I had the pleasure of participating in a conference call with The Office’s Paul Lieberstein and Amy Ryan this morning, along with bunches of press people. We all got a turn in asking Paul and Amy questions, mainly about Season 5.
Here are my rough notes from the call.
- Regarding the relationship between Holly and Michael, Amy says “there’s a lid for every pot, or as I like to say, a lid for every crackpot.”
- Amy is back home in New York, and has already finished shooting the initial agreement of six episodes. There are no plans for any additional eps, but Amy says “never say never.”
- Does Holly get to interact with everybody at the office, and not just Michael and Kevin? Amy says she completely moves into Toby’s desk. Holly gets to interact with everybody in the office.
- What brings Toby back? Paul replies, “a failure to escape.” Paul had a friend who actually saved up enough money to “live poor” on the beaches of Hawaii, had a big going away party, and then came home two weeks later. He was lonely, was robbed on the beach, “and this was our model.”
- Paul finds it hard to watch other comedies. He says it’s like looking at code in ‘The Matrix.’
- When asked if Toby can find happiness, Paul laughed, “I don’t know if happiness is in Toby’s future.”
- Does the hazing of Holly continue? Paul says the hazing stops.
- Paul characterizes Holly as a “junior Michael.”
- Paul says he will probably be directing a couple of episodes this season.
- Paul says “We miss Mike [Schur] a lot.” They see him when he gets hungry and has to come over for snacks.
- Does Holly figure out that Kevin isn’t “special”? Amy says “yeah, she finds out the hard way.”
- I asked Paul about Stephen Merchant, who is directing the episode in production this week — a Halloween episode! Paul said it was really exciting having Stephen there; he kept them honest in preserving the integrity of the documentary format. “He’d call us out every once in awhile, when we seem to go a little too far, or a little too personal. When we shoot a scene in the bathroom, he’s like ‘really?’ He’s extremely funny, and it’s been great working with him. There will be some great new Halloween costumes to look forward to!” (Jenna Fischer also talks about the Halloween episode in her latest MySpace blog.)
- Jason Reitman (he directed last season’s ‘Local Ad’) will be back to direct another episode this season.
- Amy talks about bloopers. She said at one point, she laughed so hard she started to cry. Makeup had to be reapplied. Paul laughed, “I didn’t know that.”
- NBC interjects at one point to confirm, yes, there will be cast bobbleheads.
- Paul says it breaks his heart when some of the most priceless scenes (such as Creed jamming with the band in ‘Booze Cruise’) never make it to air.
- Is Toby a threat to JAM? Paul quips “Toby is less of a threat than the price of gas.”
- Paul almost never writes lines for Toby.
- Is there sometimes a concern that the writing focuses too much on relationships and not enough on funny stories? The writers talk about it a lot. No episode is ever just about a relationship. There is always something else going on, a robbery, ethics training, etc. Paul says “The relationships are always the B story.”
- What happens with Ryan? “He’ll spring back up in a way that’s typical of people who can spin anything.” Hmmm, what could that mean …
- Do Angela and Andy actually make it to the altar? Paul says “There will be altar of sorts. But not in the way you’re thinking. There’s a lot of fun coming up in their relationship.”
- What about Jan’s baby? Paul says “You will see a baby shower that the office throws for her. There is some talk about who the father might be.”
- The last question of the call was for Paul: “You mentioned earlier a robbery and ethics training. Are these coming up this season?” Paul: Yes.
Watch With Kristin was also in on the call: here is their report.