Mindy Kaling answers ‘Night Out’ questions

Q. With the whole Jim storyline, are you just trying to show that Jim has flaws or specifically that he has Michael-like tendencies? | Spicy Curry

A. People have responded strongly to Jim’s flaws showing this past year. I have to say that I love when he shows that he isn’t perfect. For instance, I loved in Gene and Lee’s script “Dinner Party” when he tried to bail on Pam. It was unexpected and slightly cowardly (but, to his credit, came out of desperation) and that’s what made it hilarious. I remember in Mike’s Season 2 script, “Office Olympics,” when Jim was leading everyone into these office games, and Stanley refused to play. I liked that. Jim isn’t always Mr. Popularity or Mr. High School Quarterback. I like when he’s a cool, misunderstood guy who has good intentions but messes up sometimes. That’s so much more crush-worthy than some cool dude where everything goes his way.

Is he like Michael? Personally, I don’t think so. If he has anything in common with Michael, I think that it’s that they both, at times, have tried unsuccessfully to be leaders of an often extraordinarily ungrateful and uncooperative group of office workers.

Q. Is BJ a good sport about you ripping on his appearance? (short and half-bearded) | emobacca

A. BJ is a terrible sport about everything and is currently trying to sue me. I still consider him a friend, though, because I’m a forgiving person and don’t like conflict. How great was his dancing in the club, by the way? He looks like when the Peanuts gang dances in those animated Christmas specials.

Q. My favorite part of the episode was Ryan dancing in the club. What directions were given to B.J. for that scene? | Emily

A. I told B.J.: “Dance like Snoopy,” and he did it. No, actually, I think B.J. had been practicing dancing in a totally intense but uninhibited way, and we just shot that.

Q. In the scene where Ryan is dancing and freaking out, did anyone really get hurt? He was going crazy! | Mikaylee

A. The girls Ryan “hits” are actually stunt women. They really sold the hell out of that. Also, there were pads on the floor so B.J. could really fall out of frame and wipe out. Nothing brings me so much pleasure as a person falling out of frame in a comic way. John did it beautifully on a bike in “Diwali.” Kelsey Grammar did it extremely well in that youtube video where he’s lecturing and falls off the stage. There’s just something inherently funny about a person dropping unexpectedly out of your line of vision. I love it. I will try to put it in everything I ever write.

Q. Did the comment about “The Wire” come from your love of “The Wire”/ to annoy BJ who has not started watching “The Wire” yet even though everybody is telling him how good it is? | kim s

A. “The Wire” is arguably the most popular show amongst our writing staff. Our two shows could not be more different, but it has made a huge impact on many of our writers, including me. Because it’s such a densely plotted Greek tragedy, I doubt Michael would really be able to understand that much of it, but I like picturing him wanting to enrich his life by buying The Wire DVD and sitting in his condo watching Season 1, and then compulsively rewinding and trying to understand what D’Angelo Barksdale is saying. Michael wants to be exposed to good things, that’s a quality in him I really like.


  1. Best one so far! Thanks so much Tanster for arranging this and big Thanks to Mindy for answering our questions and being plain ol’ awesome!!!! You blow my mind grapes!

  2. This was great! I love reading about the insight into the episodes. Mindy is awesome too.

  3. Mindy, you write some of the best Office episodes! Of all the writers, I imagine you are the best at finding the fine line between believably hilarious and sitcom-ishly wacky. Thanks so much for your wonderful answers!

  4. I remember reading a lot of questions about Ryan’s coke habit and I notice she didn’t answer any of those… Any thoughts?

  5. I just wanted to say thanks to the writers for answering the questions and to tanster for arranging these Q&As. They are fantastic and I find myself rewatching the episodes after I read your answers to catch the little details that are mentioned.

    I hope this becomes a regular feature on Officetally :)

  6. Mindy rocks so much it’s not even funny.

    And I am loving these writer’s Q&A’s so much. Keep ’em coming, Tanster!

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