There is one episode of The Office that is full of stunts and special effects. Jenna Fischer had an important stunt scene and she often gets asked about it. She answered a popular fan question about Pam walking on hot coals.
‘Beach Games’ was inspired by ‘Survivor’
The episode “Beach Games” showed everyone in the office going to a lake. Michael (Steve Carrell) is interviewing for a job at corporate so he’s on the search to find his replacement at the Scranton office. He decides the best way to find that person is through a series of beach games.
“I think the inspiration for this episode was just Survivor,” writer Jennifer Celotta said on the Office Ladies podcast. “I think it was Greg [Daniels]’s idea and I remember all of us talking about Survivor being a perfect way for Michael Scott to pick his successor. I mean what other way would this man use to try to pick somebody who could run a branch? It just seemed like a no brainer for Michael Scott to do it this way.”
We do see the influences of the reality show with the characters getting split into “tribes.” The game include egg and spoon races, a hot dog eating contest, sumo wrestling, and walking across hot coals.
Jenna Fischer didn’t walk on real coals
Pam has slowly been gaining confidence since her final breakup with Roy (David Denman). Sadly, she isn’t allowed to participate in the beach games. But she does take a moment to walk over the hot coals.
Fans often ask Fischer if those were real hot coals. “These were not real coals,” the actor said on the podcast. They weren’t allowed to have real fire so they included one in post-production.
They dug a hole in the ground, put in a light box, then put yellow and orange gels on top of it. They then put lava rocks on top of that and then there were flickers from real fire that popped out of the ground for the scene.
She claimed it was painful to step on the fake coals. Angela Kinsey, who played Angela Martin, said it was because they felt like stepping on legos.
“People have mentioned that I look like my feet really hurt after I walk across the hot coals and they’ve wondered if I really walked on hot coals,” Fischer said. “No, my feet were sore and bruised from having to run across lava rocks over and over again.”
Michael Scott was often inspired by pop culture on ‘The Office’
“Beach Games” isn’t the only time Michael has been inspired by pop culture. The “Money” episode starts with Michael throwing his coat at Pam because he recently rented The Devil Wears Prada. He goes on to quote the movie at her. Luckily, Fischer didn’t have to do a painful stunt for that scene.
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