Pulse: Pop Culture: Office Politics

Talking Scranton and The Office with Bill Scranton (who’s, uh, running for office)

Governor Ed Rendell has Eagles Post Game Live and Republican challenger Lynn Swann works for ABC Sports, so when we realized there was a new show about a kooky workplace set in Scranton, Pennsylvania, we assumed that gubernatorial candidate Bill Scranton had managed to convince NBC he deserved equal time. Alas, the former lieutenant governor has nothing to do with The Office, a remake of the BBC sitcom, but he has seen a few episodes.  

It’s “a terrific comedy,” Scranton says of the show, which takes place at the imagined Dunder Mifflin paper company. “But it doesn’t have the flavor of Scranton. What was that Steven Bochco NYPD Blue spin-off that took place in Philadelphia?” We assume he’s talking about the Kim Delaney vehicle Philly. “It had all the Philadelphia backdrops, but it didn’t have Philly flavor. That’s how I feel about The Office.” (Scranton was not only born in Scranton, but his ancestors founded the town.)

Scranton’s stump speech centers on plans to modernize the state’s economy, so we wondered if there would be room for paper companies in his new Pennsylvania. “You’ve got to have a highly diversified economy. You can’t have the state focused on one kind of business, whether it’s paper or whatever,” he said.