20 Things You Might Not Have Known About “The Office”

September 24, 2015

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The hit TV show, The Office, ran from 2005-2013 and is now in syndication.  The mockumentary about a paper company’s employees and their work lives won the Golden Globes and Emmy awards in multiple years.  Here some facts about the show you may have missed when it was on.

1.  The Office had quite a cast of characters and one of the most popular, Dwight Schrute, played by Rainn Wilson, might never have happened.  Wilson originally auditioned for the part of Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, but got the part as Dwight instead.

2.  John Krasinski, who played Jim, and B.J. Novak, who played Ryan, both went to high school together in Newton, Massachusetts.  They even graduated in the same year, 1997, from Newton South High School.  In addition to that, they played on the same little league baseball team.  But they weren’t the only ones with a high school connection.  Ed Helms, who played Andy, and Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin, graduated one year apart in Georgia at The Westminster Schools, in 1991 and 1992.

officeuk23.  Many probably didn’t realize it, but The Office was based on a BBC comedy starring Ricky Gervais, also called The Office.  Krasinski had already been a big fan of the show from Great Britain.

4.  The computers on the desks in the Dunder-Mifflin set actually had an internet connection.  Many of the cast later admitted they would surf the net if they were set in a background scene or when they were between takes.

5.  The role of Toby, the reserved human resources manager, played by Paul Lieberstein, was supposed to be a one-time shot.  Lieberstein had never acted before, but when Kevin Reilly, the NBC President, saw the episode, he thought Toby should be in the show more.  Toby then became a recurring character on the show.  Lieberstein, who was quiet and reserved in real-life, even wrote and directed many episodes.  Interestingly, in the episodes Lieberstein wrote or directed, Toby had just a few lines or no lines at all.

6.  Jenna Fischer, who played Pam on the show and married Jim, kept the engagement ring that Jim gave her on the show after the series was over.  She has even been seen wearing the ring at times during current TV appearances.

officesign7.  The “Scranton Welcomes You” sign shown in the opening credits of the show was moved from the Central City Expressway to an area in the food court of the Mall at Steamtown in Scranton.  The city had replaced it to put up a new sign and relocated it to the mall so people could take a picture with it.

8.  The opening shots to the program that showed Scranton, Pennsylvania were taken by John Krasinski.  He had just gotten his role as Jim in the show, and he was in the area researching it with friends when they took the videos.

9.  Krasinski had to wear a wig during the back half of season three of The Office because he had to cut his hair for a movie about 1920s football players called Leatherheads.

10.  The bar that many of the office mates frequented called Poor Richards Pub is an actual bar in Scranton, the city in Pennsylvania where the fictional paper office was located.  It is in South Scranton in the South Side Lanes bowling alley.

11.  Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, had a “Certificate of Authenticity” on the wall in his office that certified him as the “Proud Owner of a Quality Seyko Timepiece”.  Obviously he was duped.

officelflag12.  Also in Michael’s office was a British flag that stood on his desk.  This was done by Steve Carell to pay homage to the original British show, of which he rarely watched.

officeuk13.  The address of the Dunder Mifflin office was 1725 Slough Road.  This was an ode to the original British version of the show and where it took place.  There isn’t a Slough Road in the city of Scranton.

14.  Crystal Club soda is seen many times on screen being consumed by the cast in the show.  The Crystal Club Soda Water Company is located in Scranton and makes soda in a variety of flavors.

officesticker15.  The “Froggy 101” bumper sticker is seen on Dwight’s filing cabinet, in the warehouse on a forklift, and in the office of Michael’s boss when he had a quick stint as a tele-marketer.  Froggy 101 is the top-rated, country-western radio station in Scranton.

16.  Greg Daniels, one of the creators of the show, created other branches of Dunder Mifflin in other northeastern cities before they were mentioned in the show.  He chose ones that he thought sounded funny such as Yonkers, Nashua, and Utica.

17.  Daniels originally wanted to sell the show to FX or HBO, but not NBC.  He felt it just wouldn’t be a hit there but friends convinced him otherwise.

18.  There was a plan for Rainn Wilson (Dwight) to leave the series to start his own spinoff called The Farm, based on his character and his beet farm.  Nellie, who was introduced when the company was taken over by a copier company called Sabre, would have become the new Dwight.  Mose, the rather odd cousin of Dwight’s, would have become a traveling salesman.  Michael Schur, who played Mose, was one of the creators of Parks and Recreation starring Amy Poehler, so he would have been busy executive producing the show, thus the traveling salesman story line.   NBC eventually passed on The Farm.  Interestingly, (and something that has nothing to do with the show) Michael Schur is the son-in-law of Regis and Joy Philbin.

officelacode19.  During the opening credits of the show, there is a certain document shown being circled with a yellow highlighter.  It is a section of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, specifically Section 12.22, that has to do with permit laws and building codes in the city of Los Angeles.

20.  The fictional paper company, Dunder Mifflin is so popular in Scranton that the it is an actual member of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce.  It has brought millions of dollars to the city in tourism and produces the most revenue out of any other business in Scranton.

Bonus Fact

During the episode “Dinner Party”, the song “That One Night” which was played by Jan during the party was a song her ex-assistant named Hunter wrote about their one-night stand. The song was actually performed by Todd Fancey of The New Pornographers. He was asked to make the song and received the lyrics from the producers of the show. They asked him to make it sound like an amateur. He made the song, but a few months later, a production assistant at the show asked for a more polished version. He recorded a new version, but ultimately the show went with his original version, saying that the new version was too polished. You can listen to the unused version below.

Sources: TV Guide, IMBd, NBC, Buzzfeed, The Office Wiki, SPIN

About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of great trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium. I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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