Lester Lewis answers ‘Customer Survey’ questions

Q: Who did the voices of Michael’s mom and the client that Dwight was on the phone with. Were they actors, or special guests from behind-the-scenes (a la the previous cameos from Greg Daniels, Justin Spitzer, Gene and Lee, etc.)? | Teach

Lester: The woman who played Michael’s mom was June Squibb. Can’t recall the actor who did the “I need paper?” line, but it wasn’t one of the writers.

Q: Was it difficult/confusing to write/film/act/shoot the bluetooth scenes? I loved them but I got confused a couple times trying to keep up with Jim talking to both Pam and someone else. | JMJ

Lester: They were challenging but fun. We shot both sides of almost all the conversations so we could pick where to intercut. But it gave us great opportunities for comedy, I think, especially with Dwight. And obviously the ending with Alex could only have worked if Jim was secretly listening.

Q: Who came up with the idea to have Pam and Jim stay on the phone all day? What kind of phone plan do they have if they are using 500 minutes a day? | Cynister

Lester: BJ pitched the mini bluetooth idea and they have a 1,000,000 minute plan with Dunder-Mifflin Wireless. The downside? $1,000,000 a month.

Q: The bluetooth device Jim and Pam were using, is it real? And if so where can I find one | Greg

Lester: Excellent question. You might have to go to Japan and get someone to invent it for you. It was made out of parts of real ones, but sadly there’s nothing quite that small on the market yet. I know because if there was, I’d have bought it.

Q: When Dwight sneaks up on Kelly in her nook there is a camera already placed there to film the action. However, there were already two cameras filming his conversation with Jim before he leapt from his seat to confront her. Did he tell one of the crew to get into position, or was a third cameraman chilling with Kelly at a most convenient time? | phyllis*farm

Lester: Uh … I … yeah, that. (Lester wipes sweat off his brow.)

Q: Could you explain where we are in the timeline? If Pam’s program was only three months long, and we know she’s still in that same program based on her conversation with Alex in your episode, this episode obviously can’t be based in November. But, last week, Pam was at corporate for Halloween, which also should be beyond Pam’s three month stay in NYC. Are the writers deliberately making the timeline inscrutable? | Annie

Lester: We, uh … um. Was that my phone? Gotta go!

Q: Who came up with the “that’s what she said” line for this episode, it was one of the funniest ones so far. | Agent Michael Scarn

Lester: That “scene blow,” as we call it, was pitched by none other than John Krasinski during the filming of the scene. The guy is good-looking AND pitches better jokes than me. I was the one who approved it, though, so I want part of the credit.


  1. Great Q&A and congrats on the baby, but Lester, why won’t you answer the time line question? It’s annoying the bejesus out of me!

  2. That overlooked detail of Pam now being in NY for more than 3 months is seriously bothering me. I’m actually kind of surprised. The writers/Greg are usually very aware of continuity–more so than other shows.

  3. As always, a million thanks to tanster and our fabulous writers for access to this show like no other…literally. And cheers Mr. Lewis for, um, ignoring my question. :D

  4. Aww, congratulations Lester!

    Great Q&A. I really enjoyed the questions posed to him as well as his responses.

    Thanks again (to you and the rest of the writers) for taking the time to do this for the fans.

  5. Thanks, Lester and Tanster! This was a particularly awesome episode, and I’m thrilled with the Q&A! Thank you to fans of The Office for these great questions!

  6. Great Q&A, I love that JK thought of the TWSS, I just wish the writers would quit mentioning 3 month when it’s so obviously not a 3 month program anymore.

  7. Thanks, as always, Tanster for making these Q&As happen! Just another reason why this is such an awesome show to love and obsess over.

    And yippee, he answered my question! I’ve decided that makes me two degrees away in my own personal Six Degrees of John Krasinski game :-) So close, so close…

    [from tanster: LOL!]

  8. Good stuff! I love that John Krasinski came up with the TWSS line. Jenna delivered it hilariously! Stephen Merchant is the man! I hope he’s back to direct more episodes. The photo album was a great touch, too.

    Thank you, Tanster and Lester!

  9. Thank you for posting these Q & A’s! They are such fun! I just have one tiny idea…
    Is it possible to post a photo of the corresponding writer with the article? Or is there somewhere I can find photos of the writers? I would love to have a face to go with the name. :D

    [from tanster: see this page]

  10. Such a great Q&A! Thanks, Lester (and Congrats!) for answering my question and thanks to Tanster for always treating us!! :)

  11. Jim and Pam being able to stay on the phone with each other all day is totally possible… it’s called free mobile to mobile.

  12. Great interview! Congrats to Lester on the new baby and thanks for making the Q&A happen. I was wondering about Steve and Mindy cracking up in the office, too, because it felt SO natural, like an outtake that was salvaged and put in. And LOVED the explanation on the mugs – that was exactly what I was thinking, that it would totally have been a Kelly Kapoor type party favor BUT we’d also believe that Andy would have one of those on his own. Love the subtlety. Thanks again.

  13. Thank you so much, Lester! Congratulations on your new baby! Thank you also, Tanster, for putting this together for us!

  14. > why won’t you answer the time line question?

    He did, by pretending his phone was ringing. Translation: “We don’t know either.”

    I thought it was nice of Lester to admit, “yeah, we screwed up/don’t know”, and he did it in such a funny way.

  15. These q&a’s make my day- thank you tanster and the writers! Haha I love Lester getting flustered over the screw-ups.

  16. Thank you, Lester, for answering our questions! It’s awesome that the writers are willing to do this for the fans. Also, thank you, tanster, for posting these.

  17. Thanks so much for doing this Lester, and Tanster!

    Awesome Q&A as usual! Not only informative but funny. I remember someone asking about the “rape” line (or perhaps was just mentioned in the Ep. comments? I’m pretty sure it was in both though)and was looking forward to reading Lester’s take on it because I really thought it was so Kelly to say that I found it hilarious unlike some people out there.

    Too bad that Q didn’t make it, I like controversy! :D

    -JK came up with the funniest TWSS line in The Office’s history! Awesome!

  18. I get so excited when one of my questions get answered. These are so good. I love the behind the scenes stuff.

  19. Thanks tanster for setting these interviews all up, and a special thanks to the writers/staff who graciously answer everyone’s questions, it just proves how amazingly close this show is to its loyal fans!

    Also my question was answered, yay!! I saw my username and I had a happy heart attack! :-)

  20. First and foremost, huge congratulations to Lester and his wife on their new baby boy! Thanks so much for another amazing Q&A on another fantastic episode. I feel so lucky that we get this opportunity learn about all of the thought and care that goes into writing the show. No wonder The Office continues to be consistently great entertainment and no wonder my husband and I say, “Well, that was okay I guess, but it’s no Office” when we watch other comedies.

    I loved reading about Stephen Merchant’s collaboration, especially in the parking lot scene! And way to go on the mugs, Lester! You definitely deserve a bonus. The response to the head-scratching art school time line was hilarious! Maybe some die hard Office fan can be hired to be an Angela-esque continuity master. Tee hee! (And it totally couldn’t be oblivious me, because I would have never noticed anything odd about time unless I’d read about it here!)

  21. congrats on the new baby, thanks for taking the time.
    tanster – when we submit questions do you choose which ones to ask the writers or do they take a look at the list and decide which ones they want to answer themselves?

    [from tanster: both — i filter out all the duplicates and spoilerish questions, then the writers choose which ones they want to answer from the rest.]

  22. That was an amazing interview! Thanks for answering my question!! I love how John Krasinski came up with that TWSS line :)

  23. i love that john came up with the best that’s what she said line ever!!

    Awesome Q & A. Thanks Lester!

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