Angela Kinsey can imagine how the characters of “The Office” would’ve handled working from home as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“It would be very different from house to house,” the actor told HuffPost while promoting her partnership with Staples’ “Thank A Teacher” initiative. “I think Angela Martin (her character) would be very efficient, and I think she would probably enjoy the extra time with her cats. She has so many.
“I think Kevin (played by Brian Baumgartner) would be a hot mess. It would be like me trying to keep all three kids focused on school all day ― just getting Kevin to do any work from home would be very difficult.”
Kinsey has a 12-year-old daughter, Isabel, with her ex-husband Warren Lieberstein, whose brother Paul played Toby on “The Office.” She also helps raise her stepsons Cade, 10, and Jack, 12, with her husband, Josh Snyder.
She continued, “I think Michael Scott (Steve Carell’s character) would be sad because he wouldn’t have his audience. He loved to play to the room. It would be interesting to watch them all do it.”
Kinsey recalled that she sometimes pitched the show’s writers on the idea of seeing more of the characters’ home lives.
“I remember I’d be like, ‘I would just love to see what Creed’s home life is like!” she said. (Creed Bratton played a fictionized version of himself.) “Can we see an episode where we go and see where everyone lives? But that’s not really what ‘The Office’ is. ‘The Office’ is in the office.”
Through her partnership with Staples (a competitor of the fictional Dunder Mifflin company in “The Office”), Kinsey is working to recognize a group of people who helped ease the quarantine burden for countless families: teachers. The office supply brand is holding its second annual #ThankATeacher contest, in which people can nominate educators to receive $5,000 in Staples Gift Cards.
Appreciation for teachers runs in Kinsey’s family. Her sister, Janet, has been a teacher for almost 28 years and works with pre-K and kindergarten students.
“I know from her lifetime of teaching that every year, she goes out of pocket to get things for her classroom, for her students,” she said. “Our teachers need our support, and I think they need it now more than ever. I love the teachers in our kids’ lives and I see what a difference they make.”
2020 has certainly given parents a new appreciation for teachers. That includes Kinsey.
“Of course, we always thought our teachers were great, but being home with three kids who learn differently, I was very thankful for them,” she said. “Our teachers still did all the hard work. They did all the lesson plans every week. I was basically just an assistant. I was really in awe at how teachers keep everyone focused and engaged and wanting to learn and motivated. I think the trickiest part for me was just keeping them all focused during the day. Teachers can find a way to make all the subjects fun and interesting. I just really missed our teachers.”
Kinsey imagined that her “Office” character would’ve taken a very on-brand approach to her child’s remote learning experience.
“I think she would’ve been very strict,” she said. “I think they would’ve had excellent structure. And I have to think there’d be some component of the lesson plan that involved all the cats. Maybe it was like math with cats, I don’t know. Cat math.”
Kinsey said she’s fortunate that all the adults in her blended family are on the same page about co-parenting in the age of coronavirus. She and her husband formed a quarantine “pod” of sorts with her ex-husband and his wife, as well as her husband’s ex-wife.
“We put our children first, and that’s how we approached the pandemic,” she said. “We wanted our kids to be able to see both sets of parents, so we set the same quarantine rules for each household and we’re in constant communication. If any sort of new wrinkle comes up, like if there’s a drive-by birthday party for a friend, we think, ‘What does that look like? Do we go in the yard? Are we wearing masks? Making sure we’re six feet apart?’ It’s just making sure it’s the same in the day-to-day of how we’re quarantining in each household.”
Outside of family time, Kinsey has kept busy working on “Office Ladies,” her “Office” re-watch podcast with co-star Jenna Fischer.
“I’m just so thankful for ‘The Office’ fans. I’ve had a lot of people write in and say to me, ‘Your podcast is keeping me going during this time,’ but I feel the same way,” she said. “I feel like their love for ‘The Office’ is keeping me going because every week, I have this creative outlet with my best friend, and it’s such a joy to re-watch it and experience it with the fans. So I’m just as thankful that people are listening because I’m thankful that I have it to do.”
It turns out her children are also developing an interest in “The Office.” She said Jack binge-watched the whole show and “loved it,” and he listens to “Office Ladies” every week as well.
“Some people are like, ‘I noticed you guys don’t curse on ‘Office Ladies,’ and I’m like, ‘Umm, my son listens to every episode!’” she noted.
Sometimes, she’ll invite all of her kids to join her in watching an episode or two of “The Office” that she thinks they’ll really enjoy.
“A week ago, we all crawled in bed and watched ‘Traveling Salesman’ and ‘The Return’ together, and they loved it so much,” Kinsey said. “They were so tickled at Andy Bernard (played by Ed Helms) and his ‘Ri di dit dit di doo’ and the whole thing, and that was really fun. My daughter sometimes has interesting reactions because she’ll laugh at one moment and then maybe my character will have like, a look to Dwight (Schrute, played by Rainn Wilson) or something, and she’ll go, “Ugh, Mooooom!” And I’m like, ‘Wait, that’s Angela Martin looking at Dwight!’ But I think she’s sort of at that age where it’s fun but also maybe embarrassing.”
Occasionally embarrassing her daughter just comes with the territory of motherhood, and in 2020, Kinsey is trying not to be too hard on herself as a parent.
“Everybody’s just doing the best that they can,” she said. “I think some days I feel like I have a handle on it and some days I don’t.”