The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s Book Cover The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s
Andy Greene
Dutton Books
March 24, 2020

The untold stories behind The Office, one of the most iconic television shows of the twenty-first century, told by its creators, writers, and actors

When did you last hang out with Jim, Pam, Dwight, Michael, and the rest of Dunder Mifflin? It might have been back in 2013, when the series finale aired . . . or it might have been last night, when you watched three episodes in a row. But either way, fifteen years after the show first aired, it's more popular than ever, and fans have only one problem--what to watch, or read, next.

Fortunately, Rolling Stone writer Andy Greene has that answer. In his brand-new oral history, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, Greene will take readers behind the scenes of their favorite moments and characters. Greene gives us the true inside story behind the entire show, from its origins on the BBC through its impressive nine-season run in America, with in-depth research and exclusive interviews. Fans will get the inside scoop on key episodes from "The Dundies" to "Threat Level Midnight" and "Goodbye, Michael," including behind-the-scenes details like the battle to keep it on the air when NBC wanted to pull the plug after just six episodes and the failed attempt to bring in James Gandolfini as the new boss after Steve Carell left, spotlighting the incredible, genre-redefining show created by the family-like team, who together took a quirky British import with dicey prospects and turned it into a primetime giant with true historical and cultural significance.

Hilarious, heartwarming, and revelatory, The Office gives fans and pop culture buffs a front-row seat to the phenomenal sequence of events that launched The Office into wild popularity, changing the face of television and how we all see our office lives for decades to come.


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.

January 3, 2021

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