Aziz and the writers' personal lives come through clearly in certain episodes -- like the Thanksgiving, religion, and Italy ones -- but the obvious odd one out is the episode you directed, "New York, I Love You," in which the main cast hardly appears. Where did the inspiration for that one come from?
Yang: That episode is absolutely one of my favorites, and the concept behind it has been kind of burrowing a hole in both of our brains for years. I think the seeds of it came up during Season 1, from brainstorming, before we had written a word of any script. Aziz and I were walking along St. Marks [Place in New York City] and we passed this guy selling sunglasses, and we wondered, Well, what if there's an episode just about that guy? We see enough shows about urban thirtysomethings like us. How about the idea that everyone in the world, every human being, is the star of their own movie, is the protagonist of their own story? Everyone has romantic problems, career problems, family problems, going-out problems. Everyone has comedy in their lives, and everyone has tragedy in their lives.
We never quite cracked it Season 1, and we came back to it Season 2, and I think we had more confidence. It's specifically as much as possible about lives we don't think we know enough about, and it's about people we interact with every day. It's your cashier, it's your door man, it's your cab driver -- people we take for granted in our lives.