NBC is giving “The Office” two hours and 15 minutes to say good-bye Thursday night.
The huge farewell, consisting of a one-hour clip retrospective followed by a finale episode lasting one hour and a quarter, caps a nine-season run that began on March 24, 2005. Today, after 212 episodes, “The Office” made stars out of most (if not all) of its cast members.
In addition, thanks to rerun syndication, the show has achieved the ubiquity that only a handful of TV comedies ever achieve — namely, repeat episodes running everyday on local TV stations with such frequency that viewers are given the impression that this show is on TV almost all the time. Of course, you can watch all of the “Office” episodes from previous seasons (and the current one) at any time, here on Streampix.
Thursday night on NBC (May 16), the fun begins at 8/7c with an “Office” clip show, followed by the final episode at 9/8c and running ’til 10:15 (9:15c). (“Hannibal” will start then, and run ’til 11/10c, with limited commercials so that it will end in time for local news, NBC says.)
“The Office” has meant everything to the show’s cast members. In a group “interview,” they talked about what working on the show has meant to them. In this group discussion (below), Rainn Wilson talked about what he’ll miss about it. “This is where I’ve been coming for nine years,” says Wilson, who played Dwight Schrute. “I love all of these people and we’ve grown up together, we’ve had children, we’ve gotten married, we’ve gotten divorced, we’ve cried together, we’ve fought a little bit, and, uh – not like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’! – and that’s really what I’m going to miss the most.”
Most of the stars of “The Office” were virtual unknowns when they came to the show. In these next interviews, they reveal just how unknown they were, and how they came to be cast on the show. Brian Baumgartner, who played dull-witted Kevin, revealed that he didn’t audition for the “Kevin” role. “I came in to read for ‘Stanley’ and I read it how I saw Kevin,” Baumgartner says. “Stanley” was eventually played by Leslie David Baker.
Angela Kinsey says “The Office” gave her the career she had been struggling to achieve. “I thought this was such an amazing thing to be a part of,” says Kinsey, who played Angela Martin. “I loved the BBC version [of 'The Office']. I had only done just a few commercials,” she said of her career at the time. And, she added, “I was working at 1-800-Dentist.” She wasn’t joking about that.
Fun fact: At two hours and 15 minutes, the “Office” finale package will be 15 minutes longer than the time NBC devoted to the “Seinfeld” finale in May 1998. That finale, which drew 58 percent of U.S. households and ranks as one of the highest-rated shows in TV history, consisted of a 45-minute clip retrospective and a finale episode that ran for one hour and 15 minutes. By contrast, “The Office” has been averaging around 3.5 million viewers per episode lately, although it is expected that the series finale will do better than that.