Welcome back, LITO peeps! What’s new? Well, it’s a new Office season, which will be the last season; so it’s a new attitude, one of tying up loose ends and resolving plot lines. Oh, and there are “New Guys,” too. So there’s a lot that is new. What I’ve been wondering is, how will all this “new stuff” affect “Scrantonicity?” Since it is the last season, concentrating on wrapping things up, will they de-emphasize all the Scranton references and local product placements? Or… will there be an avalanche of northeastern Pennsylvania props? Because this will be the last chance to showcase them, at least until the premier of the next TV situation comedy show set in Scranton, Pa.
If “New Guys” is any indication, then there is nothing new for this guy to report. The prop department is still hard at work, placing local products all over the set. Although, I noticed a few oddball exceptions, which they may have tossed in there just to amuse or annoy the sleuths like me out there that are actively searching for this stuff. For example, when Kevin Malone proudly shows off his “turtleshell” repair handiwork, a large part of the replacement shell is a white bowl emblazoned with “Keystone College, LaPlume Pa.” LaPlume is located a few miles north of Scranton, not too far from Clark’s Summit, where my sister lives. Erin displays a Keystone College banner at her desk. So, Kevin may have snatched the white bowl from Erin’s area, after having eaten all the candy that was inside. That’s my theory. Anyway, the turtle’s shell repair also includes a bottle cap, from “Topo Chico.” Topo Chico is a mineral water company, prominent throughout… Mexico! The website says that they distribute their products across most of the USA, including Pennsylvania. Maybe Oscar buys Topo Chico Agua, and brings it to drink at Dunder-Mifflin. That’s another theory of mine. By the way, Topo Chico’s slogan is “Tomatela como quieras,” which translates to “Take it as you want.” Which I don’t quite “get” as a slogan, but I found it as a song.
Ryan is shown at a “Scranton” bus stop, garbage bags packed, and ready to roll on to Ohio. The prop department dutifully decorated this scene with local newspapers and the yellow, red and blue newspaper boxes that are found all over the mean streets of Scranton. Clark, one of the “new guys,” is shown at the vending machine, buying a bag of “Utz Classic Potato Chips.” Also visible in the vending machine are the Gertrude Hawks candy bars, that are made in my hometown, Dunmore. There is a new plaque on the wall of the office, from “United Way of Lackawanna County.” And in the first deleted scene, I saw a new refrigerator magnet advertising Muggs Pub in Moosic, Pa. So there’s still lots of local stuff to find. But, oddly enough, written on the whiteboard calendar behind Angela is a meeting with “Jordan Fencing.” According to Google, the only “Jordan Fencing” company is located in Suffolk, England. Blimey, they order their paper from Scranton, Pa, and have it shipped across the bloomin’ pond! Did Nellie make a sale in the UK? (There is another “Jordan Fencing” website; it features the fencing team from the country of Jordan! Might Dunder-Mifflin be meeting with them? Who will be the Arabic translator? Creed?)
Dwight is shown engaging in his typical hijinks on top of the Dunder-Mifflin roof. The skyline of southern California features the distant, misty San Gabriel mountains. Scranton’s topography features mountains that are smaller and closer in proximity, and much greener. But the atmospheric haze seems similar, so it isn’t too terribly jarring. Now, Kevin Malone running over a turtle in Scranton seems more jarring to me. In all my years of growing up in northeastern Pa, I never once saw a turtle on the road, or in a parking lot, or anywhere except acceptable turtle habitats. Maybe that’s just me. If any other Scrantonians have tumultuous turtle tales to tell, please let us know.
Back to Dwight’s hijinks for my last observation. As he dangles from the wire, Dwight is rescued by a hook and ladder fire truck. Even though it is only onscreen for a brief moment, and is obviously not the focal point of the picture, the prop department took the time and energy to stencil “Scranton Fire Dept” on the doors of the truck. Either that, or they paid to have an authentic Scranton firetruck shipped across the country. I’ll go with the stencil. That’s still impressive.
So, it appears that “The Office” will go out in style; the prop department still working overtime on the grand illusion. In a recent interview, Rainn Wilson said that they are “considering” videotaping all or part of a show in Scranton before it all ends. Was he serious? Was he kidding? Well, as they say in Mexico, “Tomatela como quieras.” (Take it as you want.)