“The Office” spared no expense when it came to Jim and Pam’s engagement. (Watch the scene and hear the podcast below.)
Jenna Fischer, who played Pam on the classic workplace comedy, explained recently why her Season 5 proposal scene with John Krasinski’s Jim at a gas station was the priciest in the show’s nine seasons.
In her “Office Ladies” podcast with co-star Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin), Fischer set up the segment by noting that original showrunner Greg Daniels wanted to surprise viewers by having the couple get engaged at the start of a season and in an ordinary location.
Inspired by a gas station he traveled to as a child on Connecticut’s Merritt Parkway, Daniels directed the show to recreate the facade of a rest stop there from Google Street View, Fischer said.
The effort rivaled that of Hollywood blockbusters. The crew built the set on a Best Buy parking lot over nine days and included a four-lane circular track so cars and trucks could whiz by as Jim popped the question to a surprised Pam as the rain poured down. After the scene was shot, Fischer added, special effects pros were called in to paint over the California mountains with East Coast greenery.
“In the end, this was the single-most expensive scene ever shot during the entire run of the show,” she added. “It lasts 52 seconds and it cost $250,000.”
“Oh my lord,” Kinsey replied.
The episode aired Sept. 25, 2008. See if the scene was worth the money right here:
Fast-forward to 35:43 in the podcast for Fischer’s lowdown: