"It Was Just So Intellectually Stimulating And Inspiring; It Was All I Wanted To Do"
WC: It's a good show.
BJN: Oh my God. It's the show of our age.
WC: Yeah, you like it?
BJN: I love it.
WC: So: Ryan and Michael.
WC: From your perspective, is it an innocent boy crush on Michael's part; is it that Ryan has the thrill of the new, that Michael's just not sick of him yet; is it the glamour of Ryan being in business school; or is Michael maybe, like, actually kind of in love with Ryan?
BJN: I love this storyline, and I love the sort of awkward-without-quite-planning-it way that we found to do it. I believe that Michael sees himself in Ryan, and I think this causes an exaggerated-- what do you call it when two mirrors exaggerate themselves forever? Do you know what I mean?
BJN: That kind of thing. He takes a couple of Ryan's positive traits and thinks, "That's me when I'm younger," and then that gets processed in his brain as, "And I was awesome when I was younger." So that makes Ryan even more awesome in his eyes, makes him identify with Ryan even more, and so on. So I think his fantasy is, "This is the future, this is who I was, this is going to be my great mentoring project, isn't he great, aren't I great."
WC: He wants to be the boss to Ryan that Ed Truck [played by Ken Howard in "The Carpet"] was not to him.
BJN: Yeah, I think that's great -- "He is the mentor to Ryan that Ed Truck was not to him" is a good way to look at it. But yes, it's played out, to Ryan, in less cheerful terms.
WC: But in so many different ways. I really am amazed at how many different ways you all find to make Michael creepy.
BJN: I think it's adorable, only because I know it's harmless. But I think it's very sweet, truly, and I hope that Ryan eventually sees the sweetness in it, too. I don't think it'll make him excited about it, or make him encourage it, but I would love him to see that and still find it awkward.
WC: Well, it hasn't been enough to make him want to leave the office -- at least, not for that reason -- so I guess he is taking it, maybe, in the spirit that it was intended. Have you seen the Michael/Ryan Brokeback Mountain parody?