It finally happened: Jan gave birth to ass turd. No wait, sorry. Astrid.
Fans of The Office meet Astrid Levinson, the daughter of Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin) and tennis star Andy Roddick, in the Season 5 episode, “Baby Shower.” Except Astrid actually attends the baby shower that’s being thrown for her mom, Jan, because Jan chose not to tell Michael she’d already given birth. Cold.
Here are four standout tidbits from “Baby Shower.”
1. New writer alert!
Fischer and Kinsey kicked off the podcast by chatting about Aaron Shure, a new writer who joined The Office staff in season five. He had previously been a writer on Everybody Loves Raymond, and Kinsey shared that a lot of his real life experiences end up in future scripts.
The actors reached out to Shure who said that shooting the cold open “Baby Shower” was his first time on set for The Office.
“He kept laughing out loud, and Greg had to say to him, ‘Aaron, this is not Everybody Loves Raymond. It’s not a live show. You can’t laugh out loud,'” Fischer said. “And he was like, ‘Oh, no.'”
“Yes! He told me that it was a thing he became very self-conscious about because he’d only ever worked in four-camera where they encourage you to laugh, and laugh, and laugh,” Kinsey said. “And then he had to start suppressing the laugh and suppressing the laugh. And he said after a long day of work and suppressing the laugh he would go home and just burp constantly… He had given himself like some type of indigestion from holding in laughter all day.”
2. How many watermelons were used in the making of this episode?
According to Phil Shea, The Office propmaster, 30 watermelons were needed for “Baby Shower.” They needed the melons in the practice birth scene between Dwight and Michael. A watermelon is later strapped into a stroller, and Michael is seen snacking on some watermelon at one point. It was a whole process.
“Phil said, ‘You know, it’s great living in Southern California because you can get watermelons all year. So it wasn’t a problem,” Fischer shared.
You may recall a watermelon also made an appearance in the “Safety Training episode of the series, when Dwight chucks one off the roof to test a trampoline stunt. Rumor is there’s a reason Daniels loved including watermelons in the show.
“I spoke with Phil, he said, ‘I think Greg had an affinity for Gallagher. And that’s why you see so many watermelon gags on our show,'” Fischer explained.
“That is very funny. The comedian Gallagher, he used to smash watermelons. And if you’re on the front row, you just get splattered,” Kinsey added.
3. Who came up with Jan’s baby name choices?
“I talked to Aaron about this and I said, ‘Who came up with Astrid and Chevy?’ And he said ‘Astrid was definitely Greg [Daniels, showrunner]” Kinsey explained.
“[Daniels] thought it’d be funny to see that name on an M&M. And then Chevy, [Shure] couldn’t remember who came up with, but he said he thinks the room kind of pitched names.”
3. Scenes that made the cast crack up
As we’ve learned from The Office blooper reels, the cast members were not immune to laughing at some of the show’s many jokes during filming. Kinsey recalled that the “Baby Shower” episode had two memorable funny moments that were difficult for her to get through.
The first? When everyone gathers in the conference room to see a poster board of baby photos, which featured cast members’ real baby pictures (minus Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, and Steve Carell).
“I love it so much. Angela is preparing this poster board full of baby photos because they’re going to play a game where you have to guess which baby photo belongs to which employee,” Fischer explained. “And Andy comes in and he mistakes Phyllis’ baby photo for Angela. Will you please tell me about shooting the scene, Angela?”
“Well, one of the reasons I storm off is because I started to laugh,” Kinsey said. “That was me trying to get out of there before he saw me laughing on camera.”
Another scene that had cast members struggling not to break was when Jan sang “Son of a Preacher Man” to Astrid in front of everyone.
“Melora was amazing. She never missed a beat. She sang where her keys were. It was amazing,” Kinsey said.
You can see a clip of Jan singing at around 8:19 in the video below. She’s really very good at it.
“One last thing I want to say about ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ is that when Melora sang it, she improvised the snapping. And you know what? It about got me on the floor,” Kinsey continued. “We were so trying to suppress laughter that one more thing was like the tipping point, you know? And so as she’s swaying and singing, when she just starts doing that snap, I was like, ‘Oh, Lord. I’m not going to make it. I am not going to make it.'”
Be sure to listen to the full podcast episode for more behind-the-scenes stories from “Baby Shower.”