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Last updated: April 20, 2012
Number of half-hours planned: 24
Guest stars confirmed: Chris Bauer, Lindsey Broad, Jack Coleman, Stephen Collins, Georgia Engel, Josh Groban, David Koechner, James Spader, Catherine Tate, Maura Tierney, Dee Wallace.
April 20, 2012: NBC
A summary of the May 10 Season 8 finale, ‘Free Family Portrait Studio’:
DWIGHT OFFERS FREE FAMILY PORTRAITS FOR THE OFFICE— A stolen diaper leads to a high-speed car chase. With a little help from an old boss, Andy (Ed Helms) goes undercover as a janitor and stages a takeover. And a new business opportunity arises for Robert California (two-time Emmy winner James Spader). John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, Mindy Kaling, B.J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Paul Lieberstein, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson, Ellie Kemper, Zach Woods, and Catherine Tate also star.
Details about the Season 8 finale, airing May 10:
Dwight sets up a sting operation “to collect DNA from Angela’s baby, attempting to confirm” whether he is, in fact, the baby’s daddy, previews showrunner/co-star Paul Lieberstein. Andy, meanwhile, turns the tables on Robert. “Andy has a delicious secret [about Robert],” Lieberstein reveals. “And he tries to stage the reveal of his secret in as dramatic a way as possible.”
I saw a little of the first during my set visit, but I don’t know anything about the second!
April 13: NBC
A summary of the May 3 episode, ‘Turf War’:
WHO GETS ALL THE CLIENTS LEFT BEHIND — Andy (Ed Helms) takes a break from flambéing cherries and composing rock operas to jumpstart his Dunder Mifflin comeback. When Robert (two-time Emmy winner James Spader) drunkenly shuts down a nearby branch, Jim (John Krasinski) and Dwight (Rainn Wilson) join forces to outsmart a salesman from Scranton’s uglier sister city. Chris Bauer guest stars. Jenna Fischer, B.J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Paul Lieberstein, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson, Ellie Kemper, Zach Woods, and Catherine Tate also star.
April 6: NBC
A summary of the April 26 episode, ‘Fundraiser’:
ANDY MAKES A SPLASH AT A LOCAL FUNDRAISER —- JACK COLEMAN (“Heroes”) GUEST STARS — Unemployed Andy (Ed Helms) crashes a fundraiser for the Senator (guest star Jack Coleman) and winds up adopting twelve disabled dogs. Dwight (Rainn Wilson) discovers that winning an auction means losing money, and Darryl (Craig Robinson) teaches Nellie (Catherine Tate) how to eat a taco. John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, James Spader, BJ Novak, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Creed Bratton, Ellie Kemper, and Zach Woods also star.
March 29: NBC
A summary of the April 19 episode, ‘Angry Andy’:
ANDY RETURNS TO THE OFFICE TO QUITE A SHOCK — Andy (Ed Helms) returns from his romantic quest to find his manhood in jeopardy. As he and Nellie (Catherine Tate) duke it out over the manager’s chair, co-workers share unwelcome advice on how to… perform. Meanwhile, Kelly (Mindy Kaling) is torn between the perfect man (guest star Sendhil Ramamurthty) and not-so-perfect Ryan (BJ Novak). Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, James Spader, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Paul Lieberstein, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson, Ellie Kemper and Zach Woods also star.
Colin: First Steve Carell, now James Spader…are we in for another round of who’s the boss on The Office?!
Don’t worry Office fans, Jenna Fischer assures us that “there will be a boss. We won’t leave people hanging on that again.” Phew! As for Spader’s exit from the NBC comedy? “James has a really great exit from the show in the season finale,” she teases. “It’s a surprisingly sexual exit. How about that?” Bonus scoop courtesy of Fischer: Should the show come back next year, she says, “It’s going to be a big year for Jim and Pam with… some stuff I’m not allowed to say!”
March 19, 2012: Lindsey Broad
Tweets from Lindsey Broad (“Cathy”):
3:02pm: “Cathy has finished tempting at Dunder Mifflin.”
3:07pm: “Whoops, that was a Freudian autocorrect. I meant TEMPING.”
Mose will be back! “Mike Schur is Mose as we speak,” [Paul] Lieberstein reveals. “He is shooting something right now for us. In the season finale, we answer the paternity question and Mose is involved in that story.”
So will the Angela’s baby paternity question be totally settled by season’s end? Lieberstein teases: “Dwight and Angela is thrown forward definitely and their relationship takes a turn.”
March 7, 2012: Angela Kinsey
Tweets from Angela Kinsey:
Morning folks…at work on the set of #theoffice. Filming lots of Dwangela scenes today! ;)
Behind the scenes pic… @rainnwilson in the Dwight mobile! #theoffice http://say.ly/gGU1xtV
This badass is our director this week. ;) luv me some @bjnovak! http://say.ly/Vbn1xBD
Well look who in is this episode…Mose! #theoffice http://say.ly/iEz1xEI
March 2, 2012: NBC
A summary of the March 22 episode, ‘Welcome Party’:
THE OFFICE PLANS A WELCOME PARTY FOR NELLIE — Robert (two-time Emmy Award winner James Spader) makes the office throw a welcome party for Nellie (Catherine Tate), and the party planners try to sabotage it. Meanwhile, Andy (Ed Helms) and Erin (Ellie Kemper) practice how Andy will break up with Jessica (guest star Eleanor Seigler). Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, B.J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson and Zach Woods star.
Tidbits from B.J. Novak:
Post-Florida fun, Ryan Howard is going to be in for a big (and completely unwelcome) surprise. Though he ever-so-briefly had his eye on Erin (Ellie Kemper), he’ll soon find that Kelly has a new crush of her own — except from the sounds of it, this is much more serious. Enter Heroes alum Sendhil Ramamurthy.
“When he gets back, Jim and Pam have set [Kelly] up with this handsome Indian pediatrician, who is their family pediatrician, and for some reason, he really likes Kelly. They get along perfectly, and this seems to be the perfect solution — not just for Kelly but for the office, which is really sick of Ryan and Kelly distracting them,” says writer and co-exec producer B.J. Novak, who reveals that the writers took inspiration from — oddly enough – The Jersey Shore‘s own embattled couple, Ronnie and Sammi. “They’re [both] terrible couples that just needed to be kept apart for their own sanity…. So Jim and Pam set Kelly up with this real adult relationship, and Ryan finds himself very jealous and tries to win Kelly back.”
And their romance will be anything but fleeting. Ramamurthy has currently filmed one episode and they’re hoping to get him for more. Even if they can’t, however, Novak says “the story line is definitely alive whether he’s in the episode or not” and it will be the driving force for Ryan and Kelly’s story line for the rest of the season.
“The whole point of [Ramamurthy’s character] is to show what a loser Ryan is, including physically, so that really was his job — to just make me look like [bad] and like only an idiot would choose me,” jokes Novak. “There’s a great line, I think Justin Spitzer wrote it, where Kelly, who is deciding between them, says all these great things about Ravi. ‘[He’s] an Indian doctor, he’s handsome, he treats me well, and he’s successful, and he’s loving. And Ryan puts me through so much drama, so I just have to decide which of those two things is more important to me.’ The girl loves drama, so I think that’s the only thing going for Ryan.”
Various upcoming story tidbits from Paul Lieberstein:
[Robert] California’s final appearance will be in the show’s season finale, and his exit will be a definitive departure.
When the Florida team returns to Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton branch after the six-episode arc (tonight is number four), Nellie will come with them, and she will immediately make her desires clear. “They offer her a desk in the office, but she goes to [Andy’s] desk and says, ‘No, I prefer this one’,” Lieberstein explains. “She makes a play for Andy’s job. The rest of the season is this power struggle between them.” This will be good news for fans of Original Recipe Andy: “We’ll see his old anger management issues come out within this struggle,” the producer says.
Pam’s maternity leave replacement, Cathy (Lindsey Broad), didn’t have much to do during her stay at the office, but Lieberstein says her attempt to hook up with Jim was not a left-field plot twist. But now that Jim rejected her advances? “That’s it,” Lieberstein says.”I think he put it to rest.”
Andy will soon learn of Erin’s plans to relocate to Florida, and “it’s going to force him to act and to try to get her back,” Lieberstein says. Why was he so slow to respond to Erin’s obvious attempts at a reconciliation? “He was hurt [by her earlier rejection], and then he started to date someone else,” he says. “He had started to move on and wasn’t ready to look back.” Lieberstein promises we won’t have to wait long to find out: It will be “in a couple of episodes,” he says.
Chris Bauer (Andy Bellefleur on True Blood, Frank Sobotka on The Wire) will soon visit Scranton as “a manager of another branch who’s angry at Jim and Dwight over clients that they’ve been stealing,” according to Lieberstein. Then, as part of the Florida arc, MTM regular Georgia Engel — Georgette! — will guest for three episodes. “Erin gets a job in Florida helping out an older lady, and she’s played by Georgia,” he says. “The younger people on the show, having not grown up with Mary Tyler Moore, didn’t feel the same sort of excitement I did. But I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ Her delivery is still fantastic.”
“Angela’s husband is honored by an animal-rights group” in one episode, Lieberstein says. Robert California buys a table at the charity dinner, resulting in Pam and Phyllis duking it out for the rights to the table’s floral centerpiece. Also: “Dwight has a poor understanding of the concept behind a silent auction and ends up buying everything.”
While this year’s season finale won’t have many true cliff-hangers, Lieberstein says one thread that will be addressed in the episode is the matter of just who is Angela’s baby daddy. “We will resolve it, definitively.” Lieberstein promises. “You won’t see the answer this season. You will see how it’s resolved.”
Various upcoming story tidbits from B.J. Novak:
“Dwight will go on a quest to prove the paternity [of Angela’s baby]. He has a whole scheme concocted to get some DNA to test, and it is one of the best schemes I’ve ever seen him do,” says Novak. “[The answer] will either be in the last second of the finale or a cliff-hanger. We’ll take it right down to the wire.”
As the launch of the Sabre store draws near, this week’s episode finds Ryan feeling pressure after Nellie (guest star Catherine Tate) asks him to do a presentation — his first important task since he was in corporate. Cue an epic melt down. “They have to figure out what to do with how to sort of talk Ryan down from his panic meltdown that he has, without his mom or Kelly there to comfort him. So Jim and Dwight have to channel what they think Ryan’s mom and Kelly would say to him to get him to do the presentation,” previews Novak. “Rainn Wilson is playing Dwight Schrute playing Kelly, John [Krasinski] is playing Ryan’s mom. Jim and Dwight are great in it.”
Back in Scranton, Andy comes to work with a black eye and a fabricated tale to accompany it, prompting Toby to run a self-defense class. “Toby’s outfit alone is worth watching the episode,” Novak says. (One word: Turtleneck.)
February 27, 2012: NBC
Summary of the March 15 episode, Get The Girl:
ANDY TAKES A ROADTRIP TO CHANGE HIS LIFE — Andy (Ed Helms) makes a life altering decision and drives across the country to get Erin (Ellie Kemper). Meanwhile, Nellie (Catherine Tate) shows up in Scranton and tries to claim the manager position. Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, James Spader, B.J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson, Paul Lieberstein and Zach Woods star.
February 24, 2012: NBC
Summary of the March 8 episode, Last Day In Florida:
LAST DAY IN FLORIDA — After Robert California (two-time Emmy winner James Spader) reveals that he hates Nellie’s (Catherine Tate) business plan, Jim (John Kraskinski) tries to save Dwight (Rainn Wilson) from being fired. Meanwhile, Andy (Ed Helms) learns that Erin (Ellie Kemper) isn’t coming back to Scranton. Paul Lieberstein, Craig Robinson, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms, B.J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Creed Bratton, and Zach Woods star.
February 20: Ryan Howard
Ryan tweeted: “There’s a storm brewing over Tallahassee. It’s called Ryan Howard, and it’s about to blow the roof off this retail chain project.”
Based on the episode being edited the day I visited the set (January 19), I would consider this tweet spoilerish. :)
February 10: NBC
A summary of the March 1 episode, Test The Store:
THE FLORIDA TEAMS READIES THE NEW SABRE STORE — Dwight prepares a theatrical presentation to impress Nellie at the Sabre Store opening. In Scranton, Andy shows up to work with an embarrassing injury. Rainn Wilson, Catherine Tate, Ed Helms, John Krasinski, B.J. Novak, Jenna Fischer, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Paul Lieberstein, Mindy Kaling, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson and Ellie Kemper also star.
Sendhil Ramamurthy (“Heroes”) will star as Ravi, a handsome doctor that breaks up Kelly and Ryan! Says B.J. Novak, “Ryan and Kelly end up becoming bitter enemies in the office when she falls in love with an Indian doctor. He’s very handsome and a much, much better match for Kelly than Ryan is.”
February 3: NBC
A summary of the February 23 episode, After Hours:
ANDY MAKES THE OFFICE STAY LATE — In Tallahassee, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Packer (guest star David Koechner) compete to become Nellie’s (Catherine Tate) VP, and Jim (John Krasinski) gets an unwelcome visitor in his room. Meanwhile, Andy (Ed Helms) makes everyone in the office stay late to cover for the people that went to Florida. Jenna Fischer, B.J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson, Ellie Kemper and Zach Woods star.
… there is a multi-episode storyline coming up where the cast goes on a road trip to Florida — with Dwight in charge.
“They are supposed to be opening a chain of stores where they are going to sell their own tablet computer that is in the shape of a triangle and it’s called ‘The Pyramid,'” [B.J.] Novak said. “It’s like a cheap iPad shaped like a triangle. It’s really the worst piece of technology that you’ve ever seen.”
January 27: NBC
A summary of the February 16 episode, Tallahassee:
DWIGHT IS ON A MISSION TO GET NOTICED AT CORPORATE — CATHERINE TATE (“THE CATHERINE TATE SHOW”) JOINS THE SHOW — After Dwight and his team arrive in Tallahassee, Dwight competes with his Dunder Mifflin coworkers to impress Sabre special projects president, Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate). Back in Scranton, Andy avoids being manager when several people in the office demand raises. Rainn Wilson, Ed Helms, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B.J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson and Ellie Kemper also star.
January 24: Rainn Wilson
Rainn tweeted: “I’m directing an awesome episode of The Office this week. It’s a show about people who work in an office.”
(Since I visited the set last week and they were filming episode #18, Rainn is directing episode #19.)
January 20: NBC
A summary of the February 9 episode, Special Project:
DWIGHT IS ASSIGNED A SPECIAL PROJECT — After Dwight gets assigned a special project at Sabre headquarters in Tallahassee, he and Andy try to decide which Scranton employees get to go with him. Meanwhile, Pam returns from her maternity leave. Two-time Emmy winner James Spader, Rainn Wilson, Ed Helms, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B.J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Paul Lieberstein, Mindy Kaling, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson and Ellie Kemper also star.
In an interview with Paul Lieberstein:
“We may start to see some of Andy’s anger problems come back, but in a way that may really benefit him,” Lieberstein says.
Lieberstein also says Andy will get at least slightly more comfortable around Robert, but both guys will have to deal with a new element: Nelly Bertrum (Catherine Tate), who will return in February as a special projects manager for Sabre.
Nelly will bring several people from Scranton, including Dwight (Rainn Wilson), to Florida to help with the launch of the Sabre Store, the company’s badly planned and executed version of the Apple Store.
If that sounds like a bad idea to you, you and Lieberstein are on the same page. “[Nelly] follows it through with equally bad management,” he says. “We play that out as an arc — they’re down there for about six episodes. Then late in the season, Catherine Tate will come back up to Scranton.”
One thing that won’t be a major thing when the season picks up Thursday (Jan. 12)? The birth of Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim’s (John Krasinski) second child. Fischer has returned from her real-life maternity leave, Lieberstein says, but the show won’t make a big deal about the new baby.
“People don’t care so much,” Lieberstein says with a laugh. “The rest of the office does not seem as moved by the addition of a baby. [Pam] comes back with very little fanfare.”
January 13, 2012: NBC
Summary of the February 2 episode, Jury Duty:
JIM RETURNS FROM JURY DUTY — JACK COLEMAN GUEST STARS — After Jim returns from jury duty, Dwight questions him on every detail of his case. Meanwhile, Angela and the senator (guest star Jack Coleman) welcome their new baby. John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, Ed Helms, Angela Kinsey, B.J. Novak, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Brian Baumgartner, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Paul Lieberstein, Mindy Kaling, Creed Bratton, Craig Robinson, Ellie Kemper and Zack Woods also star.