‘The Office’: Jenna Fischer Explains Why Pam Beesly Stayed With Roy Anderson as Long as She Did
Many people may not know the level of thought Fischer put into portraying Pam. Now, thanks to Brian Baumgartner’s new podcast, An Oral History of The Office, fans can finally understand how deep Fischer’s idea of Pam goes.
To bring Pam to life, Fischer came up with an interesting backstory that explains a lot of things about the office receptionist. Her background even makes sense of her relationship with Roy.
Every decision Pam makes is because of Jenna’s backstory
When we first met Pam and Roy in season 1 of The Office, they were engaged — and had been for a long time. It quickly became apparent to many viewers that Pam and Roy weren’t meant to be together. Their chemistry was nothing like what existed between Jim and Pam.
Fischer had reasons for all of the decisions her character made on The Office, thanks to the history she created for the role.
Pam knew Roy since high school
In bringing the role of Pam to life, Fischer worked hard to create a believable backstory for the character. “I had written probably a three-page essay on Pam’s backstory, some of which I got from the script or [borrowed] from the British show,” Fischer explained on Baumgartner’s podcast.
There were certain aspects of Pam that Fischer created on her own. “I had a whole backstory for why Pam is with Roy and how they met,” she added.
“In my backstory, Pam’s parents owned an appliance store in town, and Roy worked there in high school. That’s how they met.” Within the world of The Office, Pam and Roy had attended the same school and been around each other until they eventually fell into a relationship.
That backstory makes so much sense, especially considering how comfortable Pam and Roy were together in season 1.
Pam’s history with Roy is what made it hard for her to leave him
Fischer’s backstory became useful in portraying how Pam behaved. It was also helpful in justifying Pam’s individual decisions, like the decision to stay with Roy for as long as she did.
“It’s not easy for her to get out of that relationship and just go to Jim,” Fischer said in episode 3 of Baumgartner’s podcast, “Everything That Makes It Harder, Makes It Better.”
According to Fischer, there are parts of Roy’s personality that viewers never get to see. “You see [Roy] in the sexual harassment episode come in in a sweater and he’s doing a little dance and he’s joking with Pam’s mom — that’s the guy that we don’t see that often, but that Pam’s family sees…their families are very meshed.”
Had fans been able to see that side of Roy, perhaps they might have felt differently about the amount of time it took Pam to leave him for Jim.
Ultimately, it was Pam’s history with Roy and the connection their families shared that made her stay with him for as long as she did.