In 2005, an ambitious group of American creatives undertook the challenging task of remolding Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s esteemed British sitcom, ‘The Office’, for viewers in the United States. They not only met the lofty anticipations but also managed to birth a remarkable comedy that first aired on March 24, 2005, spanned nine captivating seasons, and continues to be a favorite among binge-watchers today. Let’s delve into the hidden realms of this iconic workplace comedy with ten fascinating facts you likely didn’t know.
1. Despite modest viewership during its initial season, ‘The Office’, produced by NBC, received an unexpected lifeline for a second run. This vote of confidence was due to Steve Carell‘s anticipated film success in ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’, which network executives believed would spike the show’s ratings – a bet that paid off handsomely.
2. Here’s an astonishing tidbit: HBO doled out $3 million to James Gandolfini, ‘The Sopranos‘ star, to decline a proposed role in ‘The Office’. The character he was offered? None other than Michael Scott’s replacement.
3. Dwight Schrute, a character brought to life by Rainn Wilson, didn’t just spout words in Dothraki, a fictional language from ‘Game of Thrones’; he improved it. Through a correct usage of its grammar and introducing new expressions, the writers added a fresh twist. David J. Peterson, who created Dothraki, endorsed the additions, dubbing it the ‘Schrutean compound’.
4. Andy Buckley, the actor who essayed the role of David Wallace, was actually a financial analyst in his off-screen life. His real-life familiarity with corporate finance landed him the part, and he even continued his day job while shooting for ‘The Office’. For Buckley, participating in the series was a leisure activity – akin to a golfer’s passion for the sport.
5. During his audition for ‘The Office’, John Krasinski shared his fears with a bystander, unaware it was Greg Daniels, the show’s executive producer. Krasinski expressed his apprehension about the American version living up to the original British show’s standard, making for an awkward first impression.
6. Dwight Schrute’s portrayal by Rainn Wilson was not the actor’s first choice; he initially auditioned for Michael’s part. Although he didn’t bag the lead role, Wilson was handed the character of Dwight, jokingly referred to as the ‘Assistant to the Regional Manager’ right from the start.
7. The character of Oscar, as played by Oscar Nunez, was not intended to be homosexual at the outset. The character’s evolution was inspired by a seemingly innocuous wardrobe choice – a pink shirt worn by Oscar in an early episode.
8. In 2020, ‘The Office’ made quite a splash on television screens, with American audiences dedicating over 57 billion minutes to the sitcom.
9. Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch, located at the fictitious 1725 Slough Avenue, is an homage to the original British series, which was set in Slough, England. The street, in reality, doesn’t exist in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
10. The show’s realism was bolstered by incorporating actual businesses and locations from Scranton. Alfredo’s Pizza Café, a fan favorite over its namesake rival Pizza By Alfredo, is a bona fide local establishment. Kevin’s preferred seafood joint, Cooper’s, and the frequented watering hole, Poor Richard’s Pub, also exist in real life. Additionally, fans can visit the Steamtown Mall and see the iconic “Welcome to Scranton” sign featured in the opening credits of the series.