Weekly Check In: The Office & Scranton’s Love Story

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A friend of mine was in town this past weekend for a conference, and was staying at the Hilton in downtown Scranton. I met her there Friday after work, and on my across the lobby came across this sight for sore eyes:

A couple of superficial observations before we continue. Where is Michael Scott, obviously the most important character on The Office? I could see if you just had like, cutouts of  just Jim and Pam, but there’s a whole crew here, including some secondary characters. Leaving him out seems like a very amateur move.  That being said, I’m very happy about the inclusion of Jan Levinson-Gould, my favorite Office bit player; the dinner party she holds at her home was the only time during the show’s tenure where I was legitimately frightened.

The Office has been off the air now for over four years, and the cultural zetigeist it fostered peaked, I’d say, a solid six years before that (I watched till the very end, but the last few seasons, the last one in particular, were not great).  Still, it’s fitting that Scranton, a city ostensibly put onto the pop culture map when Dunder Mifflin opened its doors in March of 2005, would still be celebrating it all these later.  If this was another show, and another city, I might start humming “Glory Days” right about now, and not in a good way. but the relationship between this show, and this city has always been unique.  Plus, I don’t know if you’ve gone back to visit our favorite Dunder Mifflinites since they’ve been off the air, but the show still holds up. One unfortunate side effect of Netflix is that it’s a ruined a couple of shows I used to have an awful lot of goodwill towards. You’ve had it happen, no doubt. You were enamored with a show, but then go back and watch it years later, and think, well, that’s not that funny anymore. If anything, I might’ve found The Office funnier, and more timely, my second time around.

I’m a big believer in always letting the best person make a point, so I’m going to end this short post with a link to a 2013 EW piece by Kelly Connoly that  sums up Scranton and The Office’s symbiotic relationship better than I ever could. Take a read, especially if you’re a fan of the show. It’ll explain why I didn’t greet these cardboard cutouts as a desperate cling to relevance, but with that comforting feeling of nostalgia that makes our favorite shows, movies, and music, our favorites.

In fact, seeing this display made me feel downright warm inside, and you know what?

That’s what she said.

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