Here are the most best things I wrote this past year.  I think this averages out to one great piece per week.  I am pleased by this.

COMIC BOOKS

The Strange History of Marvel Comics’ ULTIMATE ADVENTURES with Hawk-Owl and Woody

Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy, Pt.1

Milligan and McCarthy, Pt.2

Jeffrey Brown on VADER’S LITTLE PRINCESS, A MATTER OF LIFE and More

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES 21st Anniversary

Paul Pope on BATTLING BOY

GRENDEL Retrospective with Matt Wagner, 1

GRENDEL Retrospective, 2

Fantagraphics Reprints Crockett Johnson’s BARNABY

Nick Offerman of PARKS AND RECREATION talks AXE COP, Comics and More

BONE Creator Jeff Smith on Self-Publishing

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD Creator George Romero on EMPIRE OF THE DEAD

Jonathan Hickman and Mike Costa on GOD IS DEAD

Priest and Bright on the Return of QUANTUM AND WOODY

TOYS!

The Many (Toy) Faces of Sylvester Stallone

How to Build Your Dragon: Putting Together Mattel’s MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE Classics Granamyr Toy

Tracking down the ADVENTURE TIME Marshall Lee Plush Toy

Sillof and Patton Owsalt’s FASTER, EMPIRE!  STRIKE!  STRIKE!

Masterpiece Transformers Soundwave

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Caldecott Winner David Wiesner on MR. WUFFLES

Jhn Agee (LITTLE SANTA) and Loren Long (OTIS)

A look at the musical MARY POPPINS and P.L. Travers’ original books (done in Feb., before SAVING MR. BANKS came out)

Jan Brett on CINDERS

Phyllis Rowan’s THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY

THE DARK IS RISING Author Susan Cooper

In Memorial: E.L. Konigsburg, Author of FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER

Zilpha Keatley Snyder on BELOW THE ROOT

Weird Picture Books That I Enjoy

More Weird Children’s Books: The Mushroom Planet, Chicken Trek, Suzuki Beane and More

LOCAL NORTH CAROLINA ARTS

Nice Price Books in Carrboro to Close

SERENA Author Ron Rash on NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY

Craig Zobel on Directing COMPLIANCE

Golden Age Bakery Puts Comics on Cookies

Elizabeth Strout on THE BURGESS BOYS

TV Production in NC with HOMELAND, BANSHEE, UNDER THE DOME and More

INSPECTOR LYNLEY Author Elizabeth George Visits

Attempting to understand CATS in a local production

Local Produce Delivery Startups

COMICS I WROTE:

Unseen REGULAR SHOW Script: “Bad Grammar”

My REGULAR SHOW story “Sombrero World”

Interview on “Sombrero World” in USA Today

Another Interview on “SomBrero World” in the News and Observer

My ADVENTURE TIME Story “Grocery Time” (Pt.1)

My ADVENTURE TIME Story “Grocery Time” (Pt.2)

FREE COMIC: “Decaffeinated” with Thomas Boatwright

MISC. TV

Shows You WON’T See This Fall

31 Loose Ends from Season 4 of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

Dean Norris Talks BREAKING BAD and UNDER THE DOME

Hugh Dancy on HANNIBAL: Season One

Why I Heart Megatron: A Transformers Post

400 or so SIMPSONS Quotes

More than 60 BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD Videos

The anniversary of the end of ST. ELSEWHERE

My Strange Obsession with LAW & ORDER: SVU

MISC. ESSAYS/ORIGINAL COMPILATION POSTS

THE HEARTBREAK KID, SAVE THE DATE and other films for singles on Valentine’s Day

Thunderbirds are Go(ne): A Tribute to Gerry Anderson

Miami Connection: All 230+ Things I Love About this Film

https://zacksmithwriter.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/400-or-so-simpsons-quotes/

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I prefer my TV super-positive.  I have difficulty watching things I know to be violent, dark, depressing, etc.

And yet, I am endlessly sucked in by LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT.

SVU, as it’s commonly known, is currently in its 15th season of busting rapists, pedophiles and miscellaneous, vaguely-sexually-related criminals.  It has hung onto its original cast for a remarkably long time, though it finally seems to be moving on — co-lead Christopher Meloni departed three seasons back (possibly because he realized he had busted every pervert in New York — the state, not the city), while Richard Belzer’s oft-crossed-over Detective Munch recently retired and Dann Florek’s Capt. Cragen from the original L&O (“the mothership”) is following suit.

Ice-T will still likely be around to express disbelief at whatever commonly-known perverse act they’ve encountered this week:

SVU’s run continuously on NBC since 1999, but its greatest contribution to the public consciousness is the reruns on USA, one of the few cable channels I still get.  There are, to my counting, an average of four SVU marathons per week, not counting how a marathon from the earlier part of the day will get rerun in late night.  As John Mulaney points out in the above stand-up act, this provides an excuse for all manner of horrifying violent sex acts to be described at three in the afternoon. Occasionally, USA blanks out some saucier language, but overall, it’s okay because we’re only TOLD about the horrific acts, not SHOWN them, and the bad guys either get caught or shot to death or something.

The network seems vaguely aware of how absurd it is that such a violent, horrifying show is practically their flagship, particularly now that they need to use it to plug more holes in their schedule with MONK and BURN NOTICE having concluded their runs.  Marathons are based around the most random themes possible (the most recent one was “What would B.D. do?” after the exposition-providing shrink played by B.D. Wong), and commercials have taken on a self-referential air, with the announcer pointing out that the most important thing in SVU is to “never crack a smile” or tourists to NYC getting directions from locals who recall locations based on where a dismembered corpse was found in a particular episode.

With USA recently acquiring reruns of MODERN FAMILY, there have been a series of commercials joking about how those shows have plenty in common.  I’m more worried about young viewers who tune in for a mini-marathon about to start and get the end of some episode with a blood-covered stab-victim.  A recent marathon featured all guest stars who went on to be on MODERN FAMILY, which could have resulted in even more confusion.

As you can tell, I’ve been sucked into these marathons.  An episode ends, and another one literally begins right after — they reduce the credits to near-microscopic size during the thrilling finale of each ep, so once you see “EXECUTIVE PRODUCER DICK WOLF” and hear the NBC/Universal tone, you immediately hear a new, “In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous…”

It’s gotten to where I see a rerun of THE OFFICE or 30 ROCK and hear that tone at the end, I have the Pavlovian reaction of starting to utter, “in the criminal justice system…”

The self-contained nature of each episode makes it easy to get sucked in.  There’s almost always a bizarre, recognizable guest star: Zack Morris from SAVED BY THE BELL!  Jerry Lewis (not playing a rapist, thank god)!  Luke Perry!  Melissa Joan Hart!  Ludacris, who actually did a pretty good job!  It’s enough to get your attention and carry you through to the end of the episode, at which point, as I’ve said, another begins.

Wikipedia episode guides have let me place most of the USA-rerun episodes in a period from seasons 6-12.  That’s a run longer than most “regular” shows, but there’s enough turnover in the writing styles of SVU that this period is particularly notable for the sheer number of gonzo plotlines.

The first season of SVU was an attempt to do a slightly-more-personal version of the “mothership” show, with more inter-office subplots and such.  By season 2, they’d retooled, added Ice-T and glasses-wearing ADA Stephanie March, and made it more of a bizarre, twisty procedural.

There were some crazed eps in that run — I’ll never forget, no matter how hard I try, the one that starts with a Michael Jackson-esque toy shop owner and somehow ends with Cindy Williams from LAVERNE & SHIRLEY faking her granddaughter’s cancer with mercury poisoning — but by those later seasons, there was a distinct sense that the writers were out of ideas, not only for the overall show, but within individual episodes.

While earlier episodes have a weirdly compelling quality as you start to realize just how awful the secrets of the guest stars of the week are (there’s a reason possible killer Chad Lowe is so terrified of mother Margot Kidder!), later episodes have the quality of, “This isn’t shocking enough, so let’s throw in a TWIST!”  This TWIST! factor has the unique quality of causing the episodes to forget what they’re about, sometimes within the first few minutes.

The example I keep using is “Avatar,” from Season 9.  Cold open: A woman is sexually assaulted by her sister/roommate’s finance.  But wait!  It turns out he has a sleep disorder and doesn’t remember doing it!

This plot is then completely forgotten as it turns out the sister is missing, and she had a secret life in a Second Life online community analogue, and then it turns out she was stalked by a convicted kidnapper (Kevin Tighe, Locke’s dad on LOST!) whose victim was never found, and then they figure out where she is when they realize the kidnapper has a cabin in his virtual world, and they can triangulate the location based on the angle of the sun, and you have Det. Benson literally yelling at the community’s webmaster, “A woman’s LIFE IS AT STAKE!  TURN ON THE SUN!”

ACTUAL SEQUENCE.

For good measure, it turns out the original kidnapping victim was still alive and in love with the kidnapper and hiding out at the cabin, so to end the ep on a maximum down note, he sees her again at the end and goes, horrified, “You got OLD.”

Holy God, you cannot believe how disgusted I am with myself for not only watching but remembering this, now that I’ve recapped it.

The show has, during these years, a real tendency to take something vaguely realistic and twist it into…something else.  The infamous crime where a fake cop called in to a fast-food restaurant and convinced the manager to torment an employee was turned into a riveting, skin-crawling drama in the film COMPLIANCE.  A few years before, SVU did an ep on it…which somehow turned into being about Robin Williams as an anti-authority mastermind who puts Det. Benson in a morality-questioning deathtrap.

The original point was somewhat blurred, though Williams did get an Emmy nod out of it.  I Googled.

Aside from procrastination and living alone, why on Earth do I keep getting sucked into SVU episodes?  It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times.

Here’s how I’ve broken it down:

1) There aren’t many other scripted shows on during the day.  Whether it’s morning, noon or late at night, it’s at least something that has a plot.

2) There’s a brisk pace — from the constantly-moving camera during the scenes where one cop after another provides needed exposition to the L&O trademark “CHUNG! CHUNG!” blackout title cards from scene to scene, the show moves.  You rarely have time to get bored before some new lurid detail comes to the surface.

3) And as I’ve said above: Morbid curiosity.  Where is this going to go?  What insane TWIST! will occur next?  And can you randomly figure out which season this episode is from based on such factors as the ADA, the storytelling style, or just the length of Marsika Hargitay’s hair? (It’s shoulder-length Season One, short and butch for most of the middle seasons, then gradually gets longer again starting at about Season 11).

More recently, I’ve found myself increasingly wary of the the show’s “reality,” TWIST!s aside.  The cartoonist Dean Trippe did an excellent comic called “Something Terrible” (you can download it here) that deals with his own sexual assault as a child.  Almost as horrific as the event was that Trippe had, from constant plots on TV shows, been convinced that because of this, he would become like his attacker as an adult, and was afraid to be around children for years as an adult.  He later found out this wasn’t the case.

You’d get a different impression if you watched SVU.  The closest I’d seen to their explaining that victims of childhood sexual abused DON’T grow up to become pedophiles was one episode with Michael Shannon (who’s been the creepy guy in pretty much everything else he’s been in), who’s been afraid of being around his baby son because of that fear, the result of his being molested by his coach as a child…and it’s later explained that the coach was himself molested, and another of the kids DID become a pedo himself as an adult.

It ends with Shannon realizing he is a good person and finally able to let himself be with his son, but how many inaccurate, manipulative stereotypes have been put forth because of that story?

Yes, I need to ween myself off this.

The show has, in its post Meloni/Stabler years, been run by Warren Leight, an L&O veteran who more recently ran the excellent cable dramas IN TREATMENT and LIGHTS OUT.  Leight is an intelligent, cerebral writer, and the episodes under his reign the show has toned down the insane twists to tell relatively straightforward tales of professional men and women who battle human monsters, and the toll it takes on them.

It’s not nearly as much fun.  And immediately after typing that, I realize I’ve just used “fun” to describe a show about rapists and pedophiles.

Still — they had Cybill Shepherd in a story that basically redid the Trayvon Martin case with Paula Deen as the shooter!  And it was played straight!  If you’re going to do some ridiculous mash-up of a distasteful celebrity story and one of the most tragic miscarriages of American justice in recent years, how can you expect people to take it seriously?

(Though to their credit: The brilliant stage actor Raul Esparza is the current ADA, and his dry, irate presence is worth tuning in for, even when he’s in a deathly-contrived take on the Anthony Wiener scandal.)

As with most bits of junk TV, the easiest way to detox is to spend the time wasted watching it doing things that are productive and pro-social.  I might have to resort to that for SVU, particularly with a new year coming up and not much TV on during those winter months.

Still, it’ll take a long time for those words to get out of my head: “In the criminal justice system…”

CHUNG! CHUNG! indeed.

The first season of NBC’s Hannibal, the adaptation/reimagining of the classic cannibal created by Thomas Harris for Red DragonSilence of the Lambs and other novels, is out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week.

As it happens, I did some Hannibal press stuff at San Diego Comic-Con for a website that promptly decided not to employ me any more a week after the show.  With the material still handy, I thought I’d share this interview with Hugh Dancy, whose portrayal of Hannibal’s friend/victim/eventual pursuer Will Graham provides the center and emotional arc of the show.

This was part of a group press event with about five other journalists sitting at the table.  Stuff I asked specifically is marked with a (Z).

All photos are copyright NBC.

Will in the Nuthouse

(Z) Have you enjoyed the con, or have you actually had a chance to be on the convention floor?

No, I haven’t yet.  I got in this morning and went straight into this stuff, in the peripheral buildings.  So I haven’t gone into the beating heart of it yet.

The question I have to ask is: What was it like throwing up an ear?

You know, I knew that was coming.  Bryan (Fuller) explained to me that this was where the story was going, so for me, it was kind of an iconic thing – “I want to throw up the ear, I want to throw up the ear.” (laughs)  Because that was when we got into the endgame, and it was just so gross and brilliant.  So I was very hyped.  And it was good!

Are you going vegetarian after the show?

No, I love meat.  (laughs)

(Z) I was curious about how you played the role of Will Graham.  I saw you in Adam several years ago, and given how you portrayed a character with Asperger syndrome there, I wondered if that carried over into how you portrayed Will.

I think so.  And I’ll tell you why: There’s a moment in the first episode when Laurence (Fishburne)’s character and my character first meet on screen, and he goes, “Where are you on the spectrum?”  Something like that.  And I think there might even be a mention of Asperger’s, I can’t remember.

For me, that was misdirection.  I definitely do not think Will has Asperger syndrome.  In fact, what I think he is is almost the polar opposite of someone with Asperger syndrome.  The way I think about it is, if there is a spectrum with autism on one end, people who can’t read anything of another person, and with most of us somewhere down here (gestures with hand), then there’s a spectrum extending to the other side with people who have no control over the information that they receive, and have no floodgates at all.

That’s where Will is.  And the way he protects himself is, he’s deliberately and consciously adopted some of the mannerisms of a person with Asperger’s.

(Z) He’s faking it, in a way.

Kind of.  He’s chosen to block eye contact.  He’s chosen to become kind of antisocial and not engage.

(Z) Kind of autistic by choice.

Right, but socially.  Not in the way his mind works, but in how he carries himself.

Will

What kind of research did you do – did you observe anyone like Will?

Well, I don’t know anybody like Will.  I don’t know that there is anybody like Will, really.  Just as there’s nobody really like Hannibal Lecter.

I hope.

They’re fictional creations.  But that said – obviously, I read Thomas Harris’ novels, that’s the best place to start.  But then after that,  I read some of the stuff by people that Harris had spoken to, some people that work in behavioral science, who work in profiling serial killers.  And they all have this strange combination of science meeting intuition meeting detective work.  So Will is like that character, but pushed a little bit further.

Hannibal is a daring show for network television – are you surprised by the content of it?

Well, I think what you’re saying when you ask that, is about the blood and the bodies and all that, are they daring, and that’s unquestionably the case.  But what I found to be more daring about it, certainly more interesting, and also daring for a network, for NBC, was the format.

It’s an hour-long, psychological, pretty complex grown-up series with limited episodes. And the blood and guts of it – other than being intrinsic to the genre – served all that other stuff, served your understanding of who Will was, of his relationship with Hannibal, and why Will is so messed up, because he carries that stuff around with him.

I think that’s why, in part, we got away with it, because it has context.  It’s designed to be part of the aesthetic of the show, and not just, “Shit, we ran out of story, let’s kill somebody.”

(question a bit hard to hear; sounds like “do you feel the TV is an artistic compromise vs. doing movies?)

I don’t look at it that way.  I mean, there’s no guarantee a movie is going to come your way.  And I chose to do it, insofar as you can tell – I talked to Bryan, and he described to me Year One, Year Two, Year Three, Year Four, Year Five, and it was very rich and different and I thought, “Okay, I’m very happy to sign that contract.  I think I will be interested and enthusiastic five years from now.”  I mean, maybe I won’t be, but I made that guess.

So I’m absolutely positive about it.  I can’t wait to go back.  I was very invested in the show, I really thought we were doing something good as we were going along, and the audience was teetering, and now they’re starting to grow, and I really care about it.  So I’m delighted.

Hannibal - Season 1

So you knew Will would end the season inside of a cell. 

I did.

So there was never any concern for you like, “Is my part going to be smaller in Season Two?”  Because you know the master plan for the show…

No, I didn’t have that concern.  I just, you know…(laughs) I think you could have a show entirely based around Hannibal, but it would be tricky.  He needs a foil.  And if that balance change a bit in Season Two, I’m good with that as well.  I think we’ve set it up for a very interesting and very different trajectory in the second season.

(Z) Without getting too spoilery, what are you most looking forward to playing in Will’s journey in this upcoming season?

Well, I feel that Will, albeit in a pretty unpleasant way, has had the scales completely removed from his eyes, and in a funny sense, is possibly stronger now than he has ever been before, because he’s not only aware of the situation outside of him, with Hannibal and his identity and who he really is.  He’s also much clearer about who he himself is.

(Z) Several critics were calling that last scene in the finale “the birth of a hero.”

(laughs) There is something to that.  I think that – it’s funny, I hadn’t read that, but I do think that in a very shorthand kind of way, the second season kind of allows Will to take ownership of his powers, right?

He has these strange abilities/challenges with empathy, and in the first season, he’s at the mercy of that.  Jack is using him to some extent to get the job done, and Hannibal is certainly leaning on that part of his brain.  And now those people are away from him, and he’s stuck in a cell on his own, and he can begin to take control of his environment, and start fighting.

In the first season, Will tries experimenting with relationships – maybe a friendship with Hannibal, a romantic relationship, maybe being a father figure to Abigail – do you think Will is capable of having a true, fulfilled relationship of any sort?

I think that’s an excellent question.  In the relationship with Alana, the question was, “How the hell would someone like Will go about instigating, and certainly maintaining, any kind of romantic or intimate relationship?”

And I mean obviously, the most intimate relationship he has with anybody is with Hannibal.  It doesn’t help that by the time he kisses Alana, he’s suffering from encephalitis and is losing his mind.  (laughs)  That’s never a good thing.

If you know the books, you know that in Red Dragon, you know Will is in a relationship when Jack comes to pull him back in, to work in Behavioral Science. And that relationship is tested – again, the question is there even in that book: “Is Will capable of sustaining a relationship in a grown-up, in a normal way?”

And the honest answer is, I don’t know.  He has his dogs – had his dogs.  It seems to me like the best situation Will could possibly be in was the situation he was in in Episode One – he was teaching, going home, doing some good, pursuing his interest in fishing, looking after dogs.  Anything other than that is going to be very difficult for him.

Hannibal DVD

It’s pretty amazing how in less than 13 weeks, Hannibal has built this incredible fan base online.

Yeah. You always hope for the best, and I thought (laughs) if there was any upside to the fact that we were struggling to get an audience in terms of numbers of TV viewers, it was that we had this entire other audience that came out of it who were not only watching the show but actively supporting it and spreading the word.

That’s a great feeling.  It’s a really, really nice feeling to be supported, because for me, this really felt like we were doing something different.  It’s very fresh.  And I’d be delighted to hear someone say, “Oh, X million people watch your show on Thursday!”  It’s a guarantee that we get to go on for a while.

But when I see these people invest so much time and energy in their fandom of the show, it’s just great.  It’s really great.

(Another question I couldn’t hear well – basically, it seems to ask about how there are other procedural shows on TV, and how Hannibal is different)

Well, I think that the procedural element to our show – which I suspect will change a just a little bit in Season Two because I’m in jail – was mostly there in Season One in support of the overarching story.  You know, the individual crimes are thematically relevant (to that arc) and are designed to help push it forward.

That’s why I like it – and it allows you to invest those situations with some emotional.  As an actor, I don’t have to go, “Oh, we’re in the morgue again.  Oh look, he had his foot cut off.”  To find a way that, for the character, that means something, and resonates beyond that one scene, is good.

(we’re told it’s the last question): I wanted to ask about Homeland — do you watch Homeland? (Dancy’s wife Claire Danes stars on the series)

Yes, I do.  Yes.

So are you ready for the next season?

Well, I’m reading it. (laughs)  They’re filming it right now, so I’m reading the episodes as they come in.  So I know everything.

Do you and Clare compare notes for the Hannibal scripts too?

Well, we both ended our first seasons institutionalized, so…(laughs)

#

Hannibal: Season One is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

 

Jesse Alexander p.2 – Jeph Loeb & His NBC Pilot, ‘Day One’

Our two-part conversation with former Heroes co-executive producer Jesse Alexander, writer of Marvel’s upcoming Howling Commandos: Shotgun Opera concludes today. When we spoke with Alexander, he was in the middle of filming some shots for Day One, a new science fiction pilot he’s created for NBC. While we had him on the phone, we took the opportunity to talk about the upcoming series, and Alexander’s other TV work.

Read the full interview here!

Michael Green: Creating ‘Kings’

By Zack Smith

This Sunday, the reign of Kings will begin.

Created by former Heroes writer-producer Michael Green, who’s also the co-writer of Superman/Batman and the Green Lantern screenplay and directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Constantine) the ambitious new series takes viewers inside a modern-day monarchy that combines the backstabbing tales of the past with the politics of today.

Read the full article here.

B.J. Novak’s deep thoughts

5 MAR 2009 • by Zack Smith

Reprinted from The Independent Weekly

On NBC’s The Office, B.J. Novak plays one of the show’s most unassuming characters: Ryan Howard, the temp-turned-salesman-turned-drug-addicted-corporate-sleaze-turned-receptionist. But while Novak’s character often tries to avoid the show’s mockumentary camera (or awkwardly tries to play up to it), Novak was in the spotlight Saturday night, Feb. 28, as his comedy act played to a sold-out crowd at Duke University’s Page Auditorium.

Clad in suit pants, a flannel shirt and a thin jacket, the wiry, wide-eyed Novak resembled his collegiate audience, though his demeanor also suggested that acting, writing and producing The Office while fitting in a comedy show and a role in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Inglourious Basterds had aged him a mite.

Unfortunately, your correspondent got bad information from his editor about the show’s start time and showed up late. Post-show inquiries revealed that Dan Mintz opened the show, and that Novak employed a number of routines that are well known from the Internet, including a riff on Google Maps (its claim that the trip from RDU to Duke takes seven minutes was met with disbelief) and his popular riff on children’s detective stories, “Wikipedia Brown.”

After I finally arrived, I caught a routine in which Novak appeared on stage with a suitcase on one side, a garbage can in the other, and a stack of “new material” in his hand. Audience reaction determined which jokes went into his act and which went into the garbage. Winners included such one-liners as “For me, a strip club is like being a kid in a candy museum,” and “I’ve had some pretty bad experiences with bestiality, but the trick is just getting back in the horse.” (Well, I liked it.)

Novak’s act also included a routine with “Shy Puppet” and a Q&A with audience members about The Office. For him, Ryan comes from “this place of real insecurity.” “When people are insecure, they’re at their worst, while people who are confident are friendly,” Novak said. “So when I play Ryan, I try to be as insecure as possible.” He revealed that he wrote the recent Office plotline about a debate over Hillary Swank’s hotness when he was on a plane coming back from a comedy show, and the two in-flight movies were Swank’s P.S. I Love You and The Great Debaters. “So I figured, why not a debate about Hillary Swank?” He demurred as to whether or not he considered Swank hot.

Most disturbing was Novak’s answer to the question of which Office actor was most like their character: “Creed Bratton is Creed Bratton.” If you’ve ever seen the show, this might give you nightmares. As for what he’s most proud of about The Office, Novak’s answer was simple: “I’m most proud of the fact that we’ve stayed true to what we were doing when we started and no one was watching.”