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Steve Carell Insisted The Office Use Michael And Holly's First Proposal Take Despite Breaking Character

Actors try their hardest not to break character. It can mess up a take if an actor laughs when they're not supposed to, though it can make for a fun blooper reel. Even in comedies, actors try not to break — though fans find some "Saturday Night Live" sketches even funnier when they do. Yet there was a time when a hilarious character break made it into an episode of "The Office."

There were always lots of takes to choose from during the run of "The Office," the top-rated NBC workplace comedy that encouraged improvisation from its cast. Writer Paul Lieberstein, who also plays HR rep Toby Flenderson, explained the filming process to IGN, saying, "our 36-minute editor's cut gets cut down by 16 minutes [for each episode of the series]." That's a lot of extra time per episode, made up of both additional takes of scripted moments and opportunities to play and goof around with the material. "No matter what we're shooting, the actors always will do the script as it's written," explained writer Michael Schur, "and then at the end of a take, they'll just keep going and improvise something, and if it seems funny then maybe we'll work it in." Sometimes the best take for a scene is the one where something goes wrong. Actor Amy Ryan, who played Holly Flax, HR Rep and fiancé to boss Michael Scott (Steve Carell), remembered one of those moments.

Steve Carell wanted to keep their natural reactions

Amy Ryan told Entertainment Weekly about the real moment she shared with costar Steve Carell in Season 7, Episode 18, "Garage Sale." Michael Scott plans a beautiful proposal for Holly, leading her past all the Dunder Mifflin employees holding candles, and Ryan couldn't help her emotion.

"I actually really started crying because I thought it looked so beautiful," Ryan explained. "That's not acting. I was so moved by them." She also explained that when the candles caused the sprinklers to go off, she and Carell were shocked. "The water that came out was so cold, and we both made these, you know, shocked, kind of not so pretty romantic looking faces," she explained. Noting that Carell directed this episode himself, she said, "Production wanted to do it again, and Steve insisted we leave this take in because that was the most authentic and right for these two characters."

Ryan expanded on this moment on the "Off the Beat with Brian Baumgartner" podcast (Baumgartner played Kevin on "The Office"). "Steve fought for it," she explained, saying Carell thought this take was better. "It's not slick, it's not cool, they look terrible, but it's funny," she said. When Baumgartner said that's closer to how life is, Ryan concurred. "That's the life I prefer to live in," she said. "Weird is good to me, odd is really good to me, that's what makes me laugh through life, just things slightly off-kilter."