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It’s been over two years since The Office came to an end with a surprisingly touching and amusing finale, but our interest in the show hasn’t gone away. This is much more about beginnings rather than endings, though, as star Rainn Wilson just dropped a wacky tidbit about the show’s theme song, which definitely was not anyone’s first choice, as perfect as it seems now.
Surprising as it may be, the songs that were initially chosen for the theme are quite well-known, and the thought about any of them playing over Steve Carrell and his Dundie Award just weirds me out. Here’s what Wilson had to say about the theme song decision in his new memoir The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith and Idiocy, according to Stereogum.
There was an interesting process to decide on our theme song. Many songs were being considered seriously, including “Better Things” by the Kinks and “Float On” by Modest Mouse. Greg [Daniels] graciously sent out a list of songs and links to them as well for the cast to weigh in on. The one we all wanted most of all was “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra. It’s a sensational song and its jubilant, upbeat refrain would have fit perfectly over the drab video of the opening credits. Then we found out another show, the doomed and dismally conceived LAX, used the song.
I think we can all agree that what Wilson just said about the shortlived NBC drama LAX is far more memorable than the show itself. It starred Heather Locklear and Blair Underwood, yet somehow existed in the year 2004. But I digress.
To get back to the theme talk, “Mr. Blue Sky” is a perfect alternate take on the Office theme, regardless of what other show it appeared in front of. It’s got the same kind of bouncy energy that the actual theme does, and I like to think that it’s Toby’s favorite song. I can’t even consider “Float On” in this spot, perhaps because I can only hear that song in the context of my own life and not as an opening to Scranton’s most popular employees. “Better Things,” though, seemingly fits, at least without the lyrics. Maybe if there’s a British remake to the British version of The Office, that’ll be the song used. Alas, I’m in charge of absolutely zero TV show theme song decisions.
Wilson wasn’t just talking about what might have been, though. He did throw some kind words at the theme song that eventually got used for the show.
The theme we eventually ended up with was a beaut. Composed by former seventies rock/pop star Jay Ferguson, it was fun and catchy with just a hint of melancholy. It perfectly set the tone for the show. I’ve written pretend lyrics to it on many occasions. Perhaps I’ll sing them to you one day if you’re nice.
Maybe some of those alternate themes would have worked better with other actors in the roles. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. Either way, long live Mose!