While The Office has been off the air for a while now, its presence in our culture is still strong. Chances are, you’ve heard a reference to the show recently, or you’ve just been re-watching it over and over on Netflix.
The series, which began in 2005, was based on the British series of the same name, but it quickly took on a life of its own, and lasted an incredible nine seasons.
Here are 21 things you might not have known about The Office.
1. Phyllis Smith was a casting associate for The Office, but the creators liked the way she ran lines with those auditioning that they created a role just for her.
2. The footage of Scranton, PA that appears in the opening credits was actually shot by John Krasinski.
3. B.J. Novak was the first person hired, and he was brought on as both a writer and a cast member. That began the tradition of hiring writers who would also perform on the show. Mindy Kaling, of course, was hired as a writer-performer as well.
4. Paul Lieberstein, who played Toby Flenderson, was a writer and producer for the series as well, and served as showrunner from Seasons 5-8.
5. Because John Krasinski had to cut his hair while filming the 2008 film, Leatherheads, he wore a wig for much of Season 3.
6. On “Gay Witch Hunt,” Michael was only supposed to keep hugging Oscar. The kiss was improvised by Steve Carell. Nuñez recalled the scene in an interview, stating: “That particular take he came in really close, and I’m like, “Where is he going with this?” Oh, dear, yes here we go. And then I’m just thinking, “Oh God, nobody laugh so we can use it.” And they didn’t, and it worked perfectly. It was a lot of fun.”
7. Dwight’s cousin, Mose, was played by writer and co-executive producer of The Office, Michael Schur. Since The Office, Schur has gone on to co-create Parks and Recreation (along with Greg Daniels, original showrunner for The Office) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He also created NBC’s The Good Place.
8. The most expensive shot on the series was Jim’s proposal to Pam, which was filmed with an elaborate replica of a rest stop.
9. The Office wasn’t originally intended for NBC. It was developed with FX or HBO in mind at first, until BBC America began airing the British version. Once that happened, Greg Daniels felt that if the show were on cable, it would be “overshadowed by the original.”
10. Pam’s goodbye to Michael in the airport was really Jenna Fischer’s goodbye to Steve Carell. Fischer recalled this in an interview: “I remember that the director just said, ‘Jenna, it’s not going to be mic-ed. Just walk up to him and say goodbye to Steve. Just tell Steve how much you’re going to miss him.'”
12. Angela Kinsey, who plays Angela on the show, first auditioned for the role of Pam. While the producers really loved her, they felt she was “a little too feisty for Pam.”
13. Kate Flannery initially auditioned for the role of Jan, but she didn’t get the part. She was called back later to audition for another part and was told to come in without any make-up. That role was for Meredith Palmer.
11. John Krasinski was originally considered for the role of Dwight, but Krasinski insisted on reading for Jim Halpert instead.
14. Craig Robinson, who plays Darryl, was nearly cast Roy.
16. Though Steve Carell was considered for the role of Michael first, he wasn’t available when it was initially cast. Instead, Bob Odenkirk was cast in the role, but was replaced when Carell’s other project fell through.
17. Other casting possibilities: Seth Rogan was considered for the role of Dwight as well, while both Adam Scott and John Cho were considered for the role of Jim. Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet auditioned to play Kevin.
18. The Office Season 9 Episode 17, “The Farm,” was originally supposed to act as the backdoor pilot for a Dwight spin-off of the same name. Unfortunately, NBC didn’t pick up the new series.
20. Ed Helms was missing for several episodes during Season 9 because he was filming The Hangover Part III.
21. Steve Carell’s return for the series finale was kept a secret from the network. During table reads, his lines were given to Creed.
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