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!