In Part 1 of Glide’s interview with Melora Hardin, much of the focus was on her life outside of “The Office.” Hardin was happy to discuss her blossoming movie and singing/songwriting career, which realized a dream last August with her role as Fantine in Les Misérables.
But it’s now September, and that means new seasons of your favorite shows on television, including new episodes of “The Office” starting the 25th on NBC. Hardin’s role as Jan on “The Office” is just warming up – she’s pregnant (who’s the father?), single, and, as always, unpredictable.
In Part 2 of Glide’s interview, Hardin talks about her view of “The Office,” her role as “Jan,” and Jan’s baby on the way.
You know, I talk with a lot of people about “The Office,” and some people tell me that when they first started watching the show, they didn’t “get it.” But when they watched a few episodes and stuck with it, they loved it. Do you ever hear that at all?
Hmm. Yeah, I have heard that from people where they kind of have to give it a couple shots. I don’t hear it that much, but I have heard it a couple times. But then there are the people that the minute they turned it on, that it just clicked with them. So I guess that there are two camps, the one that has to work into it, and the one that just gets the humor right off the bat and thinks it’s so great, because it’s so risky and different from most of television’s humor.
It definitely is a different way of portraying a story…
…there are cameras everywhere, relationships everywhere. There’s always something going on. And the show is immensely popular. Do you feel any sense of pressure to keep this going?
Well, it’s funny, we kind of caught on in the second season, when we were the most downloaded show from iTunes. You know, I really feel we’re on an upward swing, and I feel like we haven’t even completely…I feel like maybe this season we’re really going to hit our stride. I think that the shows just get better and better, and now that the writers are so inside the characters and confident that it’s working with the audiences, and so are all the actors. I think that kind of stuff just gels more and more. I think the show is just getting better, I really do.
And there is a lot of interesting stuff going on with Jan lately…
Yeah (laughs). A lot of fabulous stuff!
I would say so! Now this is going back a little bit earlier, but were you surprised when it was decided that Jan was going to get fired and move to Scranton?
I didn’t really see that coming, but I thought it was a really funny idea, you know, to have Jan be hanging out (laughs), living a slower-pace lifestyle and not be in the corporate world. I think that it’s pretty funny, and she’s such a hard-ass corporate person that it was funny to see her change and try to become this candle maker! (laughs)
Yeah, with the new boobs, too. One of my friends asked me if I thought you really got a boob job…
I’ve actually, believe it or not, have had that question more often that I would ever like to have that question! (laughs) It’s like I just want to say, ‘Come on, people, seriously. If I get shot in a movie, do I actually get shot? Nooooo!’ (laughing)
My favorite episode of last season was the “Dinner Party.”
I know, mine too!
And the thing was, everything was so awkward, but it was still very funny.
Yeah, it was. (laughing)
And the part where you were dancing…
…that was a great scene.
A great TV moment?
Yeah, I think so! I guess that was a fun episode for you.
Oh my gosh, it was a complete joy. I just really had so much meat to sink my teeth into. And it was just so fun to have Jan to come to the brink of disaster – emotional and personal disaster. Over and over again, she just gets so close to ‘losing her shit!’ It’s such a nice and fun thing to play that kind of tension and…to try and hold it all together, it’s really a lot of layers, a lot of fun stuff, like playing in the sandbox for an actress! (laughs)
Yeah, and throwing the Dundee at the mounted TV screen…
Which, by the way, I hit every time except for one! The crew was very impressed with me. (laughs).
Wow, and that exactly wasn’t the biggest target on the wall…
No, it wasn’t!
Which was actually the funniest part…
With Jan pregnant now, did you have a different way of presenting her character in the episodes to come?
Well, I think in the season finale, you kind of see a more earthy, a little bit more grounded Jan, I guess. But, you know, I think she’s going to be a great example of everything you should not do as a mother – that is probably my guess. And I would also say that it’s going to be pretty interesting to see how that affects her relationship with Michael.
Now, if you could name Jan’s baby, what would you name it?
(laughs) That’s so funny! Well, probably just for comedy’s sake, I would have to say ‘Toby’ – and that would probably drive Michael insane! Or, she might name her daughter ‘Jan Jr.,’ or maybe she’d name her ‘Janice!’ (laughs) I don’t know, that could be funny. Or she would also maybe, in a good moment, when she was feeling in love with Michael, she would call her baby ‘Mike!’ When’s she’s mad at him, she would name it ‘Toby!’ (laughs)
Thank you for taking the time to talk, Melora.
Oh, thank you. It was really lovely talking to you!