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Why The Office's Rainn Wilson Calls John Krasinski Crotch-Grabbing Scene “Classic Comedy”
The Office Ladies podcast goes straight to the source about one of the show's funniest moments.
There are few moments in NBC’s The Office that are quite as memorable as Dwight’s crotch-grabbing scene from “Pam’s Replacement,” the seventh episode of the eighth season (now streaming on Peacock, along with all nine seasons of the show as well as a collection of Superfan Episodes featuring extended cuts with new bonus scenes). So it’s no surprise the Office Ladies podcast received a ton of listener mail about the touchy situation.
The Office Ladies finds castmembers Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly) and Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) breaking down all 201 episodes of the hit show. Episode 170 revisits “Pam’s Replacement,” which found a very pregnant Pam (played by a very pregnant Fischer) stressing that Jim (John Krasinski) might have the hots for her temp replacement at Dunder Mifflin, Cathy (Lindsey Broad). To be darn sure about how Jim really feels about Pam’s would-be challenger, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) takes it upon himself to administer the ultimate test: a crotch grab... or five.
At the 57-minute mark of the podcast, the ladies read some listener mail asking all the hard questions about the scene, so they went straight to the source to get Wilson's take. Not surprisingly, he recalls the famous scene with due reverence. Obviously the NBC show has much to thank its British counterpart for, but Wilson gives a tip of the ‘ol fascinator to John Cleese and Connie Booth’s classic ‘70s BBC show, Fawlty Towers, as well for inspiration.
Rainn Wilson discusses The Office's crotch-grabbing scene on the Office Ladies podcast
“Feeling John’s penis scene is really one of my favorite scenes we got to film, because to me it felt like John Cleese from Fawlty Towers, it felt like just a physical comedy scene that was a classic. Classic comedy,” Wilson says. “It’s a perfect setup: The character is convinced that if he feels the penis and it has an erection or a semi-erection then he is cheating, and so it’s his mission to feel the penis… surreptitiously to accidentally.”
Such a dangerous mission certainly involved protection, as Wilson goes on to recall.
“We had so much fun filming that, I remember trying it 50 different ways. John kept laughing; I kept laughing. John was wearing a cup, I remember that… he had a nice firm, athletic cup on for protection,” Wilson says. “I just love doing physical comedy like that, and I would always beg them to please write Dwight physical comedy. Please have him fall down, and exert himself, and try things, and flail, and take his shirt off, and just do all that ridiculous stuff. But it was one of my favorite things from our later seasons.”
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For her part, Fischer confirmed that shooting the scene took some three hours, much of which stemmed from how often the cameras had to stop rolling and start over due to people cracking up.
“You never see a reaction shot of Pam over in the corner watching this happen, because I couldn’t keep it together,” Fischer says. “I laughed easily when I was pregnant too. I just remember laughing a lot, all the time.”
You’ll definitely laugh a lot during the episode, and during the podcast breaking it all down, which delves way deeper into “Pam’s Replacement,” including how Fischer felt about all those pregnancy jokes at her expense.
Stream all nine seasons of The Office on Peacock!