The Office has been off the air for years now, but it is still considered one of the best comedy shows in television history. It made people laugh, cry, and cringe, and had so many unforgettable characters.
The mockumentary sitcom was based on Ricky Gervais’ UK comedy of the same name. The Office had a great cast, including John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, and Jenna Fischer.
The show wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without it’s lead, Steve Carell. Luckily, by the time he left the show it kept going because people had grown to care about the entire cast.
Fans felt like they grew along with the characters and really got to know the cast over the show’s nine seasons. They fell in love along with Jim and Pam, winced at Michael’s jokes, and laughed at Dwight’s crazy pranks. For those that couldn’t get enough, there was plenty of behind the scenes action to get in on.
However, even big fans of the show may not know these 15 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Didn't Know About The Office.
15 John Krasinski insulted the executive producer
While it’s hard to imagine anyone other than John Krasinski playing the lovable, goofy Jim, he almost cost himself the part during his audition.
Before the audition, a man in the room asked him if he was nervous. He reportedly responded that he liked the British version and “Americans have a tendency to just really screw these opportunities up. I just don’t know how I’ll live with myself if they screw this show up and ruin it for me.”
It ends up he was talking to the executive producer. Everyone in the casting room laughed about it when he walked in, and one person even referred to him as a “jackass." Thankfully, Krasinski killed the audition and became the character we all know and love.
14 Phyllis Smith was once a burlesque dancer
On The Office, Phyllis is sweet, quiet, and endearing. The real life Phyllis that portrays her isn’t much different now, but in her younger days she was a cheerleader and a burlesque dancer.
She got her start as an NFL cheerleader for the Cardinals. She said she loved wearing outfits that made her feel “hot” and would flirt with guys on the sidelines.
She was also a burlesque dancer, but she said it wasn’t as risqué as people believe. She didn’t strip and never showed too much skin.
She put all that behind her and eventually became a casting director, which actually landed her the role of Phyllis on The Office. She was helping cast the show when the executive producers decided to create a role specifically for her.
13 Rainn Wilson put a cast member in the hospital
The characters in The Office always seem to be getting injured. Michael burned his foot on a George Foreman grill, Dwight had a concussion after crashing into a pole, Andy hurt his crotch doing the splits...the list goes on and on.
Sometimes, the cast got hurt during filming as well. It’s not surprising considering how crazy the show can get at times. During the filming of Beach Games in season three, Rainn Wilson accidentally kicked sand in Leslie David Baker’s eye.
He had to be rushed to the hospital to have his eyeball cleaned out. He came out of the incident with a scratched cornea.
It definitely seems like something Dwight would accidentally do to Stanley while gloating or trying to pull off a bad prank.
12 iTunes helped saved the show from getting canceled
The first season of The Office had a rough reception from audiences. The ratings were so bad that NBC almost canceled it.
Thankfully, they posted the first season on iTunes. Once the episodes were available online, the show took off. The Office suddenly had a huge fanbase that the Nielsen ratings couldn’t take into account. The president of NBC even accredited the show’s comeback to the episodes being posted online.
Steve Carell has also be attributed to helping save the show. He was relatively unknown at the time the show premiered, but after his movie The 40 Year Old Virgin came out, his career took off.
His newfound stardom helped save The Office from cancellation. Fans can thank him and iTunes for saving their favorite show.
11 Steve Carell wasn't a fan of the British version
With the wild success of The Office in the United States, it’s easy to forget the UK version existed first. Actor Ricky Gervais originally played Michael Scott. While Steve Carell could have easily watched his portrayal to study for the role, he avoided doing so.
While the majority of the cast watched the British original, Carell didn’t want to see too much of Gervais to prepare so he made a point to avoid seeing more than ten minutes of the show. He didn’t want to simply impersonate the character, he wanted to take parts of him and make the character a little of his own.
While he was nervous when the show first came out about not being as successful as Gervais as Michael, it’s clear the show, as well as Carrell’s performance, eventually found its groove.
10 Jim and Pam were originally supposed to be an interracial couple
Jim and Pam have become an iconic pop-culture couple over the years. While it’s hard to imagine anyone other than John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer playing the couple, they weren’t the original choices for an office romance.
In order to “Americanize” the show, they were going to show an interracial romance. Greg Daniels, one of the creators, originally thought actress Erica Vittina Phillips would play Pam and Craig Robinson, who ended up playing Darryl, would have been Roy. Pam would still end up with Jim, in the end.
In another twist, actor Adam Scott almost played the role of Jim before playing Ben on Parks and Recreation.
The fan-favorite TV couple could have looked much different. However, Jenna Fischer came in and blew the creators away, and John Krasinski landed the role of Jim. They were simply too good to turn down.
9 Oscar Nunez didn't think the show would be a success
With how popular The Office became, it’s hard to think it’s success was heavily doubted when it first premiered. It got off to a rocky start during season one. Oscar Nunez, who plays Oscar Martinez on the show, was once one of those doubters.
When he first landed his role on the show, he made sure to keep his jobs as a waiter and a babysitter in case it failed. He, like many others, didn’t think an American version would be nearly as successful as the UK version.
The show’s nine season run definitely proved him wrong. Oscar was a rational, intelligent character, bringing a needed dynamic to the sitcom. He also became a really important character to the LGBT community, gaining lots of recognition for portraying a gay man of color.
8 Viewers didn't like strong-willed Pam
When audiences were first introduced to Pam Beesly, she was a quiet, collected wallflower, doing what others told her and keeping her opinions to herself. As the show went on, she became more strong-willed and outspoken.
In season three, Pam is the only character able to walk across hot coals, and afterwards she speaks out about the way she’s been treated by her coworkers and admits she called off her wedding for Jim. This was a big change for her character compared to the reserved, gentle character fans were used to.
During the shows run, some fans approached Fischer to tell her they didn’t like how assertive Pam had become. She was a little disappointed, expecting people to be proud of how much Pam had grown.
7 The kiss between Oscar and Michael wasn't scripted
There were a lot of kisses shown in The Office, but the most memorable one may be between Oscar and Michael. In the episode “Gay Witch Hunt”, Michael awkwardly kisses Oscar to show it’s okay to be gay. This has become an iconic moment of the show.
The kiss, however, was never scripted. The cast of The Office is known to use a lot of improv in their scenes. Steve Carell made the choice to continue leaning in closer and closer to Oscar.
Apparently all the other actors were freaking out offscreen, but the camera stayed focused on Carell and Nunez while they awkwardly kissed.
It was the only take they got with a kiss instead of a hug, and it was so good they had to use it.
6 Mindy Kaling used to make up lies to mess with B.J. Novak
Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak spent a lot of time together as their characters Kelly and Ryan. They would mess with each other on set all the time.
Kaling would make up elaborate lies about their coworkers to tell Novak that he would have no reason not to believe. One time, she told him Allison Jones, the casting director, was also an actress who had appeared in the movie Cold Mountain.
The lies were all small and fairly meaningless, but Novak would believe them. Some even caused some problems on set, like when he thought showrunner Greg Daniels dated one of the actresses on the show.
Daniels asked him what he thought of her cut and he lied and said it was great so he wouldn’t insult his ex-girlfriend. Novak didn’t end up making the cuts he wanted.
He jokingly said Kaling “bullied” him, but it was obviously all in good fun. The two still remain close friends today.
5 John Krasinski wore a wig in season 3
Jim’s character has always had great hair. From his floppy moptop in season one to slicked back in season nine, fans watched his looks grow from boyish to sophisticated. However, at one point, the hair on his head wasn’t his at all.
During season three, John Krasinski was also shooting the movie Leatherheads, a 2008 film about a football team in the 1920’s. He had to shave his head for that role, something Jim would apparently never do, because they made him wear a wig throughout the rest of the season.
If viewers look closely while watching the second half of season three, they may be able to tell the hair on his head is fake, but most people did not notice at the time.
4 Rashida Jones was afraid she'd be fired her first day
Rashida Jones first showed up as Jim’s love interest Karen in season three of The Office. She made appearances in the show until season seven.
Jones was extremely nervous about joining the show. During the filming of her first episode, she kept laughing when she wasn’t supposed to. Steve Carell was improvising during a scene with her, and she couldn’t cracking up. She laughed so much, she was afraid they would fire her from the show on her first day.
Thankfully, they didn’t fire her, and viewers had another great character to get to know on the show, even if she stood in the way of Jim and Pam being together. She was so great as Karen, in fact, they almost made Park and Recreation a spinoff of The Office centering on her character.
3 Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak were a real life couple at one point
Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak had great chemistry on screen as their characters Kelly and Ryan. Apparently, that chemistry was also apparent off-screen, because the two dated in real life.
They’ve always had a deep friendship, but they also dated during the filming of the sitcom. Much like their characters Kelly and Ryan, though less extreme, the two supposedly split up and got back together multiple times.
Half the time neither knew if they were officially together or not. The two finally decided to call it quits and remain good friends.
Since then, Kaling has described their relationship as “romantically charged camaraderie with loud arguments.” Regardless of whether or not they are a couple or not, that relationship sounds like a lot of fun.
2 Oscar was only gay because of a pink shirt
Oscar’s sexuality became a very important part of the show after Michael outed him in season three. The LGBT community was happy that a gay man was a central character on an NBC sitcom. The show received a lot of praise because of it.
However, the character was not originally written as gay. Oddly enough, the only reason the writers made him gay was because wardrobe happened to put him in a pink shirt one day.
They knew Michael would be trying to figure out who was gay, but they didn’t know which character it would be. They saw Oscar in the pink shirt and that was that.
Who knew that a simple wardrobe change would create such an important plot point on the show.
1 The writers may have secretly made Toby the Scranton Strangler
The Scranton Strangler was mentioned throughout the majority of The Office. Though he was supposedly caught in season seven, there is a huge fan theory that Toby Flenderson is actually the Scranton Strangler.
Toby was always bullied by his coworkers to the point he was miserable in The Office. He was in love with Pam and couldn’t even have her, so he runs off to Costa Rica, but he isn’t happy there, either.
The character is shown to be incredibly depressed and defeated. The theory says he took out all his anger and frustration by strangling people throughout the next few seasons of the show.
When the Strangler is supposedly caught, Toby is obsessed with it. He’s just so excited to be on the jury, which could be his excitement at escaping capture.
In the final seasons of the show, he admits to people he’s afraid the man convicted is innocent, which could be his own guilt at letting another man take the fall for him. Did the writers plan for this underlying plot the entire time, or was it just a coincidence?
Can you think of any other dark secrets about The Office? Sound off in the comments!