[11/06/08 - 01:38 PM]
Interview: "The Office" Co-Stars Angela Kinsey & Ed Helms
By Jim Halterman (TFC)

One of the more dysfunctional relationships currently in primetime television is the one between Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey) and Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) on NBC's "The Office." After the characters surprisingly becoming engaged at the end of last season, the episodes currently airing have had much fun with Angela's drifting back to former love Dwight (Rainn Wilson) while clueless Andy prepares for the wedding of Angela's dreams. Martin and Helms talked with our Jim Halterman about how they approach playing their characters and also tried not to give too much away as to what is to come with the coming episodes.

Anyone who has seen the prickly relationship between Angela and Andy played out must wonder why these two opposites are together in the first place. While the secret office relationship between Angela and Dwight had its oddities, Angela and Andy do not seem to be a match... or is that exactly what makes their relationship work? Kinsey explained, "There's a part of Angela Martin that kind of wants to do what society would think would be appropriate and I think Andy seems very appropriate. She could bring Andy to church. I don't know if she could bring Dwight to church. He might show with some squirrel pelts to give people and that's a little off-putting. I think Andy sort of on paper is what she thought she wanted and... she has this kind of crazy chemistry with Dwight that she doesn't understand. It doesn't fit into her plan for her life and that's sort of those things she goes back and forth with�the person she thinks is more appropriate and the person who she really has sort of a deep passion for." Kinsey also added that the Angela/Andy dynamic is probably not that foreign to most of us. "I think we've all had relationships where different people bring different sides of you out more prominently and sometimes you're like What am I doing? But I think Angela and Andy have a lot of that. The sort of bring each other's crazy out."

Helms agreed with Kinsey and added, "I think what Andy and Angela have is largely horrifying but there is a real [connection] in some ways. Who they are dovetails perfectly. Who each person is fits together because I think there's a little bit of a difference in Angela being so demanding and Andy being so accommodating."

Both characters also have personality traits that may be fun for viewers to watch on television but would probably be grating if you had to share a desk space with them everyday from nine to five. How do the actors connect with such abrasive characters? "I found so much to love about Andy," Helms analyzed. "I think there's a lot of me in him. The things that I'm kind of ashamed of I just blow out of proportion for Andy. Or the things I might be insecure about I make them the biggest parts of Andy. I love it and I love the dynamic and I love his passion for Angela. As Andy has grown in the world and "The Office" it just gets more complicated which is so much more fun as a performer."

Kinsey said that she was able to pull a lot of components of Angela from the string of corporate jobs she had before earning a living as an actress. "There was always some sort of stickler and the busy body and the person who just had a little bit of authority in their lives and went berserk with it. I try to make [Angela] real and she's definitely prickly but I try to find in my own way... to like her even with her craziness. My guess is she'd probably drive you crazy but she'd completely organize your desk if you let her. I try to find the hills and valleys in her."

Asked about justifying his on-screen relationship with Angela, Helms laughed as he talked about how a certain family member had reservations. "My Dad asked me recently why are you with that woman? It's a very valid question but actually I do think there's this unflappable optimism with Andy. If there's one thing that's really great about Andy is he's so decisive about how he goes with something. And once he decides it's what he wants, he's just in it and he throws his whole heart into it and I think that's just what's happened with this relationship with Angela."

In playing the type-A Angela, Kinsey had to seek advice from "The Office" creative team to figure out how her character could do so many unlikable things. "Jen Celotta, one of our writers said it really best," Kinsey shared. She said she told Celotta, "I need a little bit of insight because what [Angela is] doing in this situation is so foreign to me. I'm trying to find a way to make her human and Jen [said], �I think Angela is in this situation that sometimes people get in where they kind of say yes to something and this snowball effect starts to happen and they aren't really prepared and they don't know how to handle it and they just go through it with blinders on to the very end.' And so that made sense to me and I think that's how [Angela] is. I think she has big blinders on and it's all going to work and I don't have to pick or decide or choose and it's all going to be fine."

Speaking of the writers, Kinsey and Helms both commented on the fact that they are often surprised with what the writers have come up with when they sit down for each table read. Kinsey gushed that she often goes to the table reads "and the writers have taken what little idea I might have had in my head and not shared and made it ten times more amazing. I couldn't even believe that they took my character that way or the show that way and I did kind of leave the table read in awe many times." Helms also chimed in with a hint of what is to come. "I feel like the table reads for us are just like the episodes for air. They really have the same intonation, the same energy and I'll say this about the way that Angela and Andy... develops over the next few episodes, I would not change a thing."

It also helps with their daily job that Kinsey and Helms are admittedly huge fans of their own show. Kinsey swooned, "We're dorks for our own show and we so enjoy it that it's very easy for me to keep my enthusiasm up because it's the most amazing thing I've ever been a part of and we still have a giddiness and just a real sense of fun even five years into it.

If the Angela/Andy nuptials do not go off as planned, however, how will Andy deal with the disappointment since it's no secret that he was once sent off to an anger management facility after he exploded during work hours. Speaking carefully so he wouldn't give any storylines away, Helms said, "I'd like to think [the anger] is still very much there. I'm not sure anyone who has a real problem with that ever fully gets passed it. [Andy has] really learned a lot of coping mechanisms and... there may be that he has a little punching bag in his garage that allows him to kind of stay a little more centered and adhere to social norms a little bit."

Though Andy is currently ensconced with the wedding with Angela, Helms also had thoughts on who else Andy may hold a torch for in the office. For fans of the show, the objects of that affection will not be a surprise. "I think that Andy has a kind of bro-crush on Jim (John Krasinski)," he suggested. "That's why [Andy] kind of tries to be like him but also doesn't want to be too kiss-ass so he's also kind of a jerk sometimes so Jim knows that Andy is his own man but it's all part of a broader attempt to just impress him. All Andy wants is for Jim to take him under his wing. But different from that, there's a very shrewd part of Andy that really wants to get in Michael's good graces, obviously, so he has kind of a corporate crush on Michael, if you will."

Finally, with a new episode airing tonight directed by co-creator Stephen Merchant, Kinsey hinted, "There's so much that's going to unfold in the next coming episodes that has been so amazing to play."

  [november 2008]  


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