Jenna Fischer reveals that the most expensive scene in ‘The Office’ is just 52 seconds long but cost $250,000.
‘The Office’ has become a timeless classic but it’s not the kind of show we associate with exorbitant production design. After all, the show was majorly shot in our beloved Dunder Mifflin’s humble Scranton office. But Jenna Fischer has disclosed that NBC spent a whopping $250,000 on the most expensive scene of ‘The Office’ which features a fan-favourite proposal sans Steve Carell’s Michael.
- The most expensive scene in ‘The Office’
- The hard work that went into the scene
- The “most insane” part of the scene
THE COSTLIEST SCENE IN ‘THE OFFICE’
The most expensive scene of ‘The Office’ is not Jim and Pam’s mini-wedding getaway where they get married with Niagara Falls as their witness (‘Niagara’ Episode 5, Season 6.) Nor is it any scene from Michaels’ directorial debut “Threat Level Midnight” (Season 7, Episode 17.) The costliest few seconds of ‘The Office’ does not feature the show’s lifeline, Michael, despite Steve Carell’s character is synonymous with ‘The Office’.
As revealed by Jenna Fischer on a recent episode of the podcast “Office Ladies” hosted by her and former co-star Angela Kinsey, the most expensive scene of the show is Jim’s marriage proposal to Pam in Episode 1 titled “Weight Loss” from Season 5. As Pam had been away to attend her art classes in New York, Jim calls her for a lunch date at a gas station halfway between Scranton and New York. He ends up proposing to her amidst a romantic downpour and she naturally accepts. This dreamy proposal 52-second sequence instantly became a fan favourite and is worth all the $250,000 that went into it.
Fischer revealed in the podcast that the showrunner Greg Daniels wanted the proposal to be exclusively included in the Season 5 premiere to get the audience by surprise as such events are usually expected at the end of a season. The intention behind staging this scene at an ordinary location like a rest stop was to throw people off. Fischer also said that Daniels
“wanted [it] to feel special, but he also wanted it to feel like Jim made the decision without a whole lot of planning”.
ALL THAT JAZZ FOR 52 SECONDS
It makes one wonder how such a simple scene of Jim proposing to Pam can cost thousands of dollars. But, as Fischer disclosed, the scene was not shot on location but a custom set built “in the parking lot of a Best Buy”. It took immense 9-day labour by the production design team to bring the set to fruition.
“We did not actually fly to this location. This is the insane part. They built this in the parking lot of a Best Buy that I have been to many times, actually”, the actress elaborated. “What they did was they used Google Street View to capture images of a real gas station along the Merritt Parkway, and then using those images, they built it to match in this parking lot. It took them about nine days to build it.”
Fischer added that the pouring rain which amplified the charm of the scene was purely fabricated since the production team had used “giant rain machines”.
THE HIGHWAY TO A HEAVENLY SCENE
If you think the “most insane” part of the behind-the-scenes of the expensive proposal sequence is the custom set, be ready to get more astonished. The heftiest element of ‘The Office’ scene was not the centrepiece gas station but the highway itself.
The makers of the show put great efforts into the 52-second scene as they went so far as to create an entire highway for the much-awaited Jim’s proposal to Pam. Jenna explained that the production design team did so by building “a four-lane circular racetrack around the gas station set” to give a semblance of moving traffic around the couple. The actress mentioned,
“Our production manager, Randy Cordray, said they had about 35 precision drivers. They were driving not just cars, but like semi-trucks”.
Fischer also added that there was an elaborate camera set-up on the other side of this customized raceway so that the team could capture the vehicles going past. According to her, these vehicles were made to speed around the racecourse at 55 miles an hour. This inevitably created a memorable setting for the actors to perform the scene.
“When we were standing there on that set, you could feel the wind like of these cars speeding past you. It was so, so bonkers”.
After Fischer’s exciting revelations about the most expensive scene of ‘The Office’, it is evident that the show became a hit by paying utmost attention to detail and leaving no stone unturned.
What do you think about the behind-the-scenes of Jim’s proposal to Pam? Share with us in the comments!