Did you ever wonder what was so fascinating about a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania, that would make it worthy of a documentary? Of course you did, even if you never watched the US version of The Office. As it turns out, according to the writers, the reason is at least partly a whole lot darker than you’d expect. That’s because they were there to document how a man’s co-workers would react after he committed suicide.
Yeah, you read that right. In 2007, some of the show’s writers attended an Office convention and were posed with the question above. The reason they came up with, apparently, was that an office worker named Tom Peets had shot himself and the film crew found itself roaming the cubicles of Dunder-Mifflin in the aftermath. So who the heck is Tom Peets?
If you are an avid Office fan you’ll recall an episode in which Michael Scott reads from a suggestion box for the first time since, well, pretty much ever. One of the suggestions was that the office needed “better outreach for employees fighting depression.” Phyllis then reminds Michael that “Tom” shot himself the previous year. Thus, the documentary crew was there due to an unseen dead character, at least according to those writers. As it turns out, Ryan the temp was actually just filling in for Tom when he started with the company, explaining his presence as well.
The writers certainly could have been just spitballing and didn’t really have a good answer during that Q&A session, but honestly, isn’t that as good an explanation as any? It’s certainly better than “because it’s convenient to the format,” isn’t it?