New Book Offers Revelations About The Office

This week marks the show's 15th anniversary
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2020 11:45 AM CDT
5 Revelations as The Office Turns 15
This 2007 file image shows a scene from NBC's "The Office," showing Steve Carell, center, as Michael Scott. Also pictured are cast members, from left, Oscar Nunez, Brian Baumgartner, Leslie David Baker, Ed Helms, Mindy Kaling, Phyllis Smith, Creed Bratton, and Angela Kinsey.   (AP Photo/NBC, Justin Lubin)

Tuesday marks 15 years since the debut of NBC's The Office. It also marks the debut of Andy Greene's book offering a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic show. The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History was supposed to launch from Scranton's Steamtown Mall—yes, it really exists—though COVID-19 put a kibosh on that plan. No matter. With fans isolating at home, now is perhaps the perfect time for a book release. Greene—a senior writer at Rolling Stone who encapsulated the classic episode "The Dinner Party"—conducted 86 interviews with actors and crew members to tell the story of how the show stayed on the air for nine seasons. Most fans don't know "the key people who came and left, and the struggles … [to] keep it funny and keep it fresh," he tells the Scranton Times-Tribune. Five revelations:

  • Steve Carell wanted to stay: The book suggests Carell was willing to continue in the role of Michael Scott after the seventh season, when he ultimately departed. Mashable sums up Green's findings: "After poor communication on the network's end (no one offered him a new season contract) he decided not to renew," leaving fellow cast members devastated.
  • A Schrute spinoff: Several spinoffs were discussed over the course of the series. By its end, writer-producer Paul Lieberstein—better known as Toby Flenderson—was ready to run with one focusing on Dwight Schrute's beet farm, but NBC didn't pick it up.
  • "That's what she said": Michael's catchphrase started out as a joke making its way around the writer's room. The writers said it so much that they eventually added it to the script. It's heard a lot.
  • The gas station proposal: It didn't look like it, but that set—a four-lane highway and rest stop constructed on an airport runway—cost $300,000. Based on a real rest stop in Connecticut, it was meant to show Jim's impatience and that "momentous events can happen to us in a place that we least expect it," says creator Greg Daniels.
  • Jim and Pam's chemistry started in auditions: John Krasinski and Jenna Fisher spent a lot of time reading together in auditions, and both were sure the other would get the part. There was "this chemistry that had already started, which was pretty awesome," Krasinski says, per People.
Greene's isn't the only book about the show due out this year. The Office: A Day at Dunder Mifflin Elementary, a children's book about child versions of the characters, is set for an Oct. 6 release, per People. (Fischer and Angela Kinsey share more behind-the-scenes details of the show on their podcast.)

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