Puck Goes Pop

Rudy Junda could watch The Office ‘over and over again’

Denver Pioneers forward Rudy Junda
Rudy Junda admits to having run through the full canon of "The Office" as many as five times going on six, and lauds the series for its "really cool messages" and "growth in the characters." (Photo credit: DU Athletics)

Rudy Junda, a junior forward with the Denver Pioneers, has to balance the many rigors of being a Division I college hockey player. This includes training on and off the ice, maintaining a healthy diet, playing games, going to class, doing homework, writing papers and more.

Admittedly, he cannot stay on top of these tasks without taking an occasional break away from juggling hockey and school. His top diversion of choice is watching The Office, a sitcom that hits close to home for him, as he is considering a long-term career in the sort of setting the show satirizes.

Junda addressed the finer points of his outspoken outside interest with Pucks and Recreation.

Why is The Office your favorite TV show?

RJ: “I think its’s sort of comforting. It’s a show that reminds me of being in middle school. It’s like this place that no one really wants to be, but secretly they like it a lot. I think the comedy is really witty. I think it’s funny on a lot of different levels. It’s not super obvious (some of the humor), and the writing is really good.

“It’s just funny on a lot of different levels, and it’s pretty dry, which is my brand of humor, so that’s pretty much why I love it. I could just keep watching it over and over again. I think I’m watching it again now for, like, the sixth time.”

So, this is your sixth time, do you remember when you initially started watching it?

RJ: “Yeah, I probably started watching it when I was 18. My friend (fellow Colorado native and Pioneer teammate) Evan Ritt was a really big fan of it, so he got me into it, and then that was it. I remember the first time was really awesome. The first time I watched it I didn’t get all the way through it, I stopped after Michael (Scott) left. Then I went back in and watched the whole thing again, so now I’ve seen the whole thing.”

So who would you say is your favorite character and why?

RJ: “My favorite character…well….I think maybe the funniest character is Andy, but my favorite character is Dwight. (laughs). That guy is unbelievable. I wish I could hang out with him on a daily basis and just pick his brain.”

Yeah, definitely. So can you see yourself as one of the people in The Office?

RJ: “Yeah, actually, it’s sort of funny you say that, because the reason I like the show so much is there’s certain qualities of the characters that I’ve noticed that I do myself. It’s not necessarily the best qualities, so it weirdly helped me grow. Like some of the stuff that Ryan does, when I was younger, I noticed I would do some of the stuff that Ryan does, so it kind of helped me grow. I think early on Ryan was similar to me, which is a little embarrassing, but whatever (laughs).”

Obviously, Michael Scott had so many priceless moments in the show. Can you single out a couple that really stand out to you that you’ll always remember?

RJ: “Yeah, the one where Ed Truck dies and he’s talking about it and he said, “his cappa was detated.” That part, and that he spits on Stanley’s face, that is probably one of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen in a show. That’s my favorite Michael moment (laughs).”

“Or the part where he screams, “Good Morning Vietnam” for the speech, or when he declares bankruptcy. Those are my top three, for sure.”

Steve Carell is a big hockey fan, and he actually played hockey in high school. He was a goalie. 

RJ: “Oh, I didn’t know that.”

Yeah, I saw an article online about it. So there are a few hockey references throughout the show. One of them was for Michael’s birthday they went to an ice rink, and he was skating around like crazy and then he went up and checked Toby. 

RJ: “Yeah, I remember that.”

What do you think about Michael’s form in throwing that hit?

RJ: “I thought it was pretty good. It definitely could have been a little bit of a slew foot from what I saw. But other than that, it’s pretty textbook, you can tell he knew how to play hockey…Toby didn’t. I’d say it was a textbook, 10-out-of-10 hit by Michael.”

Ok, good. Also, when Michael wrote his movie (Threat Level Midnight), the culmination of it was him trying to save the All-Star Game by getting the bomb in the hockey puck out of it. 

RJ: “Yeah, yeah, I forgot about that. You’re totally right, it’s so obvious now.”

Have you ever had to deal with any crazy situations at hockey rinks? Obviously nothing like a bomb in a hockey puck, but could you relate at all?

RJ: “(Laughs). One of the weird ones I sort of was a part of was in the Nike Bauer tournament. It was a big deal when I was a kid. It’s in Chicago, and it’s held in a ton of different rinks. In one of the rinks it was held at, one of the Zambonis wasn’t venting carbon monoxide properly, so literally like six teams in the tournament got carbon monoxide poisoning and couldn’t play in the tournament.”

Oh, wow.

RJ: “Luckily, we were fine, but that was a pretty bizarre one. That was definitely the most Threat Level Midnight moment, I guess you could say.”

When Michael Scott quits Dunder Mifflin and starts The Michael Scott paper company, in his little office he has Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote up on the board and then he quotes himself as saying that.

RJ: (Laughs) “Yeah!”


Obviously it’s funny that he does that, but what does that quote mean to you as a hockey player and as a person?

RJ: “That quote is really cool because it’s so simple, and that’s the coolest part about it. It’s so obvious. So many people don’t take chances on things. If you don’t take a chance, you have a zero percent chance of getting it. For me, it kind of brings down your ego. It is sort of like you really have nothing to lose. If you fail, at least you tried.”


RJ: “The only thing you really have to lose is your dignity. That’s less important than if you didn’t try at all. You just have to be willing to try and willing to fail. I like how funny it is now, too. Now when I think about it, I think about The Office and how Michael Scott quoted himself on a quote from someone else. That’s a good quote, and I really like it.”

So I asked you earlier about your favorite Michael Scott moment, but are there any other general moments with anyone that stand out to you?

RJ: “There’s a few Creed moments. The one where Pam makes the announcement to the office and Creed just says “Thanks, Mom,” really kills me. His moments are kind of really hard to describe, and are kind of not that funny if you say them out loud. But Creed has some killer moments, for sure.”

I like the one, I think it’s like Halloween or something, and everyone is dressed up in costume and he comes in covered in blood and he comes in and goes “Oh, that’s good timing” or something like that.

RJ: “(Laughs). Yeah, very lucky. Yeah, that one’s funny. I like that one a lot.”

Do you think you could work in an environment with someone like Michael Scott as your boss?

RJ: “Man, that is a tough question. I probably could, actually. I think I would be pretty good at it. The problem is I don’t know how long I would be able to last in that situation. Having seen The Office, I feel like I’m pretty prepared for something like that.”

You’ve obviously watched it a couple times now. Is there anything that you would change about the way it ended or anything throughout the show that you wish went differently?

RJ: “The only thing I would really change, and I’m kind of conflicted on this, too, because sometimes I feel like at the very end when Jim and Pam’s relationship gets a little strained, it’s not as fun for me to watch, but I feel like it was sort of necessary for the story.

“So it’s sort of like a double-edged sword. On one hand, I think it was necessary to complete the story and finish off the show. But the reason I like The Office is because it’s really soothing and comforting and it doesn’t make me depressed or it doesn’t emotionally mix me up. It’s really pleasing to watch, so it’s a little bit different during the end. so if I could make it a little less serious at the end, I would probably do that.”

We recently published an article and picked out a few different things from the show that were “The Very Best.” I’m going to run off a few topics that I’d like to get your opinion on.


What was the best opening intro before the theme song?

“The one where Jim takes a bunch of Dwight’s stationary and faxes him notes from himself from the future. That one is unbelievable.”

What about the best prank in the show?

RJ: “Definitely the one where Jim puts nickels in Dwight’s phone, and then takes them all out and he hits himself in the head with his own phone. I thought that was the most clever, for sure.”

What do you think was the best office relationship?”

RJ: “I think the funniest office relationship is Dwight and Angela. The way that they are together is hilarious, so I’d say that’s the best office relationship.”

What about the best party?

RJ: “Probably Moroccan Christmas.”

Do you have a favorite season?

RJ: “Probably Season Three.”

Favorite episode?

RJ: “My favorite episode is one of the Christmas episodes with the snowball war between Jim and Dwight, or Halloween where he (Michael) has to fire somebody.”

You retweeted a Michael Scott quote “When I first discovered YouTube, I didn’t work for five days,” that’s pretty funny…

RJ: “(Laughs)”

Michael was notorious for his poor work ethic and procrastination. As a double major in finance and marketing, a minor in Film Studies and obviously a Division I hockey player, how do you balance your time?

RJ: “It’s kind of tough, honestly. For me, it’s mostly picking when I need to relax and when I need to bear down, and it sort of comes in waves. So the way our school works is that you are in class for 10 weeks at a time, and then you take a six-week break in winter. So I think that you have to know that this is a time to really go hard, and then when you don’t have (school) to really focus on stuff completely different.

“For me, I try to work on things that I’ve never worked on. This winter break I’m going to try to work on cooking because I’ve never really cooked before. So putting my efforts when I have time into other stuff makes it easier to work hard when I need to.”

Speaking of cooking, back to The Office, I would not suggest putting a Foreman grill with bacon by your bed.

RJ: “(Laughs) Yeah, or trying to cook the pita bread, or whatever Ryan did that started the fire.”

I heard that you’re involved in a show called “Gabbin with Gabe” on campus. I watched the first episode earlier. How did you become one of the co-hosts, and what did you think of being the host of a show?

RJ: “I thought it was really awesome. It’s really fun. They came up with the idea last year, and (former teammate) Gabe (Levin) was the host. I just thought it was really funny because it was something that was the type of thing I’ve always wanted to be a part of. So I tried to contribute as much as I could. I helped out with ideas and just tried to stay in the loop.

“It was just always something that I always felt like I could be a part of, and it’s just really fun. I don’t know why, but I really like seeing a crowd and performing. It is something that I enjoy doing and it’s a fun way for people to see another side of us (the Denver Pioneers hockey team).”

So is Gabe (Levin) anything like Gabe (Lewis) from The Office?

RJ: “(Laughs). I guess in some ways because he’s so smart. Gabe Levin knows a lot about stuff. Gabe from The Office is kind of a dweeb. but Gabe Levin’s social worth far exceeds Gabe from The Office. There are some similarities.

“He graduated, and he actually is at Harvard Law School now. But we still have him on the show. He records his part and sends it in to us. That’s kind of a funny joke on the show, is that he still is a part of the show because without him it’s like nothing. It’s good that he’s still a part of the show because he’s really good at it and we are trying to get as good as him.”

Have you worked in an office before?

RJ: “I had an internship before my freshman year at a real estate place. There were definitely some funny moments. It wasn’t quite like The Office, but I hadn’t really thought about (similarities to the show) when I was there. Hopefully, next time I will be better prepared.”

The one thing I’ve noticed from having worked in some internships and comparing things back to the show is that it seems like everywhere I’ve worked has had an Angela or a Dwight or whoever. Those characters are all representative of different people you’ll encounter in the workplace, so I found that to be really interesting to sort of find people everywhere I go.

RJ: “Right, exactly, they are there. That’s why the show is so good. It’s so relatable. Everyone has a job with some guy at their job that is such a weirdo or has a weird thing that he does.”

Do you think there are any lessons you can take from the show as you prepare to enter the workforce someday?

RJ: “Yeah, the thing with the show is that there are a lot of really cool messages because there’s a lot of growth in the characters. There are a lot of really positive attributes. The best thing with Michael is that, even though that he completely is the most ignorant and just least aware person ever, he always gives a really good effort.

“Towards the end of the show, he succeeds in what he wants and he becomes a really good person. The best thing about Michael is that he failed miserably so much, but it doesn’t really seem to faze him, ever. So that’s sort of the message I like to take from it.”

Andrew Wisneski

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