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Things About The Office Only Superfans Know

If you're a fan of workplace comedies, you've probably watched all nine seasons of The Office more than once. Let's be real — it's probably more like 10 times, right? To think this brilliant show almost didn't make it past season one is incomprehensible. But indeed, Greg Daniels' Emmy Award-winning show, based on the British series of the same name, struggled to find its footing after its 2005 premiere. Luckily, loyal fans gave the fledgling show a second life.

Now, thanks to its place on streaming services like Peacock and cable reruns, The Office is finding new fans every day. Avid viewers can relive every laugh, heartbreak, prank, and epic group dance any time they want. This on-demand style of watching has made fans experts on all things Dunder Mifflin. However, there are still tidbits and tales known only to the most devoted fans. These facts are reserved for honorary members of the Scranton branch — and we're here to detail them.

The cast actually chose the theme song

Theme songs are a cornerstone of good sitcoms. You can't hear the phrase "Thank you for being a friend" without thinking of The Golden Girls. Chances are, you still have Fraiser's "tossed salad and scrambled eggs" jingle nestled firmly in your psyche. You definitely clap every single time you hear Friends' "I'll be there for you." And if someone begins the sentence, "In West Philadelphia, born and raised," it is your patriotic duty to finish the rest of the famous Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song.

The Office's theme song has earned its place in the sitcom theme song hall of fame. Jay Ferguson's iconic instrumental melody has been endlessly covered by fans, and even placed in many different genres. Creed Bratton even has his own version, in which he adds some pretty great lyrics.

What you may not know is that the song almost didn't make the cut. During an IndieWire interview with Timothée Chalamet, Steve Carell revealed that four different takes on the theme song were presented to the cast, who voted on which one they liked the best. It's pretty clear they picked a winner, but someone should release the other versions. We're looking at you, Peacock.

Bonus fun fact: That famous Scranton footage from the title sequence was shot by the one and only John Krasinski. What can't he do? 

Huge celebrities auditioned for the show

It's weird to think of celebrities having to audition for roles. It's even weirder to think of anyone except the cast we know and love playing our favorite characters on The Office. Still, as with any TV show, a lengthy audition process preceded the rolling of any cameras. And, as the popularity of The Office grew, so did the level of guest star it attracted. Yet in the beginning, with the exception of Steve Carell, the cast was all relatively unknown.

Luckily, the internet has given us a wonderful gift: Videos of celebrities auditioning for The Office before they were famous. Adam Scott, who went on to win all of our hearts as Ben Wyatt on Parks and Recreation, originally auditioned to play Jim. Before stealing every scene on Modern Family, Eric Stonestreet read for the role of Kevin. Most shockingly of all, megastar Seth Rogen auditioned for the role of Dwight

The list of aspirants to the role of Michael Scott is littered with famous names. Steve Carell was actually on a different NBC show at the time, putting his ability to play Dunder Mifflin's memorable manager in jeopardy. Next in line was Bob Odenkirk, who "really wanted the part." Then, however, the stars aligned: Carell's show was canceled, and he stepped into the role he was born to play. Honestly, knowing this story makes Odenkirk's hilarious cameo in season nine as a bizarre pseudo-Michael Scott even better.

The first cast member hired is not who you think

The Steve Carrell/Bob Odenkirk situation took some time to work out. In the meantime, the rest of the cast fell into place. One would think that Jim, Pam, and Dwight would have been some of the first characters to be cast, given their prominence in the show. However, that was not the case. In fact, the first actor cast was not even primarily an actor.

Greg Daniels was adamant about creating a show that elevated writer-actors. With that in mind, the person Daniels hired first was one such combination talent: B.J. Novak. Surprised? Don't worry, Angela Kinsey was also shocked when Jenna Fischer revealed this casting fact on the first episode of the Office Ladies podcast. After seeing his stand-up set, Daniels hired Novak as a writer and as the endearingly indifferent temp, Ryan Howard. It's unclear if Daniels knew how integral Novak's character would become to the show (to say nothing of the fact that Novak would enter into a relationship with fellow writer-actor Mindy Kaling). Yet, one thing is clear: This was a very good first hire.

Jim Halpert is real

When we meet Jim Halpert in season one, he lacks motivation or direction. Still, there's something about him that gets the audience on his side. One element is his handsomeness, which certainly helps. Another is his sense of fun, and the way he loves with his whole heart. His sarcastic looks to the camera aren't just funny — they make a lot of fans' hearts melt. So many viewers wish they could find a Jim Halpert of their own, whether to be a best friend to joke around with or to present them with a rain-soaked proposal.

Good news: There is a real-life Jim Halpert! Bad news: According to him, he is nothing like the character who we fall for every time we watch The Office. The real Jim Halpert has been friends with showrunner Greg Daniels pretty much his entire life. They've stayed close as the years have gone by, though they went down very different paths — Daniels to Hollywood, obviously, and Halpert to law school, and eventually Washington D.C. While the real Jim Halpert is only the character in name, fans everywhere are super grateful he inspired one of the best TV characters of all time.

The copy machine almost got its own spin-off

When Parks and Recreation debuted in 2009, it suffered from bad buzz and ratings that sank as the first season went on. Luckily, much like The Office, Parks and Rec found a group of loyal fans who never gave up, and convinced the network to keep it going. Thank goodness for that, because it's awful to imagine a TV landscape without Leslie Knope in it.

The Office and Parks and Rec have many connections beyond their shaky starts. For one, they both aired on NBC. Rashida Jones appears in both shows, leaving Scranton for Pawnee. Writer Mike Schur went from being a writer (and occasional actor, as Mose Schrute) on The Office to co-creating Parks and Rec. Still, there is an additional, even smaller connection you may not know about. 

Parks and Rec was originally imagined as a spin-off of The Office. But it wasn't a character who would have been the catalyst for the new show: It was a copy machine. The idea, formed by Paul Lieberstein, the writer-actor who portrayed Toby Flenderson, was for a broken copy machine to make its way from Dunder Mifflin to the Pawnee Parks Department. Even though this idea never went beyond the brainstorming phase, it's still nice to know these two perfect shows have even more in common than you originally thought.

Jenna Fischer owns the ring Jim gave Pam

It's fun to daydream about what props you'd take home, if you were on a hit show nearing its end. If you were on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you'd have to take a few stakes, just in case of a future vampire apocalypse. If you were on Emily In Paris, you'd take all of the clothes. If you were on Game of Thronesyou'd have to figure out how you could casually leave with the Iron Throne. The cast of The Office is no exception.

Jenna Fischer, who played Pam, is the proud owner of the ring that Jim gives Pam at the gas station. For a while, this ring was the center of a major rumor, which claimed Fischer wore it daily. After a comment referring to this rumor was posted under a picture of Fischer and her husband, Lee Kirk, she took to Instagram to address the rumors. "What a terrible rumor! Of course not!," Fischer wrote. "I wear the ring my actual husband of 10 years gave me!" It's good that she was able to put that weird gossip to rest. Still, it's nice to know that she owns such a lovely memento.

Angela was a phone operator for 1-800-Dentist

Angela Kinsey played Angela Martin, an uptight accountant and dedicated cat lover. Angela's character grows massively over the show's nine seasons: Her story ends with her marrying Dwight in a wonderfully weird wedding. This powerhouse in a pint-sized package is such an important part of The Office that it's hard to imagine she was ever anything less than a uniformly successful actress. But in fact, much like many actors waiting for their big break, this actor and comedian once worked a whole bunch of odd jobs to make ends meet.

On Larry King Now, Kinsey revealed one of her most unique jobs. Pre-Office, she worked as a phone operator for 1-800-Dentist. If you're unfamiliar with said hotline, the service connects clients with dentists who take their health insurance and have experience with their dental needs. Funnily enough, Kinsey said she often pulled from that job while playing Angela. Luckily, she no longer needs to take a bunch of random jobs: Her career majorly took off once she landed her role on The Office. Since the sitcom hit the airwaves, Kinsey has appeared on Never Have I Ever, Haters Back Off, and in the 2019 film Tall Girl. Plus, she is one half of the wildly popular Office Ladies podcast, which she hosts with Jenna Fischer. No more hotlines for her!

Mike Schur wasn't a fan of playing Mose

Since The Office debuted, TV mastermind Mike Schur has brought us Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Rec, and The Good Place. As a writer, his resume includes The Office, SNL, and even an episode of Black Mirror. He has brought the world so much joy as a creative talent ... and as an actor. His portrayal of Dwight's ultra-awkward and truly hilarious cousin Mose Schrute is absolutely at the top of his list of accomplishments. Every time Mose appears in an episode, he makes it even better.

As it turns out, Schur hated playing Mose. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the brilliant creator called the role "a waking nightmare." He hated wearing the beard, having to don wool clothing in the California heat, and constantly getting his lines cut. As Schur put it, "My boss, Greg Daniels, forced me to [play Mose] as a way to cause me pain." Yikes. It's a bummer that he hated playing Mose, but we're so glad he didn't quit. Mose is undeniably one of the funniest characters of all time.

The computers on set totally worked

The actual office on The Office is not only the second home of every character — it's a character unto itself. Set decorator Steve Rostine didn't want the scenery to overshadow the actors, so he worked to make the set delightfully bland. Built on a studio lot, the production teams made sure it still had the feel of a real working office. Crucially, per Greg Daniels' request, the set also didn't feel like that of a typical sitcom.

Part of creating this real office energy included the computers used. There is a computer on every desk — you know, like in a real office. On normal sets, the technology looks real, but is just a bunch of TV magic. Not so on The Office. Every computer we see is actually connected to the internet. Having live computers allowed the cast to really feel like they were part of the 9 to 5 grind, which is pretty brilliant, but it also caused a few problems. Notably, as Jenna Fischer pointed out on the Office Ladies podcast, the cast got in trouble for having "unapproved things" displayed on their computer screens, like personal email accounts.