On top of giving one of the greatest performances in television history, Bryan Cranston is also a skilled director. He’s been behind the camera for episodes of Malcolm in the Middle, Breaking Bad, and The Office, including season nine’s “Work Bus.”
In the episode, Jim tricks Dwight into believing that working in the Dunder Mifflin office is unsafe; but instead of getting the day off, Dwight makes everyone work in a cramped bus. “In order to do that,” Cranston explained on Monday’s episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, “they pulled on a trailer refrigeration system, an AC system, but what they didn’t plan on, they didn’t think that where the intake for the refrigeration system was, was exactly lined up to where the tailpipe of the bus was. So the exhaust of the bus was going right to the intake.” Another classic Halpert prank!
Cranston doesn’t think it’s fair that the carbon monoxide-poisoned episode is referred to as “Death Bus” in Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey’s book, The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There, “because no one died,” he joked. Cranston does, however, credit Fischer for saving everyone’s lives.
The actress alerted the cast and crew, “I smell exhaust.” Cranston didn’t believe her at first, until he “got a chair and I stood up on the thing and I stuck my nose up in there, and sure enough, it was billowing down. It was carbon monoxide. I wasn’t quite sure so I got a second wind, I got some more, I got nice and dizzy, and then realized, ‘Oh my God, we could have all been dead.’ It would have been one hell of an episode. It would have been the finale before they would have planned that though.”
“A toxic bus nearly killing the cast” is yet another reason why The Office maybe should have ended when Steve Carell left. You can watch Cranston’s interview above.