Paul Lieberstein/Amy Ryan conference call

I had the pleasure of participating in a conference call with The Office’s Paul Lieberstein and Amy Ryan this morning, along with bunches of press people. We all got a turn in asking Paul and Amy questions, mainly about Season 5.

Here are my rough notes from the call.

  • Regarding the relationship between Holly and Michael, Amy says “there’s a lid for every pot, or as I like to say, a lid for every crackpot.”
  • Amy is back home in New York, and has already finished shooting the initial agreement of six episodes. There are no plans for any additional eps, but Amy says “never say never.”
  • Does Holly get to interact with everybody at the office, and not just Michael and Kevin? Amy says she completely moves into Toby’s desk. Holly gets to interact with everybody in the office.
  • What brings Toby back? Paul replies, “a failure to escape.” Paul had a friend who actually saved up enough money to “live poor” on the beaches of Hawaii, had a big going away party, and then came home two weeks later. He was lonely, was robbed on the beach, “and this was our model.”
  • Paul finds it hard to watch other comedies. He says it’s like looking at code in ‘The Matrix.’
  • When asked if Toby can find happiness, Paul laughed, “I don’t know if happiness is in Toby’s future.”
  • Does the hazing of Holly continue? Paul says the hazing stops.
  • Paul characterizes Holly as a “junior Michael.”
  • Paul says he will probably be directing a couple of episodes this season.
  • Paul says “We miss Mike [Schur] a lot.” They see him when he gets hungry and has to come over for snacks.
  • Does Holly figure out that Kevin isn’t “special”? Amy says “yeah, she finds out the hard way.”
  • I asked Paul about Stephen Merchant, who is directing the episode in production this week — a Halloween episode! Paul said it was really exciting having Stephen there; he kept them honest in preserving the integrity of the documentary format. “He’d call us out every once in awhile, when we seem to go a little too far, or a little too personal. When we shoot a scene in the bathroom, he’s like ‘really?’ He’s extremely funny, and it’s been great working with him. There will be some great new Halloween costumes to look forward to!” (Jenna Fischer also talks about the Halloween episode in her latest MySpace blog.)
  • Jason Reitman (he directed last season’s ‘Local Ad’) will be back to direct another episode this season.
  • Amy talks about bloopers. She said at one point, she laughed so hard she started to cry. Makeup had to be reapplied. Paul laughed, “I didn’t know that.”
  • NBC interjects at one point to confirm, yes, there will be cast bobbleheads.
  • Paul says it breaks his heart when some of the most priceless scenes (such as Creed jamming with the band in ‘Booze Cruise’) never make it to air.
  • Is Toby a threat to JAM? Paul quips “Toby is less of a threat than the price of gas.”
  • Paul almost never writes lines for Toby.
  • Is there sometimes a concern that the writing focuses too much on relationships and not enough on funny stories? The writers talk about it a lot. No episode is ever just about a relationship. There is always something else going on, a robbery, ethics training, etc. Paul says “The relationships are always the B story.”
  • What happens with Ryan? “He’ll spring back up in a way that’s typical of people who can spin anything.” Hmmm, what could that mean …
  • Do Angela and Andy actually make it to the altar? Paul says “There will be altar of sorts. But not in the way you’re thinking. There’s a lot of fun coming up in their relationship.”
  • What about Jan’s baby? Paul says “You will see a baby shower that the office throws for her. There is some talk about who the father might be.”
  • The last question of the call was for Paul: “You mentioned earlier a robbery and ethics training. Are these coming up this season?” Paul: Yes.

Watch With Kristin was also in on the call: here is their report.


  1. I can not wait to see how the robbery plot plays out. I know for sure he’ll look at Darryl or think it was hazing from another branch. Sounds promising!

    Thanks for the inside scoop, Tanster!

  2. Is it possible to ‘hang on every word’ when it’s written? If so, that’s what I was doing. Thanks for that Tanster, great question too (bet most of the press people didn’t even know about Stephen Merchant directing – you show ’em!)

  3. I gasped when I read that there was going to be a Halloween episode. I cannot wait to see the costumes. But what can beat 3 Hole Punch Jim? We shall see.

  4. oh Jhony, that is true! dwight will probably form another task force! i am excited about that, the halloween episode (of course), this mysterious “spinning” of his situation that ryan is going to do and what this altar of sorts is. my guess: angela tries to make andy convert to her religion or something. after getting married through the catholic church myself i would love to see the office parody all the classes and paperwork and hoops you have to jump through in order to do that!

  5. What great nuggets of information! I’m really excited about this upcoming season, the Halloween episode especially.

  6. How exciting! After reading this, I’m even more stoked for Season 5 than I previously was, and I didn’t realize that was possible! Thanks so much for getting the scoop for us, tanster – as always!

  7. Thanks so much, Tanster! And does cast bobbleheads mean a Kevin bobblehead may possible be made? I’m first in line for the talking Stanley one!

  8. So does the comment about Toby being “less of a threat than the price of gas” mean he IS a threat? Also I would love to see Ryan get demoted back to his old job. Probably not likely though.

  9. I go to a school that costs too much, drive a car that makes too much noise, talk through a phone that has too much static, and spend way too much time doing homework. But when Office scoop comes up…Well, I like Office scoop, and this is about as juicy as it gets.

  10. the three things that most excited me about these notes:

    1) the Halloween episode! woohoo!
    2) cast bobbleheads! I want a BobbleJim.
    3) the robbery paul mentioned. what if Toby’s the thief? That would be…highly unlikely…but awesome.

  11. “There will be an altar of sorts, but not in the way that you’re thinking.”

    …So I’m gonna go with human sacrifice.

    [from tanster: lol! funniest comment of today!]

  12. I hope that if and when they bring Toby back, they settle his character down a bit. In my opinion he did a total 360 in Season 4 from being the kind of laid back anti-Michael, to being rude and pervy. I used to love watching Toby’s character and by the end of the season I was glad to see him go, which was strange. Maybe his mishaps in Costa Rica will set him right again.

  13. Toby’s return makes it sounds like he’s coming back from Costa Rica after hitting rock bottom….

    … But I was under the impression that he had already hit rock bottom while working at Dunder-Mifflin. I guess there is no such thing as rock bottom. There’s always a crack where you can fall a couple more feet down. Lol, poor guy.

  14. I agree about Toby and Ryan doing complete 360s. I miss when those two characters were the normal ones, rather than the creep and the douche. Glad to see them both return none-the-less.

    My guess as to the price-of-gas comment: Since Pam and Jim are far apart, it’s expensive for them to see each other because of the price of gas.

  15. So looking forward to the Halloween episode! Also, I’m a little disappointed that Holly is only on for a few episodes, and Toby is even one of my favorite characters!

    I’ll be first in line for the Pam bobblehead =)

  16. So what do you think the odds are that Jan’s baby’s father is somebody we’ve seen before?

  17. Toby’s back yay! Another “The Return” perhaps?

    And, calling it now, Hunter is the daddy!

  18. i know a lot of people who are upset with the “360” that toby and ryan had last season. it doesn’t bother me because, although we love these characters and follow their developments ultimately this is a comedy and a parody to a certain extent of the types of people you find in the working world. toby, including the side of him that is creepy and pervy, is a perfect parody of that type of guy! it is so good! but i like the office because it works on both levels: a show about these people and a parody of an office and different elements of the show work well for those two purposes.

  19. I’m so intrigued by all these snippets from the new season! Robbery, Jan’s baby daddy, Angela/Andy/Dwight, and so on.

    But really right now, I’m curious about everyone’s Halloween costumes, and if Jim and Pam will go with some cheesy couple themed outfit. =)

  20. Why is nobody concerned that Pam has accepted an internship???

    I thought that was the biggest spoiler so far!


  21. Re 27:

    What are the odds that Jan was bluffing about having gone to the sperm bank at all? Maybe it is really Michael’s. Although, Jan kept making him get, and subsequently get reversed, a bunch of vasectomies.

  22. #25 – Mike Schur, I assume, is working on the new show.

    This has seriously made my day. It sounds like the show is moving back into a more realistic direction. :-)

  23. How much do you want to bet that someone in the office donated the sperm that Jan ended up choosing? Andy (chosen for his Cornell-worthy intellect)? Dwight (chosen for his strong Schrute genes)?

  24. If Pam is getting an internship, I wonder if it will cause her to stay longer in New York? I hope not cause the office wouldn’t be the same without Pam at reception and who knows how Jim would handle that.

  25. We need Todd Packer back! Any possibility that that’s who Jan’s donor will turn out to be?

  26. Holly finds out “the hard way” that Kevin’s not special? I’m kinda worried about what that means… lol

    also- thank GOD there’s a Halloween special. and thanks for asking about Merchant’s directing Tanster! Loved that bit of info :)

    (also – now I have to make room on my work desk for a whole cast of bobbleheads… hmmmm I guess I could move my employee of the year mug.)

  27. oh, i didn’t even pay attention to the internship thing cause i thought they were referring to her program at pratt. but yeah, i guess this is something different. i am not going to freak out about jim and pam, i didn’t get worked up at any point last season although i know a lot of people got worried every other episode! anyway it will all work out in the end.
    so if it is an internship that means it is unpaid. i wonder if she is doing any part time receptionist work to pay her bills….hmmm….

  28. I don’t think Ryan did a 180 last year at all. From the very beginning, Ryan was always a bit of a jerk who thought he was above it all and better than everyone else. He always treated Kelly poorly (okay, who could put up with her, but still). I think they planted the seeds (so to speak) of his downfall a long time in advance.

  29. Ooooohhhh… Tuna Tuna Tuna, you make a good point! What if the internship is the weekend only program that Jan introduced to Pam in Season 2. I’m not worried about JAM. They’re too good together and make for good TV.

  30. exactly diahern, that’s what i was thinking. you are picking up what i am putting down!

  31. Ryan was always a conceited jerk who thought he was above everyone in Scranton. He had a funny side. So his turn in season 4 wasn’t unrealistic it was inevitable when he was given that power in the company. He didn’t have the maturity or experience to handle it.

  32. Honestly, I think Ryan’s big thing was not that he was above everyone else, but he was above where he currently was, and he was frustrated with it. It’s the situation where someone is right out of college, and they can’t do exactly what they want to do, because they don’t have enough real world experience.

    His ideas at Corporate were actually very good ideas (on paper) that should have been put in long before he got there. Since when does a publicly traded company not have a working website? Also, blackberries ARE good for salesmen who travel to clients, and need to access information from the road. He just went overkill by having a social networking section on the website.

    The reason why I said he did a 180 was because of the later developments of the season (the conflict with Jim and the drug problem). Both came out of nowhere, and didn’t seem like the real Ryan.

  33. I know that Ryan was kind of a jerk this season, but I still love him! As fantastic as everyone else is, he’s always been my favorite character. I can’t wait to see what they do with him this season. Rehab, haha? And I sort of hope he keeps the half-beard. It was really cute.

    I have to wonder what they meant about the altar involved in Andy and Angela….Hmmmm…

  34. i saw the hard partying and the ego mash-up with jim as further parody of the business school d-bag (no offense to any real business school people out there, i just mean that cliche type of guy)
    i think it is also just another element of him getting in over his head. i feel like ryan thinks he is hot stuff, takes himself too seriously and is intense. i feel like that has been consistent throughout. with that in mind, all the developments this season seem reasonable to me. i mean, reasonable within a fictional comedy parody about people who work together :)

  35. Epinson-
    I think the conflict with Jim is totally believable. He was insecure about his job and the website was not doing well(even before the fraud) and Ryan saw Jim going to Wallace as a threat to his position. That’s why he decided to get Jim fired.

  36. OMG! I just watched Kristen’s Videos (Watch w/ Kristen -eonline) On one video clip she says that JAM stays in contact with the “world’s smallest Bluetooth.” The other clip says that there are 2 guys speaking about their engagements at Dunder Mifflin. One is Andy and the other is NOT Jim! I don’t know what to say…

  37. My opinion? Kevin is Jan’s baby daddy. Think about it, he has money problems so he probably went to donate and lied on the form.

  38. Headphone –

    I understand, but I still think it was kind of rushed. It would have been easier if there was no strike and there was more time for buildup, but compare Ryan pre-“Night Out” to Ryan post-“Night Out” and it’s a DRASTIC change.

  39. I think that Hunter could be the dad of Jan’s baby — and perhaps Pam’s replacement, too?

  40. my predictions for this season: ryan as the new receptionist,(he has to do community services) and jan’s baby is gonna be black.

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