On the latest episode of the Office Ladies podcast, hosts/cast alums Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey spoke with Jan Levinson actor Melora Hardin. The podcast is breaking down the show episode by episode as part of the duo's rewatch of The Office, and they frequently get guests who worked on the series. Hardin, who portrayed the sometimes–love interest of Steve Carell's Michael Scott, broke down what lead to her memorable appearance in the Season 2 episode "The Client."
"It was sort of a last-minute, like, 'Come in and read for this,' which I did, and I remember that I went in and literally looked at the sides there before," she said of the audition process. At the time, she wasn't sure if she would return since she was guest appearing on a pilot. "When we were filming the pilot I remember sitting at the tables with Greg Daniels and Steve Carrell, and we were all laughing at kind of how weirdly interesting Jan and Michael were together."
From there, the three of them discussed how to bring Jan back in any potential future episodes. "We sort of were like, well, yeah that’s funny. If we get a pick-up and we get an opportunity to do more of the show than just the six [episodes] that we were doing...our first season, then it’ll be fun," she continued. "We should have them hook up. We kind of felt like there was a little spark between them, and we kind of conjured it on the pilot."
The two's romantic spark really kicked off for Season 2, Episode 7, "The Client." The episode features Michael and Jan pitching to a client played by Tim Meadows, and while Hardin had to play her part as straight and bored-looking as possible, she said she could barely keep it together because of Meadows' and Carell's improvisation. Hardin said she was very happy with how the episode turned out, though, especially when it came to the kiss.
"I thought it was a great first kiss for the two of them," Hardin added. "I actually think the take that you see on there is the first time we did it, and it has everything it needs—it has the tension, it has the kind of 'wait that’s so wrong' and 'wait a second, I want more of that' thing that I think Jan struggled with the entire relationship with Michael."
Listen to the full episode of the podcast here or on Spotify above.