‘The Office’: Jenna Fischer Explains Why Pam and Roy Were Engaged for So Long

One of the burning questions about The Office has finally been answered — why were Pam and Roy engaged for so long? Fans of the hit TV series often wondered why Pam stuck with Roy for such a long time and now Jenna Fischer, who played Pam, is explaining the whole backstory.

the office basketball
‘The Office’ John Krasinski as Jim Halpert, Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly, and David Denman as Roy Anderson | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

How long were Pam and Roy engaged?

When The Office started, viewers discovered that Pam and Roy were high school sweethearts and had been engaged for three years, but it’s unclear why they hadn’t yet tied the knot.

As things progress, it’s clear that Pam and Jim are destined to be together and it makes sense that there was no long term commitment between her and Roy.

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Fischer has her own backstory for Pam and Roy

Even Fischer wasn’t clear about why Pam and Roy were engaged for so long, so she did what any professional actor would do — create her own backstory for the characters so she had a more fully formed idea of why they weren’t yet married.

It turns out her idea for their long engagement even got worked into the show.

During the Office Ladies podcast, hosted by Fischer and her Office co-star Angela Kinsey, they revisited the Season 1 episode ‘Basketball,” that had Pam flirting with Jim during the warehouse basketball challenge.

If you recall, boss Michael challenges the warehouse workers to a game against the sales staff, with Fischer explaining that her character is caught between rooting for “her office crush Jim and her actual fiancé.”

Here’s why Pam and Roy were engaged for so long

During the episode, before the game starts, Jim and Pam discuss their weekend plans and she mentions that she and Roy are supposed to “take the WaveRunners to the lake for the weekend.”

Here’s the thing: the WaveRunner detail originated with Fischer, who created the backstory herself. She wrote, as part of her actor prep (in essay form), the complete explanation so she could understand Pam and Roy’s long engagement.

Fischer explained, “I remember trying to justify just for myself why is Pam still engaged to Roy after three years. In this episode you find out they’ve been engaged for three years — her little toaster oven that they got at her engagement party is broken — so I asked myself, ‘Why? Why are they not married yet… what is the reason?'”

She continued: “In my head I came up with the reason that they had been saving money for the wedding and about a year into their engagement, without telling Pam, Roy spent the money on a pair of WaveRunners with his brother. And Roy was like, ‘we’re going to have so much fun with these’ but it broke Pam’s heart, and I told Greg [Daniels] this story… and he was like, ‘Oh my gosh I love that. We’ve gotta put that in — the WaveRunners.'”

Fischer and David Denman were close

Despite Roy not being a love connection for Pam, that doesn’t mean that Fischer and David Denman, who played Roy, weren’t close.

Fischer dished: “David and I really hit it off… especially in this episode. It was weird because I think I had spent a lot of time talking to John Krasinski between scenes and now I was talking to David. He became a really good friend of mine outside of The Office, and I think it was probably a weird thing for people to imagine that one of my best connections on the show was David, who played my jerk boyfriend Roy.”