NBC’s take on “The Office” ended in March 2013 after nine seasons of workplace comedy, but fan devotion to the series lives on, especially as it’s available to stream on NBC’s streaming service Peacock. (Its arrival comes after the show was yanked from Netflix.) Timed to celebrate the show’s debut on the platform, right in time to ring in 2021, NBC has released the original cold open, cut for time, for the finale. It involved an elaborate spoof of a certain 1999 science-fiction classic, with Rainn Wilson’s Dwight Schrute at the center of an elaborate prank staged by Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer). Watch below.
According to Entertainment Weekly, it’s the first time anyone’s been able to watch the scene unfold since the table read of the finale. The cold open is dedicated to late actor Hugh Dane, who died in 2018 and played security guard Hank throughout the run of the show. In the cold open below, Hank is dressed as “Dorpheus,” the brother of Laurence Fisbburne’s Morpheus from the original film, in full regalia with sunglasses and leather trench. Dorpheus offers Dwight, a noted “Matrix” fan and technology whiz, the red pill or the blue pill. And the idea, it seems, was for Jim and Pam to execute an even more epic prank had Dwight picked the red pill (“I hired 30 people!” Jim says). Alas, Dwight picks the blue bill, realizing he’s happy in his life even if it’s all just “zeros and ones.”
On a recent episode of the podcast “An Oral History of the Office,” Brian Bumgartner, who played Kevin on the show, along with editor Dave Rogers, discussed the scene.
“There’s a cat that walks by and a cat walks by again in Michael’s office, and Jenna goes, ‘It took six months to train the cat,'” Rogers said. “And then we have the security guard walk by, it was the big guy, and he had a twin brother and we used him also, as a glitch. And then he’s gonna take the red pill or the blue pill.”
While the first two seasons of “The Office” are currently free to all, the rest of the series is only available to subscribers. But fans will want to tune in, as the streaming package is stuffed with extras and bonus materials, including extended episodes with more unseen footage.