I wasn’t very excited about an Office episode called “Lice.” It didn’t seem very promising, either as entertainment or as a source of Scrantonicity. Well, I was wrong on both counts; I thought it was quite entertaining, and there were enough Scranton references that I didn’t have to get all nit-picky to find any. So, let me begin to comb through “Lice”…
The episode begins with the boys in the break room sitting around discussing basketball, all drinking their LaCroix sparkling water. LaCroix has been pretty prominent at Dunder Mifflin the last couple seasons, and there is nothing particularly “local” about it. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that LaCroix is a paid product placement, much like Apple, Cisco, Staples, Hewlitt Packard and the game Call Of Duty. That information on successful TV product placement was found at a website called Business Insider. Seinfeld fans will enjoy reading about the classic “Junior Mints” deal-io.
Pam is shown clumsily dragging her forest-green garbage and her blue recycling cans down to the curb at her house. The address painted on the curb is “13831,” and curiously the house number next to the door reads “383.” I’ve never seen that manner of numbering, and I can’t figure out how it makes sense. Maybe it doesn’t. And something else that doesn’t make sense: this is supposed to be January in northeastern Pa, and the yard looks distinctly autumnal. You think they could have cranked up the snow machine for this scene; it would have made Pam’s plight seem even more pathetic in some nice lush slush.
This one has me stumped: As Dwight prepares to do battle with the Dunder Mifflin lice, he puts a can of spray disinfectant in his pocket, which he then Schrute-ishly unleashes on the office. The spray disinfectant can has a light blue and green “nature-y” label with an orange cap. I checked the usual suspects of local house brands, and then I found a Bizrate webpage with dozens of brands pictured; Lysol, Clorox, Glade… all the 800 pound gorillas of the industry… and no match. I haven’t given up on this one yet. I was successful at identifying the plastic grocery bags when Pam was unloading the mayonnaise jars from the trunk of her car, and the only words I could read were “40%.” When I Googled “Wegman’s grocery bags,” I got a picture of one with the caption “now made with 40% recycled material.” It feels good to ferret something out like that. Oddly enough, the mayonnaise jars had labels that very closely resembled “Best Foods,” which in turn is made to closely resemble the brand name “Hellman’s.” But The Office chose to go generic this time, with the mayonnaise jars all labeled… “mayonnaise.” Hmm, it makes me wonder… especially since we learned a while back that Stanley likes the “tangy zip of Miracle Whip.”
When Daryl and the other lice-less office members are down in the warehouse, there is a brief shot of a refrigerator. The door has a sticker or magnet on it that is marked “RX Billing Service.” A quick Google check found an RX Billing Service at 1614 Electric Street in Dunmore, Pa. Ahem, that would less than 2 blocks from the house I grew up in at 1422 Electric Street. I used to walk right by that place when it was a drugstore and I was on my way to high school. I used to stop in that drug store and browse through all the comic books until the elderly pharmacist gave me the stink eye. That’s a “fun” find for me.
This doesn’t exactly qualify as “Scrantonicity,” but I noticed that as Jim’s limousine was cruising the streets of… ahem, “Philadelphia,” it passed by “Concorde Jewelry,” and the “International Jewelry Mart.” Both those businesses are located on 7th Street in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, one block off of Pershing Square. Native Philadelphians will probably be able to dispute me on this, but that part of the city visible in this scene had a pretty acceptable “Philly” vibe for me; maybe it was the overcast sky, but it didn’t feel very LA-ey. And when Jim emerges from the limo, the prop department cared enough to have a sign marked “Center City Athletics” in front of the club. “Center City” is definitely Philly-centric. I would love to hear from folks from that neck of the woods that can point out what is obviously not authentic in this scene, like street signs or taxi cabs or what-have-you.
Let’s finish up with a bang here. Pam and Meredith end up at the Bog, a downtown Scranton bar at 341 Adams Avenue, to sing karaoke. That’s the real deal on the screen; the actual Bog exterior, complete with the neon Lion’s Head beer sign. Inside, a stand-in for the Bog displays a neon sign for Stegmaier Beer, bumper stickers for the Wilkes-Barre radio station 97.9X, and a band poster advertising “Cage9.” I found “Cage9” listed as playing at several local music venues, but I couldn’t find any of their music on the ‘net. That’s too bad… or maybe their music is too bad. Just kidding, Cage9.
So, why did The Office choose to immortalize The Bog on the show? Well, while researching the bar for Scrantonicity, I found an article describing the long-ago official “Office Convention” held in Scranton. One night, the Bog hosted a wild party for the cast members. Ed Helms played and sang onstage, everyone partied hearty, and apparently a splendid time was had by all. One of our very own “Life In The Office” regulars attended this convention, and perhaps she ended up muscling her way into this legendary booze-soaked blow-out. If so, we are expecting a full report from her. Or at least as much as she can remember. Like drunken karaoke singers might warble, “Girls just wanna have fun… ”
~ Bog (I mean, Bob)