Normally, I don’t pay much attention to behind-the-scenes stuff. I go through enough books, shows, movies, etc. that just learning all the in-universe stuff is already a lot. But it is always interesting to learn what real-world events influence how a show turns out. Was there a point where an actor was unavailable, and their character had to disappear for an episode? Was a certain iconic scene improvised on the spot? To what degree did Executive Meddling result in some horrible decision-making? The Office (the book) touches on all that and more but does it pretty uniquely by just quoting the cast, crew, and others involved with the show’s production.
The book is laid out chronologically, beginning with how The Office got greenlit. And it’s kind of hard to do a traditional review of this book because of the formatting, so here’s just a little preview of some of the things I learned here:
- Steve Carell starring in The 40-Year-Old Virgin played a big role in boosting The Office’s initial ratings.
- Carell really kept his colleagues fired up and set the tone on the set. He was always very supportive and a hard worker who helped everyone else out however he could.
- Carell left the show because NBC just…didn’t renew his contract. He waited for the call, it never came, and he had other job offers so he let himself leave.
- The set was more or less a real, functioning office space after season 1. They had working plumbing, computers connected to the Internet, and more instead of just a set. The computers were a big thing because some of the cast would spend days at a time sitting in the background while filming focused on other characters.
- Jim and Pam’s wedding originally had Roy showing up on a white horse to try and stop it. He would fall into the river, then during the wedding vows you could see the horse go over Niagara Falls in the background. This scene was ultimately deemed hilarious but too far removed from reality for The Office, so they cut it.
- Andy was made manager in Season 8 because Ed Helms was in The Hangover (there’s that Executive Meddling).
- There was almost a spinoff show about Dwight’s farm after The Office ended.
Now, like a lot of shows, it did take The Office a while to Grow the Beard. Thankfully not as much as some other shows (coughParksAndReccough). This book basically gives a play-by-play of how The Office did that and how everything had to be planned each season. It was never really a cohesive thing for the creators since going into each season they never knew if it would be their last one.
The Office had its’ ups and downs, something the cast and crew were well aware of, but is still a great show. And this book tells you how it all happened. If you liked the show, this book will give you another perspective that can make you love it just a little bit more.