Confession: I'm crying, and The Office series finale hasn't even started yet. Not proud. Just being honest here.
You see, not only are we saying goodbye to one of the best comedies ever to air on television tonight, but to a truly incredible group of people who never took themselves too seriously, and were always willing to do anything to make us laugh. They were, and are, the real deal. The kind of cast who gives the fans every last nano-ounce they can.
Case in point: This footage from what is probably my favorite Office set visit of all time, in which John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer improvised a scene in which John kissed me (this coming right after the epic season-two Pam and Jim first kiss...insert squeal here). That was followed up by Rainn Wilson and Steve Carell tackling each other over a bobblehead, fully wrestling each other to the ground.
All this just for an interview, just for the sake of having fun, and just because they knew I was a fan, so they wanted to give back.
The first time I interviewed Steve Carell was at the big NBC building in Burbank, when the show hadn't even aired yet but I had seen a screener of the first episode. I gave Steve a "World's Funniest Man" cup (à la Michael Scott's "Boss" cup), and from the astonished look on Steve's beet-red face, you'd think I had gifted him a kidney or my first-born child. He was legitimately shocked, and so truly humbled to hear that someone loved the first episode that much, and him in it.
And then the show became a hit. A massive, Emmy-winning hit. And as I went back each season, I kept waiting for the divadom to kick in. It never did. They were always willing to play, and sincerely appreciative of any and all support. They still sat and chatted before and after interviews, still ate their lunches sandwiched in with the crew.
In case you're wondering, that isn't commonplace on hit shows.
My last run-in with Jenna Fischer was in the checkout line at a toy store with our small sons. The Office production was nearly over, and she was there with her adorable boy, Weston, clearly enjoying an off day, but went out of her way to say hello, gush over my son, ask me a million incredibly sweet questions, and commiserate with me about what it's like to be a new mom in a town where actresses lose all the baby weight before the baby's even out. So. Normal.
More so than any other cast on television, The Office was composed of real people who quite honestly never expected to become stars, and never developed the ego even when fame did come. Aside from the amazing comedy we have been served up on Thursday nights for eight years (so well written, so well acted), I will miss this group of REAL people, whose authenticity and accessibility made the show what it was.
And that kiss wasn't bad either.
The Office's farewell begins tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC.