On a cul-de-sac in Van Nuys last week, the Dunder Mifflin warehouse was thrumming with the sound of Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” courtesy of Scranton, Penn.’s own Kevin and the Zits.
The performance was part of a sentimental journey that actors, writers and producers on “The Office” took last week with journos as they prepare to lense the second half of the show’s final season. “Office” boss Greg Daniels and others gathered on the set to recall favorite moments over the nine seasons and hint at a few surprises to come.
But before they swapped stories, a bidding war of sorts erupted as the stars focused on items they intend to keep after production wraps.
Ed Helms declared that he had his entire house remodeled to look like the show’s cubicle bullpen. “I’m taking a lot of the stuff for that,” he said. “I’ve also hired most of the cast to live with me. I actually really want Andy’s Cornell diploma.”
Angela Kinsey, in keeping with her character, said: “I have my eye on a few cat figurines.” Kate Flannery confessed: “I actually saved (Meredith’s) pelvis cast.”
Jenna Fischer has her eye two key items: “Pam’s watercolor that Michael bought at her art show, which is still on the lot. And the receptionist sign, even though I don’t sit there anymore.”
Rainn Wilson wants “Dwight’s car.”
The big question fans have asked about the “Office” finale is whether Steve Carell’s Michael Scott will make a return appearance, two seasons after bowing out. Alums Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak will be back for the finale.
“Steve is very much of the opinion that the ‘Goodbye Michael’ episode (in 2011) and story arc that we did leading up to it was his goodbye to the fans and the show,” Daniels said. “And the stuff that we’re doing this season is the goodbye that the rest of the show gets to have.”
Daniels, who came back to serve as showrunner for the final season, said the decision to end this year was made by all the staff producers, which includes a lot of the main cast. “One of the ideas for the season was there would be a goodbye Meredith episode, a goodbye Stanley episode, a lot of different episodes like that, and I think we’re trying to give each character a really good, interesting moment or sendoff,” he said.
Wilson noted how emotional the process has been on a cast and crew together for nearly a decade.
“It’s really clear to me that this is my other family,” Wilson said. “This is where I’ve been coming for nine years, and I love all these people. 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 — but not like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ — and that’s really what I’m going to miss the most.”
Fischer and John Krasinski discussed how their characters’ marriage will be tested, with Jim’s job move to Philadelphia.
“For the first time in Jim and Pam’s relationship, something is changing in a pretty major way,” Fischer said. “There’s all these things that happen in a marriage — curveballs — and so far Jim and Pam haven’t really had one. This year they do.”
Viewers can also look forward to finally seeing the tables turned on the docu crew behind the cameras — starting as soon as this week.
As of last week, the “Office” scribes had six episodes left to write. Daniels and Co. promised that drama will ensue, with a character getting the boot in episode 15.
“One of the things we’re excited about this year is for all the fans that have been following the show religiously to really get off on all the connections and wrap-ups and artistry we’re trying to bring to the end,” Daniels enthused.