The Office: 3 Hidden Secrets of the Dundies
For employees of the Dunder-Mifflin Scranton branch, there’s no more prestigious reward for work done well than the Dundie, an annual award for a variety of accomplishments such as Hottest in the Office and Spiciest Curry.
For Dundie aficionados, here are three secrets previously only known to members of the Dundie Academy of Office Arts and Sciences.
The Dundies have two real-life counterparts.The Office wasn’t producer Greg Daniels’ first batch of pickles. Conan O’Brien’s old college buddy held a similar role on the animated King of the Hill, where he attempted to build staff morale and camaraderie with The Swampies.
Daniels named the King awards after show designer Jeff "Swampy" Marsh. "He had a big personality,” said Daniels, “so we called it the Swampies and I got those little plastic salesman trophies that are not too hard to find.”
The Swampies also had a precursor in a managers meeting that Daniels's father used to lead every year. "He'd wear a Carnac hat — you know, the turban — and his name was Aaron, so he'd be 'Aaronac,'" says Daniels. "If you didn't grow up watching The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, one of his most popular characters was Carnac the Magnificent, in which Johnny predicted the answers to questions that were sealed in an envelope." And that, in turn, inspired Michael’s Carnac joke at the Dundies.
John Mayer has a Dundie.
OK, but how? On an episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Jenna Fischer read this excerpt from John Mayer’s Tumblr blog:
"One of my favorite shows on television, The Office, wanted to use my song, "Your Body Is A Wonderland" in a scene for their Christmas episode. Now, I’m not making apologies for my work, but it's safe to say I don't get asked to use 'Wonderland' for strongman competitions and documentaries about aircraft carriers. I usually get asked so that people can goof on it, so I initially turned down the request. But, after thinking about it I decided to go for it — but with one stipulation."
The Office had to have the song -- it’s what Michael sings as he attempts to romance two Asian waitresses from Benihana that he can’t tell apart. So B.J. Novak granted Mayer’s request and awarded him a Dundie for Tallest Music Dude. Congrats, brother.
(Bonus revelation: Not only does Mayer have a Dundie, he also used to have a Tumblr.)
The Michael Scott Paper Company almost had its own Dundies.
The Scotties never happened -- but they almost did.
In an early draft for the episode Broke, Michael had plans for his own version of the Dundies.
“Here's what it would have been,” says Jenna Fischer. “You were going to see Pam, Michael and Ryan packing up Michael Scott Paper Company. And before they go, Michael is going to give them each a Scotty, which is the Michael Scott Paper Company version of a Dundie.”
Though the awards were never given, Ryan’s statue would have said “Great Style.” And Pam’s? Hers would have simply read “Boobs.”
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