I recently went to see The Office Experience, and exhibit based on the TV show “The Office”. Fans of the show would truly love this opportunity to walk through the set and relive so many of the memorable moments from the series.
Let’s take a deeper look at the “The Office” and this great tribute to a show which has meant so much to so many.
The British Office
The Office originally began as a limited series on the BBC, starring Ricky Gervais and written, created and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
Beginning in 2001 the show ran for a total of 12 episodes in 2-6 part series. The very short number of episodes seems to be typical of many British shows.
Filmed as a mockumentary, with characters often looking into and talking to the camera, or being interviewed by off-camera personnel, the show was made in a style unlike anything that preceded it.
Ricky played the role of David Brent, a bungling and inept and politically inappropriate manager of a small paper supply company, Wernham Hogg.
Also starring Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook and Lucy Davis, the show has gone on to be regarded with high critical acclaim and audience reverence. Most importantly it led to the creation of the perhaps more familiar and more renowned American version of “The Office”.
The American Office
The American version of The Office first aired in 2005 and continued until 2013, a full 9 seasons.
Starring Steve Carell (Michael Scott), Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute), John Krasinski (Jim), Jenna Fischer (Pam) and a great ensemble cast, the series was a smash hit. Rolling Stone named it one of the 100 Greatest Television shows of all time. While its popularity diminished after Steve Carell’s departure in season 7, the show continued with the great cast for 2 more years.
Set in Scranton, Pennsylvania, The Office follows the day to day lives and antics of the employees of Dundee Mifflin, a small regional paper supply company. The pranks, antics, and imbecility, the interactions and relationships, the suggestive and inappropriate catch phrase (“That’s What She Said”), and the setting made for a hysterical sitcom.
The show received 164 award nominations and 30 award wins.
The Office Experience
The series went into syndication starting in 2009 and can be found on various streaming services, such as Netflix, over time. For those of us who love the series it is great to go back from time to time and rewatch either episodes or the entire series again in broadcast order.
Given its fanbase and the love of the show, I was greatly intrigued when I saw the arrival in our city of “The Office Experience” exhibit.
After you enter and register you quickly start walking through a labyrinth including information about the show, videos, display cases showing the costumes of the main characters, wall sized panels for each of the characters with their pictures, famous phrases, quirks and other characteristics.
Eventually you end up in “The Office”. It is a scale replica of the set where the vast majority of the show was filmed. You can see and sit at the desks of any of the characters, each placed exactly as you remember them being in the show. Every desk had that character’s name plate, various items tied to that character (eg. Dwight’s bobblehead, Dwight’s stapler enveloped in jello).
You can go in the meeting room where all of the cast would assemble for one zany meeting or another. Everywhere people were having their picture taken in poses and places derived from the show.
But the longest line of all was to go in to Michael Scott’s office wherein you could sit at his desk, hold his “World’s Best Boss” mug, and get your picture taken.
From there you walk through the kitchen and washroom area, see Ryan’s desk in the utility closet, pass the vending area (stacked with paraphernalia from Dwight’s desk), and onto the back office area where Kelly and Toby sat.
Next is an enormous wall with quotes from the movie that all end in the tag line, “That’s what she said”. The next room has a recreation of Kevin’s spilled chili pot that you can take your picture with.
The exhibit continues with a small replica of the church where Pam and Jim were married, with a video playing of that scene from the show.
And from there you exit into the inevitable gift shop. Again, for fans it is hard not to get some gift or momento remind you of the show and your love for the cast and characters.
If you haven’t seen “The Office” I highly recommend that you see it. For those of you who have seen and are fans of the show I highly recommend that you go and see “The Office Experience” in a city near you.
It was a lot of fun going through the exhibit. Having the feeling like you were really on the set where you spent all of those hours watching your favourite characters and moments from the show was surreal.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone could work in a workplace as crazy as this one, but I’m sure that aspects of the show are relatable to anyone and everyone.
The experience brought back a flood of memories and recollections of favourite lines and scenes. I have a feeling that I am going to watch the entire series again from the beginning.