Press call with Ed Helms and Paul Lieberstein

Reporter 22: And have you ever worked in a workplace like that? Have you ever worked in such a mundane office?

Ed: Yeah. Sure.

Paul: Yeah me too.

Reporter 22: Do you know exactly what Michael does there, what his job consists?

Paul: Out in Denver you mean? No. We haven’t followed him into his new work environment. So, you know, I’m not sure if he got that job he thought he was going to get.

Reporter 23: In this [upcoming] season, will it be more ensemble based than it has been in the past or is it going to be more of Andy and Robert California filling up the extra time from Michael?

Paul: Well it’s a mix. You know, we have some very ensemble based shows and some that really focus in on Andy and his relationship with Robert. But, you know, our big Robert shows are generally big Andy shows too. And there’s quite a few stories that are focused on the ensemble.

Reporter 24: In this first episode, there seems to be a big mystery behind Robert California. But he also has a like a subtle but strong control in the office. Should we expect it to stay that way or what type of surprises will we see in his character of evolution?

Paul: If someone starts off very enigmatic and hard to read, you start to get to know them after a while. So yes, we’ll see other aspects. We’re going to kind of hold onto that for a while and then we’ll start to see other aspects of him come through. And he’s the guy who’s just very interested in the interactions with people and playing out power dynamics and watching people squirm and putting them in situations where they’re tested and watching them. Unlike Kathy Bates who is just interested in results, he is a voyeur of the process.

Ed: And I think the episode that we’re shooting right now actually I’m having a tremendous amount of fun with — in observing a character of the course of episode 6 or 7 or 8…

Paul: Yeah. And nine.

Ed: …and nine. Oh geez. And so we know Robert California pretty well by now. And there’s still some revelations happening. And it’s really cool. He’s not a one-note character by any stretch.

Reporter 24: Ed, earlier you said that Andy is a heightened version of yourself. What other characteristics of Andy do you have in your everyday life?

Ed: Well the wardrobe’s the same. I really like the way Andy dresses in certain episodes. But, you know, I struggle with confidence and like most people, it ebbs and flows. And I certainly relate to Andy’s fear walking into a situation. But I do think I’m a little better equipped at handling it than Andy. But there’s something really fun and cathartic about playing it out in the most petty way imaginable. That [seems to be] Andy’s MO. And I think a lot of us are pettier than we will admit. In other words, we’re better at governing our behavior. But sometimes our feelings and emotions are much pettier inside. And Andy’s just much more exposed. And that’s therapeutic for me in a way.

Moderator: Thank you guys everyone for joining us. Thank you to Paul and Ed for joining us. Have a great day.

Ed: Thanks very much everyone.

Paul: Thanks everyone.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, this does conclude the conference for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your lines.



  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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