Ten years ago this week, Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) decided to head north to Niagara Falls to get married in front of their co-workers on The Office, where, among other wedding activities, Andy (Ed Helms) tore his scrotum in the most low-stakes dance-off of all time. (What else you got???) The two-part episode ends on a lovely note with the Dunder Mifflin crew performing a joyous, coordinated dance down the aisle, but according to Entertainment Weekly’s new oral history of the wedding, the original conclusion was much darker in execution: It would’ve involved Dwight (Rainn Wilson) attempting to ride a horse into Niagara Falls, convinced he would survive such a stunt.
“I was really committed to the horse for the longest time,” showrunner Greg Daniels explained. “It was like Dwight got fascinated with this historical display at the hotel that talked about various animals. It started with a cow had been swept over the falls and survived, and then a couple of people tried to go over the falls in a barrel and were killed, and then some sheep went over the falls and survived. And he came up with this theory that you could survive going over the falls if you were riding a horse, because a horse would have the instinct of how to swim properly.” Dwight keeps elaborating on this theory to deaf ears, and seemingly resigns in wanting to try it out himself, until a familiar face with an equestrian pal attempts to win Pam back:
Roy (Dan Denman) interrupts the wedding trying to do a big, grand romantic gesture that nobody wants and just abandons the horse and drives home. So Dwight gets on and goes into the river above the falls, but panics and jumps off the horse at the last second, while the horse goes over in the background of the wedding. I remember scouting this tank on the Universal lot and talking about how we’re going to shoot this horse being swept over the waterfall. Then we got to the table read and I was the last defender of the horse. The entire staff and actors were yelling at me: “Don’t ruin Jim and Pam’s wedding with a horse!”
Paul Feig, who directed the episode, added that the idea was collectively panned by the other writers and actors, which caused Daniels to craft the dance scene instead. “We were all like, ‘This is insane. You can’t send a horse over the falls.’ And Greg was like, ‘No, it would be really funny,’” Feig added. “And there was this whole debate that went on in the writers’ room, people are like, ‘I don’t know, I think this is kind of dark and weird.’” Not as dark and weird as Kevin’s shoes being burned for their toxicity, but we digress.