One big moment between Jim and Pam played out on The Office without viewers ever hearing a word they said. They didn’t need to hear the conversation, however. The camera captured the characters’ reactions and fans could guess that Pam was pregnant. Jenna Fischer gave some insight into the inspiration behind the silent scene.
‘The Office’ revealed Pam’s pregnancy without a sound
During the Jan. 5 episode of the Office Ladies podcast, hosts Fischer and Angela Kinsey discussed The Office Season 5 episode “Company Picnic.” In the episode, the employees from the various Dunder Mifflin branches come together for a company picnic and there’s a competitive volleyball tournament. Pam injures her ankle during the game and Jim takes her to the hospital to get X-rays. The couple finds out that Pam is pregnant.
The scene at the hospital has no dialogue. The documentary crew does a spy shot through the window of the exam room to capture Jim and Pam receiving the happy news. Their expressions tell the story without any words and Jim emerges from the room elated as he gives the documentary camera person a look that confirms the pregnancy.
Why ‘The Office’ approached the Jim and Pam scene this way
During the Office Ladies podcast, the hosts discussed the scene, pointing out that Jim and Pam “get some pretty big news,” with Fischer noting, “But we can’t hear it.”
The actor said they received mail from fans who wondered why the scene was silent. “Well, this was partially inspired by the British show,” Fischer explained.
She continued, “There is a scene in that series where Tim is going to tell Dawn how he feels about her, but first he takes off his microphone, and [the writers] thought that this made that moment even more intimate.”
Fischer compared it the “teapot note,” explaining, “There’s nothing that you could write that could ever meet people’s expectations of what it needed to be. So if you leave it for people to fill in themselves, it’ll always be the perfect note.”
Kinsey said the show’s cinematographer once explained how “the further you were away from a moment, the more intimate it feels to watch.”
Fischer agreed, pointing out, “so removing the sound makes you pretty far away.”
She also said that a similar situation plays out when Pam says goodbye to Michael in an emotional scene and there’s no audio. “Every once in a while it was a trick we could use because we were a documentary,” she explained. “We could pull the sound and make a really impactful moment.”
Jim acknowledged the cameraman with an emotional smile
Fischer and Kinsey also noted how Jim leaves the exam room and gives the camera a look. On the DVD commentary, director Ken Kwapis explained that he told John Krasinski to acknowledge the camera person since they had become friendly.
“The one thing I told John to remember is that over the course of this series, he’s developed a relationship with the documentary camera operator,” Kwapis explained. “And so when John emerges from the room to make the call to Dwight, something about seeing his pal … the cameraman kind of suddenly got him very choked up.”
Kwapis continued, “Because we debated whether or not he should be so wrapped up in the moment that he should ignore the camera. But in fact, it was the opposite.”
He added, “It was almost like, you know, the cameraman has been sharing so much of what’s going on with Jim that, you know, that it became very important to acknowledge him here.”