Why Was Andy Promoted Over Dwight on The Office? Let the Show's Writers Explain

Ed Helms, Rainn Wilson, and John Krasinski in The Office.
Ed Helms, Rainn Wilson, and John Krasinski in The Office.
Chris Haston // NBCUniversal, Inc.

NBC's The Office is the gift that keeps on giving. The workplace comedy, which ran for nine seasons between 2005 and 2013, continues to make audiences laugh—and even today, it still invites questions. Like why Andy Bernard (Ed Helms), not Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), was made manager of Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch when longtime boss Michael Scott (Steve Carell) departed the series. Fortunately, we're about to get some answers.

Author Andy Greene has penned a new book, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, which will serve as an oral history of the iconic sitcom's run from "an under-the-radar BBC show helmed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant to the beloved NBC incarnation." It will feature dozens of all-new and never-before-published interviews with several of both series's key players, including Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Greg Daniels, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Angela Kinsey, Ed Helms, Ellie Kemper, Paul Lieberstein, Kate Flannery, Oscar Nunez, Creed Bratton, Amy Ryan, James Spader, J.J. Abrams, Idris Elba, Paul Feig, and Jeff Zucker.

In a recent excerpt for Rolling Stone, Greene teased the book's coverage of the great Andy vs. Dwight debate. Based on just a quick glance at all the different ideas the show's writers had for how to reassemble the office hierarchy following Michael Scott's departure, it seems like the decision to put Andy in charge didn't come easily. While some writers reportedly felt that bringing a new actor into the fold could bring some fresh star power to the show, others believed that having a member of the existing ensemble cast take Michael's job was the better way to go. Whether they were Team Dwight or Team Andy, those in the writers room felt they "were so fortunate to have talents like Rainn Wilson and Ed Helms" to work with.

Writer Brent Forrester put it bluntly with his take on why Andy was ultimately chosen to head up The Office:

"The writers and the cast, generally speaking, were really excited about Dwight becoming the boss. It just felt correct, and that was our creative thrust. Mostly it was pushback from the network saying, 'Well. Is there someone more famous that we can put in here?' Of course, the creators always bristle at that and just want to do the right thing creatively. That was a big thing. But Ed Helms had this giant advantage because of course he was in The Hangover. Not to completely read the minds of the network, but that was my understanding of how that decision got made."

You can read the full story for yourself when The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History is published on March 24, 2020 (you can pre-order it from Amazon here). In the meantime, there's plenty more Dunder Mifflin swag to browse and buy.

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Wa Wa Wee Wa: The Origin of Borat's Favorite Catchphrase

Wa wa wee wa! Sacha Baron Cohen is back in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2020).
Wa wa wee wa! Sacha Baron Cohen is back in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2020).
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

When Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan was released in 2006, a new audience was exposed to Borat Sagdiyev, a “journalist” portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen who had made frequent appearances on the comedian’s Da Ali G Show.

Soon, in our country there was problem: People mimicked Borat’s catchphrases, "very nice" and “wa wa wee wa,” incessantly. The latter phrase was used to denote surprise or happiness on Borat’s part. While some may have assumed it was made up, it turns out that it actually means something.

Wa wa wee wa is Hebrew, which Cohen speaks throughout the film and which helped make Borat a hit in Israel. (Cohen is himself Jewish.) It was taken from an Israeli comedy show and is the equivalent of the word wow. Reportedly, the expression was popular among Israelis, and they appreciated Cohen’s use of it.

The original Borat also sees Cohen singing a popular Hebrew folk song, “Koom Bachur Atzel,” or “get up lazy boy,” among other Hebrew mentions. It remains to be seen how much of it he’ll be speaking in the sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. It premieres on Amazon Prime Friday, October 23.

[h/t The Los Angeles Times]