Greg Daniels and Rainn Wilson conference call

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.

27 comments

  1. I like the idea of them showing the documentary to the characters. Well, not now, but end of Season 5 maybe? Shake things up a bit. Put them all in the public eye, see how they all really see each other, etc. I think it would be an interesting change of pace!

  2. This is great! Exactly what I needed to tide me over until April 10th. Also, I can’t wait to see John host that mini marathon on the 3rd.

  3. That was awesome. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to see how the destruction of DMI plays out!!

  4. Good stuff. I can’t wait to find out what contrivance Michael used to get Pam and Jim to come to dinner.

  5. I think it’d be great if on the last episode they all sat down to watch the documentary and it started to show like the first 20 seconds on the first episode and there was this “low battery” light blinking on the bottom of the screen…then it just goes black with the words “no battery power” or something….

  6. Great read! I loved Rainn saying that George Clooney was in The Rocker. Sounds like John got quite the ribbing about his ~fancy~ movie role.

  7. Loved this! I also think showing the documentary should happen in one of the ending episodes of the series. It needs to happen, but it will definitely signal an end to the show. I can’t wait to see how Greg does it (but hopefully it’s not for a while!)

  8. My dwight bobblehead broke :( I just have a Dwight head sitting creepily next to my printer now

  9. Worth the read! Thanks Tanster! Loved Rainn’s line about the bobbleheads being found years from now. Can’t wait to see what twist and turns are ahead!

    And great questions about whether they changed the story lines to fit the shortened season – it’s great to know they’ve taken bits of other story lines and incorporated them into this season…like we’re not going to miss out on any great stories because of the strike!

  10. Mesmerizing.
    But who is “Question”?
    Tanster?

    [from tanster: “Question” is various members of the press.]

  11. That was a great time lunch time killer! Thanks for posting Tanster! I can’t wait to see Michael and Dwight hanging out with Ryan in New York.

  12. Wow – that was the most enthralling thing I’ve read in quite a while. Thanks so much for posting!

    Side note: Greg Daniels used the phrase “in like Flynn.” For some weird reason, that majorly cracked me up.

  13. That was great!!!!! By the way Greg said “you know” like a million times. Still Awesome!!!!!!!

  14. Hilarious reading – thanks Tanster!

    I love hearing these two be so candid with their responses. Rarely do we get a window into people’s souls… But I’m glad to say that Rainn and Greg’s souls are awesome. The entire interview was well done with wonderful questions that true fans will love! Thanks so much for posting!

  15. I can’t say how much I appreciate you bringing the insider info to us. I love hearing/reading about the passion and creativity of the writers and performers on this show. It’s so much fun, and better yet, totally justifies the time I spend laughing and re-laughing over this show! Thank you!

  16. Thanks for posting it, tanster. I have to say that personally I am a bit bummed that they keep fleshing out the Dwight character in far more detail than they do Jim Halpert.

  17. #14… I feel your pain. My bobblehead’s cappa was detaited too. He’s got a permanent neck brace of blue tape right now.

    Also my favorite moments in this was the hatch under Dwight’s desk and Spot the Fetus.

    Oh and the idea that somewhere out there someone is now planning on putting Dwight into a time capsule.

  18. Wow great stuff here! Greg stating they will be playing with time this season, the idea of the characters seeing the documentary, John Krasinski and friends shooting the Scranton footage in the opening, and the Pet Day script! I think that it would be awsome if the characters saw the documentary and were in the public eye at the beginning of the final season, there are some really golden ideas behind that concept. I think eventually the idea will be put to use, but probably not for awhile.

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