Charlie Grandy answers ‘Crime Aid’ questions

Q. There were a lot of references to the camera this week — Phyllis talking to Dwight, Michael and Holly making out in the stairway — and there seem to have been a lot of references this season. Was this something you planned in advance? | Michelle

Charlie: It’s actually become a bit of a crutch and we’re trying to cut down on it. But it’s hard when it’s so funny.

Q. I was trying to understand the significance/motivation of Dwight’s bidding on Phyllis’ hug. Was he doing it to impress Angela or was there some other reason I’m just not getting? | Jodie

Charlie: After he’d been slapped, Dwight realized Phyllis had been exceptionally kind to him. It was his way of repaying her. The pissing off Angela was an added bonus.

Q. Phyllis was such a star in this episode, from her spot on assessment of Angela, to her willingness to be a sounding board for Dwight, to her bank-breaking hug. Were you planning on spotlighting her in this episode, or did that gradually come about as you wrote the script? | what’s the dealio?

Charlie: We wanted to spotlight her. We were excited about the energy of a Dwight/Phyllis pairing and it worked out well.

Q. Why “Vitamin World” for Roy? | AronorA

Charlie: Mindy pitched it. We all laughed.

Q. Were you a big fan of The Office before writing for it? | Diapers Schrute

Charlie: Huge. It was the only thing I watched regularly. I have two little kids and it’s the only show worth missing sleep for.

Q. The elevator black and white shot reminded me of many scenes from The Wire. Considering that much of the writing staff are fans of The Wire, what is it like working with Amy Ryan, especially seeing her in a non-serious role? | Steven M

Charlie: She was amazing. Everyone fell completely in love with her. Her comic chops are serious. She’s a fantastic improviser. She and Steve really just had fun playing together on set.

Q. Are the writers going to approach Amy Ryan for any future episodes? | Julie

Charlie: I hope so. She’s fantastic. The very first scene we shot for this episode was the Michael/Holly talking head. It was 6am and I was sitting across from Steve and Amy and just thinking to myself, “In no way do I deserve to be working with these people.”

Q. How was working with Jen the Director on this episode, especially since she, too, is a writer? Does it help to have a director who has been part of the writing process? | sorano916

Charlie: It was incredible luck to have Jen direct my first episode. She knows the show so well and is amazingly talented and funny and the cast and crew loves her AND she goes out of her way to make everyone feel comfortable.

Q. Is there any way to pass the message along to Jen that the directing was FANTASTIC? | Amy

Charlie: Yes … Jen, if you are reading this, “Amy” thinks you did a fantastic job directing. So do I. To quote you, Jen Celotta, “You rock, man!”

Thanks, as always, to Tallyheads for submitting questions, and a big thank you to Charlie for taking the time to answer them! You are now an official member of the Episode Q&A Club. :)

Check out more Q&As in the Episode Q&A Archive. Essential reading for every Office super fan!


  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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