So, for the past nine years, I have been kind of “Livin’ The Dream.” I’ve had the pleasure of being drawn into the wonderful, fictitious world of Dunder Mifflin. And as a native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, well… like Jim Halpert said in this episode about Dwight’s ongoing drama… “What an awesome added bonus!” Yeah, it has been an awesome added bonus to constantly see and hear references to my hometown, while enjoying a well-told unfolding story. The Scranton Times just published a pretty comprehensive list of all the nods Scranton has gotten over the years from the Office. And I’m happy to say that I’ve found most of them. Now, let’s see what “Livin’ The Dream” can add to the, uh… ever-growing-at-least-for-the-last-two-weeks’ list.
Surprisingly, for an hour-long episode, there is not much new “Scrantonicity” to report. There seemed to be lots of “missed opportunities,” where in the past they would have been slam-dunk Scrantonicities. For instance, all through the episode, Angela is shown swigging a spiked drink out of a large cup. But instead of any local convenience store connection, the cup is generically labeled “Iced Drink,” and festooned with a cartoon polar bear wearing sunglasses. Then, when Dwight discusses his upcoming black-belt ceremony, no mention is made of where Sensei Billy’s (probably dumpy) karate dojo is located. This would have been a perfect spot to name-drop one the many colorful towns around Scranton: Peckville, Moscow, or Dickson City, for example. And, then there is even a quick scene inside Sensei Billy’s dojo; there are many posters visible on the back wall, and they are all related to the martial arts. Huh? You’d think this would be a great place to hang a Scranton Printing Company calendar, or a crooked Froggy101 bumper sticker… but NO-oooo. And Kevin Malone goofily rambles on about being constantly entertained by a “bird in the park.” C’mon, that would have had much more impact if he had said “a bird up at Nay Aug,” Scranton largest and most iconic park. That’s probably where Kevin Malone spends many of his off hours, meeting with his bookie on a bench next to the Everhart Museum. That’s how I picture it.
As far as actual new Scrantonicity, here’s what I found: The white board calendar behind Angela lists a Scranton Chamber Of Commerce luncheon meeting on May 22nd at Cooper’s Seafood. Cooper’s probably has had more shout-outs on The Office than any other local establishment. This has led, I suspect, to a major bump-up for their business. It would be interesting to see a “before-and-after” graph, charting their sales from The Office’s debut-to-demise. They probably will sustain a little glow from visiting fans for a while, yet. Also, the white board lists Creed and Clark as the Dunder Mifflin attendees at the aforementioned luncheon. I wonder which one of that dynamic pair would qualify as the “brains” of the bunch at this lunch?
More Scrantonicity sightings include Clark washing his sandwich down with a Wegman’s Fountain Root Beer at his desk, while Dwight sips from a Sheetz coffee cup next to an Electric City newspaper. Meredith has a local Yellow Pages book on her desk, with a visible ad for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Hockey team. On the bulletin board behind Meredith’s head is a flyer advertising the “Three County Metro Street Atlas,” including maps of Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties. Oscar keeps his many pens and pencils in a New York Yankees coffee cup, which seems a little out of character for the fussy, fastidious accountant. Of course, I might be guilty of a stereotype here; Oscar may keep a very tidy, well-appointed apartment, like people assume of a gay man, but it’s not impossible that he’s an avid fan of the Yankees. Or maybe he just “borrowed” the coffee cup from Kevin’s nearby desk. The much-traveled, ubiquitous Utz Cheese Balls barrel now appears on top of the break room refrigerator. The only reason I’m bringing it up now is because I was reading Jenna Fischer’s recent reminisces about taping a particular scene, where the Dunder Mifflin-ites were throwing Utz Cheese Balls into each others’ mouths. And she confessed that the actors were gagging, because that cheese ball barrel prop has been around since the show’s beginning, and the orange-y, dusty balls are now several years past their expiration date. And yet they carried on with the scene. What troopers… now that’s dedication!
David Wallace offers the Dunder-Mifflin manager’s position to Dwight, who promptly whips out an existing business card listing himself as the manager. According to the card, Dunder-Mifflin’s address is 1725 Slough Avenue, and the zip code is listed as 18509. This is odd because the actual zip code for the mythical Scranton business park should be 18503. 18509 was my zip code, growing up in the neighboring town of Dunmore. I can vaguely remember learning to memorize my address as a kid, and I recall whipping off “18509” really fast, like it had a “zip” to it .
When Pam was peaking out of the ladies’ room door, I finally got a closer look at the poster for the 2010 “Fight For Air” charity Walk. The event, called “Conquer The Concourse,” took place at PNC Stadium in Moosic, Pa, where the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees AAA team plays; maybe Oscar has a box seat there. Also, I observed two new commemorative plaques on the Dunder-Mifflin walls: a “special award” presented to Louanne Kelley, and a presentation to the head-of-the-class Dunder-Mifflin salesman, Ed Truck. At least he was the head, until he unfortunately lost his.
And although Roseanne Barr’s character will probably not be appearing again, I should point out an “Office” post that I received on Facebook; it was an “ad” for the “Carla Fern Talent Agency.” The office itself has already made an appearance, and I tracked it down to a strip mall on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, California. But the Facebook ad lists the address as 1604 Jefferson Avenue in Scranton. Which places it just a few blocks from the house where I grew up in Dunmore. Wow… How many times did I walk by the future home of the Carla Fern Talent Agency!?! Now that’s livin’ the dream!