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Welcoming “The Office” to Nashua

Analise Lipari | Friday, September 26, 2008

It’s rare that my home state, New Hampshire, gets a lot of attention in the media.

Every four years, the networks and newspapers roll out the big guns for the New Hampshire primary, the first in the nation, which means that the possibility of my meeting Brian Williams goes way up (score).

A few movies have taken place here, including “Animal House,” at least if the source material, Dartmouth, is any indication; “Jumanji” (yep. Look it up.); and “The Hotel New Hampshire” (shocking, I know), among others. John Irving, the author, is a New Hampshire native, as is Dan Brown of “Da Vinci Code” fame. Somehow, Aerosmith has a longstanding connection to the Granite State, and Bruce Willis recently pirated our state motto for the title of “Live Free or Die Hard.”

We’ve also got some sweet maple syrup.

When your state has one eighth the population of New York City, you tend to be kind of low profile. Unfortunately, this is especially true when it comes to all things entertainment. Filmmakers and television producers love to trot out the small-town references when it comes to shows aiming for “quirky,” such as that CBS (I believe) sitcom from a few years ago, “The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire,” which was mercifully axed after less than six episodes.

Which is why, when I heard that Greg Daniels was planning on referencing my hometown of Nashua, New Hampshire on the season premiere of “The Office,” one of my favorite shows, I kind of freaked out a little bit.

For a little background information, here’s a brief history of the glorious Gate City. The second-largest city in the Shire, following Manchester, it was originally settled as the town of Dunstable. Fast-forward two centuries to the present day, when Nashua has grown to a city of 85,000 awesome Northern New Englanders. Our French-Canadian contingent is one of the strongest in the nation, which lends local cuisine a north-of-the-border flavor (and a whole lotta gravy). I’ve lived there since I was eight, and I’d have to say that I’m a big fan.

Obsessive fans of “The Office” may remember Daniels’ previous mention of Nashua in an earlier episode. When the Scranton staffers were filming a commercial in the season 4 episode “Local Ad,” the filmmakers from corporate showed them a previous ad featuring the Nashua branch. Michael’s reaction was that the Nashua branch “sucks.”

Daniels has said that Nashua was one possibility for the setting of “The Office,” and recently told the Nashua Telegraph that he has always liked the city’s name for a northern branch of Dunder-Mifflin. Even new HR rep Holly (Amy Ryan) came to Scranton by way of the Nashua branch. Allegedly, a local candy company, Merrimack and Nashua-based Swan Chocolates, is due to get a shout-out in an upcoming episode.

This, plainly speaking, is awesome.

Some residents of the Great North Woods region might argue that Nashua is filled with “flatlanders” who don’t understand the real New Hampshire.

It’s true that I’ve only seen a few moose in my lifetime, one of which was strolling through the athletic fields at my high school. I’ve also never skied, but that’s mostly because I have nightmares of that episode from “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” coming true.

Nashua, friends, is truly just as New Hampshire as any other part of the state, and I’m psyched to let it represent the Shire on “The Office.”

Even if it’s for less than thirty seconds at a time.