30 Facts About "The Office" Even Superfans Don't Know
This trivia about "The Office" will surprise diehard fans of the NBC sitcom.
Sine 2013, when we saw the last of Dunder Mifflin, we have all become experts on The Office. After our fourth time re-watching the series, we noticed a lot of easter eggs—like Jim's last name being misspelled on his wedding sign, or Michael using salad dressing with his face on the bottle. However, there are likely some deep cuts you still don't know. We dug through the depths of the internet to find 30 fascinating Office trivia tidbits even superfans don't know.
During Season 1, the cast was asked to bring paperwork to do on set.
The computers didn't work until the second season, so to make sure the cast looked like they were actually working, they were asked to bring paperwork from home to complete at their desk.
The temperature on set was kept at a chilly 65 degrees to keep Steve Carell from sweating.
According to Rainn Wilson's book The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy, Steve Carell had overactive sweat glands causing him to sweat profusely. To avoid letting Carrell's sweat-stained shirts ruin takes, they kept the temperature low. The cast suffered through some icy episodes until the crew sprung for space heaters.
Jim's proposal to Pam was the most expensive shot of the series.
Executive producer Greg Daniels told the Washington Post, "It was like a $250,000 shot or something." Daniels felt the couple was worth the hefty bill. "It's the most expensive and elaborate shot we've ever done, but it's also sort of the highlight of five years of storytelling," Daniels said. We agree that an iconic TV couple like Jim and Pam deserve an equally awesome proposal scene.
The computers in the office were connected to the internet, starting in Season 2.
The computers on set had a live connection to the internet starting in the second season. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the computers were internet-enabled to give the cast the feeling of office realism. On days when actors didn't have any lines, they would kill time online to keep them looking busy.
Rainn Wilson auditioned for the role of Michael Scott.
It's hard to imagine anyone but Steve Carell capturing Michael Scott's inept yet lovable energy so perfectly. In fact, a slew of celebrities auditioned for the role of Michael, but the most surprising is Rainn Wilson. Wilson ultimately secured the role of Dwight and brought life to the ridiculous owner of Schrute Farms.
Phyllis Smith was a casting associate for The Office.
In the first episode of the "Office Ladies" podcast, Jenna Fischer, who played Pam, said Phyllis Smith read lines with her when she auditioned for the show. According to Fischer, director Ken Kwapis was so impressed by how Smith did her readings with actors that he wanted to give her a role on the show.
And Smith was also an NFL cheerleader and burlesque dancer.
Smith's career has had many shifts, but it began with her cheering for the Cardinals football team. She later transitioned to burlesque dancing, which took her on the road for seven years.
The cast decorated their own desks.
Another interesting tidbit from the first episode of the "Office Ladies" podcast is that Kwapis asked the cast to personalize their desks. Fischer said everyone brought something from home to add to their desk. Kwapis did this to add yet another aspect of office realism.
"The Dinner Party" is the only episode that didn't go through any rewrites.
If you are a fan of The Office, you know "The Dinner Party" is the pièce de résistance. According to co-writer Gene Stupnitsky, the cast and network recognized the script's brilliance from the beginning. "Most scripts get rewritten, and I think this was the only one ever done that didn't," Stupnitsky said. The cast recalled laughing hysterically during the first read-through. Co-writer Lee Eisenberg added, "There's nothing more satisfying than having Steve Carell barely able to get through his lines."
John Krasinski shot some of the footage for the opening credits.
As any good young actor would do, John Krasinski went on a research trip to Scranton, Pennsylvania before he began filming The Office. During his trip, Krasinski took videos of the city, some of which can be seen in the show's opening credits.
They auctioned off over 500 props when the show ended.
The production team over on the Office lot stored an obscene amount of props from the show in a Los Angeles warehouse over the years. A few years after the show ended, they hosted an online auction. From Toby Flenderson's honeysuckle-scented candle to Pam Beesly's reception desk, many beloved items were up for grabs.
The iconic kiss between Michael and Oscar was improvised.
To demonstrate his support for Oscar's sexuality in Season 3, Michael leans in for a kiss. The cast said this was not in the script—Carell took it upon himself to add it, so the actors' response in the scene was genuine.
The character of Carol was played by Steve Carell's wife.
Nancy Carell got a featured role on The Office for seven episodes as Carol Stills, Michael Scott's realtor turned girlfriend. In real life, Nancy and Steve Carell have been married for over 25 years.
Rashida Jones was nervous she would be fired on her first day.
Rashida Jones started on The Office during Season 3 in the risky role of Karen Filippelli, who comes between Jim and Pam. Jones told The Hollywood Reporter that she was sure she would be fired her first day on set. "We were doing a conference room scene and Steve Carell was being so thoroughly and relentlessly funny that I couldn't stop laughing," Jones said. "I seriously thought I was going to be excused. I was guffawing while they were rolling." We're glad she wasn't fired and subsequently stuck around for a few more seasons.
Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak dated on and off.
While their relationship may not have been as dramatic as their characters', Mindy Kailing and B.J. Novak's real-life relationship mirrored Kelly and Ryan's on-again, off-again nature. They have remained close friends between romantic interludes, even referring to each other as "soup snakes," which is The Office code for soulmates.
Creed is the closest to his character in personality.
A fan was curious, as we all are, about which Office actor is most similar to their character. Fischer told the fan that Creed most resembled his character. While many actors on the show share a first name with their character, Creed Bratton is the only actor whose full name was used for his role on The Office. We wonder if the real Creed would ever fake his own death to evade taxes.
Pam's lactation specialist on the show was played by her real-life husband.
Lee Kirk, Fischer's husband, is a screenwriter and director. Kirk made a cameo in Season 6 as Pam's lactation consultant. He later directed the episode "Vandalism" in Season 9.
Pam was originally going to be black.
Casting directors first intended to cast Erica Vittina Phillips as Pam and Craig Robinson as Roy. "I had a version in mind in which Pam was African American, and so was [her boyfriend] Roy," Daniels told TV Guide. "I was flirting with that as part of Americanizing it." However, Daniels ultimately decided that "Fischer was the perfect Pam." Robinson, for his part, went on to play Darryl.
Casting directors originally wanted John Krasinski to audition for the role of Dwight.
The casting team only wanted Krasinski to read for the role of Dwight. However, Krasinski was adamant that he would be a better fit for Jim. Incredibly, the casting directors refused to let him audition for Jim until they found someone else to play Dwight—and couldn't find anyone else to fit the role of Jim.
Three cast members were interns for Conan O'Brien.
John Krasinski, Mindy Kaling, and Ellie Kemper started their careers as interns at Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Krasinski and Kaling were both script writing interns for the late-night show. Trying to be ahead of the curve, O'Brien created a segment on his show in 2013 where he tried to guess the next famous intern on his staff.
John Krasinski and B.J. Novak played little league together as kids.
Novak told Ellen DeGeneres the two Office stars had known each other essentially their whole lives. Before starring in the sitcom, Krasinski and Novak played on the same little league team and attended the same high school outside of Boston.
Parks and Recreation was originally going to be a spinoff of The Office.
Executive producer Paul Lieberstein proposed, "On The Office, a copy machine breaks and throughout the episode, a repairman tries to fix it. At the end of the episode, the machine is loaded on a truck and refurbished in a warehouse. Then the copier is loaded onto another truck and taken to Pawnee, Indiana, where it's dropped off in the Parks and Recreation office. In a twist on 'spinoff' tradition, the character spun off would have been the copy machine." After Rashida Jones was cast on Parks and Recreation as a new character, however, they had to nix the idea.
In "Launch Party," John Krasinski accidentally signed his real name.
If you're on your fifth time re-watching the series, you may have realized that Krasinski signed his real name rather than Jim's on Meredith's pelvic cast in the Season 4 episode. Rather than cutting away quickly, the producers chose to let the camera capture this hilarious mistake.
Showrunners kept Steve Carell's appearance in the finale a secret from executives.
Daniels said there wasn't any discussion about Carell coming back for the finale, but it felt obvious that, "It wouldn't have been a big finale without him." To keep it top secret they even gave all of Scott's lines to Creed during the table read.
John Krasinski wore a wig during Season 3.
If you're a real fan, you may notice something a bit different about Jim's hair in Season 3. Krasinski was simultaneously working on The Office and the film Leatherheads, for which he had to cut his hair. To keep Jim's longer locks consistent, they slapped a wig on him and hoped no one would notice.
Four of the cast members were also writers for the show.
B.J. Novak, Mindy Kaling, Paul Lieberstein, and Michael Shur all did double duty on set and in the writers' room. Shur had a minor role as Dwight's cousin but said, "Playing Mose Schrute was a waking nightmare. My boss, Greg Daniels, forced me to do it as a way to cause me pain. And it was terrible. The first time I did it, I had to grow a real neckbeard." Lieberstein was originally hired strictly as a writer and co-executive producer. Showrunners eventually cast him in the role of Toby, although he was shy and preferred being behind the camera.
John Krasinski thought the show would pale in comparison to the British version.
Krasinski told Sam Jones he made a fool of himself at his audition because he was so sure the show would not succeed. When a man in the holding room asked Krasinski if he was nervous, he said, "What I'm really nervous about is this show. I just love the British show so much, and Americans have a tendency to just really screw these opportunities up, and I just don't know how I'll live with myself if they screw this show up and ruin it for me." The man beside him then introduced himself as the executive producer. Krasinski recalls everyone laughing at him because of his blunder when he later went in to audition.
Oscar Nunez was also not so confident in the show's prospects.
Oscar Nunez was so skeptical of how The Office would fare with audiences that he kept his other jobs. Nunez told The Hollywood Reporter that his first thought was, "We'll do the pilot and that'll be the end of it. I didn't think an American version could do justice to what Ricky Gervais did, but it's a job and I'll do the pilot." He admitted he was excited about getting the job, but continued to wait tables and babysit because he was not confident in the show's future.
Dunder Mifflin became a member of the real Scranton Chamber of Commerce.
Unfortunately, you won't reach Pam at the reception desk if you give Dunder Mifflin a call, but they were recognized by the Scranton Chamber of Commerce as a legitimate company.
Jenna Fischer kept her engagement ring from set.
It's important to note that the ring was just a prop and not worth the $5,000 Jim saved—but we still think it's precious that Fischer kept this memento.