It's finale week and a lot of shows have geared up to bring something different on the forefront. But The Office isn't just wrapping up its fifth season -it's also celebrating a milestone as it reaches its 100th episode tonight. Looking back, however, it was almost an impossible feat.
The Office, the remake of the BBC series starring Ricky Gervais, started as a midseason entry that kicked off in March 2005. It first few episodes drew mixed reviews from critics, and despite its promising cast (Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and Rainn Wilson), not a lot of people were watching the series. But thanks to Judd Apatow, whose feature directorial debut, The 40-Yea-Old Virgin, hit screens and went on to gross $177 million worldwide, Steve Carell, who had been active in film and television for several years, finally became a household name. And that accelerated The Office's exposure, according to NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman.
"Because that was a Universal picture, we were able to cross-promote to both the show and the movie," Silverman said.
"It's a thrill that we got to 100 episodes, and probably incredibly surprising looking back at the process it took," Silverman added. "But the reality is, we believed in it."
Now, The Office is pulling almost double in the ratings of its first season in 18-49, making this its best year thus far. Moreover, the show has added viewers every year. While there's no secret formula to show's success, Ken Kwapis, who directed dozen episodes of the series, including the pilot and the 100th episode, says that it's all about observational aesthetic.
"At the first production meeting, I sat in front of the crew and I said to everyone: 'Everything that you would normally be fired for on another show is actually what we want on this show,' " Kwapis said. " 'So if the cameraman pans too far and misses a line, that's fine, that's what we want.' "