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Melora Hardin Reveals How She Really Felt About Playing Jan In The Office

Although the series has been off the air for about eight years now, "The Office" remains one of the most influential sitcoms to ever be released, and the series is still regularly discussed by its devoted fanbase. Based on the BBC series of the same name that ran from 2001 to 2003, "The Office" stars Steve Carrell as Michael Scott, an awkward man who tries to be funny but often makes those around him uncomfortable, and who serves as the regional manager of a paper company called Dunder Mifflin. The main cast also includes Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, John Krasinski as Jim Halpert, Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly, and more. 

Over the course of the show's nine seasons, there have been plenty of talented actors in memorable supporting or guest roles on "The Office," though some were better received by the fans than others. One character, Jan Levinson, played by Melora Hardin, is Michael's stern boss and later love interest who appears sporadically throughout all of the seasons, save the sixth. While she was disliked by some fans for her intense personality, Jan's a very important part of the show. Looking back on her time on "The Office," Hardin recently revealed her true feelings about the role, and they might surprise longtime fans. 

Hardin shared that she never felt like she "belonged" on The Office set

Appearing on a recent episode of the Spotify Original podcast "An Oral History of The Office," hosted by Brian Baumgartner who played Kevin Malone on the NBC series, Hardin spoke about what the set of "The Office" felt like to her, saying that "as time went on, there was a sense of not belonging there" (via Showbiz Cheatsheet). Now, this isn't necessarily a negative comment, as Hardin attributes this feeling to her character's personality and position on the show. While Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam, and everyone else spend everyday in the main office bonding and working together, Jan is strict and unfriendly, highly focused on her career and raising her daughter. The character very rarely spends time around the main crew, and as a result, Hardin was only on set when she needed to be, not everyday like the rest of the cast.

Hardin went on to clarify that despite this, she doesn't any hard feelings about her time on "The Office." She understands that the feeling was an effect of the type of character Jan was. In fact, she followed up the statement about feeling like she didn't belong by saying, "that's not to say I didn't enjoy everybody and love everybody," and she specifically cites filming the well-known "Dinner Party" episode in Season 4 as literally "the only time on the show that I couldn't stop laughing." The cast broke character a lot while filming the episode, and Hardin praised how "collaborative" it was. While it's definitely a shame that Hardin didn't get to experience the same sense of belonging as the rest of the cast, she clearly looks back fondly on her time on "The Office," and Jan is definitely one of the most memorable characters in the fan-favorite comedy series.