Jenna Fischer Breaks Down Why Jim’s Proposal to Pam Cost ‘The Office’ $250K to Shoot

'The Office' finally gave fans what they wanted in the Season 5 premiere “Weight Loss,” with Jim proposing to Pam outside a gas station in the pouring rain.


Image via Getty/L. Cohen


The Office finally gave fans what they wanted in the Season 5 premiere “Weight Loss,” with Jim proposing to Pam outside a gas station in the pouring rain.

Over a decade later the scene remains a fan favorite, and it’s easy to see why. In the latest episode of the Office Ladies podcast, stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey—who portrayed Pam and Angela respectively—broke down how the scene shocked the cast of the show and why it cost so much to shoot it. While the scene looks simple and its setting is very convincingly real, Fischer said the minute-long scene cost $250,000.

“So first of all, I just want you guys to know that Greg [Daniels] spoke with us about this. He said that he really wanted Jim’s proposal to Pam to be in the season premiere,” explained Fischer. “He thought that would be unexpected. You usually end seasons with proposals. So he thought this would be a real shock.”

Daniels served as showrunner on The Office, and it turns out he was right that the moment would be a huge shock. “I didn’t see it coming,” remarked Kinsey. 

“He also wanted to throw people off by having it in a very ordinary location,” added Fischer. “So he wanted it to feel special, but he also wanted it to feel like Jim made the decision without a whole lot of planning.” As for why it cost the production team $250,000 to shoot the scene, Fischer explained that the gas station location was inspired by a real station that Daniels had frequented. Instead of shooting there, they built a fake gas station.

“They built this in the parking lot of a Best Buy that I have been to many times, actually,” Fischer continued. “What they did was 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 this parking lot.” In total, it took the team nine days to build the set, and they even built a “racetrack loop” so that cars could realistically drive past.

“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 [with] these giant rain machines,” Fischer said. “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.” 

“Oh my lord,” said Kinsey upon hearing how much it really cost.

As an aside, they also mentioned that Daniels initially wanted the scene to not have any audible dialogue. “The debate was just simply whether Jim and Pam were still wearing their microphones and you could hear our dialogue,” said Fischer. For what it’s worth, Fischer said she and co-star John Krasinski said their lines for every take, because they weren’t even aware of the debate about the dialogue.

Listen to part one of the Office Ladies’ “Weight Loss” episode here, and catch the second part—where the scene is broken down—below:

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