Everyone’s rainy day fav show-within-a-show The Office was supposed to be about a “real” documentary being made about an everyday paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. One of the big draws of the series was that it did seem real. We saw Jim and Dwight and Pam and were reminded of the absurdity of our own commonplace work lives — with one exception. The series aired from 2005-2013, in the midsts of the works recession in modern American history, and yet as we witnessed, the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin paper company seemed to thrive, always performing well compared to their struggling counterparts. A new fan theory may explain why.
As Reddit user shublamblam explains: “No one really understand how the Scranton branch is doing so well. Not even Michael, or David. My theory is that the camera crew realizes how funny they are and if they turn this into a T.V show they will make millions of dollars. So they invest money to keep the branch alive. They buy loads of paper to keep the branch going thus keep the show going.”
This theory explains why in the middle of such a bad recession (not to mention the increasing move from paper to digital), a paper company was able to not only stay open, but increase sales. The production company filming Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton employees knew they’d found a special crew, and they did whatever it would take to keep them all together. This is money well spent because as we see at the very end of The Office, the documentary they made goes on to be a huge hit with viewers.
The theory makes sense — it wouldn’t be too difficult to call up Dunder Mifflin and order increasing amounts of paper from a few different dummy corporations. The trick would be to request Andy as your salesman so Jim or Dwight (who actually would do due diligence and like, google your company) wouldn’t try to show up at your door. Easy enough!