The iconic red stapler coveted by Milton was created for the film by the prop department. They needed a bright enough color to be seen on film and chose red. After the film was released, Swingline began to receive requests from customers for red staplers. Having stopped offering red several years before, they made the decision to start offering the color once more.
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The "P.C. Load Letter" scene was not scripted. David Herman had more lines to say to Ron Livingston, but he was interrupted by the photocopier jamming and didn't understand what the error message meant.
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Milton was actually based on a former co-worker that Mike Judge had worked with during his days as an engineer. One day, Judge went to the co-worker and asked him how he was doing. The co-worker began talking about how he was going to quit his job because he had been forced to move his desk around too many times.
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One of the promotions for this film invited people in certain cities to watch and participate in the bashing of office equipment. There was also an Internet campaign that linked to a website where people could expose their bad bosses.
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Orlando Jones based his character on his niece. According to Jones, his little niece would sell Girl Scouts cookies door-to-door with a poor attitude.
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A scene was cut from the film which showed Lumbergh reacting angrily to his Porsche getting towed. Gary Cole said he was glad the scene was taken out because he felt the Lumbergh character needed to remain at the same emotional state at all times.
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After poor box-office performance, the movie gained cult status on video. Mike Judge has said that more people talk to him about this movie than any project he has ever worked on. Judge was offered a chance to make a sequel, "Office Space 2: Still Renting." Judge said that because he had been through enough anguish over the first one, he didn't want to put himself through the experience again.
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As of October 2018, the term "ass-clown" was officially entered in Webster's Dictionary, crediting writer Mike Judge for first using it in "Office Space."
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A "square peg in a round hole" is an idiomatic expression which describes the unusual individualist who cannot fit into a niche in his or her society. At its entrance, the company Initech had a statue of a square peg in a round hole.
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In addition to the red Swingline stapler, which became a reality, some fans of the film created their own "Jump to Conclusions" game mat.
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In one memorable scene, Michael Bolton laments having the same name as the singer, calling him a "no-talent ass-clown." In 2015, the real Michael Bolton appeared in a "Funny or Die" video: he was digitally inserted into several scenes from the movie, replacing his namesake character. He repeated the lines verbatim with one exception: he called himself an "extremely talented ass-clown."
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Ajay Naidu improvised the moment when he breakdances in Peter's apartment, since he had been breakdancing with friends in his downtime while shooting the film. Paul Willson ad-libbed the "Naga, Naga, not gonna work here anymore" line.
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When Peter is in the meeting room, on the white board behind him, there is a complicated flow chart titled "Planning to Plan."
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The film is loosely based on Mike Judge's animated shorts entitled "Milton", which ran on Saturday Night Live and MTV's Liquid Television in the early 1990s.
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The movie's incredible 2000 success on home video (where it not only made much more money than it had in its theatrical release, and earned enough to make the film a nice profit, but outperformed higher-earnings films also released by 20th Century Fox) came as such a surprise, that the studio wasn't initially aware of it. The then-head of Fox's home-release division was told of this phenomenon while doing an interview about it with Entertainment Weekly, and did not have specific dollar receipts. He then looked them up on the Internet, and was so shocked that he told the magazine "that's really amazing, it's incredible."
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The set for Chotchkie's is actually the restaurant "The Alligator Grille" in Austin, Texas. The Alligator Grille closed down as of 2009.
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During the infamous smashing of the copier scene, Peter never actually strikes the device.
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According to Richard Riehle, his first day on set as Tom Smykowski, was in the character's full body cast. Riehle said the production didn't have a Special Effects Coordinator on set, which meant an EMT had to help Riehle put on the full body cast. Riehle said it was a two hour process to put on and an hour to take off.
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Mike Judge said after the film came out, although it was not a box-office success, he received compliments from many celebrities who enjoyed the film. Jim Carrey invited Judge to his house, Chris Rock left "the best voicemail ever" (in Judge's words), and Madonna took him to dinner.
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The directory that the bank software virus is stored on is "C:/LR427/Virus_CDEF" CDEF is a virus that dates back to 1990 and affected Macintoshes. It infects desktop files and can cause system crashes, anomalous behavior, and printing problems. It is obsolete now and was mostly harmless. It should be noted that "C:" relates to MS-DOS and MS-Windows.
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At the party for Tom (Richard Riehle), Drew (Greg Pitts) tells Peter (Ron Livingston) about all of the men that have slept with Peter's girlfriend Joanna (Jennifer Aniston). Among those he mentions is David Rennie, the film's editor.
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Loosely based upon Herman Melville's short story, "Bartleby the Scrivener".
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The cars all have fictitious generic U.S. license plates which avoid naming a specific state.
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The backyard at Tom's BBQ is the same one used in Edward Scissorhands.
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The infamous "P.C. Load Letter" error that confounded Michael Bolton is a message that the printer was out of, or not recognizing the refill of, letter-sized (8.5x11 inches) paper. "P.C." stands for "Paper Cartridge". Older model HP Laserjet printers commonly display this error. This error also occurs when attempting to print a non-letter-sized project onto letter-sized paper.
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The taller Bob consultant actually wears buckled belts for suspenders. They changed color based upon his outfit.
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Mike Judge has quoted "It seems like every city now has these identical office parks with identical adjoining chain restaurants." The specific adjoining restaurants in the movie, Chotchkie's, Chili's, and Flingers were directly inspired by the three restaurants that used to be at the corner of O'Connor Boulevard, and Highway 114 in Irving, Texas: Bennigans, Chili's, and Frijoles (all closed in 2007). This intersection is in the dead center of the Las Colinas business complex, and is the epitome of Corporate America.
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Mike Judge hated the marketing campaign for the film, particularly the poster, and believes it was one of the reasons why the film did not do well at the box office. For the film's release on home video, he was able to convince the studio to add the character of Milton to the poster, peeking out from behind the guy covered in Post-It notes.
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In the 2016 South Carolina Republican Presidential primary campaign, Ted Cruz thought this movie was so iconic and recognizable, that one of his ads was a parody of it.
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Peter mentions that he (and presumably the other programmers) are working on fixing the "year 2000 problem" in Initech's banking software. This issue, often referred to as "Y2K" or the "millennium bug", was a real problem dealt with by many companies in the late 1990s. Peter accurately describes the issue as being related to a space-saving shortcut used by programmers (mostly in the 1960s-70s) where the year portion of date-related data was stored as two digits (e.g. "75" instead of "1975"). The expectation was that software written in such a way would fail -- perhaps catastrophically -- when the year changed from 1999 ("99") to 2000 ("00"). However, largely thanks to a massive effort on the part of the software and financial industries, most of the issues were resolved before the deadline, and the millennium change occurred with few issues.
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Chotchkie's is a take-off on the popular T.G.I. Friday's restaurant chain. The T.G.I. Friday's waiting staff wear striped shirts and suspenders adorned with buttons and name tags. The restaurants themselves are frequently decorated with assorted knick-knacks and memorabilia. A reference is made to T.G.I. Friday's when someone mentions "Thank God it's Friday" while at the restaurant.
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Peter and his neighbor Lawrence live in "Morningwood" Apartments. The name can be seen early in the film when Peter drives home after work.
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Chotchkie's gets its name from the Yiddish word meaning a cheap trinket or knick-knack. The word is spelled 'tchotchke', but is pronounced the same.
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Both of the Bobs wear medical ID bracelets on their right wrists.
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The abbreviation TPS (as referenced in the infamous "TPS Report") is undefined in the final cut of the film. TPS is used in the software industry to stand for "Test Procedure Specification", which is a set of steps used by quality assurance testers to follow in testing a given software feature. Given this meaning, however, a "TPS Report" would make little sense. Mike Judge has said (after innumerable queries from fans) that he meant the abbreviation to stand for "Test Program Set".
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Jennifer Aniston's character is named Joanna, which is Aniston's own middle name.
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The script originally described Michael Bolton as a "no-singing asshole," but the line was changed because it suggested that he didn't sing his own music. David Herman came up with "no-talent ass clown" instead.
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Mike Judge said he got the idea of smashing the printer during his frustrations in writing the screenplay for Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996).
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Number of sugar packets Michael Bolton adds to his coffee: five.
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When he was pitching the project Mike Judge arranged a table read of the script for executives at 20th Century Fox, and recruited several actors from his series King of the Hill (1997) for the reading. Stephen Root read several parts, including Milton. Judge loved his take on the character, and cast him to play Milton in the film.
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The building used for exterior shots of Chotchkie's is now a Chase Bank branch.
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The studio wanted Matt Damon as Peter, but Mike Judge felt the role should not have "star energy." Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson auditioned for the role of Lawrence, while Kate Hudson was considered to play Joanna.
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Ron Livingston admitted he was starstruck when he met Aniston: "I hid it for about two days, I kept it real cool for about two days of rehearsal and then I caved..."
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Five people tell Peter about the cover sheet missing from his TPS report: Lumbergh, Portwood, some guy on the phone, and both Michael and Samir at lunch.
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All the cars in the movie have a generic U.S. license plate. However, in the scene where Peter, Joanna, and Lawrence are fishing, the boat has a Texas registration ID visible on the hull.
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The scene where the trio smash up the printer in a field was parodied in the Family Guy episode Family Guy: I Dream of Jesus (2008), where Brian and Stewie, sick of the Surfin' Bird song, steal Peter's copy and smash it to pieces.
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All the cast member were unknown at the time and 20th Century Fox agreed to produce the movie only if Mike Judge cast at least one famous name. Jennifer Aniston was cast as Joanna and it allowed Judge to cast each of the other less known actors.
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On Peter's personnel file, his address is shown to be 191 N. Lamar, Flander, Illinois 77070. (77070 is actually the zip code for Houston, Texas. N. Lamar is a major thoroughfare in Austin, Texas, where The Alligator Grille (filming location for Chotchkie's) was located.) His mother's name is Suzi Gibbons, and lives at 11004 Marble Road, Erie, New York 05452 (actually a Vermont zip code).
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Gary Cole (Bill Lumbergh) & Stephen Root (Milton) also worked together on The West Wing (1999) as VP Bob Russell & Bob Mayer respectively.
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When Lumbergh is having the meeting with the Bobs to go over the layoffs they pull out Lumberghs personnel file. In the photo of him stapled to the file he is wearing the exact same shirt, tie and suspenders that he is wearing while sitting at the table with them.
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Milton (Stephen Root) and Tom (Richard Richle) appeared 10 years earlier together as internal affairs investigators in 1990's Black Rain with Michael Douglas. Coincidentally, the two actors would go on to play in-laws on the show Grounded for Life (2001).
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The office printer that keeps jamming on the guys, and that the guys later destroy, is the 1200 DPI Samsung Finale 8000 printer.
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Several instances of product placement for Pepsi products.
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While in the car to Tom's party, Peter, played by Ron Livingston, mentions to Joanna that the Nazis had "pieces of flair" they made Jews wear. In Band of Brothers (2001), Livingston's character of Lewis Nixon assists in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp.
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According to their personnel files both Tom Smykowski and Bill Lumbergh hold Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in physics. And it shows Lumberghs alma mater as MIT.
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Smykowski's Lawyer (Rob Newhouse) shares his name with Robert Newhouse, a well-known player for the Dallas Cowboys in the '70s-'80s. The team is based in Texas, Mike Judge's home state.
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While the license plates don't show a state name, they appear to be modeled after the Texas license plate in use from 1990-1998.
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David Herman and Orlando Jones were cast mates on MAD TV
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Both Gary Cole and Deidrich Bader have played characters in the DC universe, Cole played Black Adam in Justice League Action (2016) and Bader played Batman in Batman the Brave and the Bold (2008).
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Michael Bolton apparently is very fond of the Navy SEALs. He has a SEALs flag hanging above his couch at his apartment and a poster showing four SEALs in the water at his desk at work.
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Gary Cole was 43 when this movie was released (born in 1956, movie released in 1999), his birthday cake as Lumbergh had 41 in candles on top which could have been his age during filming.
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Stephen Root, who plays a guy who doesn't know he's fired until his paychecks stop coming in, also played a character who waited until the last minute before firing an employee in the pilot for NewsRadio in almost the same manner.
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Jack Betts who plays the judge also starred on an episode of MAD TV with original cast members David Herman and Orlando Jones where he played....a judge.
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Although it's never specifically stated as to where the movie takes place, according to their personnel files, both Bill Lumbergh and Peter Gibbons have a 512 area code which means they're from the greater Austin TX area. However, Tom Smykowskis file shows him as having a 281 area code which is in Houston TX. That means that Tom commutes over 160 miles each way to and from work every day.
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Milton reveals his intentions to burn down the building nineteen minutes into the movie. During his and Peter's phone conversation as Peter is trying to clean up his desk to leave, Milton tells him that "if they take my stapler, I'll have to...I'll set the building on fire."
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During Smykowski's car mauling scene, Richard Riehle said the shot took six times, contingent on a tree and a windy day. The shoot depended on the tree not blowing in the wind, as the final shot contained the tree being still.
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When Peter arrives at his job during the fire, he pulls up to the fire lane, which is where the firetruck in the background should be.
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