Fans of “The Office” probably won’t be surprised to hear the line from the NBC sitcom that follows its longtime star Steve Carell, more than 10 years after the finale.
During an appearance on Tuesday’s episode of “Office ladiesPodcast, hosted by former co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, Carell revealed his character Michael Scott’s most enduring quote.
“‘That’s what she said,'” Carell said.
Speaking to his former co-stars, Carell said people sometimes stop and ask him to say lines into their phones. It will do this for any line – except this one. “I’m happy to do it, but when they say, ‘Can you say that?’ I can’t,” he said.
Carell’s character would often say the line after an innocent comment was made that could be interpreted with sexual meaning.
As for whether “that’s what she said” holds up for the cast? Carell said he never repeats the line in his personal life. Fischer, who played Pam Beesly on the show, said she “throws” them from time to time.
The beloved NBC series, which aired from 2005 to 2013, was known for its documentary-style filming, with actors often breaking the fourth wall by looking directly at the camera during a scene. This habit, for the ‘Morning Show’ star, was hard to break in her next projects.
“I’ve never had a job where I didn’t look at the camera at some point,” he said.
He pointed to his Oscar-nominated role as John du Pont in “Foxcatcher” as a moment when he likely slipped and went back to his Michael Scott ways.
“I’m sure on ‘Foxcatcher’ I looked at the camera and said, ‘No, you can’t comment on what you just did because it’s not that show.'”
Carell noted that stealing glances at the camera was “kind of a learned strength” and applauded Amy Adams, who played handbag saleswoman Katy Moore on the show, for her ability to play the camera.
“You couldn’t be too savvy, especially in the beginning,” he said. “You couldn’t play too well. You had to be aware of it without being over-aware of it.
The show ran for nine seasons before ending ten years ago. Carell’s character departed earlier, during season seven.
While the sendoff was “a very emotional thing,” Carell said he was ready for the goodbye.
“It was time for other characters to come to the fore and for other storylines to be pursued,” he said. “The time had come, I think for everyone. But simultaneously, there’s just a sense of joy for me that we’ve been through all of this and…I had the chance to ride with everyone,” he said.