Fun Facts About… The Office (US)

Ahh, The Office. I didn’t know if I’d like this show, but I decided to give it a go at the start of the first UK lockdown, and boy, am I glad I did.

If you, like me, aren’t sure about it, just do it! It has a slow start, but then becomes one of the funniest shows you’ll ever watch, featuring awesome quotes that you can use everyday, as well as some of the most famous memes known to the virtual world.

(Literally me)

For my fellow The Office (US) fans, here are some fun facts that you may not know about one of the best shows ever:

1. The show was born from the UK version, which lasted two seasons but made an impact far beyond expected. The US shows honours the original in many ways, including the Dunder Mifflin address, which is 1725 Slough Avenue. This is because Slough is the location of the original paper company in England.

2. The shots of Scranton in the title sequence were filmed by John Krasinski (AKA Jim), when he visited the area before the show started filming. The original opening to the show (that never aired) looked, and sounded very different, featuring a completely different song. I’m glad they used the now popular theme tune instead! Bonus fact: The cast of the show helped pick the iconic tune!

3. Krasinski also interviewed a number of paper company employees to research for the role. His commitment certainly paid off as he played the best Jim Halpert possible.

4. Jenna Fischer, who played Pam, and John Krasinski, who played Jim, met for the first time during casting. The producers held a series of casting sessions with different combinations of actors playing Pam and Jim. Jenna Fischer said John Krasinski was her favourite Jim, while Krasinski responded that she was his favourite Pam. When each was offered the part, the first thing they asked was if the other got the role too; so cute. #Jamforever

5. Phyllis Smith started on The Office as the casting associate, but impressed producers so much when she read lines to auditioning actors, that they created the role of Phyllis on the show.

6. The Office casting team actively sought actors with improv experience. A lot of scenes were improvised on the show. And the cast and crew’s love of improv is reflected in Michael’s character attending improv classes.

7. B.J. Novak (Ryan), Mindy Kaling (Kelly), Paul Lieberstein (Toby) and Michael Schur (Dwight’s cousin, Mose) were all writers on the show. Steve Carrell (Michael), John Krasinski (Jim), Rainn Wilson (Dwight), Ed Helms (Andy), and Brian Baumgartner (Kevin) also wrote a couple of episodes each.  Carrell, Novak, Helms, Wilson and Krasinski, as well as, Jenna Fischer (Pam), have also directed episodes of the show. What a talented bunch!

8. Whilst waiting to read for the part of Jim, John Kransinski met a man in the waiting room. The man asked him if he was nervous for the audition and Krasinski replied, “You know, not really. You either get these things or you don’t. But what I’m really nervous about is this show. It’s just I love the British how so much and Americans have a tendency to just really screw these opportunities up. I just don’t know how I’ll live with myself if they screw this show up and ruin it for me.” The man he was speaking to was executive producer, Greg Daniels. Thankfully, Kransinski’s love of the show and his great audition landed him the role of a lifetime; one that the Americans didn’t screw up!

9. Paul Lieberstein (Toby) was Angela Kinsey’s (Angela) brother-in-law (I say ‘was’, as she and her husband divorced in 2010). His sister is also married to the show’s executive producer, Greg Daniels. In addition to this, his brother Warren was also a producer on the show. Talk about family connections!

10. Angela and Jenna (AKA Pam), are best friends in real life, and even do a podcast about The Office together. The two became close friends in the 5th episode of season one, as they sat next to each other for hours on end for the episode.

11. As well as Jenna and Angela, Brian Baumgartner also hosts a podcast about his time on the show.

12. Many of the actors, who were originally not in main roles, kept their regular jobs during the first season of the show. Such actors include Oscar (who played Oscar) and Angela (who played, yes, Angela). This is because nobody knew if the show would be a success, and whether or not these additional actors would be featured after the first few episodes. This is also probably why they kept many of the characters’ names the same as the actors. Little did they know…!

13. Steve Carrell AKA Michael Scott leaving The Office was one of the biggest mistakes in sitcom history, and it was the beginning of the end of the show. However, it was not actually Carrell’s choice to leave; his contract had ended and the show didn’t offer him a new one and that was that.

14. The writers considered making Darryl the boss after Michael had left, but decided he was too “rational and smart”, so they made Andy manager instead, as he put people and relationships over business, like Michael.

15. The computers on set actually worked, and even had internet access. But, the cast would always need to make sure their screen had something character-related, such as Dunder Mifflin-related content, or even Solitaire!

16. The show was aimed at white-collared workers as its target market, but upon being released on iTunes during its second season, producers realised that a younger demographic preferred the show. It remains the same to this day.

17. The show was kept as similar as possible to its UK counterpart during its first season, as it was bought as an adaptation. The script of the pilot is pretty much identical to the original. Season two is where we see The Office US coming into its own, and it is also where Michael Scott becomes more likable.

18. A simple Youtube or Google search will help you find hundreds of deleted scenes of the show. According to show-runners, each episode could easily be an hour long. I wish they were!

19. There are a number of stand-alone webisodes created from the show, all of which can be found online. These include, Erin and Kelly forming a girl group, and the accountants of the show trying to balance the books.

20. As much as we want a reboot, it looks unlikely, as the creator of the original show (Ricky Gervais), and Steve Carrell have said that the humour and storylines would not work in today’s world. As sad as that is, it is very true. So, other than the occasional mini-reunions seen on Instagram, I guess we just have to rewatch episodes for our The Office fix.

With Love, Abi X

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