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Trivia / Office Space

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  • Acclaimed Flop: The films original release only made $12 million on a $10 million budget, just barely breaking even. Part of this was because of how hard it was to advertise a film like this, with the head of Fox at the time, Tom Rothman, saying this being one of the hardest films he ever had to market in his 35 years of working in the movie industry.
  • Actor-Inspired Element
    • Stephen Root literally begged Mike Judge to let him include a line where Milton describes two squirrels having sex as being "married."
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    • Diedrich Bader came up with the gag of Lawrence carrying around his own bottle opener and the line about his cousin who's "broke and don't do shit" during rehearsal.
    • When they were told that the studio was trying to get the film a PG-13 rating, David Herman and several of the other actors agreed to drop as many f-bombs as possible to avoid it.
  • Billing Displacement: Promo material and DVD covers present it as if it were a Jennifer Aniston vehicle, but while she does play the Love Interest her role is actually fairly minor. Word of God is the studio insisted Judge hire Aniston specifically so they'd have someone (anyone) famous for the ad campaign. He agreed because he thought she was right for the part and did a good job playing it but the studio wouldn't have cared either way.
  • The Cast Show Off: That really is Ajay Naidu break dancing during the party in Peter's apartment.
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  • Creator In-Joke: Lumbergh's "Mmmm.... yeah" (ie, a "yeah" that means "no") was something Mike Judge used to say to musicians asking for help carrying their instruments when he was in a band.
  • The Danza: Jennifer Aniston's character is named Joanna. Joanna also happens to be Aniston's middle name in real life. Though the character was also originally named Jennifer, which was changed to avoid this.
  • Defictionalization: ACCO never made a Swingline stapler in red before the film's release but Mike Judge wanted Milton's stapler to be bright red so it would stand out amidst the dull grey office setting, so the exact stapler was painted red by the props department. Afterwards, ACCO reintroduced the model and offered it in red.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Stephen Root could barely see out of Milton's thick glasses and had to wear contacts just to be able to see at all while wearing them. Even then, he had zero depth perception.
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  • Prop Recycling: If it were possible to see his ring more closely, you'd find that Bill Lumbergh graduated from Earthforce Academy.
  • The Red Stapler: Trope Namer. ACCO had stopped making Milton's stapler years before the movie came out, but after they suddenly had a high demand for a Swingline 747 model stapler in Rio Red, they changed their minds.
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  • Spared by the Cut: In a Deleted Scene, Peter and Lawrence discuss Lumbergh's death in the office fire set by Milton. This scene was left out of the final theatrical version, so Lumbergh presumably lives.
  • Stillborn Franchise: After the film's success on video and becoming a Cult Classic, Mike Judge was offered the opportunity to make a sequel to the film. But making the film was such an unpleasant experience for him that he declined.
  • Star-Making Role:
    • Milton was the character who made people take notice of Stephen Root.
    • Lumbergh was the role that brought Gary Cole to notice as a comedic actor.
  • Throw It In!
    • David Herman ad libbed calling Michael Bolton the singer an "ass-clown" (something he'd heard his girlfriend say the night before) as a last-minute replacement for a much crueler line the filmmakers were told they couldn't use.
    • According to behind the scene featurettes, Mike Judge added the coffee mug to the Lumbergh dream sequence at the last second.
    • Apparently, the "PC load letter? What the fuck does that mean?" line was improvised by David Herman when the printer actually did run out of paper (since it had been used so many times in other takes).
  • Technology Marches On:
    • The floppy disk that Peter and Co. use to load the virus.
    • The printer that the main characters destroy, plus the computers they use in the office (and the OS).
  • Trope Namer: The Red Stapler — for the situation where a movie effects or creates a Real Life demand for an object, good or service. Swingline didn't make them in red and had discontinued it when the movie was produced, but does now.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Dated technology notwithstanding, this movie, along with Fight Club and especially American Beauty, was one of several films released during the late 1990s and very early 2000s which dwelled on the crushing banality of the American middle class now that most white middle-class Americans felt as though everything important had been accomplished and there was nothing left to do but let humanity run its course until the end of time (Ron Livingston even described his character of Peter as imagining that he was the star of Fight Club). The War on Terror would put a stop to that a mere four years later and the rise of social media being used to spread information about greater social issues a decade later rendered any and all First World Problems moot. On top of that, the Great Recession of 2008 and the shaky recovery period that's been marked by high unemployment rates, a dry job market, and increasing income inequality makes Peter's job situation sound like a dream. That said, white collar office life has hasn't changed that much.
  • Vindicated by Cable: One of the premier examples. The movie pulled in mediocre box office numbers, despite relatively good reviews from critics, but found a second life on premium cable and on home video. Comedy Central's frequent airings brought the movie to an even wider audience, quickly granting it Cult Classic status.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • This early script contains a lots of differences, from Initech being named Nycor, Peter losing his temper a lot, Anne disliking Lawrence, and working at Unitrode (in the final film it's called Initrode and referred to a couple times), Joanna being named Jennifer (likely they had to change it to avoid a case of The Danza), and more.
    • Gary Cole recorded a scene where Lumbergh reacts to his Porsche getting wrecked, but it was cut presumably because it would have shown Lumbergh as Not So Stoic.
    • Ben Affleck was offered the role of Peter Gibbons.
    • Both Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn auditioned for the role of Lawrence, but were ultimately turned down in favor of Diedrich Bader.
    • Head of Fox Tom Rothman didn't like the rap music and wanted to cut it out, but Mike Judge asked that they see what test audiences thought first. Sure enough, one of the first note they got back from the test screenings was how much everyone liked the rap music, so it stayed in.
  • Write What You Know: Both the film and the animated shorts which inspired it were based on Mike Judge's time as an engineer at a company similar to Intech. Milton was directly based on one of his co-workers.


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