Lester Lewis answers ‘Customer Survey’ questions

Q: What was the inspiration behind having Kelly make the mugs? They were my favorite part! | Courtney

Lester: Oh, yay! Glad someone asked about that. Basically we needed a way for Jim to realize something fishy was up with Kelly. We explored Dwight tapping her phone, discovering some secret recording device, but that all seemed lame and unrealistic. We knew we wanted her to be mad they didn’t come to her party, and the idea of party-favor mugs just popped into my head. I liked it because you would believe Andy really would have one of those, so it was a nice subtle thing to plant early in the story.

Q: When we see something like the mugs that are on the show on Thursday and for sale on Friday at NBC.com, is that something that was in the episode and NBC decided to sell or something that NBC wanted to sell and had put in the episode? | Shrutastic

Lester: Nope, the mugs were my idea, they just saw a natural marketing opportunity. And how much do I see from them? $0 my friends. So if you buy one, just pay-pal me a couple of bucks, okay? My wife just had a baby and we need the cash.

Q: I’m curious why the writers kept Pam silent during her art school friend’s rant about staying in NY. Since we’re seeing a more bold & confident Pam, why didn’t she speak up? | Krista

Lester: He was making serious points that she hadn’t considered. She needed to process.

Q: Rich Sommer’s performance really blew me away. How did the writer’s decide to have his character bring such profound clarity to the Pam/Jim/NYC situation? | Tiffany

Lester: We worked really, really hard on that scene, even rewriting parts of it on the day. Rich is just amazing, what can I say? He delivered in a big way. And a great guy, too.

Q: What, exactly, is Pam’s job at the NY office? | JAMforever

Lester: She’s just a floater, filling in where needed when assistants are out sick.

Q: I think Dwight air kicking Phyllis is probably one of the funniest moments I’ve seen on The Office. Was that written in for him to do that or did he improvise that? | Gregory

Lester: Well, we gave him some dialogue when he’s excited that indicated he should be punching the air, but Rainn improvised that kick. One take only and it made it into the show.

Q: The scene with Kelly in Michael’s office — was their laughter scripted? It just seemed so natural, almost like they broke character but you (or Stephen Merchant, I guess?) decided to keep rolling. | two toasters

Lester: No, actually it was scripted.

Q: Were there any other scenes that were cut, or is that how y’all meant to end the episode? | mandyw2009

Lester: That’s how we meant to end it.


  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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