Photo by Chris Haston/NBC
Each week we take a look around our pop culture world and try to find one moment that stood out as the most inspiring. It might be a celebrity who is doing charitable things, a TV shows that inspires us to be better or a philosophy that we should all strive to live by. Here is this week's most inspiring pop culture moment.
This week, after nine seasons, The Office comes to an end. John Krasinski has played Jim Halpert for the run of the show. His character has fallen in love, become a husband and father, started his own sports marketing company and hit some trouble in his marriage. John went from waiter to megastar — and married British actress Emily Blunt along the way. In a recent conference call interview he talked about saying goodbye to the show that launched his career and transformed his life.
John talked about his meteoric rise to fame on The Office, saying, “I was a waiter before this show, so what I miss most about this character is way too complexly entwined in my real life. So to me, this was a winning lottery ticket, except with a winning lottery ticket you just get money and with this you get a whole change of your life. And everything about my life has changed and become better. And I feel so lucky to be where I am. It’s hard to separate the two because I’m meshed in the experience.”
The 33-year-old actor admitted that saying goodbye to his onscreen persona isn’t going to be easy. “The thing I’ll miss most is playing a character that people believe in so much and attach themselves to in various degrees. There are some people who think they are Jim. There’s some people who are looking for Jim.”
But with that great opportunity came a certain level of accountability. John acknowledged, “To Jenna [Fischer, who co-starred as Pam Beasley-Halpert,] playing the Jim/Pam relationship and realizing how important it became to so many people was such a incredible honor that… [there was] a small part of my brain that really didn’t want to let anyone down every single week. That was actually really exciting. I felt like I was given a tremendous responsibility, and that responsibility I really will miss because it’s just so much fun to play a character that people are watching and rooting for and loving.”
And he conceded that the show never would have been a success without devoted viewers. “We actually technically can say that we owe everything to the fans, because, I for one think that, our show is so fan-driven in such a specific way, as evidenced by iTunes. When we first came out, the only reason, in my opinion, that we made it past these pickups that [Executive Producer] Greg [Daniels] and I were talking about is because people actually decided they liked the show so much. And it was such a small group at the beginning, that they would pay money to see the show rather than just wait for it on Tuesday or Thursday, whatever time it was back then.”
He continued, “I remember that was life-changing for me to see because to be part of something like that was incredible. I was walking down the streets of New York and someone would just stop on their way to work and say, ‘Oh my God, you’re on my iPod.’ And I was like two things, ‘What’s an iPod? Also, what are you talking about?’ And they just held up this thing.”
Ultimately the fan base grew. As John recounted, “You had this group of people who almost started like a grass roots political campaign for our show. And so we owe absolutely everything to the fans.”
And with that, the cast enjoyed a long run and grew close. “For so many people this wasn’t just a job,” John confessed, “And there’s no way it could be just a job. This was a huge incredibly emotional family and connection that we all had. To say [the finale] was emotional would be a complete understatement… We’ll see these people still in our lives, and it was still that emotional. It says a lot about how much we are all defined by this show and how much we honor how defined we are by the show.”
Not surprisingly, the final moments on set were emotional. As John recounted, “We were all joking around. I was, as per usual, crying laughing as we exited. I’m a crier-laugher, which is a bummer. But I was crying laughing with Craig and we were all joking around waiting in the hall every time we exited. And then, one of the times we came back, instead of saying, ‘Going again,’ Greg randomly appeared and just said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the end of The Office. And it was. It really was, I mean even talking about it now, it was a gut punch.”
But even though it’s over, the series will live forever. John was left with a comforting thought, “It’s incredibly hard to leave but at the same time I know in my heart that it’s given me everything that I have and has defined me and hopefully given me every single strength and talent that I have to go on and do other things. But I will always use that as a touchstone going forward.”
Tune in to the final episode of The Office on Thursday, May 16 at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. Central on NBC.