The Office ‘Two Weeks’ Q&A with Aaron Shure

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!

29 comments

  1. Great answers, Aaron! Thank you for your awesome dedication to all things Office, Tanster :)

    I love love love “Two Weeks” and can’t wait to see how this season ends!

  2. Thanks for answering! That was great. But one thing, many people actually want to *see* Jim and Pam together, not just *imagine* what their after-hours life is like. It is sad that we are losing that, because it used to be the heart of the show.

  3. I wanted to say how much I appreciate the time and effort the writers take in answering questions on this site. It adds so much. Feeling “connected” is one of the unique aspects of this special show. Thanks for letting us in.

  4. These are always so enjoyable and interesting to read. Loved “for instance, I can’t figure out how to delete your question.”

  5. Great Q&A – thanks Tanster and Aaron! I can’t believe the amazing questions everyone comes up with! I don’t believe his answer about Jim taking over as RM…I think there is more to that. Can’t wait to see what happens with Dwight and Charles!

  6. #3- I definitely agree with you. While I don’t need to see *every* conversation Jim and Pam have, we have had to read between the lines a lot this season. I miss hearing their normal joking around or even pulling pranks together. And now Pam will be out of the office so there probably won’t be a lot of interaction.

    Also, I wish Jim could do something–like become the RM. Pam has gotten to “grow” a lot this season. I hope/want Jim to grow too!

  7. Jim was getting that promotion before Josh quit.
    Jan just told him it would be in Scranton instead, she told him of the job in the meeting where Josh says he’s going to Staples or whatever.

  8. Thanks to Aaron and OT for this informative interview. I always enjoy reading about the writers’ choices and look forward to this new story line. (More Jim & Pam interaction is always welcome.)

  9. 11, D.Lee-man-

    You’re right, I forgot that bit. Still, it could be argued that Jan was grooming Jim for a possible Regional Manager position in the future and wanted him to learn directly under Josh (TWSS). Maybe getting him to move back to Scranton and assume the role under Michael required a monetary incentive. Who knows.

    Nice screenname. Cubs fan?

  10. Jim got the promotion when he went to Stamford. Talking head and name plate, before the merger.

  11. haha “splotch.” and steve carell is such an awesome guy… he’s obviously a huge star, but still so humble and dedicated. lots of other actors need to follow his example.

  12. Thanks so much for the great Q&A. This was a terrific episode and it’s so much fun to find out even more about the process of making it!

  13. I went to a bar this weekend and tried to order a scotch and splenda. the bartender stopped, leaned in closer and asked, “I’m sorry…did you say splenda?” to which I responded “absolutely I did.” He then said that most bars don’t carry splenda, but i could bring in an outside packet if I wanted to.

  14. I love when my question gets answered. And he made fun of it too! I love this website.

  15. Hi All,

    Thanks Aaron and tanster for giving us the interview.

    I haven’t seen the Graduate, but could anyone please explain what seen in the movie was reminiscent of an incident in this episode?

    Thanks

  16. Is there still a writer’s question and answer session floating around that we were supposed to get but haven’t yet?

    [from tanster: yes, there is. we are still waiting for Paul’s ‘Stress Relief’ Q&A.]

  17. congrats on a great episode, aaron! i think it’s great to have such an unexpected plot twist. i was just getting over the fact that michael actually quit when i learned that he wanted to start a new company…btw kelly and angela work so well with each other, they’re total opposites which makes it funnier lol.

  18. Sweet, my question got answered, & cherry on top when he added that an exit interview would’ve made for a funny scene, yay! Thank you Aaron Shure & props to you tanster for setting up these Q&A’s! They’re always fun to read, & I don’t know of other shows where cast & crew interact w/the fans like this.

    Oh, & I really like Aaron’s response “I can’t figure out how to delete your question.” LOL!

    [from tanster: this is an amazingly awesome show, no question about it.]

  19. I can’t put my finger on it (that’s what she said) but after reading this Q&A my faith is restored in my favorite show. And not just because one of my questions was answered (thank you Aaron!!) but because of the awesome answers to some of the more clever questions. Plus – SPOILERS about Dwight? BRING IT!

  20. La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo, you are my new favorite person.

    Seriously, that’s too much awesome for my mind…and my mind is pretty damn awesome.

  21. AAAAHHHHH! My question got answered. That is so amazingly wonderful. Thanks to Aaron Shure for answering and to tanster! #17… you are my new role-model.

  22. In response to the question about Charles coming toward Michael as if he was going to attack…It is illegal for another person in your office to come at you in any way suggesting that they might attack (plus he threatened him, which is probably against company policy) and perfectly legal for someone to press charges against them, which it would be funny to see Michael do!

  23. That is so super cool that my question got answered! I really love this writer/fan interaction. Thanks Tanster and Aaron!!!

  24. That “I can’t figure out how to delete your question” remark was kinda snarky, but great responses overall. Welcome to the team of writers and we are sure to benefit. Terrific episode. Pam’s leaving caught me totally off guard.

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