Pop Culture


Dilbert meets "Star Trek" this weekend in Scranton, Pennsylvania. That town's the setting for the NBC comedy "The Office," a mockumentary about the branch office of a fictional paper manufacturer. Scranton is also headquarters for the first Office Convention, which celebrates the TV show.

Michele Dempsey owns an architecture firm is Scranton and is one of the convention's founders. She joins us from there.

Thanks so much for being with us.

Ms. MICHELE DEMPSEY (Founder, Office Convention): Oh, thank you.

SIMON: So is the show so important for you to build a weekend around it?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DEMPSEY: So many people here love and embrace the show. I thought it was time that we celebrated it.

SIMON: As an occasional watcher of the show, I must tell you I don't get the impression that the people there enjoy Scranton as much as you do.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DEMPSEY: I have to disagree, and especially when you watched one of the most recent episodes where Dwight was pining over Angela - he just broke up with her - and Jim sits down next to him in a very tender moment, which is rare between those two, and says, Dwight, I love Scranton. It was the worst thing I ever did. I wouldn't wish it on my enemy, not even you.

SIMON: What are you going to do this weekend for Office activities?

Ms. DEMPSEY: We are going to have the Office Olympics, which is borrowed from one of the episodes of "The Office," and they're going to do a lot of the events that were in the episode like the flunkerton where they attached paper boxes to their feet and race.

And the Scrantones are going to play. The Scrantones are the group that recorded the theme song to the show. The characters will make appearances, and it's going to be a lot of fun. And that's just at the street festival, which is free to everyone. There's going to be a question-and-answer panel. The 14 cast members who are coming are going to answer questions from the audience.

SIMON: Fourteen cast members?

Ms. DEMPSEY: Yes. Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: That's a good show. I mean.

Ms. DEMPSEY: Yeah. We got a good show, yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Who among the cast members?

Ms. DEMPSEY: Brian Baumgartner, Angela Kinsey, Mindy Kaling, Ed Helms, Creed Bratton, Leslie David Baker, Phyllis Smith, Oscar Nunez, Bobby Ray Shafer, Andy Buckley, who plays the CEO of Dunder Mifflin, Craig Robinson, who plays Darryl. And then there's a character look-alike contest. And Scrantones have a concert again. And all the writers are coming in too.

SIMON: Many out-of-town visitors coming? Or can you tell?

Ms. DEMPSEY: Yeah. Actually 70 percent of the ticket sales were out of town.

SIMON: Oh my word.

Ms. DEMPSEY: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Like, anyone coming from Tasmania or someplace…

Ms. DEMPSEY: Well…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DEMPSEY: …Australia, England, Canada. There's some Royal Canadian Mounted Police coming. They're really excited. The appeal of the show goes beyond the borders of Scranton.

SIMON: Well, James Joyce wrote about Dublin.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DEMPSEY: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DEMPSEY: I mean…

SIMON: Scranton's in the same situation.

Ms. DEMPSEY: You know, it's the butt of a joke every now and then. And you know, that's okay because we get it.

SIMON: Michele Dempsey, one of the founders of the first annual Office Convention that takes place this weekend in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Thanks so much.

Ms. DEMPSEY: All right. Take care.

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