Max Spaeth had a great day at work.
Teaneck, N.J.’s eleven-year-old attended Dunder Con in Secaucus, Saturday. This interactive event was for “The Office” fans. The 11-year-old from Teaneck, N.J. was wearing a suit and carrying a big pot of chili. He also wore Kleenex tissues boxes as his shoes. He went bald in the night, too.
Spaeth stated, “I had to shave my head in honor of the occasion.” Spaeth said, “I am dressed up as Kevin Malone in “The Office.”
Spaeth was waiting to be seated at the counter when Kevin Malone of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company approached him. Brian Baumgartner was the actor who played Malone.
“What are your doing?” Baumgartner shouted to Spaeth, as Spaeth approached his autograph desk for the first time. “Who was the one who shaved you head?” “Did your father shave your hair? Well done. Excellent job.
The two-day event saw thousands of people meet their favourite characters from the mockumentary comedy, which aired from 2005 through 2013. It is currently streaming on Peacock. Spaeth won the Dundie Awards best costume award, despite many people dressing up as their favourite character.
Spaeth said, “It blow my mind,” and was the one to receive the most cheers from the crowd. “Kevin told me that identity theft was a crime. Because Dwight was the one saying that, I said, “You’re Kevin,” instead of Dwight.
Superfans who knew every line of the show were able to get autographs, professional photos and selfies with cast members. The headliners included Baumgartner (Meredith Palmer), Kate Flannery(Kate Flannery), Creed Bratton [Creed Bratton], Oscar Nunez (“Oscar Martinez”), Andy Buckley (“David Wallace”).
Flannery stated that it was like “a flashback, and an acid trip” when Flannery was reunited and met fans. “It’s surreal. It’s almost like being treated as the Beatles. I don’t even know what to compare it to. It’s incredible. It’s amazing to see so many people dressed up as my characters. It’s crazy.”
The costumes included Shaved Head Meredith and Causal Day Meredith as well as cosplay characters such as Prison Mike, Pumpkin Head Dwight and Florida Stanley. A fan even dressed up in beets to honor Schrute Farms.
“Dressing up like an office worker just didn’t seem to do it for me,” said Peter Smith, who traveled to the event from Virginia with his family. I found it interesting to think outside of the box. You might find something that is different than what other people would do.
Kristan Gillis, Dayton, Ohio showed her love for the show by getting a permanent tattoo. Gillis has 18 tattoos on her legs related to “The Office,” including CPR mask Dwight, Nard Dog and a Stanley nickel.
“At a place like this, I can’t stop getting stopped,” said Gillis, a volunteer at the event who runs the Instagram account @the.office.tattoos.and.trivia. “People are like, ‘Ohhh, look at that Dwight tattoo!’ or ‘Look at that Prison Mike! And I’m like, ‘Yeah, these are all actually ‘Office’ tattoos.’ And they’re like, ‘Shut up!’ So, it’s been really cool just to let people look. They’re like, ‘Can I take a picture? Is that weird?’ I’m like, ‘This happens all the time. I’m used to it.’”
There was also a Michael Scott-style dance competition, a hot dog eating contest and a paper airplane tossing contest. Fans were able to sit at Michael Scott’s desk, conduct an Office-style interview in the conference room and take a photo with a Dwight Schrute impersonator. There were Q&A panels, a trivia session and even a Saturday concert by Creed Bratton.
Immersive photo ops included a group picture with the main cast members in attendance, a “Suck It!” music session with David Wallace, with fans seated at a drum set while Andy Buckley played keyboard while wearing his famous yellow hoodie and a recreation of the scene where Michael Scott hit Meredith with his PT Cruiser, with fans seated in the car while Kate Flannery laid across the hood and windshield.
“I was just holding on for dear life,” Flannery said with a laugh after the photo shoot.
Guest stars from the show – which included fan favorites like Bobby Ray Shafer (Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration), Jack Coleman (the Senator) and Kelen Coleman (Pam’s friend Isabel) also drew lines of fans looking to get an autographed picture, prop or Funko Pop.
“A couple for their anniversary, she was like, ‘It’s his anniversary present to meet you,’” said Coleman, who was appearing at her first fan convention. “So nice! You don’t think of these things when you’re just at home eating your cereal. And now, all of a sudden, people like want to meet you, and it’s so lovely.”
The event was organized by co-founders Arnold Cuervo, who runs the Instagram account @TheOfficeFunkoPops and has held private autograph signings with the show’s cast members, and Jesse Cohen, who previously helped organized other fan conventions in New Jersey like SopranosCon.
The event was set up well into Saturday morning. Volunteers helped to transform Secaucus in Scranton. This included an inflatable replica (625 square feet) of Dunder Mifflin’s office building.
Dunder Con organized the largest show reunion since 2013’s “The Office Wrap Party”. Could the cast ever be reunited on-air again?
“I would love it,” Flannery said. “I would absolutely love it. If it happens, then I will get very emotional. However, whatever it was supposed to happen, it will. It’s sacred because I understand the significance of how we closed it. But … let’s do it!”