Gene Stupnitsky answers ‘Weight Loss’ questions

Q. I thought the concept of following everyone through the summer week by week was really cool (and definitely a time at Dunder Mifflin I’ve been curious about!). Why did you decide to change up the format, and were there unique challenges that arose because of the change? | Carl

Gene: The idea of doing a weight loss episode has been around as long as I’ve been on the show. The problem we always had was, “how do you do a weight-loss episode in a half-hour? Or even an hour?”

Enter our fearless leader, Greg Daniels, who came up with the one act per week structure that basically solved that problem. Plus, we’d never shown what happens at Dunder Mifflin over the summer and figured this would be a cool opportunity to do that.

Q. The proposal was such a well kept secret that no one really saw coming in this episode. Did the entire cast/crew know about the filming of
this scene? | SuperTed

Gene: The entire cast and most of the crew, yes. You do the best you can with keeping it a secret, but these things tend to get out. I think the Entertainment Weekly guy also heavily hinted at it. I won’t be buying him a drink anytime soon.

Q. It’s great that the camera guy is like another character on the show. Was it actually in the script for him to “sigh” when he got denied entrance into Pam’s dorm room? | Diana

Gene: That was not in the script. That was an improv from Randall Einhorn, our director of photography, and it was pretty inspired. It’s one of my favorite moments in the episode. On The Office, even the cameramen improvise.

Q. Is there a particular reason why Amy Ryan is not a regular cast member and just a guest star for a few episodes? She’s GREAT and would be awesome to keep her in the show forever. :) Husker

Gene: She is great, but she’s also an Academy Award-nominated actress who has a lot of opportunities to do some very cool things. All the writers and actors absolutely adore her and we try to use any time she’s available. Holly seems perfect for Michael, doesn’t she?

Who discovered that Amy Ryan had incredible beat boxing talent? Tiffany

Gene: It became pretty apparent to everyone after the first take. We all broke into laughter as soon as Paul Feig yelled “cut.”


  1. Wow, that’s unbelievable! I had no idea the proposal scenery was all staged. Now I need to go home and rewatch the scene AGAIN to truly appreciate all the hard work (and expense) that went into it.

  2. Wow. I would have never guessed. That is excellent! I can’t imagine how much time that must have taken, it looked so real! But I guess if some highway driver saw a Jim-Pam proposal at a gas station…word would have leaked VERY quickly.
    Thanks Gene and Tanster!

  3. Dude… I go to that Best Buy all the time! Too bad I didn’t the day they were filming. Well done to all! Definitely wouldn’t have pegged it to be the Best Buy parking lot. I figured you all just went out on some desolate road and did it up.

  4. Regarding the proposal scene:

    Being an East Coaster who has travelled the Merritt many a time, you did a credible job recreating the look and feel. I thought of the Merritt when watching the episode/scene.

    Great episode!

  5. I just wanted to say that all of that hard work paid off because I honestly thought that scene was perfect.

  6. Tanster, you absolutely rock! Thank you so much for doing stuff like this for us! I love these Q & A’s. I can’t believe how much went into that scene. It was most definitely worth it though. Thank you so much for giving us such a wonderful TV moment!

  7. I love how they put the grape soda picture on the window of the gas station. Perfection. They did an awesome job on this whole production.

  8. Wow – they did a great job. I thought the location looked authentic, I’m very impressed. Can’t wait for more Q&A!

  9. That’s awesome Gene! I’m studying to be a production designer so I was really interested to hear all that as well. Thanks so much, and we all really did enjoy it!

  10. There go all my dreams of visiting the gas station where the single greatest marriage proposal of all time was filmed. :(

    But I can see the safety issues involved with filming at a real location. You’re driving along, you see Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski at a gas station, you’re so excited you don’t notice as you drive off a cliff…

  11. So now the Best Buy parking lot in Los Feliz will become an Office shrine! Pilgrims, mark your maps!

    Thanks so much for sharing that info. We dearly love your “little show.”

  12. the result was amazing and perfect. i have no doubt that YEARS AND YEARS from now so many of us will rewatch it and it will still feel as magical.

  13. It was amazing and perfect. I have no doubt that years and years from now when we rewatch it it will still be as magical.

  14. Wow, I didn’t think it was possible for me to be anymore impressed with that scene but I am! I have no idea how much went into filming it. I think I’m even more in love with it knowning how much work they all did to make it all happen.

    Everyone behind the scenes and onscreen did an amazing job, not just on the proposal but the entire episode, thanks guys!

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