Nobody does it quite like The Office, and the continuous success of the NBC comedy proves it. But as it turns out, that wasn’t always the case. When the show was first announced, many individuals weren’t sure whether the popular British TV series could be adapted for an audience in the US — even the cast. Then recently, Rashida Jones, who played Karen Filippelli, admits she wasn’t on board with the adaptation when she heard about it from writer Michael Schur.
Rashida Jones played Karen Filippelli on ‘The Office’
Jones made her debut as Karen in The Office Season 3. The character was introduced as Jim Halpert’s (John Krasinski) co-worker at the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin. Then as the Stamford and Scranton branches merged, Karen and Jim started dating.
Nevertheless, Karen always came second to Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), who Jim eventually married. So when Karen and Jim’s romance wrapped toward the end of season three, the character left Scranton for Utica. Though it seems she still received a happy ending offscreen. And in The Office Season 5 episode titled “Lecture Circuit,” Karen was happily married with a baby on the way.
Rashida Jones reveals why she was mad at Mike Schur for writing ‘The Office’
Jones’ time as Karen may have been short-lived, but she still continues to stay supportive of The Office team. In the Aug. 5 episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Jones joined co-hosts Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) to discuss “Benihana Christmas.” Jones also opened up about her initial thoughts on The Office after discovering Schur, who the actor went to college with, was writing the adaptation.
“I came to know about the US Office because [Schur] moved from New York and said, ‘I got a job in LA and I’m gonna write the US Office,’” Jones said on the podcast. “And I was really mad at him, as I think a lot of people were. We were like, ‘How could you do that to the UK Office, my favorite show? How could you even try?’”
Meanwhile, Kinsey and Fischer admitted they felt similarly to Jones in the beginning. Kinsey said she thought the UK version was “perfect.” So she didn’t want the adaptation. Fischer also shared she was worried about how The Office fans would perceive Pam, particularly because the character had a British counterpart, Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis).
“You guys had the benefit of playing characters that didn’t have a British counterpart. I was always worried … I don’t want people to think I stole my performance from Lucy Davis,” Fischer said. “So I had seen her performance and I’m sure it had seeped in — how could it not? And also, the lines were the same in the pilot.”
But like everyone else, Jones was happy with how The Office US turned out.
“It was, in a lot of ways, it’s own thing, and even better,” she said.
Kinsey added, “I was so thrilled it was [Greg Daniels] and such smart people in the writers’ room.”
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