VAN NUYS -- On a sleepy industrial cul-de-sac in the San Fernando Valley, the building known to TV viewers as the Dunder Mifflin warehouse rocked with the sounds of Prince's "When Doves Cry," courtesy of a three-man band made up of Ed Helms (Andy), Craig Robinson (Darryl) and Brian Baumgartner (Kevin).
Meanwhile, out in the parking lot, actress Kate Flannery (Meredith) hastily plucked beer bottles from an ice chest and handed them to thirsty journalists.
"We know how to party," she said. "And we're going out with a bang."
This was the festive scene that transpired last week as actors, writers and producers of "The Office" hosted reporters for their final set visit as the show prepares to cap off its surprising nine-season run on NBC.
Of course, you could argue -- and many have -- that "The Office" should have called it quits after Season 7, when lead star Steve Carell departed. The show had lost some of its mojo even before that, and it has since become too easy to ignore. But that point is moot when remaining cast members are in the mood for some feel-good reminiscing.
Rainn Wilson, who plays the cluelessly bombastic Dwight Schrute, reflected on the emotional journey the cast and crew have shared.
"It's really clear to me that this is my other family. ... We've grown up together, we've had children, we've gotten married, we've gotten divorced, we've cried together, we've fought a little bit -- but not like 'Grey's Anatomy,' " he said.
In the process, Wilson joked, they went from being "really goofy kids nine years ago to the giant megalomaniac TV stars you see in front of you today."
"Office" boss Greg Daniels, who stepped away from day-to-day showrunner duties in recent seasons, returned to the fold in order to give the series a proper goodbye. Speaking of which, he pointed to this week's episode as the "beginning of the end."
"If you look at how many characters there are here, and you think that it'll be our 200th half-hour when we do the finale, I don't think we're planning on packing everything into the last episode," he said. "I would encourage people, if you are waiting for the end of 'The Office' to retune in, and I would start doing it right away."
In coming weeks, Daniels noted, individual members of the show's hilarious ensemble will be given their chance to shine and -- spoiler alert -- one of them will even be fired in Episode 15. In addition, look for the return of former favorites, including Mindy Kaling (Kelly), B.J. Novak (Ryan) and Zach Woods (Gabe).
As for Carell, Daniels confirmed earlier reports that he won't be back to reprise the role of the socially inept Michael Scott.
"Steve is very much of the opinion that the 'Goodbye Michael' episode (in 2011) and the story arc that we did leading up to it was his goodbye to the fans and to the show," he said. "The stuff we're doing this season is the goodbye that the rest of the show gets to have. So at the moment, we don't have any plans for him to come back."
Over the remaining episodes, we'll finally meet the documentary crew that has been dogging the paper-pushers of Dunder Mifflin all these years. And much attention, of course, will be paid to the marriage of Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer), who have given us one of the most endearing couples in recent prime-time history.
Fans who have stuck with the show are aware that some turbulence may be in store for our "Office" sweethearts as Jim sets his eyes on a permanent move to Philadelphia for a job with a glitzy startup.
"For the first time in Jim and Pam's relationship, something is changing in a pretty major way," Fischer observed. "There's all these things that happen in a marriage -- curveballs -- and so far Jim and Pam haven't really had one. This year, they do."
At the time of our set visit, "Office" writers had six more scripts to pen before finishing off a 24-episode season that will culminate May 9 with a one-hour finale. Daniels said the ending has been formulated, but it could always change in coming weeks as the scribes and actors toss new ideas into the pot.
"One of the things we're excited about this year is for all the fans that have been following the show religiously to really get off on all the connections and wrap-ups and artistry we're trying to bring to the end," he said.
'GLEE'-FUL ROMANCE: On the same day of our "Office" visit, we dropped by the Paramount lot to check out the kids from "Glee," which returns this week from its lengthy hiatus (9 p.m. Thursday, Fox).
There weren't a lot of major spoilers to uncover on Stage 14, but we couldn't help but notice that Rachel and Kurt's New York loft was decked out in balloons and rose petals for next month's Valentine's Day episode. So romance is in the air?
Executive producer Dante Di Loreto said the episode will feature a big wedding; while all signs point to Will and Emma as the couple getting hitched, he refused to confirm it.
"What's exciting about this show is there are certain things that are undeniable. ... There are also some things that are going to shock the heck out of you. That's the really fun part, and that's coming down the pike," he teased.
As for this week's episode, it has the girls of the glee club organizing a Sadie Hawkins dance that results in some unexpected couplings.
BON VOYAGE: One more sign that TV is a major source of bewilderment: "Last Resort," a submarine action-thriller with an excellent cast, including Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman, came into the fall riding a wave of critical adoration and hype. But for various reasons, it failed to generate a sizable audience.
Now the drama I deemed as the best new show of the season limps off into the sunset with its series finale (8 p.m. Thursday, ABC), a victim of premature cancellation. Meanwhile, "The Neighbors," a lame sitcom about aliens in suburbia, continues to live on in the ABC lineup.
Whoever said prime time was fair?
Contact Chuck Barney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his TV blog at http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/tv and follow him atTwitter.com/chuckbarney and Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.ChuckBarney.
When: 9:30 p.m. Thursday