Got a ‘Moroccan Christmas’ question for Justin?

Do you have a question for writer Justin Spitzer about last night’s episode, ‘Moroccan Christmas’?

Submit your question here by 11pm PT tomorrow night, December 13.

I’ll put together a Q&A and post it sometime next week.

Remember, non-spoilerish questions about ‘Moroccan Christmas’ only. Thanks!

61 comments

  1. Hi Justin, *great* episode! I noticed that there was a sequence of shots of the characters enjoying the party, when there haven’t been a lot of these kind of “slice-of-office-life,” dialogue-less sequences in a while. It was really nice to see– did you decide to do this as a specific throwback to earlier episodes, or just for the sake of humor?

    Also, there was relatively little Pam in this episode. Was there a reason for that?

    Thanks a ton!

  2. Great episode, Justin (and an even better first name)! It is common knowledge that you had originally penned a draft for last year’s Christmas episide but due to the stike it was never produced (until now). Obviously there had to be some changes due to progressed storylines. What was the biggest challenge in reworking the script in order to make it work for one year later? Thanks!

  3. Since last year’s Christmas episode got cut because of the strike, did you recycle any of those ideas for this year’s episode? If so, what parts?

  4. How much time did it take Ed Helms to learn the sitar? And what song was he (trying) to play when Jim asked him to stop?

  5. This episode seemed kind of different from the regular episodes. The normal stupidity of Michael’s character seemed to be missing. His character in this particular episode was portrayed as a slightly violent and at times “normal”. Also the awkwardness of other characters at the end of this epi made me sad when they see an ignorant Andy. Is this shift in all the characters’ behavior deliberate?

  6. As dark as this episode was, there were so many laugh out loud moments for me, so many really great lines. (Thanks for that!) Were there any scenes in particular that were difficult for the cast to get through without laughing?

  7. Did you have any trouble portraying Meredith’s alcoholism, such a serious topic and clearly a vice of hers, as funny? You definitely succeeded in making it funny but I’m curious if there were other ideas for that storyline that were scrapped.

  8. What was Michael reading when he read the thing about the Mormon Church? Was it something the writers made up, or something actually found on the Internet?

  9. Hey Justin! I was just wondering why some of Michael’s talking heads were shot at a different angle. Were you just trying to mix it up or was there something deliberate you were trying to convey?

  10. Great episode! While ‘Moroccan Christmas’ was overall extremely funny, there were elements of addiction, adultery, race, and religion in this episode. Were these all intentionally placed to happen at once, or did it just turn out that way? Was it difficult to create comedy from something as serious as addiction?

  11. Thanks for taking questions, Justin. I liked the episode. A little darker than usual but it was nice. The set designers really went all out with the theme, how did you come up with the “Nights in Morocco” as well as long was the process of getting all the set decorations ready? :)

  12. I might be making it up in my head but are you guys foreshadowing an inferiority complex with Pam? She didn’t succeed at art school and Jim called her stupid and dumb in the span of 3 seconds in the Christmas episode. It seemed out of character for him and Pam laughed it off playfully, but over time I could see that being an issue for JAM. Thoughts?

  13. In the final scene when Andy played the song for Angela, after he was done, there was a shot of everyone staring at them and then some clapping noises – was the clapping intended? I couldn’t figure out who it was, and Dwight’s clapping started later.

  14. Was there ever talk of making this episode an hour long? It seemed like there was a lot going on in a short amount of time.

  15. It was nice to see the other characters and their lives come into more of a spotlight! But with all of the serious issues that came out and were unresolved, it seems as though certain character’s arcs aren’t evolving, much unlike jim and pam. Is it intentional to keep most of the office the same while pushing others in a different direction?

  16. After the intervention disperses Dwight immediately assumes his perch by Michael’s door. It’s hysterical. Was this scripted, directed, or improvised?

    (Gotta add I got a major kick out of Michael celebrating Groundhog’s Day, seeing how that’s my birthday. Cheers!)

  17. Meredith sure seems to do a lot of stunts – i.e. getting hit by a car, a ball, having her head put in a garbage bag … and now her hair catches on fire! How did you pull it off, and did Meredith herself perform her own stunts?

  18. Thanks for taking questions, I always love to read the Q&As and thought it was about time I thought I threw my hat into the ring. The common feeling of this episode was that it was a bit darker than other episodes. When you and the team were writing it did it ever come across as such? Was it intended to be that way? I for one loved it and thanks again!

  19. Great episode Justin!
    Was Ed singing “Ra da du da doo” instead of fa la la scripted, or was that improvised? Either way, totally hilarious!

    Thanks!!!

  20. Hey Justin. I was wondering why Pam and Jim weren’t in Moroccan Christmas barely at all? They didn’t even get each other anything. Was there a reason for that?

    Episodes with minimal Pam and Jim sadden me :(

  21. I loved the unicorn barbie! Especially when Michael knew the theme song. Who came up with that idea and the catch phrase?

  22. This episode felt more cringe-worthy than the Office (US) usually does, and more in line with the original Office (UK). Do you see the show going more in this direction? (I hope you say yes, because this episode was hilarious!)

  23. The camera panned to Pam after discussion of Meredith’s “porn addiction” and Michael’s subsequent reply. Was that a call-back to Fun Run and the celebrity sex tape that Pam ordered?

  24. We all know you wrote last year’s Christmas episode, that was scrapped because of the strike. How much of that original script made it into Moroccan Christmas?

  25. Really great episode!!! Just wondering why the status of Angela and Dwight’s marriage wasn’t addressed?

  26. Justin,

    This is one of my favorite episodes of all time! Great job!

    My question is, who came up with the Princess Unicorn idea and what was the thought process behind it? They were absolutely fantastic, but they seemed really obscure and bizarre for being the most popular toy of the season. Especially when we take a look at the website (http://www.princessunicorndoll.com/).

    What was the scope of their popularity? Were they supposed to only be very popular in Scranton?

  27. I honestly think this is my favorite Christmas episode, good work Justin! I think my favorite scene is when Michael threw the pen he borrowed back right in Toby’s face. I honestly wasn’t expecting it – was it scripted or improvised by the actors? And either way, how many takes did it take to film? – because I know I couldn’t stop laughing for awhile afterwards and was wondering if any of the actors broke down too. :)

  28. Thanks for writing such a great, hilarious episode Justin! My question is all about Jim’s hilarious cold-open prank: Was that your idea, or someone else’s? Did it take the prop department a long time to construct? And how many takes did you do of Dwight sitting down into it – Rainn’s reaction was priceless!

  29. Not to be a suck up…but this is my favorite episode this year! The most LOL moments I can remember….anyway…

    It seems to me it’d take little more than 5 minutes to set-up Dwight’s Christmas desk…How long did it really take props to create/set it up? And how many takes were there? I can’t imagine the lost time between takes…

    Mele Kalikimaka!
    -Pu’u

  30. Justin, this was an awesome episode. The right amount of humor, and the right amount of cringe-worthiness. So my question is, does our sweet Pam-cakes enjoy herself a little bit of porn? We’ve seen her curiosity in “Fun Run,” and we saw her give a confused look after Michael said Meredith looking at porn was disgusting, so does that mean Pam watches porn? Lol. Thanks, and I hope you have a happy holiday!

  31. Justin! Loved the episode! Thanks so much for answering our questions, and here’s mine: if this episode had been an hour long, what would you have liked to see in the show or what were your favorite parts to write? Thanks again and Merry Christmas!

  32. When Phyllis revealed Angela had been sleeping with dwight, was it harder to do a more emotionally heavy scene then the normal comedy stuff?

  33. How did you all come to decide to make this Christmas episode a bit dark, instead of festive? I imagine it took a bit of creative courage to do that, since in a way it kind of goes against what the audience expects. Can you speak a little about the reasons for the rather dark-ish content choice for this episode? Thanks.

  34. Question regarding a small detail on the show. I noticed how on Andy and Angela’s wedding website and the “Save the Date” Printout that the wedding was planned for Thanksgiving. I’m assuming this episode takes place after Thanksgiving, so what happened there? Was the wedding postponed for any reason, or was this just a small mistake?

    [from tanster: their wedding date is for next year, 2009.]

  35. I loved the Moroccan theme! Phyllis in power is priceless. What other themes were possible options for their party when you were writing the episode? Thanks!!

  36. Hey! Loved the episode! I was wondering why we aren’t seeing so much Jim and Pam anymore? Or is it just because the plotline with Angela, Dwight, and Andy is the focus right now?

  37. I gotta know… where did the idea for Meredith’s hair to go up in flames come from? Also, was it really hers? And if I can get a third question in, when did corporate start letting alcohol be consumed during work?

  38. I can imagine that it was too dangerous for Kate Flannery to do her own stunt, but did she want to?

  39. Did a professional sitar player have to teach Ed Helms how to play? Or was his banjo experience easily transferred to this other (superior?) instrument?

  40. It was interesting that this Christmas episode had almost nothing to do with Christmas itself. Was that intentional? I might be reading into it too much, but I could see it as a chance to have Angela work at keeping up her image, in order to maximize the impact of the starkly contrasting revelation at the end.

    In addition to Andy’s part in the scene, of course.

  41. Creed has some great one-liners across the show, especially this episode with his line about getting someone a permit. Is his background already written or does it just unfold as the writers think of more funny (definitely creepy, though) things for Creed to say?

    And why a Moroccan Christmas? What was Phyllis’ motivation for this Christmas party that’s “not your grandma’s christmas party, unless she’s from Morocco”?

    Finally, what’s Meredith’s progression in the seasons with her drinking? I remember a scene where she (in a conference room meeting) says “Hi, I’m Meredith, and I’m an alc–” and quickly gets back on topic. Had she tried AA before and failed? Does this mean that Michael’s methods of getting Meredith into rehab (aka making her hit rock bottom) will be a recurring thing in the next episodes, or just a great send-off for the end of the episode?

  42. Great episode! Best of the season so far, I’d say.
    My question is, did Ed Helms know how to play the sitar before the shoot, or did he learn on the spot? I died when he played Deck The Halls, and everyone was just staring at him.
    Thank you for your time!
    QuobbityAssurance

  43. Hey Justin,

    Firstly, I love that all of us commenters are on first-name basis with you already! I think I’m going to nickname you Jay to get even more weirdly familiar.

    Anyway, this Christmas episode was great, really over the top! Did you guys intentionally make this Christmas party extravagant to contrast with how most companies are trimming down or eliminating parties altogether in these tough economic times?

  44. How long did it take Ed Helms to learn to play that instrument? What is the name of that instrument? Did it get annoying listening to him play?

  45. Were there other incidents considered to bring attention to Meredith’s alcoholism besides the hair catching on fire? And if so, what were they?

  46. Hi Justin,
    My question is about the Meredith/intervention storyline. I mean this in the nicest way possible, but what were you thinking (literally)? How did you come up with the storyline, and how did all the writers come to agree upon it? To many people (including myself), forcing an alcoholic to get help is not funny; it’s a reality. I would have to imagine that at some point in the writing process the writers considered that an intervention plotline might be offensive and completely unfunny to many people. This is not the first dark storyline we have seen on the Office (i.e. Ryan on coke), so I am genuinely curious now as to the writing process, discussions, and decisions that go into giving the green light to such storylines.

    What IS funny: Michael singing the Princess Unicorn song, Jim’s request to “please stop,” Toby begging for the doll… Things like that are why I will still call the Office writing brilliant.

  47. Hi

    First of all great episode. I am a Moroccan myself and it looked really like a Moroccan party. Only one thing: In the episode Phyllis makes Angela to remove stuff like the tree, but why didn’t she remove the alcohol and just let them drink tea?

    Thanks.

    ANouar

  48. I loved the episode, especially Jim’s prank. How hard was that to pull off and how long did it really take to set it up?

  49. My question is about the writing process. Do you plan for the whole season the basic outline of the plot for the season? In this particular episode, did you plan for the basic plot well in advance then fill in as you go along?

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