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Here's Why The Pilot Of The Office Was So Difficult To Film

When "The Office" first debuted on NBC in 2005, audiences could have never predicted what a massive hit it would become. Eight years since the show concluded its nine-season run, it lives on, providing countless entertaining rewatches for fans, and tons of meme fodder for purveyors of internet culture. Based on the British series of the same name, the show changed television, revolutionizing the sitcom landscape, and making household names of its extremely talented cast.

The pilot episode of "The Office" was largely a shot-by-shot remake of the original British version of the show, down to the iconic stapler-in-Jello prank, while later episodes of Season 1 show how the series' comedy was adapted for an American audience. However, even though the show-runners had a tried-and-true formula to use for that pilot episode, filming it turned out to be quite the challenge — though maybe not for the reasons you may think.

The pilot was filmed in a real office building

A show's pilot episode is often quite different from the rest of the series. As a "tryout" episode, it often lacks the big budget necessary for a unique set, instead, being filmed at existing locations, building a set only if the pilot is selected to go to series.

Such was the case for "The Office's" pilot episode. On their beloved "Office Ladies" podcast, Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer revealed that the entire first season of "The Office" was shot on-site at a real Culver City, California office building, though starting in its second season that office was replicated on a soundstage.

According to Fischer, this real-world location sometimes made it difficult for the crew to get certain shots, as existing walls, doors, and windows were in the way. However, as "The Office" is shot as a mockumentary, these impediments actually make the pilot look more natural and realistic. When the character of Roy (David Denman) is introduced, audiences can see a boom mic briefly dip into the frame. As Kinsey notes, "they left it in [the shot] because it's a documentary."

The moving to a soundstage definitely helped alleviate some difficult camera-angles for the crew, we love revisiting "The Office's" first season to see the show's more humble beginnings.