The Office is one of the best sitcoms to have ever graced television. Having run for nine seasons, the viewers laughed and cried throughout the nine-year journey of every character in the fictional Dunder Mifflin. There were so many iconic episodes and it’s hard to believe that there was anything left on the cutting board. Apparently, though; there were many stories that never made it to the small screen. In Andy Greene’s book, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s; those involved in the show share some of their ideas that never came to life.
Here are some of the examples:
There was one whole episode in season one that Greg [Daniels] wrote that they never shot. We always would talk about it as our “break the glass episode” that we’d do if we ever were totally in trouble. It was called “Pet Day,” where everyone took their pets to the office. I can’t remember much about it, but it was funny. I think Michael had a parrot named Jim Carrey. There was a moment at some point in the run where we realized, “Okay, the characters and their situations have changed so much now that we can never, ever do ‘Pet Day.’ The show has changed too much now. It wouldn’t play.” There were a few seasons where we were like, “There’s always ‘Pet Day’!” whenever we’d get into trouble.
We talked about maybe there’s another company that moves into the building. They had done [the meeting of the office-park leaders] the five families [in the fourth-season episode “Chair Model”] before, but it was like, “What if there’s a rebel in the building?” We had tried to break what it could be. Is it like a high-end stationery company or something like that? But it just didn’t really gain that much traction.
We thought of one called “Premonition.” It was really an interesting story about someone having a dream that someone died on the way home from work and no one wanted to leave the office because they started to believe that it was going to come true. So everyone kind of stayed late, but we never figured it out.
I wanted to do an episode where it started at the beginning of the lunch break and everybody just went off and we followed everyone, what they did for lunch. It would almost be a real-time episode. I wanted to see them outside — I mean, we do see them outside of the office, going on a job-related mission, or at a party, but I wanted to see the reality of the everyday lunch.
I had a crazy pitch that never got in but I kept pitching. It was that Michael Scott gets accidentally crucified. I had a whole thing where he was playing basketball at his house with Jim and the garage door opens up in such a way that his shirt gets caught in it and he gets pulled up by the garage door, underneath the basketball hoop, which is like the crown of thorns. And no one notices and they leave him there overnight, so he comes into work feeling Christlike because he spent the night kind of, somewhat crucified. But obviously no one ever took that one on.
Another one that I was a little bit passionate about in an annoying way, because I kept pushing it, was Phyllis goes through menopause. I really wanted to tell that story. I remember thinking that Phyllis made it so cold in the office that it led to thermostat debates that every office has. And maybe Angela actually freezes at her desk for a tiny bit. Maybe that was a little bit broad. Oh, and I was always fascinated with the idea of Michael coming down with ennui. Some stories are hard to tell, but you take a main character and he’s in a funk and he didn’t understand what it is and he couldn’t point to the thing causing it. He’s just very lackadaisical and just kind of blah. I imagined the office having to deal with a blah Michael and getting everybody else involved in putting a focus on why he felt kind of blah that day. Then maybe it would get into a philosophical area of, what’s the point of all this?
I wrote an episode called “Here Comes Treble” about Andy’s old a cappella group and [Stephen] Colbert ended up playing his friend Broccoli Rob. Early on, Carrie Kemper and a couple other writers and I were talking about Andy’s old buddies coming back and him sort of bragging and peacocking around all smirky with his guys again. Then they mention that one guy who was in the group died when they were in school, and it becomes clear to Andy that he and his friends killed that guy, but Andy was so drunk that he didn’t remember it. Basically, Andy unwittingly had been part of sort of a murder silence pact. I always wanted to find something that Michael didn’t do, and that certainly fit the bill for me. [“Here Comes Treble” aired in season 9, minus the murder-pact subplot.]
For the full story, check out EW. What were some of your favorite episodes from The Office?
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