The 1 Rule ‘The Office’ Creator Made for Jim and Pam’s Relationship

There are so many reasons to love The Office. Hilarious characters, truly ingenious writing, and unlikely friendships to name a few. But one of the main reasons that the show is so beloved is because of the relationship between salesman, Jim Halpert, and receptionist, Pam Beesly. Though they started off as friends, the chemistry between the pair was palpable. Despite Pam being engaged to warehouse worker, Roy, at the onset of the series, fans began shipping PB&J (Pam Beesly and Jim) from the very first episode.

Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski as Jim and Pam on The Office
Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski | Photo by: Vivian Zink/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

But what was it about Jim and Pam and their unique relationship that made fans want to ship them right off the bat? Part of it was the synergy between the actors, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer, who felt connected to one another from the first time they auditioned with one another. That chemistry extended beyond auditions and made its way onto the set of The Office. In fact, in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly Krasinski admitted that the scenes between Jim and Pam were always his favorite part of an episode.

John Krasinski’s favorite scenes to film

“For me, it was all about how much fun I had from the moment I met Jenna. Our scenes together were always my favorite part of an episode. I just hoped if people had even half as much fun watching as we did making it then maybe we’d be onto something,” Krasinski confessed. Indeed the cast was on to something and even the writers were moved by the performances of Krasinski and Fischer and how Jim and Pam’s relationship translated from the script to the screen.

Mindy Kaling, who served as a writer and producer of The Office, and also played the bubbly Kelly Kapoor, recalled being blown away by the relationship between Jim and Pam as early on as the show’s second-ever episode. “At the end of the “Diversity Day,” which was the second episode that aired, there’s the stage direction that Pam falls asleep on his shoulder and Jim smiles, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, in the script that’s such a small win for this character who has had a terrible day,’ and yet on camera it really read as this huge emotional win for this guy,” Kaling recalled.

Greg Daniels’ one rule for Jim and Pam’s relationship

Moments like the one in diversity day began to serve as the foundation that Jim and Pam’s relationship was built upon. And that was far from unintentional. In fact, Greg Daniels, creator of The Office, (which is a spin-off of the original eponymous British sitcom, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant) had a hard and fast rule that there could only be one reference to Jim and Pam’s relationship per episode early on in the series. This rule put pressure on both Krasinski and Fischer to find the love and the magic within those tiny moments in order to create a larger narrative and a hopeful future for their characters.

“Early on, Greg had a rule that we would only go to the Jim and Pam relationship maybe once an episode, that it would be rare that we’d spend a whole episode on their love story. And it just became very important that we really nailed those moments,” Fischer confessed. When it became clear that the show was gaining popularity, fans of The Office began dissecting the relationship between Jim and Pam and becoming even more invested in their story.

Just the little things

“As the show got more successful over season 2, you could feel the ‘shippers,’ people who really got into that relationship, and they were online a lot talking about every little detail. You could feel how important it was to so many people,” Daniels shared. We’re so glad that Daniels had the foresight to put in the stipulation about Jim and Pam’s relationship. It helped fans of The Office to really appreciate the little things. Furthermore, when Jim and Pam’s relationship did get more screen time, it became even more of a treat for shippers.