Pause the reruns and head to the historic Woodies Building in Washington D.C. to step into America’s favorite paper company at “The Office Experience.”
“The Office Experience” is a multi-level immersive experience that allows visitors to walk through Dunder Mifflin Paper Company and many other iconic places from the hit TV show.
“The Office” was revolutionary in modern sitcom television. An American version of the British comedy that shared the same name, NBC’s “The Office” aired from 2005-2013 across nine seasons. The show did not rely on laugh tracks or over-the-top characters for its humor. Rather, it utilized its mockumentary style to amplify comedy through deadpan stares into the camera and subtle interactions between kooky characters. In its eight years on air, “The Office” grew to become what Rolling Stone called one of the “greatest TV shows of all time.”
Whether you’re a fan who’s indulged in hours of reruns and merchandise or someone who only recently binged the show for the first time, “The Office Experience” has something for fans of any level.
“The interactive two-story experience features 17 areas filled with original props and costumes, set re-creations and more, allowing fans to visit Scranton Business Park and other sites associated with the beloved series,” said their press release. “‘The Office Experience’ includes an on-site themed retail store replicating the Warehouse, featuring exclusive products for sale and open to ticketed and non-ticketed guests.”
The main event is the exact replica of the Dunder Mifflin office. Guests are encouraged to sit down at the staff’s desks, pick up the phones to hear messages from their favorite characters, rummage through their drawers and filing cabinets, and really explore the details put into each desk. Visitors can also play out scenes from the show by spilling Kevin’s famous chili, or picking beets at Schrute Farms. There are also multiple photo-op spots from iconic scenes in the show, and guests have the opportunity to film their own confessionals like the characters do.
The experience does not exclude newer fans, with facts about the characters and the show itself sprawled across the walls. It also rewards its most loyal fans with its meticulous attention to detail and nods to certain episodes, from the sticky notes on each character’s desk to the contents of the freezer in the break room, including a box inconspicuously labeled “Sprinkles.” Visitors also get to see authentic costumes and props used by the cast in the show. The elaborate details create an experience guests could spend hours in or visit multiple times and discover something different each time.
“We haven’t had any of the talent from the show visit yet, but stay tuned,” said Stacy Moscatelli, co-president of the production company backing the exhibit.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of “The Office” was its ability to capture the hearts of such a large audience with such an ordinary environment. There were no supernatural powers, characters living dramatic double lives, or larger-than-life settings. Rather, its heart came from how it celebrated the great joys and moments that can be found in a simple life. It was a show about a normal paper company in a normal town with normal people. It was a show with which the majority of Americans could identify.
“It’s just so relatable,” Moscatelli told The Federalist. “I think that the characters, in their own quirky way, are all pretty endearing. We’ve all had weird office experiences and coworkers and situations that we’ve been in that maybe they didn’t go as far as ‘The Office’ goes, but they’re still relatable. So I think that just makes it the kind of show that we all can relate to, whether it’s one character or one scene or one episode.”
One of the most grounding aspects of the show was Jim and Pam’s love story, and “The Office Experience” celebrates their relationship by giving them their own section in the experience. A timeline of their relationship can be seen as well as artifacts from their relationship, authentic costumes from their wedding, and a photo-op at Niagara Falls. Visitors can even dance down the aisle along with the Dunder Mifflin staff in a replica of the chapel where they got married.
Superfly X, the company behind “The Office Experience,” brings to life people’s favorite entertainment properties for an immersive, pop-up experience. They’ve previously put together “The FRIENDS Experience” in multiple locations across the U.S. as well as another “The Office Experience” which was wildly successful in Chicago.
“The show didn’t take itself too seriously, and we hope that when people come here, they don’t take themselves too seriously,” Moscatelli said. “I hope they pretend that they’re Michael and sit at the desk, or find all those Easter eggs and sort of dive deep. I think it’s fun for huge fanatics and also for fans who are less so because it reminds you just how much you really do love the show and I think it’s accessible to everybody. I just want people to have a good time.”
In a day and age where normalcy as we knew it feels unattainable, “The Office Experience” is a little slice of the comedy and comfort Americans so loved the original show for.
“The Office Experience” is open July 28, 2022 through Jan. 16, 2023. Tickets are on sale now on their website.
Elise McCue is an intern at The Federalist and student majoring in multimedia journalism and professional and technical writing. She also reports on the Southwest Virginia music scene for The Roanoke Times. You can follow her on twitter @elisemccue or contact her at email@example.com