I didn’t start watching The Office until the year I moved to Lancaster and started working. I had several friends who were very into it, plus I got the first few seasons free with on-demand. I also started watching for a sense of nostalgia. At this point I was less then a year out of college, and sometimes just seeing the camera pan it’s way down the Central Scranton Expressway, past the “Welcome to Scranton” sign was it all took to quell any homesickness or sense of college-loss I was feeling.
For those of you new to this blog, I went to college at the University of Scranton. I loved it. I loved it so much I stayed for five years. I also grew up in Northeastern PA. Part of the fun of watching The Office was how well the show (the earlier seasons especially) integrated local locations and businesses as well as lingo, into the series. The workers have gone drinking at Coopers and The Bog, they get out of work early for St. Patrick’s Day, and they even had a menu for Pietro’s my favorite, now-defunct college pizza place hanging in the kitchen. There used to be a blog that would rate how NEPA-y each episode was and I can not find it for the life of me. I do know that my favorite local reference will forever and always be, “she was a dental hygienist from Carbondale and she made love like one.” Golden.
Scranton, for it’s part, embraced the show. When I was a Junior, they had an Office convention. Thousands of fans flocked to Scranton, a large portion of the cast showed up and Al Roker and came to campus to tell the weather for The Today Show.
The Office is ending its nine-year run this year and Scranton is celebrating with The Office Wrap Party. The majority of the cast is venturing into the electric city. On Saturday, May 4th there’s a blogger’s breakfast and several panel discussions at the U. At 2:00, a parade downtown will feature most of the cast members and then there’s a farewell ceremony at the Rail-Riders (Fun fact: in researching this article I just found out that Scranton-Wilkes Barre’s minor league baseball team has changed their name once again. I don’t know what was wrong with the Red Barons). Tickets are sold via the website for the breakfast and closing ceremony, but the parade and ensuing street fair are free.
Scranton Parade Day is my absolute favorite day of the year, and now I get to have a second one, in nice weather. I imagine much of NEPA will descend on the city and many of the bars will have specials. I know the Backyard Alehouse is opening early to accommodate.
If you’re a fan of The Office or Scranton, or like me, a fan of both, I’d suggest taking a trip up that weekend. Here’s my standing list of Scranton suggestions.