Before Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton team became our unofficial work friends, the cast of The Office didn’t know what to expect from the NBC series, but nearly 17 years later, we’re still in love with every minute of the show. On Jan. 1, Peacock — which recently acquired exclusive streaming rights to the show — shared a never-before-seen featurette from February 2004, which includes John Krasinksi, Jenna Fischer, Steve Carell, and more of the cast sharing their thoughts on the then-unaired show.
“I think the key is to just try not to duplicate what they’re doing, because it was so good and so definitive. There’s no way it’s going to be better than that, so it just has to be different,” Carell says when asked how the show would compare to the original UK version. He also notes: “People can identify with a lot of these characters ’cause they’re real. They do exist. They’re not plucked out of thin air.”
“He’s kind of like that uncle who wants to tell a lot of jokes and be your best friend, and he’s just coming short a bunch of those times.”
Carell was nervous about taking on the now-iconic role of Michael Scott, but even back before the show was a classic, the cast knew that he’d nailed Scott’s character to a T. “Every office has that boss or that manager who wants to be really popular and well-liked,” Fischer says during the video. “And I think that Steve Carell’s Michael character reminds me a lot of that dad who’s trying to be really cool with his teenage sons, and you’re just like waiting for him to leave, please. And he’s not going and everyone’s uncomfortable.”
As dad-joke-like as some of his jokes are, Carell’s character came across as more of a goofy uncle to some. “You kind of feel for him. It’s kind of like that uncle who wants to tell a lot of jokes and be your best friend, and he’s just coming short a bunch of those times,” Krasinski says. “So, at the end of the day, he plays the role perfectly. And, luckily, when the camera’s off, he goes back to being the funniest guy on Earth.”
Eight years after the premiere, The Office‘s series finale brought in an estimated 5.7 million viewers, which seems like a view count worthy of earning a “World’s
Best Boss Best TV Show” mug. (So, if 2004 Steve Carell encountered a glitch in the Matrix and is somehow reading this, there’s no need to worry!) Watch the full featurette here to relive some of that Dunder Mifflin humor and nostalgia that only Michael Scott can truly deliver.