‘The Office’: Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey Explain Why Jim and Pam ‘Break Our Hearts All the Time’
Throughout the first few seasons of The Office, Pam and Jim consistently tugged at our heartstrings. Pam was engaged to Roy Anderson (David Denman), which left Jim pining. But when Pam was finally available, Jim started dating Karen Filippelli (Rashida Jones).
Of course, viewers know Jim and Pam ended up together. Though many individuals seem to resonate with those early days the most. Then in a recent episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Fischer and Angela Kinsey opened up about the subtle moments that made the couple so relatable.
What happened to Jim and Pam in ‘The Office’ Season 3 Episode 8?
In The Office Season 3 Episode 8 — titled “The Merger” — the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin is absorbed into the Scranton branch. Jim, who jumped ship at the start of the season, returns to his old office. Then upon his arrival, Jim receives the greatest bearhug from Pam, who is trying to hide her excitement.
Nevertheless, things are notably weird between Pam and Jim. In a talking head interview, Jim says he isn’t sure where he stands with his old co-worker. But they’re friends. Then when they get some time alone, Jim doesn’t seem as playful he usually is. He’s a bit cold and also turns down the chance to catch up after work.
Meanwhile, Pam notices subtle moments between Jim and Karen throughout the episode. During the orientation family breakfast for the Stamford branch, Pam sees Karen giving Jim some gum. Pam is thrown off at first. But seems to move on.
Later, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) slashes everyone’s tires and the office goes outside. Jim leaves the building with Karen and Pam grows increasingly suspicious. Then her fears are confirmed when she sees Karen rubbing Jim’s back. Pam stares in disbelief once she realizes they’re probably dating.
At the end of the episode, Jim makes plans with Karen over the phone. He sees Pam and walks toward her. Jim admits things have been weird between them. He also says he’s been seeing someone. Pam says it’s “totally cool.” And newsflash, it’s not. But she tries to play things cool and calls him a friend. Jim stares blankly and backs off. They both get into their cars and leave.
Brent Forrester explains why ‘The Merger’ is a classic ‘Office’ episode
In the July 21 episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Fischer and Kinsey discussed “The Merger” and brought on writer Brent Forrester to give some insight. He also shared how the episode was “designed to be a classic Office episode,” noting Michael’s conference room mishaps as well as Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) and Dwight Schrute’s (Rainn Wilson) rivalry. But ultimately, the writer saw Jim and Pam’s romance — or lack thereof — as the heart of the episode.
“What really distinguished this episode was the Jim and Pam story,” Forrester said. “Once again, we relied for the emotion of the episode on Jim and Pam.”
He then gushed over Fischer’s performance as Pam, which extended beyond “The Merger.”
“Look at the tremendous performance Jenna Fischer does here,” Forrester said. “She does so much with so little, right from the start, where she says, ‘It’ll be nice to see my friend again.’ And you know what she means is, ‘I can’t believe Jim and I can get together for the first time.’”’
He added, “And then watch how she discovers that Jim is dating Karen Filippelli. It’s just done in little looks where she notices a piece of gum passed between them. Ugh, it kills me. It’s the greatest performance and it’s part of this tremendous ongoing performance that Jenna Fischer did as Pam Beesly. One of the greatest performances captured on TV, in my opinion.”
Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey discuss Jim and Pam on the ‘Office Ladies’ podcast
Following Forrester’s remarks about Jim and Pam on The Office, Fischer didn’t take all the credit for her performance. She revealed Forrester wrote in how Pam was supposed to react in the original script.
“Here’s the thing. I did not make up any of that performance. That was all written for me by the great Brent Forrester,” Fischer said. “But truly, it’s like those directions were in the script. I didn’t invent those. All of those moments of embarrassment, those were all described to me. I just had to play them.”
She continued, “So, you know, that’s some of the beautiful detail we would get in our scripts that I so appreciated as a performer. Those quiet moments that they allow to play out. Those moments of silence, moments of realization. We always took our time with those and it allowed me to really go for it.”
Meanwhile, Kinsey had a different perspective of the Jim and Pam moments during “The Merger.” She applauded her co-star’s performance and suggested Forrester’s comments reflect the way viewers connect with the couple’s story. Kinsey said:
That was just a heartfelt message from Brent about how moved he was — and really — everyone is by Jim and Pam. They break our hearts all the time because that is what a star-crossed lover courtship is. One moment you’re available for that other person, either physically or emotionally, and the other person isn’t. Then it flips. And they break your heart over and over until they, hopefully, find each other.
Check out Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Facebook!