does save the day – especially if you happen to be a hit comedy series about a paper company. Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment, two cast-members of the beloved comedy series The Office (the US version) opened up about how the classic show was saved from cancellation by a seasonal episode.
Brian Baumgartner and Angela Kinsey played series regulars Kevin Malone and Angela Martin respectively on the US Office, which was based on the BBC mockumentary around the employees of the fictional company, Dunder Mifflin, by Ricky Gervais. Both actors were around from the show’s beginning in 2005 until its end in 2013. They saw its evolution and now recalled first-hand what led to its huge popularity.
“We were almost cancelled two, three, four, 10, 12 times at the beginning,” explained Baumgartner.” “We were struggling week to week,” Kinsey added. But, just when things seemed dire for the Tv series, everything changed December 6, 2005, when The Office aired its 10th episode of the second season, titled ‘Christmas Party’.
In the episode, we saw the end-of-the-year work-do fall to chaos as Michael Scott (Steve Carell) let the booze run free and shook-up Secret Santa by letting co-workers snipe gifts from one another. Besides being hilarious, it also affirmed the romantic sub-plot line between Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) – leaving all of us hooked.
The episode drew more than 10 million viewers for the first time, and shortly after it aired, Carell bagged a Golden Globe win, too. In short, Christmas did well and truly save the day in the case of The Office.
“After that episode aired, we were the number one streaming show on iTunes and all of a sudden, we were like, ‘Hold up. We found our audience,'” Kinsey said. “It turned a corner from there, and we were set.”
Christmas episodes would go on to become a staple in the show, with a total of nine aired during the lifetime of the TV series. “They just became kind of legend episodes,” says Kinsey.
“We were like, ‘Oh my God, there’s another one. It’s Christmas time.’ We loved dressing up. The set always looked great. We knew there was gonna be some ridiculous drama. Everyone just really loved those episodes.”
If you are in the UK, you can now watch The Office on the streaming service Netflix, and US readers can watch the show on Peacock. If you are looking to get into the festive season, check out our guides on the best Christmas movies, and where are the Elf cast now.