Since their on-air boss was not in town, Rainn Wilson served as the moderator for The Office Q&A panel.
"I don’t know why they asked me to emcee this," said Wilson, who plays Dunder-Mifflin salesman Dwight Schrute. But his uncertainty turned to triumph when someone in the audience wanted to know what it felt like being the official sex symbol for The Office.
"Only at Comic-Con," a panelist muttered. "I feel great about that," Wilson announced. "Eat my shorts, John Krasinski!"
Show creator Greg Daniels was asked if he and others who write the show have worked in offices before, since the foibles and victories seem painfully close to real life. He notes this is an "observational show," and if they had set The Office in an arctic ice station it would have been much harder to do research. "We have copiers and computers," Daniels offered. "Open your eyes and you can see stuff."
During introductions Daniels noted he used to work in animation (King of the Hill, anyone?) and was told by his colleagues for years he should come to Comic-Con. "I was always spending weekends with my children," he said. "Boy I really got it wrong."
Writer Mike Schorr (who also plays Dwight Schrute’s brother Moe) explained he first came to Comic-Con because his wife writes on the series Heroes. Not to be outdone, Daniels one-upped his subordinate with the zinger, "my wife developed Buffy." (As in Susanne Daniels, who was at The WB before Lifetime, from which she recently departed.)
Writer-actor Mindy Kahling got the warmest round of applause, which prompted Wilson to belt out, "biggest cheer so far!" Unfortunately her title was quickly surpassed by the shout B.J. Novak got from the audience. "He’s got you beat," Wilson told Kahling.
Write-not-actor Jennifer Celotta told the crowd she enjoyed writing for B.J.’s character Ryan this past season, since he turned into "the biggest d-bag of all time." Whenever "Mr. New York" Ryan came to Scranton, Celotta was able to "exercise all these demons." She also loved Ryan’s "great look."
One audience member asked the panel if they have ever brought things from their personal life into the show. Wilson was the first to jump in. "I killed my girlfriend’s cat," he said, alluding to his character’s accidental involvement in the death of Sprinkles, Angela Martin’s prized tabby. "Not really. It was a dog."
By Christopher Lisotta
Christopher Lisotta has written for several publications, including TVWeek, The Advocate and L.A. Weekly. He is covering the 2008 International Comic-Con for Broadcasting & Cable.