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Why Jim and Pam's Simple Proposal Was the "Single-Most Expensive Scene" on The Office

Gotta love that Hollywood magic!

By Josh Weiss

Fans of NBC's The Office (now streaming on Peacock!) will never forget that moment in Season 5 when Jim Halpert (John Kransinki) finally got down on one knee and asked Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) to be his wife at that rain-soaked gas station halfway between Scranton and New York City. On the surface, it's a rather simple scene without any bells and whistles — a nice reflection of the easygoing aura the couple gives off amidst the usual craziness of the Dunder Mifflin workspace.

How to Watch

Watch every episode of The Office on Peacock.

If you ask Fischer, though, she'll tell you it was the "single-most expensive scene ever shot" of the entire series. On a 2021 episode of the Office Ladies podcast she co-hosts alongside Angela Kinsey, the actress revealed that the scene cost around $250,000 between production and post-production costs. This unexpected price tag was mainly due to the fact that the rest stop and busy stretch of road (inspired by a location along the Merritt Parkway creator Greg Daniels remembered from childhood) were not on the East Coast, but actually an elaborate illusion staged within a Best Buy parking lot in Los Angeles.

RELATED: Why Pregnant Jenna Fischer Wasn’t Offended by The Office Episode, "Pam's Replacement

Why Did Pam and Jim's Proposal Cost The Office $250,000?

"They used Google Street View to capture images of a real gas station along the Merritt Parkway, and then using those images, they built it to match in this parking lot. It took them about nine days to build it," Fischer said. "To create the illusion of highway traffic, they built a four lane circular racetrack around the gas station set. They set up cameras on the other side of this raceway and they had cars drive around it at 55 miles an hour. Then they added rain pouring down on us, these giant rain machines."

She continued: "Our production manager, Randy Cordray, said they had about 35 precision drivers. They were driving not just cars, but like semi-trucks. When we were standing there on that set, you could feel the wind like of these cars speeding past you. It was so, so bonkers. But after we shot the scene, they had to hire a special effects company to paint out the background because the background were these California mountains. And so they had to paint out the mountains and put in some trees like East Coast looking trees. In the end, this was the single most expensive scene ever shot during the entire run of the show. It lasts 52 seconds and it cost $250,000."

RELATED: Jim Halpert's Girlfriends, Wife & Best Friends on The Office

And if that isn't crazy enough for you, here's another bit of mind-blowing trivia: The parking lot was the site of a former toxic waste dump. According to Kinsey, a "ceramics plant or something" had buried "lead paint waste" in that spot years before. Thankfully, the chemicals had been properly sealed beneath the ground and were of no harm to the cast and crew.

Where to Stream The Office?

All nine seasons of The Office are streaming exclusively on Peacock. Seasons 1-7 of the extended Superfan episodes are also available.

The NBCUniversal platform currently offers two monthly subscription plans: Premium ($5.99 a month with ads) and Premium Plus ($11.99 a month with no ads and download access for certain titles). If you're a student, you can enjoy the Premium plan for just $1.99 for an entire year!

Looking for more NBC originals? Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Quantum Leap, The Irrational, La Brea, Young Rock, Night Court, Saturday Night Live, Extended Family, Law & Order: SVU, Columbo, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, Superstore, 30 Rock, Heroes, The Voice, America's Got Talent, and more are all streaming on Peacock!