Got a ‘Stress Relief’ question for Paul Lieberstein?

Do you have a question about last night’s post-Super Bowl episode, ‘Stress Relief’?

Paul Lieberstein, ‘Stress Relief’ writer, has very graciously agreed to answer your questions about the episode! Given that he is also very busy being an executive producer for ‘The Office,’ I am beyond excited that he’s agreed to do this. Thank you, Paul!

Submit your question here by 11pm PT tomorrow night, February 3rd.

I’ll put together a Q&A and post it hopefully sometime next week.

Remember, non-spoilerish questions about ‘Stress Relief’ only. Thanks!


  1. I’ve noticed that whenever you write an episode it has a very unique feeling (In a very, very good way!)I was just wondering how much of the character development you would credit to the rotation of writers. Also, do you have any examples of a specific writer’s unique take on a certain character.

  2. Thanks for answering questions. “Stress Relief” was amazing! Question: What was involved in the casting decision for the pirated movie? Since I know Carol Burnett has stated she wants to be on the show, were any other actors considered for those roles?

  3. First of all, your BEST episode yet! Well done…My question is……How pleased were you with this episode? This one must have been great for you!

  4. How were you able to choreograph the opening fire scene? Was it written in, or was a lot of it improv on the part of the actors? Also, do you or any of the writers have any inclinations to go back to the funny of the “2nd season”? I mean don’t get me wrong, yesterday’s episode was funny–but I feel like this season has relied too much on the physical comedy or being “big”. If you were to juxtapose yesterday’s episode to say “Dwight’s Speech” from season 2–there is more of an intellectual funny, and personally I feel a lot of us viewers enjoy that much more but that there hasn’t been that in a long time–I would say since before the writer’s strike last season.

  5. One of my favorite scenes of the episode was Michael’s “boss” talking head. Was this joke purposely written because Bruce Springsteen was doing the halftime show or was it purely coincidental?

  6. Paul, When Stanley passed out and fell to the floor, what was Michael trying to put in Stanley’s mouth? BTW, “Stress Relief” was the best episode ever! What a great idea to have Michael “roast” the staff at the end of the show!

  7. Who was the actor kissing Cloris Leachman at the very end of the episode? My friend insists that it was Ed Helms!

  8. This episode was awesome! I was laughing so hard at the cold open! Angela and her cat was my favorite part!

    Question: How many takes were necessary for the cold open? So much was happening all at the same time!

    Thank you Paul for such a great episode, it’s now in my top 5 of all time! :)

  9. I thought Stress Relief was a great episode, possibly the best of the season. My question is how easy or difficult is it for you to write for your own character? Especially when Michael is prone to view him as the devil of Human Resources?

  10. When you write an episode, do you feel you write less material for yourself as to avoid selfishness? If there’s one thing Stress Relief was missing, it was good ole Toby Flenderson.

  11. I’d like to hear the put downs Michael wrote for Phyllis and Kelly. Of course, he did not have a line for Toby either, but we hear those all the time.

    And Jim’s little notebook of Michael’s malapropisms made me wonder if there could be a book in the works, a la “Bushisms”? That would be awesome.

  12. Were there any alternatives for any of Michael’s roasts? Or were there any extra, that we didn’t see, like for Kelly or Toby? On that note, were there any roasts of Michael that we didn’t see?

  13. First of all, this was my favorite episode this season! Thank you for such a wonderful episode!

    One of my favorite parts was when Dwight and Michael were trying to decide if it was “heed” or “headed” or “heeding of” etc. Was that all written in or an improv?
    I love moments like that where the joke is the weird way the actors say a word.

    Also, what did you guys use for snow when Michael was at the park? It looked pretty real.

  14. Was there any concern among the writers or editors that the cold-open was too hi-jinxy?


    How much discussion was there about how to play that last scene where Jim and Pam talk about why her father left her mother? I thought it was so brilliant how they were both crying but at the same time, not crying. Where else but on The Office would you see that?! (Please give Jenna and John a nice pat on the back for that one).

    I heart you all.

  15. Hey Paul! Well done last night!

    Question: When you originally wrote this episode did you know that it was going to be the post-superbowl episode? If not, how did the episode change once you found out?

    Thanks Paul!

  16. Great episode! So many fantastic moments! My question involves one of the last scenes when Pam is talking about how you never understand a love affair unless you are one of the ones involved and Andy reacts in the background. Was his response meant to be strictly about the Jim-and-Pam-are-movie-geniuses plot or was it a nod to the Dwight-Andy-Angela love triangle?

  17. 1. This episode was a good example of a perceived change in the direction of show. Have the writers made a conscious decision to move away from subtle, intellectual humor toward broad, physical humor? Or is this an unplanned change?

    2. What was the point of the fake movie with the guest stars? Was it something forced on you by NBC or did you really think it would be funny?

  18. Hi Paul! First of all, I absolutely loved this episode! I laughed practically non-stop.

    When you first conceptualized and began writing this episode, did you know that it was going to be the one shown after the Super Bowl? What effect, if any, did that have on your writing process? Did you feel a crazy amount of pressure to make it the Best Episode Ever, considering the probability that it would be seen by millions of people who had never watched an episode of The Office before?

    Sorry to be so long-winded. Thanks for doing this for us! :)

  19. I thought that Dwight’s roast of Michael was hilarious but particulary harsh (“ have no friends, family or land.”).

    Was there any discussion during the writitng process that this may have been a bit extreme even from Dwight?

  20. Paul, this was a really fantastic episode and I really loved it! Thanks for taking the time and answering these! Here’s my question: After hearing fans & critics reaction to the episode last night, or just in your hind-sight, do you think you should have worked in the guest stars in a different way? Or were you pleased with the thought that they weren’t actually part of the office?

  21. Bravo on “Stress Relief”, Paul.

    This is more of a technical question. When John, Jenna and Ed were watching the bootleg film on the laptop, were they really seeing the movie? Or was that keyed in during post?

  22. Paul, you are the Office Genius – spectacular episode!!
    Did Oscar do his own ‘stunts’ aka feet falling through the tiles?
    Also in regards to Angela’s cat throwing incident – how was that filmed? It wasn’t a real cat was it? Because I would assume you would have had PETA down your throats (they might also have been offended by Dwight’s dislike for them)
    Thank you for answering our questions – your commitment to the fans is what makes this show truly unique!!

  23. First of all, I’d like to say GREAT episode! I REALLY enjoyed it!

    I noticed that the opening credits changed, and that everyone was included. Was that a one-time thing? Or will it continue to be like that from now on?

    I can honestly say I was really happy that everyone was included, everyone deserves to be in the opening credits!

    Once again, great work!

  24. First off, absolutely great episode. If it doesn’t win a myriad of awards next year, than my sketpicism in who is allowed to vote for them is confirmed. My question: Was it intentional to have the Jim/Pam storyline include a stressful situation (something that added great depth to their relationship, by the way) while the rest of the office is dealing with Michael as a stressor, or was it something a little more sombre to play against the absurdity of the rest of the goings on?

  25. is the change in the opening credits where you show all the cast members a permenant change?

  26. How much did the fact that this episode was following the Super Bowl (thus introducing The Office to a bazillion new viewers) influence the writing? What would you have done differently if this had been an episode in the regular Thursday night lineup?

    (Brilliant episode! Thank you! I’m still laughing…)

  27. Why did your episode suck? Boom. Roasted.

    Ha! j/k :)

    Real Question:
    I noticed the episode focused a great deal on Pam and Jim’s relationship as ‘soul mates.’ Do you personally believe in soulmates?

  28. Hi Paul. I loved loved loved Stress Relief. The Office is my life. I would DIE if anything happened to it. I pretty much live for Pam and Jim. And this episode was Pam and Jim perfection. How did you and the other writers come up with this certain plotline for their relationship? Because I woke up the next day thinking ‘did that just happen?’ Just like after Weight Loss and the proposal. It was that GREATTT.

  29. Michael’s roasts on the employees was brilliant writing, however, he could have really taken Angela to task on her 2 faced love affair – was that ever a thought or do you just see her smaller than a grain of rice?

  30. This week had an awesome montage of Stanley’s freak-outs. How do you decide when it’s appropriate to use footage from previous episodes rather than filming original footage?

  31. Do you have outtakes of the other characters roasting Michael? I would especially have loved to know what Toby would have said! :) Or are there alternatives to Angela’s “You might be Michael” jokes? Those were all terrific!

  32. I was wondering, from looking at the crazed antics that Dwight possessed on “Stress Relief”, they seemed to be a lot more brutal that usual. Are we going to see more of an intense Dwight, and will there be a reason for it? Perhaps a method of trying to get over Angela?

  33. How different did you treat this episode than previous ones? (i.e. did you start planning for it as soon as you found out you were going on after the Superbowl? was there a specific reason you chose to include the storylines you did when you knew the viewership would be so high?)

  34. First things first, thanks for a great episode!

    And the question, other than the two most popular ones (who was making out with Cloris at the end and how many takes did you use for the cold open): why the Glengarry Glen Ross reference?

  35. First off amazing job! From start to finish! My question is how did the cpr scene come about? It was such an awesome scene and i wanted to know what it was like writing it and how the whole Dwight and the dummies face came about because that was pure genius!

  36. Even though there is one or two credited for writing an episode I know the writing staff as a group can/will be involved and contribute ideas,lines, and jokes. Who was responsible for the music selections in this episode? The Little River Band selection was brilliant.

  37. I noticed you went all out and had melting snow around the building! Was is real and did it put you guys in a time-crunch to get the scene shot?

  38. Paul- Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions! This was one of the best episodes ever! My favorite part of the roast was Oscar yelling at Michael in Spanish. Can you translate it for us?

  39. Was that Ed Helms getting his “Cornell on” with Cloris Leachman at the end of the episode?

    Loved the roast!!!!

  40. Hi Paul!

    Lately there have been some criticisms that the show is becoming less relatable (i.e. I read this again today in response to the insanity that took place in “Stress Relief’s” cold open [which I loved btw!]). Now, as a long-time fan and I’m sure for you as a writer, what Dwight did doesn’t seem all that crazy. With his explanation and knowing the character so well, we can see how easy it would be for him to rationalize these actions in his mind.

    Question: How challenging is it, as a writer, to find a balance in story-telling when considering the knowledge of the casual viewer versus that of the devoted fan? Is there a fear of going over the casual viewer’s head to appeal to the fans, or disappointing the fans by simplifying for the casual? This seems like something that must have been taken into consideration when writing “Stress Relief”, knowing that a much larger than usual portion of the audience was unfamiliar with show. As a huge fan who was really looking forward to this episode, I thought it was a great.

    Side note: Get Jim and Pam hitched already! LOL

  41. Hey Paul, love the show by the way.

    My question is, why did you guys decide to have the little mini movie with Jack Black, Cloris Leachman and Jessica Alba?

    Thanks Paul!

  42. First off, I was really happy with this episode. I stayed up past my bedtime to watch it, and it was worth it all the way. My question is: Was the cat that Angela threw into the roof the same one that Andy gave her in season four? I saw it and was wondering if this was a different cat, or if she had simply kept Bandit at work all this time. Thanks!

  43. My question is: We have never seen a montage before in an Office episode. What made you decide to put all the clips of Stanley in the episode? It was hilarious and my favorite part of the episode!


  44. paul – my favorite writer- you did not disappoint. at first i thought it was a little unbelievable that they didn’t fire dwight but then i thought about david wallace’s talking head in the duel where he says in these tough economic times they can’t question unorthodox methods that are working. can we assume that dwight’s exemplary sales record saved him? was that talking head a little forshadowing for this episode?
    also, are we seeing the breakdown of dwight after losing angela much like we saw the breakdown of michael after losing, let’s be honest, ryan at the beginning of season 4?

  45. Kudos on Stress Relief, Paul! I loved it.

    I was wondering, how much of the Jack/Jessica/Cloris scenes were cut? It seemed like in the behind the scenes footage you had shot more.

  46. 1. Did Oscar Nunez perform his own stunt when he climbed into the ceiling?

    2. How was the stunt with Angela throwing the cat into the ceiling performed?

  47. Hi Paul! Thanks for taking questions! Mine is what was Oscar saying about Michael in the roast? And like everyone else, I’m interested in what Toby would have said about Michael if he hadn’t been cut off? Thanks for a terrific post-super bowl episode & keep up all the great work (acting & writing)!!!

  48. You are my favorite writer by far!

    I was wondering how the idea of Dwight cutting off the face of the dummy and pretending to be Hannibal Lecter came about? That part gave me an asthma attack!

  49. Awesome episode Paul, very well written.

    I just wanted to know if there were any jokes that you and the writing team wrote, say for the roast, that you wanted to put in but couldn’t? I can just imagine the writers room coming up with so many different ways to insult Michael Scott that didn’t make it on the show.

  50. Paul – I don’t know if you can answer this but… Whose idea was it to create new credits featuring everyone in the office?

  51. I noticed Michael said only friends could roast him. Don’t you think it would have been nice for Toby to get some things off his chest?

  52. Angela’s new cat bore a striking resemblance to Garbage, the cat Dwight and Andy gave to her, but its name was not the same. Care to elaborate?

  53. Hi!

    I was wondering why Melora Hardin’s name was listed in the starring list in the preview summary for Stress relief, however I never saw Jan in this episode

  54. How often does Angela keep cats in her file drawers (and how do they breathe?!)? Were you guys inspired by Dwight hiding weapons around the office for that cat bit? It was so funny!

  55. Hey, nice work!
    Did you find it difficult trying to place a fictional movie into the realm of The Office?

    Also, why is everyone pretending like the Dwight, Andy, and Angela thing never happened?

  56. I must say that this episode will now have a special place in my heart because I loved it so much! Kudos to you and the entire writing staff! In this episode almost every ensemble cast member had a side splitting line. So my question is when you write an episode do you keep the other cast members in mind? Or was it a trick to make the episode longer ;)?

  57. We have come to see the camera crew as a sort of character in and of itself. I was wondering why the camera crew watched Dwight prepare the fire and did not warn the office?

  58. Thank you for continuing to have the courage to take risks with this show. This ep could have used an extra 15 to 30 minutes and it was already an hour. I laughed more than I have all year and I’ve loved S5 so far. Who ultimately decides what stays and what has to be cut from an episode? Is there a general criteria you use or is it episode/story driven?

    So many S5 deleted scenes have had brilliant and hilarious moments that I can’t imagine how you do it.

  59. I have two questions:

    1. Why did Michael not say anything about Toby in his mini roast at the end of the episode?

    2. How did you come up with the idea to use the guest stars? I feel like that was the most unique use of guest stars that I have ever seen.

    Thank you,


  60. hey! Great great great episode! loved the Jim/Pam story line.
    Quick question. Are Angela and Dwight still married? Or did they end it when Angela said a while back ‘I have to take care of some legal matters’
    Thanks! Love the show :)

  61. So after a false alarm and a $3500 bill for a CPR dummy, I have to ask, “What does it take to get fired from Dunder Mifflin?” :)

    Thanks for the great, great work!

  62. What was up with the movie Pam, Jim, and Andy were watching? Was that a secondary storyline I didn’t get?

  63. Is there a reason Michael didn’t roast Phyllis, Kelly, or Toby at the end? They seemed like the easiest targets!

  64. Hello~!

    Awesome episode!

    my question is I noticed during the roast, some of the office employees did not ‘participate’ (went on stage), was that intentional or just cut out?

  65. First off, congrats on another great episode! My question is which of Michael’s roasts were improvised by Steve Carell, if any? They were hilarious and perfect. Thank you for your time.

  66. I had a question about Jim and Pam. Pam’s dad moved out because of the sweet things Jim said about Pam. At any point did you think about Jim saying something that would break up Pam’s parents and make Pam angry?

  67. Was the music selected for the “film” significant? Or just randomly assigned, cheesy music?

  68. I was wondering a few things about the cold open. One thing was, there were two fire extinguishers in plain sight. Why didn’t anyone grab them? And the other thing was, After everyone found out it was Just Dwight that did it, how did they get out because there was still a fire and dwight locked or blocked all of the doors from the outside? Still one of my favorite cold opens EVER!!!! Also, i was wondering if Dwight and Angela were still married because it was was never made completely clear. Thanks!!!!!!!

  69. The first scene was obviously the most “action-packed” scene in The Office with tons going on. Were you worried about it being too crazy? Did it present a lot of continuity issues?

  70. Hey, Paul! FANTASTIC episode! I thought it was a perfect mix of appealing to devoted fans AND new post-Superbowl viewers. Here is my question:

    Who thought of Ed Helms tilting his head to the side and leaning on his hand in that first talking head? It seemed like an improv, but I want to give credit where credit is due (…in my head). Because seriously…that one part made me laugh VERY loud. And this morning I went online and played that part over and over…and over. Brilliant.

  71. Did Ed Helms write the words to “What I Hate About You”? Or did the writers have a hand in that?

  72. Hey Paul!

    Great episode!! The cold open was perfect! Who thought of that and was it hard to shoot?? So chaotic!! hahah

  73. one more question: was that garbage, renamed by angela, living in the filing cabinet and if so, has he been living there since andy gifted him to angela last season? her “workplace kitty”?

  74. Just wanted to say that I absolutely loved that the episode truly ended on a good note, with Michael coming back, making fun of everyone, but ultimately making peace and everyone being happy and friendly.

  75. Paul…

    Truly one of the funniest Office episodes ever. And with a little romance sprinkled in for the JAM fans. Kudos!


    1. Angela had been saying that she had a body double in this episode. At what point exactly was the body double used?

    2. I noticed your brother, Warren, was a co-producer. What role did he play and how much do you get to boss(jerk-in-charge) him around?

  76. Hi! Great episode! I was just wondering why you decided to include the Pam’s parents story-line? Was it just so there could be some tension between Jim and Pam? Or was there some other purpose? Thank you!

  77. Great episode, by far my favorite of the whole season! Which one of the scenes was hardest to film due to the cast breaking? It seemed like it would be the “meditation” scene in the conference room since it was so funny!

  78. Was it your decision or the writer’s collectively to not have Toby not roast Michael? Either way, brilliant episode last night. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

  79. I was just wondering if we would ever see proof of Michael Scott looking boss in a perm and shoulder pads? This is now my goal in life.

  80. Fantastic episode. Michael’s turtleneck and Pam’s last talking head with Andy in the background were the highlights for me. Watching Jim and Pam talking through the doorway made me wonder how does the doc crew pick up sound. Are the office workers individually miked (like they were in the british version) or is there just a really powerful boom microphone?

  81. Thanks so much for doing this! We Office fans love the Q&A’s with the writers, and we are grateful that Tanster gets them together! I’ve got two questions: Is there anything that you really wanted in the episode that wasn’t left in, and are there any challenges in writing an hour episode that aren’t there for an half-hour episode?

  82. Hi Paul! I’m wondering what kept David Wallace from firing Dwight after two rather heinous acts close together. Was it because his sales record is too valuable?

  83. Who picked the music? I can never listen to “Have A Little Faith in Me” the same way again.

  84. What was the atmosphere like in the writer’s room as everyone prepared to write ‘Stress Relief’? Was the tension as painful as Michael’s George Foreman grilled foot?

  85. Credit goes to “Jhony” for this question… When Pam says “sometimes love affairs look different to the people inside them”, is she referring to how her dad viewed his relationship with Pam’s mother?

  86. Be honest, how many takes did you have to do of Rainn’s Hannibal Lector performance? I seemed to find the entire thing horrifyingly funny.

  87. Had BJ Novak been apart of this episode, what do you suppose Michael would have roasted Ryan for? And vice versa, I suppose, too? :)

  88. Why have we not seen or heard anything about a wedding date with Pam and Jim? I thought that Pam didn’t want another long engagement! Is there one and it just hasn’t been put in the plot?

  89. Amazing, amazing, from the cat to Jim. Question: Were there certain elements you put in to try to grab new viewers?

  90. So… my favorite episode of the season. Thank you, Paul!

    If you had to pick one line or moment in this episode as your favorite, what would it be and why?

  91. The Leachman/Black “heartbreak” scene involving the motorized stair-chair was funny enough, but for a long-time fan the hilarity of the moment was amplified as I recalled Michael’s depressed chair ride in a deleted scene from the Phyllis’s Wedding ep. Was this written in deliberately as an homage to that lost moment?

  92. This episode seems very different compared to the rest with the many cuts to the unenthusiastic Stanley as well as the different opening title sequence. Who is behind the new ideas and why are they suddenly being included? Will the show see more of these new directorial changes?

    thank you Paul and Tanster!

  93. Hi Paul – This may be an acting question rather than a writing one, but thought I’d ask anyway. In the cold open when the smoke first starts coming under the door, Andy is seen bending over his desk rather close and writing something very “deliberately” for lack of a better word. Was there any significance to this (and if you don’t know, perhaps you could ask Ed)? It seemed like he was in a very awkward position, not a normal, relaxed one.

    Thanks for helping create the best TV show EVER!!! :)

  94. Paul, how many of the little skits and jokes used in this episode had been saved specifically for it? Like, I know there are tons of ideas for each episode, and some just don’t fit, so I’m wondering if there was a special stockpile for this huge episode of dynamite jokes. It was awesome!!

  95. Can we please get what Oscar’s roast was translated?! Also, were there any roasts from Michael written about Kelly or Phyllis that was left out?

    A-mazing episode!

  96. what was the point of creating Andy’s downloaded movie with JB and CL?

  97. Paul, I think you’re the best! And people even tell me I look like you!

    I’ve got a quick and easy question–My sister told me that there was a picture of a Mormon temple up on the filing cabinet behind Phyllis’s desk in this last episode. Was there really???

  98. Since this episode was likely to get many more viewers than any previous considering the slot it had, was it a conscious decision to feature all the characters and have a story that wasn’t reliant on anything that had gone before?

    The first 5 minutes were absolutely incredible – well done on an amazing episode!

  99. Did Jim choose the copier as a battering ram on purpose because of his previously documented disdain for it?

  100. What was the school of thought in having the tag be an actual clip from the Jack Black movie we saw through out the episode? Was there any debate if this would be too inconsistent with the style and look of the documentary format? Were you happy with how the movie scenes played in general?

  101. 1) Who thought of the iPod shuffle joke? (hilarious, but low blow!)
    2) Tanster hinted before the episode that there would be 2 cameos from the staff – just wondering who they were?

    Thank you Paul for a hilariously wonderful episode! Also thanks for taking time out from your schedule for this Q&A! (thanks tanster for arranging this!)

  102. I love the way you showed such a different side of the characters in this episode. It was really nice to see a softer side to Angela and Stanley, while Jim and Pam were so serious. Is this a temporary change or will Stanley go back to being surly, etc. after this?

    Thanks for a great episode! You write the sweetest romantic scenes. That last scene with Jim and Pam brought a tear to my eye.

  103. I was just wondering if Bandit was hurt at all during this episode.
    And also, did Michael wear the turtleneck because Kelly said she’d rather make-out with a turtle than him?

  104. Paul, fabulous episode! My question: who came up with the line, “Boom. Roasted!” It’s the new catch phrase in my office.

  105. Did you have any other scenes written for the pirated movie? I’m dying to know how/why Sam lied to Lily!

  106. Hi Paul, what an episode! First of all, we all loved the new opening! My question is how do you deal with multiple story lines in an episode like this and give each one equal focus?

  107. Is there more to the song Andy sang during the roast? Because I would totally buy it on itunes. It’s very catchy!

  108. Fans of “The Office” can be critical when it comes to the writing on the show. How do you address people who feel the secondary characters have been reduced to one-note jokes instead of being somewhat rounded? For example, Michael said of Kevin, “You’re fat and dumb,” when in past years Kevin has shown some athletic ability and brains.

    Also, thanks for some of my favorite “King of the Hill” episodes.

  109. Fantastic episode, definitely my favorite of the season.

    How much direction was given for the fire scene? So many things were going on at once and it all came together hilariously, was it scripted meticulously or was any of it improvised?

  110. Paul,

    I always love your episodes! You are one of my absolute favorite writers on the show.

    I’ve noticed that there are more broad jokes in later seasons of the show. However, in earlier DVD commentaries, I remember BJ Novak talking about the fact that the show generally tries to shy away from broader jokes. My question is, has there been an intentional increase in broad humor for a specific reason?

  111. Great episode! My question is: “Who wrote the lyrics to the song that Andy sings? Ed Helms, or the writing staff? Also, can we assume Andy is a devout watcher of ‘What I Like About You’?” haha, thanks!

  112. oh almost forgot,

    how much material did you guys come up with for the roast of Michael Scott? What were some of the stuff that didn’t make it?

  113. I was wondering if this idea was brought up as a non post superbowl episode, or did you come up with it just for the special occasion?

  114. Two decades ago in my petless townhouse apartment in Cambridge, Mass., I was napping in the late afternoon when a cat (the neighbor’s) fell through the dropped ceiling of my living room on top of me and dashed down to the first floor landing, wailing eerily and inconsolably for many minutes. The cat, the opened-up dropped ceiling and the plaintive wail have stayed with me in my viscera. Did something like this happen to someone on the writing staff?

  115. Seriously, how do you get through the day when you have things rolling around your brain like, “I’ve got to make sure YouTube comes down to tape this!” and “Cut off her nose to spiderface” and “You were in the parking lot earlier! That’s how I know you!” without constantly dissolving into a useless puddle of laughter?

    The roast was great and seemed like a fun thing to film and direct. Everyone looked so happy. Did that scene feel like a real party to the cast?

    Wonderful episode. I’m still giggling, days later.

  116. Paul, why are you so clearly awesome? Also, is it hard for you as a writer to see jokes get cut due to time? How much input do you have in what stays and what gets left on the cutting room floor. I’m hoping for a 3 hour episode on the DVD set of everything we missed on tv!

  117. Wonderful episode! I heard before watching it that there would be some Pam and Jim drama, including some personal trouble for Pam, and was curious to find out what it was. I was very much touched by her reconciliation with Jim. I was wondering if there were any other ideas to create a conflict between the two, other than Pam’s concern over her parents’ marriage?

  118. Seeing that Jim was smart enough to use the copier to break open the door in the cold open, does that mean that the Scranton office got a new copier after all?

  119. Who came up with the opening scene, how much of a challenge was it to shoot, and were many takes needed to execute it perfectly?

  120. Fantastic episode!! Nearly all of the characters have shown in past episodes that no matter how Michael acts, they DO care about him. Why did none of the roasters say anything positive after their roast?

  121. The roast in Stress Relief brought to mind the kind of awkward, cringe-worthy and almost painful humour that defined the UK version of The Office. Five seasons in, do you still look back to the original Office for inspiration when you’re writing? Or have you totally moved on?

  122. 1. I was immediately in tears when Michael stumbled away from the roast, because, I mean, that’s some extremely potent stuff there. I remember remarking to myself the ingenuity of having Michael return to the office not seeking sympathy but retaliating in full. How’d you decide to have Michael decide to do that, and how does his decision fit into YOUR understanding of his character?

    2. How many pages was the final draft?

  123. Please tell us about the behind-the-scene mechanics that allowed snow at the playground where Michael goes to feed the birds.

  124. How did the decision for new opening credits come about and how did you decide to premiere them after the Super Bowl?

  125. I enjoyed the clips of Stanley’s outbursts over the years. Has there every been any discussion around writing and filming an episode that takes place in the past, instead of in the current chronology? It might be interesting to see a new story set in office days gone by (like a story line that takes place between two episodes we already know and love!).

    Also, when do we get to see Todd Packer again???

  126. Is the movie supposed to have a deeper meaning when it comes to the storylines of some of the characters (i.e. Andy, who evidently related to Jack Black’s character)? Or is it supposed to foreshadow a future plot point?

  127. Were all of the roast jokes scripted? Or did some of the cast write their own/improv their own roasts?

  128. Why are the windows boarded when Jim and Pam are being interviewed? (Where Pam is explaining that her parents are going through a rough patch)

  129. What a great episode! I laughed, cried and got really angry, all in one episode! It was nice to see some JAM stuff, since they’ve kind of been on the DL for the past few weeks. Anyway, I was wondering, how did you come up with the movie that Andy, Jim, and Pam are watching? It is so funnY! It was very clever to use three big stars, but not accually have them interact with the cast. Very smart!!

  130. This cold opening was by far one of the funniest and outrageous yet. I just want to know how much fun you guys had on set doing this sequence? Throwing Bandit through the ceiling was priceless.

  131. Our family has been trying to figure out who plays the guy making out with Cloris Leachman in the last scene of fake movie, stealing her from Jack Black. Nobody’s quite sure but there are several theories. Can you please identify him for us?

  132. Hi Paul!

    Great episode! My favorite of the season. I was just wondering if you find it easy to write for the Jim/Pam storylines? Many of the scenes you write for them have been fan favorites!

  133. Do you know the second song that Michael plays on his computer when he is playing snippets of songs that are supposed to be calming? It’s the song that he says reminds him of death. Thanks!

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