Christman Blog: Farewell to “The Office”

Since 2005, the fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin has called Scranton, Pennsylvania its TV home. Production of the NBC series The Office didn’t take place in Lackawanna County, but the constant references to local businesses and other real-life features of the region were a boost to locals over the sitcom’s 9-season run.

Yes, you can go to Scranton and have a drink at Poor Richard’s Pub. You can go shopping at the Steamtown Mall. There’s even an Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe, whose pizza was declared in one episode to be better than the “hot circle of garbage” served by rival Pizza by Alfredo. If you watch closely, you can also see actual Scranton-donated props among the cubicles, including newspapers and radio bumper stickers.

Quite frankly, The Office put Scranton on the TV map.

During Monday’s Ask the Governor taping, I asked Tom Corbett about the show’s impact on northeast PA. He says Pennsylvania has a little bit of a “chip on its shoulder,” perhaps feeling under-appreciated by the rest of the nation, but he says the people of Scranton were very proud to be the fictional neighbors of Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, Jim Halpert, Pam Beesley and the rest of The Office staff. Despite the off-beat characters, the governor believes the show showed that Scranton is a great place to live.

The Office debuted in 2005, and was nearly cancelled after its initial 6-episode run. The show was finally green-lighted for a 2nd season and proceeded to take the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2006. Although suffering through the departure of lead actor Steve Carrell (the aforementioned Michael Scott) after season 7, the sitcom has brought us some of the funniest and most original TV laughs in the past decade. Despite being based on a British version created by Ricky Gervais, the mockumentary style format was a true original concept for American television.

Scranton’s sitcom swansong comes as the final episode of The Office airs Thursday night at 9pm on NBC. The final episode will be preceded by a one-hour retrospective at 8pm.


(Brad Christman is the News Director of Radio Pennsylvania and a self-proclaimed “Office junkie”)