‘The Office’: Rashida Jones Reveals Why Jim Was So Terrible to Karen and Pam in Season 3

When The Office Season 3 introduced the love triangle between Karen Filippelli (Rashida Jones), Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), fans were outraged. Everyone rooted for Pam and Jim to get together since the series debut in 2005. But just when viewers thought the couple’s unrequited love would turn into mutual love, Jim started dating Karen. Now, over a decade after the storyline unfolded, some Office fans have realized Karen may not have been the problem. Then recently, Jones opened up about the triangle between Jim, Pam, and Karen.

What happened to Jim Halpert, Pam Beesly, and Karen Filippelli in ‘The Office’ Season 3?

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As mentioned, The Office viewers wanted Jim and Pam to get together since the beginning of the series. Everyone could tell how much Jim cared for his co-worker. He even confessed and kissed Pam in the second season finale. But when Pam decided to stay with Roy Anderson (David Denman), Jim left Scranton for Stamford and met Karen.

In The Office Season 3, the Stamford and Scranton branches of Dunder Mifflin merged, which meant Jim and Pam would reunite. But by then, it was too late, as Jim started something with Karen. Even so, Jim didn’t tell Karen about his history with Pam. He also didn’t tell Pam he was dating Karen. Though both women figured it out eventually.

Jenna Fischer says she’s been siding with Karen Filippelli while re-watching ‘The Office’

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Of course, The Office fans know Jim and Pam ended up together. Meanwhile, Karen left the Scranton for Utica. That said, Karen got a lot of heat at the time for standing in the way of the couple’s happiness. Back in 2013, Jones even admitted she felt a lot of stress when she picked up the role.

“I had anxiety and insomnia for the three weeks before my season aired,” Jones told The Hollywood Reporter. “I was sure people would come and egg my house for getting in between Pam and Jim.”

Now, as Fischer and Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) recap the NBC drama for their Office Ladies podcast, both actors have been siding with Karen over “wishy-washy” Jim. Then when Jones stopped by to discuss “Benihana Christmas,” Fischer explained why.

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“I think what I’ve found in the re-watch is that I’m siding more with [Karen],” Fischer told Jones. “I’m having sympathy for her. Of course, I want Jim and Pam to end up together. But at the same time … I’m just like, ‘This poor woman! She just loves him and she knows nothing!’ So it’s making me very much side with your character, and I’m Pam.”

Meanwhile, Jones pointed out this has been a revelation among The Office fans in recent years.

Rashida Jones as Karen Filippelli and Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly on ‘The Office’ 2007
Rashida Jones as Karen Filippelli and Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly on ‘The Office’ | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

“There’s this meme for kids who grew up watching The Office that’s like, ‘That feeling when you realized that the only reason you hated Karen was that you wanted Pam and Jim to be together. And you realize that she did nothing wrong,’” Jones said. “That’s a thing now, which is kind of cool.”

She continued, “It’s providing this opportunity to see people in a more nuanced way for kids who grew up like, ‘That’s the enemy and that’s the people that I wanted to be together.’ Now they’re like, ‘Wait a second. She’s not that bad.’”

Rashida Jones explains the Pam Beesly, Jim Halpert, and Karen Filippelli love triangle on ‘The Office’

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While The Office fans may be realizing their former hatred of Karen was unwarranted, Jones noted her character’s love triangle with Jim and Pam was intentionally controversial. 

“Karen is designed to be the third point in the triangle, which was designed to be a thing to make people feel like they wanted Pam and Jim to be drawn closer together,” she said. “I was kind of a tool in that way.”

The actor also revealed how The Office writers created wishy-washy Jim in the third season.

“I remember the writers talking about it,” Jones said. “They didn’t want to push anything too far in each direction. But yes, I think that the end result is that Jim ends up being not great to me and not great to you. He’s not really being honest with anybody.”

But even so, Jones admitted Jim’s behavior toward Pam and Karen would be irritating.

“I guess you could chalk it up to his confusion about what he wants,” she said. “But I agree with you, it’s irritating. I think it would be super annoying.”

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