Why was ‘The Office’ so successful? Kevin Malone, aka Brian Baumgartner, seeks answers in a new book

A: One of the most interesting conversations, which also came from Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais, really had to do with the fact that they did something that had never been done before, which was they inverted the love story between Jim and Pam [Tim and Dawn in the U.K. version]. As opposed to it being central — which it is on every other television show — they inverted that into the background. Yet, that is an iconic love story that people are still talking about today. But it existed in the corner, and they brought the buffoon [Carell’s Michael Scott] forward. For me, that exploration is vital, as opposed to just, “Oh, when we were shooting this scene, this is something that happened behind the scenes.”

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