Lester Lewis answers ‘Customer Survey’ questions

Q: This episode was filled with some very funny and edgy one-liners, my favorite being “Kapoor’s list.” Do you try to think of edgy things like that to put in the script or do those ideas come more naturally and you then decide it would be funny in the show? | Samuel L Chang

Lester: They just come out and the writers in the room can judge if they’re good or not.

Q: When Jim was congratulating Dwight on being right, did he actually know that Kelly had messed with the surveys, or was he just messing with Dwight? | Diapers Schrute

Lester: He was actually congratulating him. Jim does care about Dwight and was kinda looking out for him a little in the episode.

Q: Why can’t Nana Mimi be in canvas for that long? | Astird

Lester: Oh, Nana Mimi is very sensitive. Allergies, prejudices, all kinds of stuff.

Q: I loved the Schrute wedding photos. Who do we thank for the great work? Any of the writing staff or crew pose in the photos? | Chris

Lester: Those were a combo of Stephen Merchant and production designer Michael Gallenberg. No writers were cast, though, although many of us look ghastly enough to have been included.

Q: I noticed that one of the grooms in the Schrute Farm wedding pictures was the funeral agent from Job Fair. Did you put him in there to show that funerals and Schrute Farm weddings are very similar? | kreidy

Lester: Ha! I love that you picked up on that. We just loved his look so much that we used him twice. But you know that Schrutes are married in their graves, so there is a definite connection.

Q: The official pictures from this episode show Dwight and Phyllis talking about a newspaper. What happened in that scene? | kreidy

Lester: They are laughing at a really a super-inside Scranton political cartoon but Dwight thinks they’re laughing at him. It’s a funny scene and I assume it will be a DVD extra. [from tanster: you can see this in the third deleted scene that was posted yesterday.]

Q: I can’t stop laughing at Dwight’s line, “You juked the stats, cupcake!” as well as, “Jim is smudge and arrogant,” Bill Buttlicker, etc. Throughout the normal course of the day, (you know, at the gym, at a coffee stand, walking the dog, as you’re falling asleep, etc.) do these kinds of lines just pop into your head? Or do they mostly come out when you’re really getting into the character and writing his/her lines? | what’s the dealio?

Lester: I’m bombarded with lines! They won’t stop coming. That’s what she said. Actually, the best jokes in this episode were pitched by other writers during the considerable re-write. Everybody is so sharp and so keyed into the characters that it’s a non-stop process all day long. Except during lunch. I mean, a writer has got to eat.

Check out more Q&As in the Episode Q&A Archive. Essential reading for every Office super fan!


  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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