‘The Office:’ How This Actor Knew He Was Being Written Out of the Show
Fans of The Office continue to out hope for a reboot. Launching the careers of several cast members on the NBC comedy including Steve Carell, John Krasinski, and Jenna Fischer, the iconic sitcom remains a number one pick on streaming services.
Several actors who weren’t always in the central storyline were still given ample air time. Yet one supporting character on the show knew when his time on The Office was coming to an end.
Season one of ‘The Office’ got off to a bumpy start
Launched in 2005 by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who had created the BBC version of the comedy, The Office had a tough time finding its footing in season one. Studio execs and show producers feared that viewers weren’t catching on to the British style of humor.
“The first season really felt like an experiment,” script coordinator Jason Kessler told Andy Greene in his book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s.. “It was clear NBC wasn’t putting all its chips on The Office. … I absolutely loved it… But I don’t know if I believed a network audience as a whole would get it. It’s just a very specific, dry brand of humor.”
Putting a spotlight on the unrequited love permeating between Jim (Krasinski) and Pam (Fischer), made even more complicated by her engagement to warehouse employee Roy (David Denman), the sitcom eventually began tracking with audiences and soon became Must See TV.
Love triangle at Dunder Mifflin
Keeping viewers guessing on Pam and Jim’s relationship, producers kept the will-they-or-won’t-they storyline going with Roy still in the picture. Denman attributed the Pam and Roy’s lackluster relationship to complacency.
“They don’t know anything different,” Denman said of The Office couple in a 2006 interview. “Roy has gotten really complacent and just not really at all paying attention to nurturing that relationship. … And Pam, she’s just always been there so he’s never had to try. He’s never had to put forth the effort, because she’s always been somewhat happy about what’s been going on, so he has kind of taken advantage of that situation. Not that he’s trying to, but come on, he’s a bit of a knucklehead.”
At one point, Denman wanted to have Roy exhibit more of an emotional and intellectual range and approached the production staff on having the character evolve.
“One of the things that I have spoken to the writers and [show runner] Greg Daniels about was that we really only show one side of Roy, and it’s not a pretty one,” Denman revealed at the time. “So it would be nice to actually see some other sides.”
‘The Office’ table read revelation
Season three opened with Pam and Roy’s engagement broken and Jim transferred to the Stamford branch. For awhile, it looked as if the warehouse worker would win back his ex.
“We’d been leading that third season, maybe Roy and Pam will get back together,” Denman told the Hollywood Reporter in 2019. Yet a table read with Daniels and the cast revealed that Roy’s days were numbered on the show in order to bring Jim and Pam together.
“All of a sudden, Roy was an idiot again. And I went, ‘Uh. We’re definitely not going to get back together,'” Denman recalled. “I turned to Greg and I go, ‘I’m not going to be on this, am I?’ And he goes, ‘No. It’s not you. Honestly. I need to get Romeo and Juliet together, and I can’t really do that with you lurking around.'”
Daniels graciously allowed Denman to look for other work as he was wrapping up on the show, and Krasinski lobbied to bring him back for guest appearances.
Now with several television and film credits to his name, Denman right where he wants to be. “I always liked being under the radar and sort of having a blue-collar acting career, which is what I envisioned and hoped for,” he shared. “For 20 years I’ve been doing this. And luckily — knock on wood — I haven’t had to do anything else.”