One of the things The Office did best was make some of life’s most ordinary, mundane moments — like waiting for a DVD logo to perfectly fall into the corner of a TV screen — seem extraordinary.
On the latest episode of the Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey chatted about the first half of the Season 4 episode, “Launch Party,” and did a deep dive into that fan-favorite DVD logo cold open.
As a refresher, the episode opens with the Scranton team in the conference room listening to Michael give a boring spiel about jazzing up quarterly reports. Everyone seems deeply captivated by Michael’s ideas, but little does he know they’re watching the television screen behind him in hopes of witnessing the bouncing DVD logo perfectly slot into the corner of the screen.
Quite frankly, it’s a flawless cold open — one so influential that Fischer and Kinsey said they’ve even had people write to them to say their offices have had their own DVD logo watch parties.
If you’re looking to thank someone for the cold open’s brilliance, episode writer Jen Celotta — whose real-life fascination with a DVD logo inspired the scene — deserves the credit.
From the writer’s room to the conference room
Like several other marvelous plot lines and jokes in the series, this cold open was inspired by an experience in The Office’s very own writer’s room.
The scene features a talking head where Pam swears she saw the DVD logo perfectly hit one day when she was alone in the conference room, and another cold open where Jim questions her claim. Essentially, Pam played Celotta.
“The inspiration for the cold open where the DVD logo bounces around the TV screen and everybody’s transfixed was definitely the writer’s room. I was obsessed with it. We would all watch the little DVD logo and I remember that I saw it once hit perfectly in the corner — that the edge of the logo lined up with the edge of the TV, and it just felt so good,” Celotta explained.
“I remember there was at least one nonbeliever in the room and it would hit like kind of close to the corner and they’d say, ‘That was it. That must be what you remember. It’s not going to hit perfectly in the corner,'” she continued. “And so I was transfixed with the logo and watching it a lot of the time… So that is where the inspiration for it came from.”
How was the cube timed so perfectly?
The cold open, which seamlessly intersperses conference room scenes with talking heads from Jim, Pam, and Michael, was perfectly timed. The reaction shots — both positive and negative — marvelously mirrored the DVD cube hitting the edges of the screen, and the final joyous victory cheer when the cube finally made the perfect fit was so satisfying.
If you’ve ever wondered how the cast and crew coordinated such exceptional shots, the secret lies in reaction cues and a blank TV screen.
“I couldn’t remember how we actually filmed the DVD logo part of the scene, so I asked Dave Rogers, who edited the episode, and he said that we put the DVD screensaver in later,” Celotta explained. “It was burned in later. So it was just a blue screen on the monitor while we were filming, which allowed us to play with the timing of when the logo would hit the edges of the TV.”
During filming, director Ken Whittingham was also giving the cast cues so they would know when to show certain emotions.
“I think Ken was telling us like either like thumbs up to cheer or thumbs down. And we had certain words that Steve was going to say as Michael, right? That we knew?” Kinsey asked.
“I definitely remember that. I remember that Steve’s dialog was written. And this was unusual, because a lot of times we’d get in these conference room scenes and we could play around and we could improvise, but not with this because it was too important that we react off of certain things he said,” Fischer said.
All the planning and choreography paid off in the end, and Celotta got her DVD logo cube justice.
Be sure to listen to the full podcast episode for more behind-the-scenes stories about the cold open, Meredith’s pelvic cast, and other “Launch Party” filming memories.
You can stream episodes of The Office on Peacock and follow along with the podcast every week on , , or .