‘The Office’: The Secret Meaning in the Changing Talking Heads When the Scranton Office Was Closing

There was a time when the Scranton office was in danger of closing on The Office. Each character showed their reaction in their talking heads and there was a secret meaning in them. Read on for Jenna Fischer’s explanation and more.

‘The Office’ introduces the Stamford branch in season 3

Steve Carell as Michael Scott on 'The Office'
Steve Carell as Michael Scott on ‘The Office’ | Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank

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Jim (John Krasinski) transfers to the Stamford office in season 3 partially to get away from Pam (Jenna Fischer) after she rejected him. We then meet Karen (Rashida Jones) and Andy Bernard (Ed Helms.)

At first, people in the Scranton office think the location is closing in “Branch Closing.” In the end, it’s the people in Stamford who go to Scranton.

This means Jim and Pam were temporarily separated. “I remember it was super weird that we didn’t have him with us for like six or eight weeks,” Fischer said on the Office Ladies podcast. 

She then told Angela Kinsey, “Oh Angela, I completely used all of my feelings with John being over on that other set to the character of Pam. Because you really became closest with the people you had the most scenes with because you had to spend so much down time with them and for those whole two first years of the show I was paired with John so often.”

Everyone’s talking heads changed in ‘Branch Closing’

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The cinematographer of the show chose the location of talking heads for characters based on whether or not they had a future outside of Dunder Mifflin. Fischer explained the difference on Office Ladies.

“Most characters have the office of Dunder Mifflin behind them in that window as they’re giving their talking heads and the reason behind this was that that meant people were stuck. They didn’t really have a future,” she explained.

“However, very often Jim would have a talking head all the time and his talking heads had a window to the world behind him and the point of that was because he had a future outside of this company,” Fischer added.

After the employees find out Scranton is closing all of their talking heads change to the window being behind them. But when they later find out they’re keeping their jobs the office is behind them.

We see Stanley, Ryan, and Pam are pretty happy about the office closing in their interviews. Stanley even talks about retiring early.

There is another message in the back of the scene for Stamford characters. The episode ends with Jim telling Karen to take a job at Scranton. In this scene, there is a sign behind her that reads “Window of opportunity, an obstacle to one is an opportunity to another.” Fans should keep paying attention to the talking heads to get an insight into the character’s mindset of staying or leaving Dunder Mifflin at that moment.