Q: I love the noises and accents that Ed Helms incorporates into his character. Are these scripted or does he come up with them himself? | NotABadDay
Aaron: In this case he was improvising, but the writers pay close attention to what he does. We then put it in the next script and look like geniuses.
Q: How are Steve Carell’s elbows and knees doing with all that army crawling he did? Can I just say, he had wonderful technique. That’s what she said. | Tiffany
Aaron: He really tore them up! He was offered knee and elbow pads, but he turned them down for at least the first two takes. I can’t believe how hard he was working as he crawled around that room. I wish we could have run it real-time to fully convey the energy he was expending (without any break in the action.) The man is a comedy ninja.
Q: Who did the voice of the “Prince Paper” guy on the answering machine? | kelseroo
Aaron: The same actors who did such a good job in the Prince Paper episode: Dan Desmond and Emily Rae Argenti.
Q: Michael asked Pam how to make letter head with his own logo over the Dunder Mifflin logo. I find it strange that a guy who would know how to edit a commercial in Local Ad (and a good one at that) wouldn’t know how to do something as simple as editing a pdf. What’s the reason behind changing Michael’s levels of competency and intelligence throughout each episode? | Meredith
Aaron: Well, I think people have varying degrees of technical savvy. For instance, I can’t figure out how to delete your question.
Q: Was there a big discussion about who would replace Pam as receptionist or did all the writers unaimously pick Kevin? I think Kelly would be funnier, but hey I’m not a sitcom writer. | Jackie
Aaron: I wrote that whole tag the night before I handed the script in. I just wanted Charles to make some rookie mistakes despite all his poise, and the idea of Kevin answering phones cracked me up. But Kelly would have been great too.
Q: You used to write on Everybody Loves Raymond, right? Are there any similarities to writing on The Office compared to writing on Everybody Loves Raymond? Any differences? | Cait_in_Cville
Aaron: I’ve been learning to keep more things in my head while on The Office — more story lines per episode, more complex arcs per season, more characters and more scenes that end up being deleted.
But both shows require similar amounts of care and attention to character, and, on both, finding the story proves more challenging than finding the funny. Also both staffs have deep respect for the audience. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have written for shows like these.
Q: I thought this was one of the most well written Office episodes. Is this your first episode and if so, will you be writing more? | Danny Scarn
Aaron: I also wrote “Baby Shower,” which I’m very proud of, but I think I’ve been learning a lot from the writers and the actors, all of whom have been very welcoming.
Q: What’s the proper ratio of Scotch to Splenda? Has anyone in the writer’s room sampled the beverage? And is there a name for said concoction other than “a Scotch-’n’-Splenda”? | Eric
Aaron: I feel terribly remiss in my research. I’ll try it when I get home tonight. I think you can’t have too much Splenda. As for the name, I’m open to suggestions, but I would pitch: “Splotch.”
Check out more Q&As in the Episode Q&A Archive. Essential reading for every Office super fan!