It turns out that Jim and Pam’s engagement scene on The Office was the single most expensive scene in the entire series.
“So first of all, I just want you guys to know that [showrunner] Greg [Daniels] spoke with us about this. He said that he really wanted Jim’s proposal to Pam to be in the season premiere,” Jenna started off about the scene that fans were surprised by. “He thought, No. 1, that would be unexpected. You usually end seasons with proposals. So he thought this would be a real shock.”
She added that the showrunner “wanted to throw people off by having it in a very ordinary location. He wanted it to feel special, but he also wanted it to feel like Jim made the decision without a whole lot of planning.”
Click inside to see why the scene is the most expensive scene in the entire show…
Jenna continued, revealing that they had built the set for that particular scene from the ground up, and it took the crew nine days to build.
“They built this in the parking lot of a Best Buy that I have been to many times, actually. What they did was they used Google Street View to capture images of a real gas station along the Merritt Parkway, and then using those images, they built it to match this parking lot,” she shared. “To create the illusion of highway traffic, they built a four-lane circular racetrack around the gas station set. They set up cameras on the other side of this raceway and they had cars drive around it at 55 miles an hour.”
On top of that, the crew then “added rain pouring down on us [with] these giant rain machines. Our production manager, Randy Cordray, said they had about 35 precision drivers. They were driving not just cars, but like, semi-trucks. When we were standing there on that set, you could feel the wind like, of these cars speeding past you. It was so, so bonkers.”
More special effects were added, and a full team was hired to “paint out the background,” trading out California mountains for east coast trees.
“In the end, this was the single-most expensive scene shot in the entire run of the show,” Jenna says. “It last 52 seconds and it cost $250,000.”