‘The Office’: This Iconic Scene Cost An Insane Amount Of Money To Shoot
The Office remains one of the best shows to ever grace the small screen. A documentary-style comedy, it takes you through the lives of employees of Dunder Mifflin paper company in Scranton, PA. The show is full of sweet romances (we’re looking at you Jim & Pam), ridiculous characters, uncommon friendships, and tear-inducing hilarity. There is no shortage of amazing scenes within the show, but one memorable shot from this iconic scene cost a ridiculous amount of money to make. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Two of our favorite characters
There are a lot of great moments within the series, but one of the most satisfying scenes from The Office comes when Jim finally proposed to Pam in Season 5. It’s a moment that fans had been longing for since the very first episode of the show. Even though the characters were just friends at the time, the audience could sense that the pair were destined to be together. After years of back and forth and waiting, the proposal was likely one of the most anticipated scenes in the entire franchise.
Jim and Pam’s proposal scene
One of the best things about the proposal is that it’s a shock to both Pam and the audience. We all waited on bated breath during the episode of “Goodbye Toby” for Jim to propose to Pam under the most romantic settings. From fireworks to a Ferris Wheel, Jim spared no expense for the perfect conditions. Unfortunately, his plans are thwarted by Andy who usurps the romance and uses it as an opportunity to propose to Angela. Eventually, Jim ends up popping the question at a rest stop because he simply couldn’t wait any longer.
Though the scene is less than a minute long, there was actually a lot of thought, time, and money that went into getting the perfect shot. The crew actually discussed the scene for months on end and even when the decisions were finally made, the shot required an incredible amount of special effects.
The episode took months of planning
Back in 2008, the show’s executive producer, Greg Daniels, sat down with The Washington Post and discussed all the intricate logistics that went into making the scene a success. “The idea was that after Jim’s first romantic plans had been interrupted, he would end up proposing to Pam at a gas station rest stop because he couldn’t wait any longer. I had a mental picture of the rest stops on the Merritt Parkway, and we used the Google Maps street view function from our offices in Van Nuys, to find a picture of one of these rest stops that we tried to match,” Daniels revealed.
Daniels continued on to explain how the writers envisioned the scene. It was important to them that the proposal felt real and true-to-life for Jim and Pam, rather than it be something that was glitzy for the sake of Hollywood. “The writers, Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, had written the scene to take place in the rain, with lots of traffic going by to obstruct the view. On our show, the feeling of not being able to see the whole thing helps make it less Hollywood and more realistic,” Daniels continued.
The insane cost of the proposal shot
Daniels confessed that the crew originally planned to actually shoot the scene on location in Connecticut. However, after hitting a few snags, they opted for a different course of action. “We decided to fly the cast and director Paul Feig to shoot at the actual Merritt Parkway. But it turned out to be $100,000, and we couldn’t use fake rain there. So we decided we would re-create it in Los Angeles. We found a gigantic parking lot behind a Best Buy, and our production team built a replica of the rest stop,” the executive producer of The Office confessed.
Funnily enough, the finished product ended up costing more than double than their original plan. “It ended up costing twice as much, it was, like, a $250,000 shot or something. It’s the most expensive and elaborate shot we’ve ever done, but it’s also sort of the highlight of five years of storytelling,” Daniels stated.
Money well spent
While we can’t deny that $250,000 is an exorbitant amount of money for one shot, we have to admit that it was worth it. The scene is such a memorable and iconic one and it just feels so real and honest. We love that Jim couldn’t wait even one more moment and the scene is spontaneous. Similar to the first time he confessed that he’s in love with Pam, or when she finally reveals that she called off her wedding because of him, it’s raw and authentic, and exactly what we needed as an audience.