The Office ‘Secretary’s Day’ Q&A with Mindy Kaling

Wendy: Loved the running Cookie Monster joke throughout the episode! Did you have to get permission from the “Sesame Street” people to use/reference their characters?

Mindy: We actually had a conference call with the Children’s Television Workshop about use of Cookie Monster. It is a big deal to show Sesame Street characters on another show because of how iconic they are, and the CTW wanted to protect Cookie.

This totally made sense to us because Cookie Monster is amazing and who would want to besmirch this awesome guy who just wants to eat thousands of cookies and entertain kids?

So, we showed them some of the cold open and they signed off on it. It was just another reason why Children’s Television Workshop is a bunch of badasses.

Kelly: What were all the gifts Erin received from her co-workers?

Mindy: Hey, Kelly. GREAT NAME. DID YOU KNOW MY CHARACTER’S NAME IS ALSO KELLY?

The gifts in the B-roll at the beginning of the episode: Ryan very coquettishly gave Erin a small box of chocolates, Creed gave Erin a Beanie Baby teddy bear I assume he stole from the gas station, Meredith gave Erin a gift certificate for $5 from Amazon, and Dwight gave Erin a crate of beets. In my mind he kept sending her reminder emails to “make sure to return the crate as soon as possible.”

Jodi: Did you brainstorm any other ridiculous characters to speak with Kevin’s voice, or did someone just notice his similarity to Cookie Monster and that inspired the whole bit?

Mindy: Steve had the idea to have every character do impressions of everyone else in the office when they came to do their talking heads. We have tons of funny additional material of this, probably for the Season 6 DVD.

The impressions of Andy are pretty magnificent. Paul’s Toby impressions were especially funny to me, though, because they were so “written” (Paul is an incredibly funny writer) and also SO low energy. It was dazzling.

Kenna: Who came up with the idea to cast Aaron Shure as the waiter?

Mindy: Aaron getting cast came the afternoon before we were going to shoot those restaurant scenes — first thing in the morning. At first we were going to use some younger actors, but there was a feeling that they looked too Hollywood, where all waiters are aspiring actors.

Then Paul and I thought it would be really funny if the guy was old. Like, too old. Insanely old. Like the knight at the end of Indiana Jones and Last Crusade old.

The joke would be that Michael was a little in the right, that this old waiter was messing up the order at Hayworths. But Steve pointed out how distracting that was, which Paul and I agreed on.

So we decided he should just be a guy, not too young, but not old. It was at this moment that Aaron chose to walk out of the writers room to go the bathroom, and we all looked at him, like “here’s our solution.” He read the part cold, and was cast. The rest is history.

Can you imagine if Grandy had walked out of that room instead? Or Padnick? How different the episode would’ve been? No? You don’t know what any of those people look like?

Aaron was great and is actually a trained actor. I bet we’ll use him again in something.

14 comments

  1. Aww, I would’ve gone out and bought a color tv too.

    Great questions, great answers. Thanks Mindy!

  2. Loved the Big Bird story! I can imagine Mindy’s little face saying those words. What father wouldn’t be touched?

    Can’t wait to see everybody’s impressions on the season 6 DVD! They must include those!

    [from tanster: they seriously must include those!]

  3. Um, Yeah, I think I heard something about Mindy’s character also being named Kelly:) Thanks Mindy!

  4. I absolutely love these Q&A’s. Thank you so much Mindy and Tanster! Reading this made what’s been a bad day so much better.

  5. I really enjoy these Q&As. Although I must say I loved Money, I think I’ll find it in my heart to forgive Mindy. :)

  6. As with #4 ontheflippityflop, my bad day was also made much better with this Q & A. Thanks Mindy & Tanster!

  7. I hate to reiterate what everyone else has said, but thank you so much Mindy and Tanster. I really look forward to reading these Q & A’s.

  8. Absolutely, those impressions must be on the DVD! I’m dying to see them.

    Great Q&A, as always! Thank you, Mindy and tanster!

  9. I think Jenna should do a British accent and a Southern accent at the same time like Tina Fey

  10. Thanks Mindy and Tanster, great questions everyone and awesome answers. Secretary’s Day is a great episode with use of all the characters.

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