“Stairmageddon” might have been a little more effective as a plot device, if the Dunder-Mifflin office wasn’t located on just the second floor of the building. They made such a big deal about Stanley climbing “stair mountain,” but think about this: there is no elevator to the warehouse, and Stanley has been spotted in the warehouse innumerable times. So, apparently, Stanley can navigate the warehouse staircase with relative ease, but not the one from the front entrance. That’s a curious oversight from the clever Office writers, who always seemed to be thinking one step ahead… like a carpenter that makes stairs. (One of my all-time favorite quotes from the show.)
I’m happy to see that they, ahem… “stepped up” the Scrantonicity in these last remaining episodes. At the beginning of the show, everyone is excitedly reading the early reviews of the documentary that hasn’t aired yet. Those (mostly scathing) reviews were written by the Scranton Times-Tribune critic “Josh McAuliffe.” The real Josh McAulliffe is indeed a writer for the newspaper, and he has chronicled the show through his “Office Blog” for the paper since the beginning. The review of the documentary describes Dwight as “forever chasing a manager’s position that he will never get.” Dwight gets his revenge in a talking head, when he scoffs “What does Josh McAuliffe know about the paper business; he works for a news… thing.” Josh McAuliffe is understandably ecstatic about his shout-out on national TV, being “insulted by the one and only Dwight Schrute.”
A major plot point in this episode is the business meeting that Dwight has set up with the “school district of Lackawanna.” Later, when Dwight and Clark are dragging the drugged Stanley to the meeting, we can see the building signs for the “Lackawanna City School District.” This is curious because, although Scranton is located in Lackawanna County, there is no “city” of Lackawanna in the area. (There is a city of Lackawanna, in New York State, near Lake Erie and Buffalo.) In the past, The Office has referenced authentic local school districts, such as my hometown Dunmore, in the hilarious episode “Product Recall.” It also mentioned the real-life Valley View School District in “Job Fair.” So, why did they conjure up a phony, albeit realistic-sounding district of “Lackawanna City?” Well, I imagine it is because the Lackawanna City School District official, “Mrs. Davis,” is portrayed as a clueless, easily-manipulated doofus, that falls for Dwight’s obviously phony flattery, and Stanley’s slurred, drug-induced compliments aimed at her precious grandchildren. That would tend to send an awful message about a real school district’s business practices. I’m just impressed that The Office took that extra step to cleverly craft a bogus name that sounds so northeastern Pennsylvania-ish.
The senator’s “coming out” press conference was broadcast on WBRE-TV, the Scranton NBC affiliate. The logo was clearly visible in the lower right hand corner of the screen, which is not surprising considering that The Office is an NBC show. What was amusing was seeing the many microphones set up in front of the senator, one of which was festooned with what appeared to be the logo for a rival local TV station, WYOU. (CBS’s affiliate) Upon closer examination, I detected that that the logo read WZOO, which is kind of a cute inside joke.
The Carla Fern Talent Agency, where Andy meets with Roseann Barr’s character, is shown from the outside. Using the research skills that I’ve honed through “Scrantonicity,” I Googled one the other businesses visible in the scene: the Kung Pao Bistro. I soon found the actual site at 11402 Ventura Boulevard, in Studio City California, just a short drive from where the show is filmed in Van Nuys. If you Google-map the address, you will see that the “Carla Fern Talent Agency” sign was slapped over a now-vacant suite. At the time of the Google photo, the business located there was “Pilates and Gyrotonics.” I was not familiar with “Gyrotonics,” but I figured it involved “gyrations,” and I was kind of on the right track. Here is an article explaining “What the hell is gyrotonics?” Some of the machinery involved with these “exercises” looks like the owner’s manual should be, uh… “Fifty Shades Of Grey.”
The ever-changing, rearranging refrigerator door in the Dunder-Mifflin break room is at it again. Some of the new local reefer magnets include “Great Uncle Peter’s,” a steakhouse restaurant in Newton Township, Pa, “Sarno and Son” Dry Cleaning and Smart Laundry, and this pretty cool-looking penguin advertising a place called “Vance Refrigeration.” There was a partially obscured magnet that I’m proud of figuring out: I could make out the general shape of the logo, and I could barely see the words “… Brewing Company,” which was enough for me to find the “Breaker Brewing Company” of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Now, on my next visit home, I will have to stop by the brewery, and try one of their beers; maybe the “Phoebe Snow White IPA,” or the “Malty Maguire,” which is a pun on the local apocryphal historical figure “Molly Maguire.” Then there was one more partially obscured magnet that I couldn’t figure out; all I could read was the line “Exciting clothes for exciting women.” Hmm… A Google search of that provocative line plus “Scranton” only uncovered this: the Scranton “Dirty Girl Mud Run.” So, I didn’t find this mysterious “Victoria’s Secret”-y emporium. But somehow I suspect that Phyllis has begun shopping at that place, considering her newfound love for erotic literature.
Finally, Nellie wonders if Pam isn’t getting her mother to watch the kids, so that Pam and Jim can sneak away for a quick amorous adventure at the local Embassy Suites. When I heard this, I thought to myself “Hey, since the Embassy Suites is owned by the Hilton Corporation, I can use my employee discount there on my next visit to Scranton.” So, I feverishly looked it up for a future booking. Unfortunately, the writers were using that darn “creative license” again; there is no Embassy Suites to be found in the Scranton area. Darn that creative license! I guess I’ll just have to stay at the downtown Hilton. I wish I was gonna be there for the gala “Office Wrap Party” on May 4th.