EXCLUSIVE: 'Transparent' Star Melora Hardin Reveals Her Top 5 Jan Moments on 'The Office'
By Stacy Lambe
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While Melora Hardin earned her first Emmy nomination for playing Tammy on Amazon's Transparent, the actress could have easily been nominated for her recurring role as Jan Levinson on The Office, NBC's long-running ensemble comedy starring Steve Carell.
In fact, Hardin revealed that she does feel like her nomination is a nod to her previous work. "It's also saying that we loved you as Jan -- and a lot of other things that you've done," Hardin told ET in August. "I've been doing this all my life. I've been working since I was 6 years old and I've never been nominated for an Emmy."
Over a series-long arc, Jan sinks from a successful corporate executive to candle-making out of a condo she shares with Michael Scott (Carell), later getting breast implants and surprising everyone with a baby (and uncomfortable mothering skills).
Ahead of the Creative Arts Emmys, where the award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series will be handed out, Hardin looks back on her time on The Office, revealing her favorite moments as Jan:
Season 2, Episode 7: "The Client"
After a successful lunch meeting (at Chili's) with a potential client, Jan comes to appreciate Michael's business acumen. In a moment of weakness (or desperation, or actual desire), Jan kisses Michael outside in the parking lot. It's their first intimate moment after years of Michael's flirting.
"The first kiss in the Chili's parking lot was ridiculous and surprising, I think to everybody," Hardin says. The characters' romance was first conceived by Carell while filming the pilot, but didn't make it onscreen until season two. "The way the characters' dynamic was just so push-pull, this rub that was awful but so pleasurable -- that just sort of made you want them to hook up. It just made you want it."
Season 3, Episode 18: "Cocktails"
During a cocktail party at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company CFO David Wallace's house, Michael and Jan make their relationship public. The two end up making out in a bathroom and later, Michael writes Jan a love note.
"[He] tells her he loves her and she is just like, 'No. I can't even imagine being with Michael.' But she just made out with him," Hardin says with a laugh. "It's just so ridiculous. And then she says, 'That's what she said' for the first time."
Season 3, Episodes 24 and 25: "The Job"
Shortly after going public with their relationship, Michael and Jan fall apart. But in an effort to win Michael back, Jan returns with a surprising new look. "When she comes back with a huge boob job in order to get Michael back again -- it was just so stupid," Hardin says with a laugh.
Of course, Michael immediately reconsiders his feelings for Jan.
Season 4, Episode 13: "Dinner Party"
Fast-forward to the beginning of the end of Jan and Michael's romance. The two decide to host a dinner party that Michael tricks everyone into attending. During the intimate gathering of office couples, Jan and Michael go after each other with passive-aggressive glee, with Jan eventually throwing one of Michael’s coveted Dundies into his small, plasma flatscreen TV.
"Definitely throwing the Dundie at the mini-television is hilarious," Hardin says. "I would just like to say that I hit that small television every single time! And all the guys on the crew were so impressed with me."
Season 4, Episode 13: "Dinner Party"
Another favorite moment for Hardin comes in the same episode, when Jan listens to a CD by her former assistant, Hunter, much to Michael's displeasure. "I also liked, in that episode, the very inappropriate dancing to Hunter's song. It was so completely inappropriate, and great, and off," she says.
"I'm a dancer, so it was particularly fun for me to try and dance really badly, like a little bit off the beat and not quite in the rhythm, but completely turned on by this ridiculous song."