Saying Goodbye To “The Office” – Scranton’s Wrap Party
I’ve watched many television shows in my life, but few have ever really made me feel a part of them as much as “The Office”. I remember hearing about the show and watching its first season due to its setting in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Having grown up about 10 miles south from Scranton, this setting was quite familiar – yet, what I found was more than just this local flavor (inside jokes that local people catch on to, whether it be props, settings, or passing mentions to local establishments), I found a show full of true-to-life characters, witty writing, and an incredible cast that brought you back week after week as if you were a member of the staff of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.There was something special about the show that always kept me connected (even with a decline in writing the last two seasons). With the show ending and season finale airing this week,what better way could there be to say goodbye to a show that I have enjoyed for 8 straight years now (one-third of my life) than to celebrate the finale with the cast in the setting of the fictitious office, Scranton, practically my own back yard?
The Wrap Party concluded its full day of festivities at PNC Field. I took my 15 minute drive up I-81 (a stone’s throw compared to the fans that came from Washington state, Canada, and England) and got my seat right in front of the cast’s chairs. As the big screen in left field aired various bloopers and interviews, the crowd waited anxiously for the arrival of their favorite cast. Once they began introducing the cast, the whole night really became a surreal experience. The amount of excitement throughout the packed stadium was unreal – and became even more unbelievable with a late surprise announcement. The cast who were in attendance (the vast majority of the show’s characters and creator Greg Daniels) stood at home plate while the announcement was made that a special guest was in attendance. Then, Steve Carell was introduced as his most popular character, Michael Scott. The whole stadium erupted. I have been to concerts, entertainment shows, and sporting events and have never been a part of a moment like that. It was just incredible…
The night went on as the crew discussed some of their favorite moments and some more behind the scenes videos were shown (to the person sitting in front of me who felt the need to stand up, scream and dance every time a cast member said something – I have never wanted to Gorilla glue someone to a seat so bad in my entire life – you made yourself look obsessive and annoyed me and others in the process). Crazy teenage girl aside, the whole night at the field was fun in being able to share in some of the best series moments with the people who represent your favorite characters. With one final bow, the cast and crew said goodbye to a packed stadium full of fans in the town they fictionally lived in.
The best part of the cast, though, was how down to Earth they all are – they really love their fans. A perfect example of this was being able to go out after the Wrap Party and go to a local bar and get served your drink by Dwight (Rainn Wilson), Pam (Jenna Fischer), Jim (John Krasinski), and other cast members – getting to meet the people who you’ve watched on television for so long. In retrospect, the whole night was a truly incredible experience, one that I will always remember fondly when watching any re-runs or my boxed sets of the show. “The Office” remains one of my favorite television series ever (my favorite comedy), with its local touch over a perfectly relatable cast and setting, combined with some exceptional writing.
As a last note, don’t forget to check out the show’s two-hour final episode Thursday, May 16th, at 9/8c – they showed a 10 minute-long preview of the final hour-long episode, and it seems to be set to be a fitting end to such a great show – the writing is back in classic form. I’d love to hear from anyone else who loves “The Office” or was in attendance for the Wrap Party – let me know what you think about the show, its finale, and/or the Wrap Party in the comments.