Press call with Ed Helms and Paul Lieberstein

Reporter 18: Since Michael’s gone and there’s like no one to antagonize Toby anymore, what is his purpose of the character this season?

Paul: In terms of the role of Toby, I’m not really sure what it is. I’m really focused on kind of making the whole show work. But as I start to do scenes with different characters, I think, different aspects of conflicts in character arise that are kind of interesting.

Reporter 18: Now that Steve is gone, do you feel that there’s like a pressure to live up to what the show was with him?

Paul: I always felt a pressure to make the show as best I could. And for every table read, I get nervous and that was with Steve or without Steve. I don’t know if the pressure I feel is bigger. Certainly there are a lot of eyes on the show right now. But I think that’s it. Yes. But I put pressure on everything. So of course I feel it. I’m moving this weekend and I feel pressure to move really well.

Reporter 19: I was wondering if you could talk about Josh Groban’s appearance on the series.

Paul: Sure. It started with when we were casting Andy’s brother. Mindy Kaling thought of Josh and it seemed like a natural click. And he was excited and he wanted to act and then I’ll let Ed talk about what it’s like to work with him because I wasn’t on set.

Ed: Of course we all know Josh is an amazing singer and then I saw him in Crazy Stupid Love and thought he was great in that. And so I was not at all surprised that he was really great and hilarious to work with as an actor too. The choice of Josh is kind of a fun teaser because obviously he is musical and we all know that Andy has a certain penchant for music. And Josh’s appearance is part of a really exciting episode for me and for Andy because it’s really where we learn a lot about Andy and not all of it is good and some of it is sort of poignant. And there of course is some fun music that gets mixed in there too.

Reporter 19: When is he going to be appearing on the show?

Paul: I think that is at the garden party — looking at the calendar. I don’t have the airdate in front of me. I think it’s going to be end of October.

Reporter 20: I feel like there might be some sort of a rivalry between Ed and Josh because Josh is such a good singer and so I was wondering if you could elaborate a little bit more on that.

Ed: Well I’ll just say that there is some rivalry but it takes a compelling turn that I think is unexpected. And the source of the rivalry may not be what you expect. Of course Josh is a great singer and that wasn’t lost on our writers. But I’m excited to show the fans where and how Josh’s character fits into Andy’s life and also what it means for who Andy is. And it’s not all good. You can see an aspect of Andy exaggerated in Josh, which is a guy who’s even more naive and socially sweeter if you can believe it. So it’s interesting to see the two of them together.


  1. Interesting quote from Paul regarding the nature of the documentary! “…that’ll be a very fun reveal. It might not be about what you think.”
    Hopefully they won’t be revealing that anytime soon since he implies it’ll be towards the end of the series.

  2. You were able to travel into the future for an interview on October 27th? Your reporter skills are impressive! :)

    [from tanster: oops! now fixed, thanks!]

  3. Having Paul and Ed talking about the inevitable finale of the series, that makes me kinda sad. At least I am relieved they know the ending they are working towards and seem to have it planned out, which is something that cannot be said about other shows.

  4. Wow, I never ever thought I’d see Capturing the Friedmans referenced alongside The Office.

    That [unintelligible] couldn’t have come at a worse possible moment in the transcript… ;)

  5. Sounds like the show is going to come to an end soon. Perhaps 9 seasons at most. However, thanks for the interview!

  6. This was a good read. And yes, having Paul and Ed talk about the ending makes me really sad. I know it has to come to an end some time especially having a 8 season run so far, but I really do wish it can go longer than 9 seasons. I’m hoping for 10, if that’s not too much to ask for.

  7. I was a bit surprised that Paul seemed very unsure that Steve would ever make a return. I was under the impression that there might be a few cameos at least. I’m all for the show not living in the past but I would have loved to see something like.

  8. @#7 Paul is unsure because it’s entirely up to Steve. And these are Steve’s most recent comments on the subject:

    “I don’t think Michael Scott should come back at all,” he said. “I just think it’s better if he just moves along. I think the show should become whatever it’s going to become without people traipsing back in.”

  9. I really can’t think of any valid reason to bring Michael back, even for a cameo. I mean, maybe they can have him Skype with Dwight or something one episode but Michael’s story in Scranton is over. That’s not to say that the series finale shouldn’t acknowledge him–and certainly, the producers should and will extend the invitation to Steve for that–but there’s really no situation that wouldn’t come across as obviously contrived for a sitcom.

    If they ever do have him make another appearance though, I sincerely hope the producers and cast make every effort to keep it a surprise until the episode airs. No hints on Twitter like “So excited to shoot with today’s ‘guest star’!!” or promos heralding the return of Michael Scott. Keep it organic so it doesn’t lead to an overblown, overhyped bit like Ricky Gervais last year.

  10. Paul was vague on Michael’s return because there is clearly some long term planning in the works. If The Office were to go off air without the Michael/Holly wedding it would be nothing short of a travesty! Steve understands that. He’s just not going to start prematurely discussing anything of that nature in the media.

    As far as the number of seasons goes, I was convinced this year would be the last but not sure as the ratings aren’t diving so we might get a 9th.

  11. There’s no chance of a Michael/Holly wedding. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that, if it happens, I’ll run naked through the parking lot with a doughnut on my ding dong.

  12. @Kyle – What, no ass tattoo?!?!

    But I agree completely. I’d be stunned if Steve ever made a cameo in a future episode, even the series finale. All indications are that he’s done with the show and they’re done with him. Everyone is taking the high road, and saying the right things, because that’s good for business.

  13. I liked the explanation Paul gave about why they chose Andy to be manager. I’m glad someone asked about the Scranton Strangler. I thought that storyline would have continued by now especially after what Toby said at the Dundies. Paul’s answer was confusing. Toby is going to visit the Scranton Strangler in jail? I’m excited to see what the documentary is going to be about at the end! I’ve been wondering what Toby’s purpose is now that Michael is gone. I really loved their relationship. I’m so happy someone asked if there would be a Michael and Holly wedding! I really hope we see them get married. I know I’m not the only fan whose been waiting to see Michael’s wedding day. If we can’t see their wedding, I at least hope they can both make an appearance and just update everyone on what they have been up to. I know Steve has already said he feels like Michael shouldn’t come back, but I hope he changes his mind when it comes time for the series finale if not sooner!

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