‘The Office’: Phyllis Smith Explains How Phyllis Met Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration

Thanks to Brian Baumgartner’s podcast An Oral History of The Officefans of the show can now learn more about the beloved series.

Find out how Phyllis Smith thinks her character met her husband, Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration, on The Office

Phyllis Smith and Bobby Ray Shafer
Phyllis Smith and Bobby Ray Shafer | Trae Patton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Brian Baumgartner is filling the void ‘The Office’ left 

Sadly, The Office came to an end in May 2013.

Now, Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin Malone on the show, is giving fans something new to look forward to. 

Baumgartner’s podcast gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the beloved series. His guests include some of the show’s iconic cast, like Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, and Steve Carell. Several producers, writers, and camera operators are also interviewed. 

In episode 5, titled “John and I Are Not a Couple,” Baumgartner examines some of The Office‘s most popular couples. Of course, Jim and Pam’s relationship is the focus, but the conversation also touches on the relationship between Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Angela (Angela Kinsey). 

RELATED: ‘The Office’: Jenna Fischer Explains Why Pam Beesly Stayed With Roy Anderson as Long as She Did

There’s also the relationship between Bob (Bobby Ray Shafer) and Phyllis Vance (Phyllis Smith). 

‘The Office’ cast made up backstories for their roles 

As many actors do, the cast of The Office made up backstories for their respective characters. 

Jenna Fischer, who played Pam Beesly, created a backstory that explained how she and her fiancé, Roy Anderson, met. 

Fischer’s backstory was all too believable because of how detailed it was. “I had written probably a three-page essay on Pam’s backstory, some of which I got from the script or [borrowed] from the British show,” Fischer explained in episode 3 of the podcast, “Everything That Makes It Harder, Makes It Better.” 

Kinsey took a multi-faceted approach to her role. “There’s a lot of people who could see [Angela] as [a stereotype], like ‘Oh, she’s just the office b*tch,'” Kinsey said in episode 5. 

“Well, guess what? The office bitch can be a b*tch in love. There’s sneaky b*tch, there’s superstitious b*tch, there’s uppity b*tch, there’s madly in love b*tch. There [are] layers to her grumpiness.” 

On the other hand, Smith took a different approach to her role.

Phyllis originally didn’t have a backstory

“I didn’t have a back story in my mind of who Phyllis was,” Smith explained. “I just went by my gut on the line that I was given.” 

Instead, Smith said she based how her character behaved on the way writers wrote Phyllis in any given episode. 

“Depending on the writer and how they viewed Phyllis — some saw me as snarky, so I had snarky lines,” she added. “My character would change, depending on the writer.” 

It was when writers gave Phyllis a love story of her own that she changed her acting approach slightly.

Phyllis Smith created a backstory for how Phyllis met Bob Vance

It wasn’t until Bob Vance was written into the script that Smith took the backstory approach to her role. 

“When they wrote Bob into my life, because I was matronly looking, they wanted somebody that had a little bit of pizzazz to him — [someone] on the handsome side,” Smith explained to Baumgartner. “We had this rich guy who went for the unassuming person of the lot,” she laughed. 

RELATED: ‘The Office’: Steve Carell Actually Wrote This Iconic Episode of the Series

To make their relationship more authentic, Smith detailed how Phyllis first met Bob.

“I always said I helped him change a tire in the parking lot,” she said. “Here’s this big, handsome guy who couldn’t get his tire changed, and I walked along and helped him change his tire, and that was the beginning of our romance.”

Smith believes that, if The Office would have continued, Phyllis and Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration, would still be together today.