Scrantonicity ~ “Finale”

Friday, May 17, 2013

Well, the “Finale” is over, and this is the finale of Scrantonicity, too. For nine seasons, the city of Scranton has been the backdrop for a wonderful collection of winding, intertwining tales of the denizens of Dunder-Mifflin. Here’s what USA Today had to say about the phenomenon. So, for nine years I got to enjoy a great fictional story that supposedly took place in my hometown. The writers and the prop department made sure that Scranton always played a prominent role onscreen, probably as much or more so than any other TV show. It sure added another layer of enjoyment for me, and if I’ve been able to pass some of that enjoyment along to anyone that stumbled across “Scrantonicity”… well, then like Pam said at the end of the episode, “It would just make my heart soar”…   ;-)

What the heck, my heart is soaring anyway from this well-done finale. The show opens with Dwight driving down the road, musing about how well the paper business has been going, under his watchful eye. He has reacquired the Scranton White Pages account, the school district, and all of Lackawanna County’s paper needs. Then, the scene shifts to the Dunder-Mifflin office, where a “Wanted” poster is posted, with Creed’s picture on it. If you see this fugitive, the print says to report the sighting to the Scranton Police Station at 200 North Washington Avenue, Scranton 18503. A quick check of Google Maps confirms that this address is actually Courthouse Square, where the Lackawanna County Sheriff’s office is located. That made me laugh, picturing all the times Dwight Schrute must have driven his Pontiac Trans-Am around and around Courthouse Square, searching for a parking space, so he could make a pest out of himself as a volunteer sheriff’s deputy. :lol:

Many former Dunder-Mifflin-ites are shown arriving at the airport, which has many signs identifying it as the Wilkes Barre/Scranton International Airport. In reality, it is called the Avoca International Airport, and it’s uh… not quite as big as this airport shown. Nellie arrives from her new home in Poland, which she refers to as the “Scranton of the EU,” which stands for the European Union. According to Wikipedia, the European Union has 27 countries as members, and traces its origins from the European Coal And Steel Community. Since Scranton’s past is defined by coal mining, maybe Nellie is on to something. Hmm… I don’t think so, either.

The guys all pile into a limo for Dwight’s bachelor party, and the first place they go is a desolate weapons range, so that a delighted Dwight can fire a bazooka on his special day. The topography of the firing range is a severe desert scrubland, the likes of which can be found throughout southern California, and nowhere in northeastern Pennsylvania. Usually, the show is careful about avoiding this kind of jarring juxtaposition. But I suppose you are somewhat limited in choosing your outdoor filming locations, if you’re going to be firing a bazooka. Most leafy-green public parks tend to frown on that sort of boisterous activity.

Jim directs the limo driver to 3030 Adams Avenue, where Kevin’s pub is ostensibly located. When I Google-mapped that address, I get taken to the 300 block of Adams Avenue in downtown Scranton, where Farley’s Pub used to be. Farley’s was name-checked several times on The Office, and they are now out of business. So, it makes perfect sense that Kevin Malone might take over that vacant bar space, and maybe even buy out Farley’s inventory! Wow, I love researching the research that this show has done. Meanwhile, inside “Kevin’s pub” (somewhere in southern California), it was comforting to see a bottle of Lion’s Head Lager, brewed in Wilkes Barre, Pa sitting on the bar.

When the gang is gathered together onstage to discuss the documentary, the Office showed something that I wish they’d done more of… they used an actual on-location exterior shot of the Scranton Cultural Center. It was fun to see buildings I was familiar with, and there was even a COLTS bus in the scene. (County Of Lackawanna Transit System) This time it wasn’t even a prop! Back when I lived in Scranton, I knew the Scranton Cultural Center by its former name, the Masonic Temple. By the way, Pam’s outdoor mural was done for the “Irish Cultural Center” of Scranton. The Irish Cultural Society is located on Beech Street in Scranton, which would be quite close to the Dunder-Mifflin office. I’m guessing the “society” has a “center,” which very well may have a blank wall just waiting for a shamrock-filled mural. And don’t forget; according to the announcer on stage, next week it is time for the Irish step-dance semi-finals, with winners going to the mid-Atlantic!

When Pam’s Dunder-Mifflin mural in the warehouse is unveiled, we see all of the characters we know and love at work in the office. Above their heads, “Pam” has painted a pastiche of the city of Scranton skyline. What a beautiful touch! And when Creed is being escorted off to the pokey, the policemen are wearing official Scranton Police emblems on their shoulders. Even Creed would admit that that was a beautiful touch, if his court-appointed attorney would allow him to speak!

Finally, I will end “Finale” with a personal story of Scrantonicity: I work as a bartender in Seattle, Washington, and I wear a nametag that lists my name and my hometown on it. So, it reads “Bob, Scranton Pa.” I have been getting comments from Office fans from around the world ever since the show first aired. The comments have thinned out lately as the show’s popularity has waned, but last week I had the most enthusiastic encounter ever: some guy at the bar (who was stone-cold sober) went bonkers when he saw I was from Scranton. He’d never met anyone from the city, and as a huge Office fan, he insisted that he get his picture taken with me. Well, he didn’t actually care about my face getting in the picture; he just wanted a close-up photograph of his face next to my nametag. So, like the good-natured people-pleaser that I am, I came out from around the bar and posed with this guy’s head on my chest. Yeah, it looked as weird as it sounds… and I probably should add that this guy was a medical doctor. Why? Well, I guess it just ratchets up the “weird” factor a little more. While he was posing next to my chest, was this doc listening for an irregular heartbeat? Anyway, that’s Scrantonicity for ya! Thanks for listening.   :D

 

~ Bob

5 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    Bob- I’ve enjoyed reading your work for the past several years. I live in SEPA and went to grad school at Wilkes. I have made several trips to Scranton since the show started and appreciate your effort to let the world know about the wonder that is the Electric City. Thanks for everything.

  2. Bob says:

    Thank YOU, Kevin! I’m glad you liked reading this stuff. It was fun researching it, and I always enjoy hearing from folks that spent time in NEPA. Or SEPA. I appreciate your comment, and if you have anything to add to the observations, I’m listenin’. :)

  3. Donna says:

    This really is the end. I’ve just finished the last Scrantonicity & it’s finally sinking in for me that its over.

    Thank’s for being a huge part of my Office-world, Bob. As our only local Scranton-ian, your insights have been cherished. It also helps that you’re a clever writer. I know you scoff at that, but its true…so there! 😉

    I thought the finale episode was wonderful. Great tribute to the fans. And, it was lovely to see Joss’s Tumbler invite & know LITO will live on in some fashion at least. Now I just have to figure Tumbler out!

    Thanks for agreeing to be a part of LITO when it all became too much for one blogger. these last few seasons, youve been the glue thats kept us all together & im grateful for that. I won’t say goodbye. How about, “see you around the ‘net”?

  4. Bob says:

    Thank you, Donna! To paraphrase Roy’s compliment to Pam, Your Scrantonicity comments were the best comments of ALL the comments. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S68uBzoHzOY (Often times the ONLY comments, too.) ;-)

    Tumblr is spelled without the “e.” Other than that, I don’t know anything else about it. But I DO hope to see ya ’round there, once we learn! :lol:

  5. Kevin Greene says:

    Sorry it took me so long to comment. LITO is blocked at my job (I have no idea why) and I never get a chance to get here at home. I’m usually doing some work. Bob, I’ve always loved your Scrantonicities and I will miss them; they always gave me some new info. And it was always fun. Glad we had all this time to enjoy them. I have to get over to the Tumblr page more (blocked at work as well) so I can catch up with my LITO buds. See ya!

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