Angela talks about the incredible challenges her character faces heading into the series finale of The Office.
Over nine seasons, one of the most dependably awkward annual rituals of The Office was the Christmas party, as joylessly organized by party martinet Angela Martin. In a Bizarro-world twist, it turns out the cast itself also celebrated an annual Christmas bash — at the home of none other than Angela Kinsey, who plays Angela. With the series finale airing tomorrow night, we reached out to Kinsey to see just how the two parties compare. Which has more drinking? Which Yankee Swap has caused more strife? And has she ever been in any danger of Phyllis taking over her home party too?
On the show, Angela presides over the party committee like a despot. But in real life, Kinsey is a party-planning committee of one. “It’s pretty much me and last-minute runs to Target,” said the actress, who does wear a Santa hat, if not the whole suit, and has been hosting the cozy affair for cast and friends at her Los Angeles home for the past few years. She always bakes cookies and brownies (and buys a bunch of finger foods — “but the good stuff!” she says) and braces herself for a night of Yankee Swap, a tradition that began on the show in the series’ first-ever Christmas episode, season two’s “Christmas Party,” written by Parks and Rec boss Mike Schur. (The one where Michael Scott turned the Secret Santa exchange into a ruthless game of gift-snatching, and we saw Jim’s recently referenced teapot for Pam.) “Yes, I stole the idea,” Kinsey laughed. “Everyone has to buy a gift and wrap it and then we do that crazy gift exchange and steal each other’s gifts.”
Oscar Nuñez, who plays Dunder Mifflin accountant Oscar, is the game’s unofficial wrangler; with presents changing hands — and more than 30 guests playing — there’s always some whining. “When that happens, like when a bunch of gifts get stolen, Oscar rallies,” Kinsey said. “Last year he just started chanting. He was like, ‘Come on, guys. It’s Yankee Swap. YAN-KEE SWAP! YAN-KEE SWAP!’ Then it got rowdy.”
True to the spirit of the game — and the way the original gang played it — clunker gifts abound. Kinsey tells her guests not to buy anything lavish, and some take the order to heart. “Zach Woods, who plays Gabe, brought a weird little Egyptian sarcophagus jewelry box. No one wanted it. Someone else brought a huge gift that everyone was like, Oooooooh, and it was just a whole bunch of toilet paper,” Kinsey recalled. “But I’ll tell you what: More people wanted the toilet paper than the weird sarcophagus.” And some of the players are less than gracious about the loot they wind up with. “A few people hid their crappy gifts throughout my house that they got but didn’t want to take home!” she said. The game then becomes a weeklong solo game of hide-and-seek. “Days later, I found, kind of rolled up in a fetal position, this weird China doll stuffed into one of my pitchers. It was like a court jester with this porcelain face. I also found a silver-plated cat jewelry stand with holes in its body where you stick your earrings just sitting amongst several books in a bookshelf. It’s like, You jerks. Take this crap home with you!” As Angela Martin might do, Kinsey’s already plotting revenge for next year, when she plans to rewrap the lot and throw it back into the swap. “Someone’s going to get it, and I’ll go, Ha!” She added that not everyone brings junk. Jenna Fischer’s husband brought a small ax. “The dudes were very into that. They all wanted to get to chopping.”
The biggest difference between the Office parties and the real deal might be Kinsey herself: Real Angela gets her drank on. “Of course! What is a Christmas party without some kind of adult beverage?” she laughed. Remember when Angela accidentally had some Champagne at Phyllis’s wedding and spit it out? Kinsey said that would never happen at her party. “If anyone has one too many, it’s me because I host it and I don’t have to drive home. I’m usually the one who’s like, ‘C’mon you guys. Staaaaay!’ And they’re like, ‘Uh, we’re going home, Angela.’”
Dunder Mifflin’s prickly accountant tells The Hollywood Reporter about the emotional final day of shooting and the scene she pitched that the audience won’t be seeing.
There are just two episodes left of NBC’s The Office, and Angela Kinsey says they are among the most important for her character.
After nine years of playing Angela, the judgmental accountant with an affinity for cats, Kinsey tells The Hollywood Reporter she’s happy where her character ends up on the finale.
“There’s one moment coming up that I love so much, but I can’t tell you,” she says. “I’m so excited for fans of the show to see.”
Kinsey admits she has had trouble letting go of her character, saying the cast cried and embraced each other after completing the final scene. While shooting the Fox pilot The Gabriels, she found herself being a bit too harsh to her onscreen children, just as Angela would be.
“I was like, ‘I’m so sorry. I’ve played a bitch for nineyears,'” she recalls telling her director.
Read the rest of THR‘s conversation with Kinsey, where she reveals more details about the emotional final day of shooting and shares what idea she pitched to the writers that didn’t make it into the final season.
The Hollywood Reporter: You’ve wrapped onThe Office. Are you happy where Angela ends up?
Angela Kinsey: I’m really happy with it. When Greg [Daniels] announced this was going to be the last season of our show, and he was going to write to a real end, even though it was bittersweet, we were happy our show has a true ending.
The head writers of our show invited each castmember into the writers’ room to pitch ideas and to tell what hopes and dreams we’d always had for our characters. Some of those things were incorporated, and it’s going to make these last two episodes really meaningful.
THR: Are you able to share what ideas you pitched for, or would that be a spoiler?
Kinsey: I can’t share all of it. One that I pitched that we never got to see is Phyllis and Bob Vance’s house, because I figured it was the tackiest place ever. I was so thankful that Greg Daniels has set the bar for these creative collaborations. I think it’s one of the true successes of our show. I know a lot of shows don’t have that back and forth between the writers and the actors. He did a special thing for our show by having that.
THR: Were you surprised by this season as far as where Angela went?
Kinsey: An interesting twist for me is this coming together of Angela and Oscar. It’s actually really sweet. I am now going to go live with Oscar, so you’re going to see Oscar’s apartment and us being roommates. Part of me wishes there were a spinoff of just Angela and Oscar [laughs].
THR: Who were your favorite Office characters for Angela to play off of?
Kinsey: I love my scenes in accounting. Angela, Oscar and Kevin are all this misfit family. We sort of joked that I’m the mom and Oscar’s the dad and Kevin is our idiot kid. The three of us have sat next to each other for nine years. As friends, we’ve gotten to know each other so well back there in the corner.
I absolutely love doing scenes with Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute). There’s just as spark there and we really have a good time. We both go for it and know and trust Rainn is going to be right there with me.
THR: In your mind, do you see Angela as a good person?
Kinsey: I think she’s a good person. She’s someone who makes decisions based out of fear, so that’s why she’s quick to judge and quick to be insensitive. Some people need rules in life because it makes them feel safe. If you’re someone who breaks the rules – like Jim – she can’t stand you. Dwight follows rules. That’s what they’ve always had in common.
THR: Now that the show is done, do you still carry Angela around with you? Or have you put her aside?
Kinsey: She’s still with me. I did a pilot for Fox called The Gabriels. Jason Winer was the director and I had moments where I was interacting with my children and I would have to reprimand them, and Jason would say “OK, Angela, that was a little too harsh.” I was like “I’m so sorry. I’ve played a bitch for nine years.”
THR: Can you share what the last day of shooting like?
Our very final scene was the whole cast. Greg wanted us to all be together, which was really special and so amazing that we got to have that. We were in the bullpen of the office in the very last scene. It was Saturday night at nine o’clock at night. We knew all day this scene was coming and now we were finally in it.
It’s our final scene ever. We were emotional going into it and we all had to focus to get through the scene. Then our crew began to gather around the stage. And you could just feel that energy in the air. They yelled “cut, cut,” and Greg Daniels said “That’s a series wrap on the cast of The Office.”
We all just disintegrated. We all began to cry and hug each other and hug the crew – these people that we’ve been together for nine years. It was a really special moment, and I’m glad we got to do it together like that.
The end is coming. We can’t stop it, no matter how hard we want to. We’ve even tried closing our eyes, covering our ears and yelling “lalalalala,” but The Office series finale is still happening next week.
To help celebrate the end of a TV era, we have this exclusive video of Angela Kinsey, aka accountant Angela, reminiscing about her favorite moment from the final season. And no surprise here: It involves Rainn Wilson.
IGN had a chance to talk to Angela and her ‘Office’ co-star, Ellie Kemper, earlier this week:
After nine seasons, The Office is coming to an end in just a few weeks. I sat down with two of the show’s ensemble, Angela Kinsey (“Angela”) and Ellie Kemper (“Erin”), to discuss what it was like to say goodbye to Dunder Mifflin and what we can expect in these final episodes.
One of the things I’ve always liked about the set of “The Office” is how functional it appears. The computers are all wired for internet, for instance, and the actors often talk about how they pay their bills, email friends and play games while they have to be in the background of someone else’s scene. Not everything works, but if you were to find yourself in the middle of this anonymous building in Van Nuys (in the same complex that houses the show’s writers and producers), you could be forgiven for mistaking it for an actual paper company branch office.
Production on this final season has already wrapped, but before everyone went home, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey filmed this video (exclusive to HitFix for a bit) providing a backstage tour of Dunder-Mifflin Scranton. The tour somehow runs out of steam before they get to the main bullpen, but the ladies stop by the restrooms, Toby’s annex and the break room, providing trivia and old anecdotes along the way. Enjoy.
Only four episodes to go of this final season, with the next new one airing Thursday at 9 on NBC.
From Chicago Sun-Times:
Angela Kinsey knows that it won’t be easy to leave her day job. When “The Office” wraps for good after shooting four more episodes, she plans on clutching a big box of Kleenex.
“Just the other day on the set, I walked up to Rainn Wilson to tell him, ‘Hey, I’ve been making a scrapbook of all the seasons for the entire cast.’ I couldn’t even get the word ‘scrapbook’ out of my mouth without bursting into tears. … It was pitiful.”
Messy moments are Kinsey’s thing these days. The Louisiana native is juggling motherhood and future TV projects, inching towards the sitcom’s May 16 finale and plugging a Clorox campaign where people can share messy life moments at bleachitaway.com.
Q.Are you as fussy as Angela on “The Office?”
A. Are you kidding me? I have a 4 1/2 year old. We paint. We do arts and crafts at home. I told her that I love the color green. So, she painted a wall in the living room green when I turned my back. In her defense, it was the wall near her toys, and her heart was in the right place.
Q.Are you anything like your character on the series?
A. I was brought up to start sentences with, “I’m so sorry, but….’ What was great about my character on “The Office” is she would never start a sentence that way. I’m definitely not confrontational in real life either.
Q.Do you have a post-“Office” plan?
A. I’m taking meetings for the new pilot season. Hopefully, something will stick. As a mom, working on TV is great. You have fairly normal hours and you can make it to ballet recitals and have a family life.