This guy was like an investment banker who works in an office. And he’s like hey, really great to meet you. I heard you had some stuff — hey, I really liked the take when you did blah, blah. That was funnier than the other take.
And it was like right — that’s a “normal” guy who works in an office.
Greg: Yeah and when John Krasinski — the very, very beginning of the show to do a little method acting research, he took some friends to Scranton and they filmed the footage that was in — is in our opening sequence and they also filmed a lot of interviews. He went to paper companies.
Greg: And one of the salesmen at one of the paper companies just started doing some of his voices, his impressions for John. And he had …
Rainn: And we have it on videotape.
Greg: Yeah, and he had like the most politically incorrect impressions. He was just doing, you know, for this videotape. And when we saw that, we were like oh, okay, so this is very, very real, you know.
Question: Greg, you made a couple of interesting tweaks for this season — one, putting Jim and Pam back together. Did you know that that was what you were going to do all along when you broke them up?
And the other one is — is bringing in Ryan as — it’s not a villain, at least a new irritant. Were those also looking to the long haul?
Greg: Well I don’t really see much more than about a half a season ahead. That’s how far the headlights go on this bus. And so when, you know — Jim and Pam never were together before. This is the first time that they’ve gotten together.
They were almost together. And, you know, I don’t — certainly we didn’t have it planned in Season One, what was going to happen to them. And, you know, I know what’s going to happen to them for the next, you know, maybe ten episodes. But that’s about as far as I can see.
Question: And what about Ryan?
Greg: Yeah. Well, you know, that’s — I thought of that, you know, some time in Season Three. He seems like a funny statement about corporate America — just how the guy with a business school degree manages to rise.
Question: Will Karen be making any upcoming appearances in the next six episodes or beyond that?
Rainn: Well I think that she’s — yes, she’s coming back as Dwight’s love interest for the finale, right? Yeah. Please write that in. Thank you.
Greg: I think she’s fantastic, too. And we’ll see what happens. We had a nice deal with the people that did the show that she’s currently on to use her in the beginning of this season. And I think we have one more ability to use her as part of this arrangement that they made.
Question: How did you guys shorten the storylines to fit into the six remaining episodes? And were some of the stuff — maybe, do you ever carry it on to next season?
Greg: Well, you know, like we did — in the very first season, we did six episodes but they ordered seven scripts. So I had written an episode called Pet Day that never aired.
And what generally happens is whatever was good from Pet Day got chopped up and used in other episodes just because the ideas were there.
Greg: And there’s — we have a really fun Christmas episode that we wrote that, you know, is fun right now. But by the time, you know, a year from now if you look back on it, you’ll realize that pieces of it are going to be used, I’m sure.
And that’s okay. The process is like very creative and kind of churns, and bubbles and everything until it actually hits the air. And then that’s what happened to this group of people.
But there’s, you know, a lot of other footage that the documentary shot that they just threw out for one reason or another.
Question: So just the major storylines — will they be affected because of the shortened season?
Greg: No, I don’t think so. Certainly not affected in any kind of negative way. I mean, there’s — they’ll go in a different direction, but …
Question: So The Office and now 30 Rock have these really — you know, from what I can tell, very rabid fan bases yet I can’t really find anybody — with the exception of How I Met Your Mother — who watches the NBC — or I’m sorry, the CBS comedies on Monday.
And so I was wondering, you know, obviously you need ratings to keep the whole thing going. But what’s sort of more important to you — the loyalty and the buzz or the actual numbers? Or do you just need to find a balance there?
Greg: Well, you know, let me — I’m looking now — I’m going to look in my email because somebody sent me an email recently about a new form of ratings called like the content power ratings or something that the …
Rainn: Yeah, it includes like digital downloads and lots of different aspects of shows.
Question: Yeah, which you guys get huge, right?
Rainn: Besides the Nielsen number of eyeballs.
Greg: Yeah. We were number six in — of all TV shows in this form of looking at TV shows.