‘The Office’: This ‘Big Moment’ Between Jim and Pam Was Challenging to ‘Get Just Right’
The Office fans loved the evolution of Jim and Pam’s relationship, which started with cute workplace flirting and ended with the couple married and raising a family. Back in the early days, the show was particular about how Jim and Pam interacted, with one “big moment” in season 1 requiring careful orchestration.
‘The Office’ needed an organic way for Jim and Pam to physically connect
During a discussion about the season 1 episode “The Alliance” on the Office Ladies podcast, Fischer and co-host Angela Kinsey gave some behind-the-scenes scoop about a Jim and Pam moment where they got touchy and Roy caught them.
The actor recalled how they had to figure out the specifics of that scene so that it would be organic.
“So I remember this scene. I remember breaking it down,” Fischer explained. “We shot a ton of versions of this scene because we really didn’t know how big of a reaction Roy should have.”
“So the first thing I remember was that somehow in the scene when Jim and I are giggling about our accomplishment, we had to find a way to hold hands,” she continued. “That there had to be an organic way where his arm is around me. There had to be something because Roy has walked in the door before and seen Jim standing at reception talking to me.”
“So we had to come up with this reason that John would come around the front of the desk,” she added.
Jim and Pam had a ‘big moment’ that had to appear ‘organic’
In the episode, Jim and Pam pranked Dwight and Jim gets a bit “excited” about their plotting. “So instead of coming up to me with the desk between us, which is what you’ve seen in the past, this was a big moment,” Fischer explained. “He breaks that barrier. He comes around the desk. He puts his arm on me. We end up kind of holding hands and giggling.”
Fischer noted that there was a lot of effort into making the moment “organic and not staged.”
“We didn’t want to do something so out of the ordinary that you would be expecting something to happen,” she explained. “And I think we accomplished it. And then when [Roy] burst in the door, there were a couple of takes where he pushed Jim up against a wall where he like really got more physical with Jim. And so we shot all these different versions so that we could get it just right.”
Angela shared her thoughts on how it played out, saying “the version they went with is the best” in terms of Roy’s reaction and Jim and Pam getting “busted.”
The Jim and Pam scenes were carefully planned
During the July 28, 2020 episode of An Oral History of The Office, host Brian Baumgartner explored how precise the show got with the details of Jim and Pam’s relationship.
Fischer explained how some of those moments played out so they could tease the relationship. “There was often one Jim/Pam moment per episode and it was either where they’re going to connect in some super special swoony way or they’re going to misstep in some way where one of them gets their feelings hurt,” she explained. “And there was this very fine line that we had to walk all the time.”
It took a lot of time and discussion to figure out the specifics involved.
“All of these little ways, how much were they allowed to literally touch one another, look in each other’s eyes, swoon at each other… I mean, we would spend hours debating and shooting alternates of these Jim/Pam scenes,” she added.