Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why I love Jenna Fischer

Aside from the obvious reasons.

I never see her “acting”. She is the most natural of all the gifted cast members on THE OFFICE. And you can’t imagine how hard it is to play natural when there’s a camera trained on you. Look how awkward and self conscious those people who rob 7/11’s get when they realize there’s a surveillance camera. It’s just human nature.

And you don’t need a camera to feel uncomfortable. Just sense that someone is watching you. For added heebie-jeebies, imagine that someone can also come over and give you notes.

Stage actors find this particularly difficult. It’s hard to be natural when you have to project to the back row. And many talented stage actors can’t make the adjustment. Can you picture Nathan Lane guesting on THE OFFICE? His idea of “natural” is only eating the scenery and furniture and props but leaving the backdrop untouched.

But Jenna is a master. And for my money she has the hardest job. Try making “bored” funny or even interesting. Yet somehow she does. And in many ways I think she anchors the series. The others can push a little bit to be quirky and funny because they know Jenna is there, a rock, planted right in the middle, grounding the show.

Next Sunday night is the Emmys. I will be reviewing them as always. Wish I could applaud the Academy for selecting Jenna Fischer as the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, but she's not even nominated this year. Vanessa Williams, yeah she's hilarious. Holland Taylor, we haven't seen that act a gazillion times.

Jenna deserves that statue. My love is not much of a consolation.


Anonymous said...

Ken, I agree with you 100% on Jenna. THE OFFICE follows in the footsteps of the MTM Show and MASH and NEWHART and CHEERS and FRASIER as a superb ENSEMBLE and subtle comedy role like "Pam" is VERY hard to do. She does play "bored" superbly, and, even though not nominated for a supporting comedy Emmy, she's the winnder to me!

Unknown said...

I think it's so cute when you write about Jenna. I totally agree with everything you write, but the problem (I think) with her being so natural and making it all look so easy is that the rest of Hollywood compared to her feels like fake rattan chairs.

For them, Katherine Heigl is acting natural.


And in "regular" movies she's going under. Like in "The Promotion".

"The Office" is perfect for or. Or even better: without her, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson and Steve Carrell, the show wouldn't work at all. They are more perfect for their roles than the "Friends" cast has ever been, and that's where I (!) felt was the show with the most perfect cast to date.

It's so good to see that they axed the direct "The Office" spin-off and don't even plan to extract JAm from the show. I hope it goes on for a couple more years and that they manage to cut it off at a high point.

And I hope Jenna will find a script somewhere out there that's better or at least as good as "The Good Girl" for I think that's a role she'd be really able to shine in (and was kind of a waste on Jennifer Aniston).

Unknown said...

I love Jenna Fischer for all the reasons you mentioned.

Additionally, I love Lucy Davis for the same reasons (just, you know, a few years earlier), as well as her roles in "Shaun of the Dead" and (yes) "Studio 60".

El Vecino said...

I would never have though about it if you haven´t written about it, but now that you say it..... yes!!!!
I think she is so natural than can be almost forgotten, maybe she hasn´t those big moments that Dwight, for example, has, but she is the strongest ground where you can begin to build one of those moments-
(I´m from Spain, sorry if something I say can´t be understood)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, Ken. Jenna is fantastic and deserves the recognition.
She's only made a few movies - barely getting started in that medium - and I think that good scripts will start to come her way.

I also liked Lucy Davis in "Studio 60" - in fact I found the NBC version of "The Office" via that show.

And, just to mention, a Nathan Lane TV performance which didn't seem over the top at the time - he played a private eye in an early episode of "Molly Dodd".

Ah, memories.

Anonymous said...

Jenna not getting the Emmy in 2007 was outrageous.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen Jenna in anything else yet. She so underacts, that I thought she just had one of those "looks like she is going to, or has been crying" faces. She fits into the group very well, and maybe its the balance of calm plus crazies that make us like the show so much. It seems well written. I like the fact that I don't recognize many of the actors. I HATE sitcoms that reuse actors I've seen over and over again. I want to believe the show and the characters for what they are, and not the actor playing the part. (sorry, I've said that before)...
This is one show that I do enjoy when I happen by it.

Larry David is probably the only show that my hubby and I would try to watch together on a regular basis. I saw him interviewed on TV and he really seems to use his regular personality traits in his schtuff... "It's good to be da king!"

Anonymous said...

How Emmy continues to snub Jenna Fischer is mind-boggling. I guess she doesn't mug enough to suit the "experts." It wouldn't kill them to let Krasinski get a nod either (though he, too, made the short list).

Why was Amy Poehler nominated in the Supporting Actress in a Comedy category for SNL when work in that show traditionally gets relegated to the Performance in a Variety Show category (or something like that)? I love Poehler, but perhaps it's this rule change that nudged Fischer out.

Anonymous said...

I agree with David that last year was the year she should've won bar none. It's really a shame. Viva Jenna!