Ain’t no party like a Scranton party, ‘cause a Scranton party don’t stop! The cast and crew of “The Office” wouldn’t have direct knowledge of that fact, though, being that the hit NBC series was shot in Los Angeles, a good 2,700 miles outside of Electric City, where it was set. The beloved mockumentary-style sitcom, which is seeing a major resurgence in popularity as of late thanks to its availability on Netflix, the uptick in binging resulting from 2020’s ongoing shelter-at-home regulations, and stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey’s recap podcast “Office Ladies,” is unique in that almost all filming took place on a set. The production rarely ventured offsite for on-location shoots, not even for establishing shots of Scranton Business Park, the complex that housed Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Vance Refrigeration and, for a time, the Michael Scott Paper Company.
Two Los Angeles spots were actually utilized to represent the location during the show’s nine-year run, both situated behind studio gates.
“The Office’s” short inaugural season, comprised of only six episodes, was shot at the now-defunct Century Studio Corporation, a small facility at 3322 La Cienega Pl. in Culver City which consisted of two soundstages and two second-floor office spaces. In an unusual twist, the production team chose to build the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch set not inside one of the soundstages (as would typically be the case) but in one of the second-floor offices. Script supervisor Jason Kessler explains in “The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History,” “A lot of small studios have offices for production staff to work in. And instead of using those for working, they actually dressed that as a set and that became the ‘Office’ set.”
The space utilized, which (bonus fact!) was home to J.J. Abrams and his team during the “Felicity” and “Alias” years, was just a large open room before production designer Donald Lee Harris got his hands on it. Using aluminum sash, Harris fashioned an office for regional manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and a conference room along one end, thereby creating a central bullpen of sorts where the desks of Pam Beesly (Fischer), Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), and the rest of the employees were placed.
One of Century Studio’s soundstages then became the Dunder Mifflin warehouse and the other was transformed into the show’s production offices.
For more Dirt on Scranton Business Park from “The Office,” click over to the gallery.
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