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The Michael Scott Singing Scene That Cost The Office $45,000

When it was airing live, NBC's "The Office" felt like a down-to-earth show — at least as far as production costs are concerned. Sure, paying for that many cast members had to add up, but things like sets and costumes stayed pretty tame.

In recent years, though, it's become clear that many of the smallest jokes and puns actually cost a pretty penny to include in the final cut. Most of these financial clarifications come to us via the entertaining and information-filled "Office Ladies" podcast, which is hosted by actress besties, Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer. They've spent a while now watching through each episode and providing commentary every step of the way. And throughout this process, we've discovered some juicy tidbits, particularly when it comes to expenses. 

For instance, when it came to creating Jim and Pam's proposal scene, the crew built their own gas station with god-like weather controls, a feat that ended up running the bill up to a staggering $250,000. Another piece of expensive entertainment came via the "scene in a scene" where the office watches footage of Michael falling into a koi pond. To pull this one off, they built a set, filled it with pricey fish, and even hired a special "koi wrangler" — no, for real. The final bill? $12,000. While those costs can at least be partially justified, it's often musical licenses that really run up the budget. For instance, a joke that involved a parodied line from Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise" cost the show sixty grand ...and likely was a primary factor in having their music budget reduced, going forward.

And then there's the time Michael needed to soothe his fears of potential Dunder Mifflin Bankruptcy ... by listening to a really, really expensive lullaby.

Need more Mullins...

Season 6 of "The Office" is pretty eventful. Dunder Mifflin finally collapses and is bought out by Saber. Michael maintains his trademark chaos-inducing fear throughout, but in the mid-season episode "Murder," we discover that his antics are actually a show, put on to distract his employees from fretting over the what-ifs. This is what leads Michael to force his staff to play a murder mystery game while they wait to see what will happen to them when the company goes under.

Nevertheless, before Michael puts his big-boy manager pants on, he has a private breakdown moment in the first few minutes of the show. We see — well, first we hear the manager blasting Shawn Mullin's 1998 Hot 100 Billboard classic "Lullaby." Then we pan over to see Michael looking overwhelmed and disoriented as he sits at his desk, drowning in his music-enhanced emotions. 

In the "Murder" episode of "Office Ladies," we casually find out from Fischer that it cost the production crew a whopping $45,000 to have the song in the show. Talk about an expensive joke.

We also get another little detail about when co-manager Jim comes in to see what they can do to rally the troops. Mr. Halpert turns down the music to talk, but Michael can't get in the right headspace, so he cranks it back up because he "needs more Mullins." It turns out, the editing crew worked hard to match the sound of the volume raising with Steve Carrel's hand motions, which is great ... except for the little detail that they used a Mac keyboard sound on a PC, something that viewers noticed. Perhaps they picked the wrong sound because they were too distracted by the gargantuan bill created by what amounts to glorified background music for a joke.