Erin’s life was an ongoing subplot on The Office, as she was something of a mystery, and the question of who were her parents often came up. Ellie Kemper took up the role of Erin Hannon in The Office season 5 after Pam (Jenna Fischer) decided to join the Michael Scott Paper Company, leaving her job at Dunder Mifflin available. It became apparent that Erin wasn’t brought up by her biological parents, spending her childhood in an orphanage and with foster families. In season 6, viewers were introduced to her foster brother, Reed, with whom Erin had a seemingly close relationship.
Erin’s eccentricity was an asset to Dunder Mifflin, as well as a joy for the TV audience. From getting involved with costumes at The Office Halloween parties to teaming up with Kelly (Mindy Kaling) as part of a pop duo, nothing could dampen her spirits. However, the subject of her birth parents was an emotional one, particularly in The Office season 7 after she looked to Michael as a father figure. Thankfully, Erin’s story concluded with her finding her parents. Season 9’s reunion was as wholesome as it was surprising, as it happened at a moment when Erin wasn’t looking.
Joan Cusack and Ed Begley Jr. played Erin’s biological mother and father in The Office‘s series finale. They reunited during a Q&A panel set up for the fictional documentary stars where fans could learn more about them. After being asked whether Erin would be angry at her parents, it’s revealed that the woman inquiring is in fact Erin’s birth mother, Fran, with her father, Martin, close by. The last episode of The Office was hailed as one of the best finales of the 2010s, packed with engrossing and moving scenes, with Erin’s happy ending enhancing the closure of the much-loved television series.
It was an unexpected revelation to happen at that specific point in the show. There was no hint of Erin’s parents being in the crowd prior to the reveal. The show’s creators inventively and surprisingly found a unique way of giving Erin what viewers felt she deserved. Not only was the premise beautifully written, but the casting of the two actors was a perfect fit. Cusack’s portrayal of Fran’s nervous uncertainty about whether Erin would accept her is easy to read. The sentiment was clearly conveyed, with a truly authentic connection between the three characters, allowing viewers to believe it.
Ending The Office after season 9 was a shame for audiences, but Erin being reunited with her parents did bring closure to her arc, as her wish to know more about her family came true. Viewers saw the character develop over time, bringing a fun-loving persona, but there was always something missing for her. When there was a small glimmer of hope that Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) might have been her birth mother, it was truly touching and sad to see how she longed for her parents. That longing came to a satisfying conclusion, not leaving audiences to wonder what happened to Erin.
It wouldn’t be necessary to do a reboot or revival of The Office to understand Erin’s life, but one deleted scene from the show gives further insight. Erin’s parents told her why they couldn’t keep her, explaining that they didn’t want to bring a baby into the life they lived. However, they wanted forgiveness from her because they regretted their decision. It came as no surprise that Erin was happy to start fresh. There’s no questioning the hilarity of The Office, but the brilliance of the show is exuded through the combination of comedy and pathos, shown in Erin’s path to finding her parents.
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