‘The Office’: Kelly and Ryan’s Love Story Began Because of the Actors’ Chemistry

There’s no shortage of odd couples within The Office. Throughout the nine seasons of the show, fans were privy to pairings like Michael and Helene (Pam’s mom), Angela and Andy, and Jim and Katy. However, Ryan and Kelly boast one of the most chaotic and toxic relationships on the show. Their on-again-off-again relationship was absurd, yet super fun to watch. But how did it even begin?

Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak as Kelly and Ryan on The Office
‘The Office cast members’ Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak | Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Kelly and Ryan’s relationship began where most stories begin, in the writers’ room. Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak were hired to be writers for The Office and also be a part of the cast. And while their characters, Kelly and Ryan, were bound to interact at some point, the original plans weren’t necessary to have them date. But after the other writers saw the unique chemistry between Novak and Kaling, they wrote them in as a couple.

How B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling’s chemistry affected their characters on ‘The Office’

In an interview with NPR, Novak got candid about the unique dynamic that he and Kaling shared. The pair spent tons of time together thanks to their work on The Office. It wasn’t long before they were riffing off of each other, razzing each other, and more. And while the actors didn’t originally notice how unique their dynamic was, other writers were quick to capitalize off of it.

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“The whole reason our characters started dating on the show is because they couldn’t get over this dynamic we had in the [The Office] writers’ room that neither of us realized was funny at all,” Novak shared. “And other people would laugh and shake their heads. And we’d say, ‘What?’ And they’d say, ‘You two!’ And then before we knew it, they had written us in as this horrible partnership.”

Kelly and Ryan’s fights were inspired by real-life arguments between the writers

After The Office writers wrote in Kelly and Ryan’s partnership, they continued using Novak and Kaling’s real-life interactions in the show. It wasn’t uncommon for them to take notes on the actors’ arguments and put them into the series. Kaling and Novak often helped out with this also. They even improvised fights on set.

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‘The Office’ cast members still have a close relationship today

Kaling and Novak actually dated in real life also. And much like their characters, they broke up and got together a time or two. However, unlike Kelly and Ryan, they had a much healthier relationship. Kaling has even admitted to writing scenes for Ryan and Kelly so she could spend more time with Novak on set.

They managed to stay close even after The Office finally ended. The pair still hang out every week and Novak is the godfather of Kaling’s kids. Novak has even admitted that Kaling is one of the closest people in his life. It’s pretty cool that the actors have become family to each other. Certainly, their relationship is much better than the one their characters have.