Dunder Mifflin Paper Company is opening in New Jersey this weekend.
Well, not exactly. But it sure might seem like it with Stanley, Oscar, Meredith, Kevin, Creed and many other cast members from “The Office” in town.
They’ll be attending the first-ever Dunder Con, an interactive experience for fans of the television show, at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus on Saturday and Sunday. Fans will be able to get autographs and take selfies or professional photo with their favorite paper-company employees.
“It’s the very first time this has ever been done before,” said Arnold Cuervo, co-founder of the event. “Everyone wants an ‘Office’ reunion, and this is the biggest one ever.”
That’s what she said!
The full guest list includes 23 characters from the show, with headliners like Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone), Kate Flannery (Meredith Palmer), Creed Bratton (Creed Bratton), Leslie David Baker (Stanley Hudson), Oscar Nunez (Oscar Martinez) and Andy Buckley (David Wallace).
Immersive photo ops include a group picture with the six main cast members in attendance, a recreation of the scene where Michael Scott hit Meredith with his car (with the fan sitting in the passenger seat and Kate Flannery on the hood of a PT Cruiser), and a “Suck It!” music session with David Wallace (with a drum set, keyboard and Andy Buckley wearing his branded sweatshirt used in the show).
A Dundie Awards ceremony will be held to give out trophies for best cosplay, trivia winner, best “The Office” tattoo and many other categories. Fans can take part in an Office-style mockumentary interview with a recreated conference-room backdrop, compete in events from the “Beach Games” episode like a hot-dog-eating contest and sumo suit battles and take a seat at Michael Scott’s desk. They can also attend a Saturday-night concert featuring Creed (Creed Bratton, not the 1990s rock band).
“We tried to capture all the fan-favorite moments respectfully and just have fun with it,” Cuervo said of the show, which aired on NBC from 2005 to 2013 and is now streaming on Peacock.
Other guest stars from the show that will be in attendance include Bobby Ray Shafer (Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration), Linda Purl (Pam’s Mom) and Blake Robbins and Tug Coker (the Halpert brothers, who will also conduct Q&A panels in character using fan-submitted questions). Jim, Pam, Dwight and Michael are not scheduled to appear, though a mystery guest from the show has been promised.
“I can’t give a hint. I can’t say if it’s a boy or girl. I can’t say anything,” Cuervo said with a laugh, adding that it’s a question he’s been asked nonstop since the mystery guest was promoted.
Cuervo, who has held private autograph signings with cast members of “The Office,” and co-founder Jesse Cohen, who has helped organized other fan conventions in New Jersey like SopranosCon, initially intended to hold Dunder Con in early 2020. Those plans were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They spent the years that followed scheduling guests, promoting the event and organizing a convention that will be appreciated most by those who have bought themselves a “World’s Best Boss” mug or put a stapler inside a Jell-O mold.
“Dunder Con has actually been years in the making,” said Cuervo, whose Instagram account @theofficefunkopops has over 30,000 followers. “We decided this is the year.”
But as Dwight Schrute might say…Question!
Why isn’t Dunder Con being held in Scranton, Pennsylvania?
Cuervo said he and Cohen did consider having the event in Scranton, the location of the Dunder Mifflin office on the show, but the size of the area’s conference hall, along with shipping issues and increased guest and fan travel expenses made it unfeasible.
“I would have loved to have done it there,” Cuervo said. “But we’re targeting to have about 10,000 people at Dunder Con over the weekend, and it would have had to have been a much smaller event.”
So, instead of Scranton, it’s in Secaucus, where fans will enter the venue to find a 625-square foot inflatable replica of the Dunder Mifflin office building. Tickets for admission, autographs and photos are available at Dundercon.com.
“It’s a historic event,” Cuervo said. “If you’re an ‘Office’ fan, this is the place to be.”