‘The Office’: Rashida Jones Says Playing Karen Gave Her ‘Anxiety and Insomnia’

Many fans of The Office say that their favorite part of the sitcom is the epic love story of Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer). The relationship between the two was a focus of the show for all nine seasons and helped to balance the show against the wacky comedy of characters like Michael Scott (Steve Carell). When the world’s best boss Michael left the show at the end of season seven, Jim and Pam’s romance took an even more central role. The two had their share of ups and downs during the show, including long periods when they were not together or were dating other people. One of the people that Jim dated before ending up with Pam was Karen Filippelli played by Rashida Jones

Rashida Jones smiling in front of a blue and white background
Rashida Jones | David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

What is ‘The Office’ about?

The Office follows the lives of the employees of a seemingly normal and boring paper company, and the wacky antics they encounter in their daily lives. The Emmy winning program is known for its hilarious yet relatable style, as well as its many romances. Besides Jim and Pam, fans enjoyed the love stories of Michael and Holly Flax (Amy Ryan), Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) and Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey). More than any other, however, the romance of Jim and Pam is the series-defining relationship of the entire show. Their love was so undeniable, it was the main reason for the breakup of Jim and Karen. 

Who is Rashida Jones and her character Karen Filippelli? 

Born to the legendary parents of actress Peggy Lipton and music producer Quincy Jones, Jones was destined for stardom from birth. Jones has had a successful career as a comedic actor, which includes her time as Karen on The Office. Jones is also known for her role as Ann Perkins on the fellow NBC show Parks and Recreationwhich shared the one camera mockumentary style of The Office. During her time on The Office, Jones played Karen who was introduced to fans as a paper saleswoman in the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin. There, she and Jim became closer and eventually became a couple.

The role of Karen was a breakthrough for Jones, who has later become a major comedic star. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Jones was worried that she would be fired from her job on the show, because of the hilarity of Carell. During her first scenes interacting with Carell’s character of Michael, Jones was unable to keep a straight face and laughed throughout most of the takes. As a young actress, Jones was sure that this behavior would result in her firing. This was not the only cause of stress for Jones during her time on The Office, as she also worried that fans of the show would hate her character. 

Why Jones was worried that fans would hate Karen


‘The Office’: Why Rashida Jones Was Afraid of Getting Fired on Her First Day Working With Steve Carell

During her time on the show, Jones was worried sick that fans of The Office would hate her because she was standing in the way of Jim and Pam being together. In the Hollywood Reporter piece, she commented that she thought fans would “egg her house” for getting in between the two’s destined love. Jones was so worried that she so nervous that she “had anxiety and insomnia for the three weeks before my season aired.”

While most fans were satisfied with Jim and Pam realizing their love, some fans believe that Karen was a better match for Jim. Still, it all worked out for the best as Jim and Pam were able to realize their love, and Karen got her own happy ending. In the episode Lecture Circuit Part 1, Pam visits the Utica branch where Karen is the manager. Karen says that she has no hard feelings toward Pam and that she is pregnant and happily engaged to a sweet and nerdy dentist named Dan.