The bulk of this episode takes place in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, although the community is never referenced by name. But we know this because of the very popular (but bogus) TripAdvisor page for Schrute Farms. And once again, I have to hand it to the show for finding such a good stand-in for a northeastern Pennsylvania farm. I’ve been searching the internet, trying to find the California location they are using, but so far I’ve only found ridiculous mis-information like this. I am positive The Office is not filming on location in Honesdale. But wherever they are, the scenery and the greenery all look… acceptably authentic. That’s good enough for me. As for other examples of “Scrantonicity,” here’s what I was able to harvest from “The Farm.”
The show opens with Creed standing in the Dunder Mifflin elevator, reading a copy of the Scranton Times. Just to mess with my head, I think the show should sneak in as a prop, a copy of the Government Center & Van Nuys News Press,” or even the LA Times. Now that would be funny.
Packer arrives at Dunder Mifflin bearing gifts; he has cupcakes which he says he got at “Nipples” at the Steamtown Mall. Pam gently corrects his Packer-esque mistake with the real name, which is “Nibbles.” The actual full name of the Scranton bakery is “Nibbles & Bits,” and the prop department has packed the cupcakes in genuine “Nibbles & Bits” white boxes with circular red logos on the top. “Nibbles & Bits” is not located in the Steamtown Mall, but on Ash Street in Scranton, not far at all from Heil’s Place, a tavern where I may have raised a glass or two way back when. But it’s always fun to have them reference the Steamtown Mall, so I certainly don’t mind the creative license. Later on in the show, Pam laments the fact that everyone is ready to forgive the despicable Packer because Nibbles cupcakes are so good, and they wouldn’t be so forgiving if the cupcakes came from the “Supermart.” Obviously, the Supermart is a generic stand-in for any and every mediocre supermarket bakery that serves up institutional-quality, cardboard-flavored, overly-sweet treats. That made me laugh; gosh, didn’t any real Scranton bakery want that national TV exposure?
Meanwhile, back at the Schrute farm, Dwight is sitting on a couch with sister Fanny. Draped over the couch is a crocheted souvenir Scranton blanket touting the “Lackawanna Iron And Coal Company Furnace.” This imposing old structure is located just outside of the downtown area, and not too far from where the Dunder Mifflin office would be located, if it indeed existed. The historical furnaces are huge, and cast interesting shadows, making them a favorite place for local artists to sketch the bold, abstract lines and shapes. They would be impossible to miss as the Dunder Mifllin-ites make their daily treks to and from downtown Scranton, and it was fun seeing the crocheted version of the furnaces visible on the blanket.
In the same scene, Dwight’s brother Jed is sitting in a chair reading a newspaper. This time, the paper’s masthead clearly identifies it as the “Co-op Farm Journal.” I searched, but was unable to find a “Co-op Farm Journal,” in northeastern Pa or anywhere else for that matter. So this must be a generic prop newspaper, even though a copy of the real Scranton Times was visible on the nearby coffee table. I wonder why they didn’t use the “Wayne Independent,” the real newspaper serving the Honesdale area. Or, I thought they might have used the nearby Carbondale Miner newspaper, until I looked it up and found that it was no longer being printed. Of course, the Schrute household featuring an old edition of a defunct newspaper sounds just about perfect!
Wrapping up this episode’s random product placement would include the Acker Drill Company coffee mug on Kevin’s desk, the red Pennstar Bank ruler on Angela’s desk, the New York Yankees cup, (possibly Jim’s, courtesy of Athlead) and the Herr’s Home Style Potato Chip cannister upon which a very stoned Andy is laying down some heavy beats. And then there is this observation: not a “product placement,” but on the whiteboard calendar behind Angela, I noticed the intriguing designation “Zipper Day, 1937.” Well, apparently, on that day, April 29th, in 1937, the famous (?) “Battle Of The Fly” took place. Esquire Magazine was the “judge,” and they judged the zipper clearly superior to buttons, when it came to closing the “fly” in a pair of pants. The Levi Strauss Company was not swayed by this judgment, and continued with exclusive button flies for the next twenty years. Come to think of it, the Amish eschew zippers altogether, so it stands to reason that to this day, they employ buttons in that area. And that could possibly include the Schrute clan, with their vague ties to the Amish. Hmm… vague ties… buttons… zippers… I guess that give us, uh… closure on “The Farm.”