Charlie Grandy answers ‘Crime Aid’ questions

I’m very excited to present a Crime Aid Q&A by Charlie Grandy, one of this season’s new writers to ‘The Office’!

Charlie talks about Jim’s drive to New York, what it was like to work with Jen Celotta as a first-time Office director, and a Kelly scene that I hope makes it into the Season 5 DVD. Good stuff!

Q. How do you feel being a new writer of this five season old show? Is the challenge bigger (that’s what she said) when you write for a new series or an older one? | Fire-ed Guy

Charlie: I’ve never been on a new show, so I’m used to coming in with a bunch of pitches and having the old guard say, “yeah, we all thought of that ages ago.” It’s a bit humbling, but forces you work harder. I’m not sure I’d be any good with a seemingly infinite number of story ideas.

Q. Is there a full list of what everyone auctioned off (like Secret Santa in ‘Christmas Party’)? | astird

Charlie: In addition to what was in the episode, the following items were shot :

  • Meredith auctions something, but no one knows what it is because of her drunken slurring. Oscar buys it for a dollar. Turns out it’s a brand new iPhone. Oscar’s excited.
  • Kelly auctions off dance lessons for Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em’s “Crank That” dance. (This also explains her outfit during the auction.) Ryan bought it for $40. Kelly TH: she plans to drive him wild with lust but not sleep with him.

I think that was it. We intentionally didn’t want to focus too much on the items in an effort to keep the stories moving.

An early pitch was Michael auctions a magic lesson for $800, but it felt similar to Holly’s yoga lesson so we dropped it.

Q. Was it written or improvised how Michael lost himself (8 mile reference) in the flow of auctioneering? | jan of a preacher man

Charlie: I wrote the “hey batta batta” and “one million dollars!” stuff, which Steve then took to a whole new level. He is a master of comic jibberish.

Q. I love the things like “Stuff Angela introduced to Dwight” and “Music Michael mistakes for Bruce Springsteen.” Did you have any other ideas for these things up your sleeve which didn’t make it to the episode? | ian

Charlie: Nope, that was pretty much it. There was a scene of Dwight explaining his first date with Angela to Phyllis. They went to the Anthracite Coal Museum and corrected the tour guide when he got stuff wrong. He then offers Phyllis a fox meat sandwich.

Q. What’s better for creativity: random 3am outbursts, or systematic work while the sun is out? | carl

Charlie: Systematic work with the occasional late night is best for me. Ideally, I like to roll out of bed and immediately start working before the pressure of trying to make people laugh sets in.


  1. This was so interesting! Thanks, Tanster! I am crossing my fingers to see the Kelly scene on the Season 5 dvd set also. However, “I don’t know when or IF Jim and Pam see each other again” just doesn’t sound good to me. Oh well. I trust those writers! Thanks again!

  2. Tanster: Thanks for arranging this yet again. You’re amazing!

    It’s great to hear a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes.

  3. Tanster…it’s d’awesome that the writers make themselves available to you (and us!) to answer questions. I think that fans of The Office are an intelligent bunch and we really appreciate the behind-the-scenes glimpse these Q&A’s give us. To hear, right from the horse’s mouth, about how certain scenes were shot, why one line was chosen over another, and what goes into putting an episode together is very much appreciated. Thanks to you and Charlie!

  4. Thanks Tanster and Charlie! That was fun to read. What a great day to start off my morning!

  5. Wow – that was great. Thanks for doing this tanster, and Charlie! I feel like I get to know the show I love on a different level. Too cool!

  6. Second time asking –
    Do you know if Charlie Grandy is Fred Grandy’s son from “The Love Boat”?

    Love this Q&A’s – keep em coming

  7. I always enjoy these Q&A’s, but they may have been the most informative and interesting to read of them all. It’s like getting the DVD commentary a year early!

  8. Yay Charlie! Thanks for answering so many great questions! I would’ve loved to have seen Kelly’s TH about driving Ryan wild with lust. It makes me laugh just thinking of how that would’ve gone.

  9. Thanks for answering my question! The only thing that confused me though is how using the camera would be a crutch. If it’s a documentary, it would be perfectly acceptable for the people to acknowledge the camera being there.

  10. I love this episode, so it’s great to receive these wonderful insights into how it was written.

  11. Thank you so very much for making it possible for us to get such amazing behind-the-scenes details. This has become my favorite part of officetally! I’m always blown away by the willingness of the writers to make themselves available to the fans this way. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  12. Thank you so much for this!
    Those are always so interesting to read!
    This season is so good so far! I can’t wait for the next episodes!

  13. Welcome to our little kingdom, Charlie. Always fun to read insight and get clarification ($5000 deductible! Yes, I can finally sleep tonight!)

  14. Thank you to the writers (and Tanster) for taking the time to talk to fans in this way. It’s appreciated so much!! We know how busy you are and the fact that you take the time out to do this is awesome.

  15. Thank you so much.

    I can appreciate how tough it is for a new writer to enter an established writing dynamic. And I just have to say: what a great addition Charlie Grandy makes. Without knowing the “behind-the-scenes” of it all, I would never have guessed it was his first episode for the show. It felt “in” that Universe, filled with tiny details that spoke of thorough knowledge of these characters and this world, and just plain hysterical.

    Thank you again for answering the questions and for the episode itself.

  16. Thanks for the great Q & A — and thanks, Powers That Be — for being so loyal and connected with your fans!

  17. Fascinating, as always! This episode has got to be one of my all-time favorites. Thank you for the Q&A, Charlie and tanster! I can’t tell you how grateful I am for these behind-the-scenes peeks at my beloved show.

  18. This was a GREAT Q&A. Very funny, very informative, all around just awesome. And thank you for answering my (somewhat random) question! It made my day AND I’m doing my first NaNoWriMo novel (a comedy) this year…so knowing what other writers do will help.

    Thanks Charlie and Tanster!

  19. Wow, it sounds like this episode could have been an hour long. It’s too bad they had to cut so much out. It sounds like it could have been even funnier. Not that it wasn’t, just, you know, more.

  20. I would love to see all the Ryan/Kelly stuff we missed! I still want to know what the other phrases were that he came up with for C.R.I.M.E. A.I.D…

  21. An enormous thank you to Charlie and Tanster for gifting us with this special Q&A interview. Being able to read about the creative process and behind-the-scenes working of my favorite show adds an entire new dimension to my enjoyment. Never before have I felt so emotionally invested in a show, and the content and spirit of this website has a direct relationship to that. I may not comment often, but I am reading avidly! :-)

  22. Thank you so much Charlie Grandy and Office Tally! This was such a favorite episode, and I love these generous behind the scenes looks at the creative process he gave us. So much talent and devotion goes into each show, and we get to Q&A with the amazing writers about it. Are we lucky or what? Thanks!

  23. Hooray! My question was answered! What a great Q&A. Really helps me understand everything better. :)

  24. I actually feel so warm and fuzzy inside cos my question got answered. Made my day- Thank you so much Tanster and Charlie

  25. I don’t know why, but I just could not stop laughing after the mistaken-Springsteen-songs bit. Tracy Chapman, Fast Car. Awesome.

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