Saturday, September 20, 2008

If you're going to use a real place, do your homework.

I'm not a regular viewer of "The Office," but I catch it occasionally just to get a kick out of the references to the Scranton area. Like the time they did the booze cruise on Lake Wallenpaupack. Or when Michael was obsessed with Boston Market and sent Dwight all over town looking for whipped yams and said, "Did you go to Stroudsburg? They always have the yams in Stroudsburg." You see, it's funny because who would drive an hour to get whipped yams. I thought that was genius. Plus, I'm from East Stroudsburg and it's always fun to hear your little hometown mentioned on a big show.

Now, I think maybe the writers just pick names of towns in northeast Pennsylvania to be relevant. See, I just watched the last season cliffhanger and Jan tells Michael she's going to a Lamaze class in Allentown. Allow me to illustrate how silly that would be.
Why would she drive through five counties, an hour and 21 minutes away according to Google, for a Lamaze class when they have any number of perfectly good Lamaze classes happening in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre* area? A quick search online provided not only a list of hospitals but a discussion board in which several women discussing Lamaze said Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton was very good.

I know they portray Scranton as kind of a podunk place, but it's actually a fairly big city with AAA Baseball, AHL Hockey, several colleges, large concert venues and a zoo. It's the 7th most populace city in Pennsylvania. Poor Scranton--brunt of a joke since 1965.**

*pronounced "wilkes barry," although it sounds more like "berry" when I say it. (shrugs)
**A "Green Acres" episode features a hairdresser that is being blackmailed by Lisa to open a beauty parlor in Hooterville. No one knows what she has over him, but every time he balks at an idea, she says "Scranton" and he gives in.


Catherine said...

You should know that I learned how to pronounce Wilkes-Barre correctly thanks to work. :)

Gwen said...

Jan is supposed to be a total wackjob, so it could be that the writers know how far away Allentown is and wrote that as a way of showing her craziness.

I have a friend from Wilkes-Barre who always pronounced it Wilkes-burry, but then people here look at me funny if I say it that way. Go figure.

d.m. hawthorne said...

oh, the trip to stroudsburg for yams was in, probably, my favorite episode. at first, i thought the writers messed up (and they probably did) because of the distance, but then it dawned on me that michael is exactly the type of person to make someone go out on an errand precisely like that.

you're probably right and they messed up with the allentown thing, but, like gwen, i like to think of it as a component of jan's craziness.

oh, and, yeah,....hi.