‘The Office’: This Heartbreaking Jim and Pam Scene Was John Krasinski’s Idea
The last season of The Office introduced something unexpected: a look at the documentary crew who had been filming the employees of Dunder Mifflin all those years. It also brought an element of drama in Jim and Pam’s relationship — and the idea came from Jim himself, John Krasinski.
John Krasinski thought it was time to end ‘The Office’
Greg Daniels returned to The Office as the showrunner for season 9, in part because Krasinski “motivated” him. Krasinski also thought it was time for the show to end.
During the Sept. 1 episode of An Oral History of The Office podcast, Daniels recalled, “I think John actually motivated that [return as showrunner] partly. Krasinski came to me and said, ‘Look, I think we need to do our last season and not continue to keep going. I want you to do it.’”
“He was the leader,” Daniels added.
Krasinski shared his side of the discussion.
“I had a very honest conversation with Greg,” Krasinski explained. “He called me about season 9 and said, ‘What do you think?’ and I said, ‘You have to end the show.’”
“I don’t want to negotiate — because none of us had contracts — this isn’t about a negotiation,” Krasinski continued. “You have to end the show before they end it for us. I remember that feeling of like, ‘We don’t want to be taken out back.’”
Jim and Pam got in a big fight and fans finally saw the documentary crew
During season 9, there was more tension between Jim and Pam, as Jim pursued a dream job part time in Philadelphia and Pam was left feeling like she was taking care of the kids all by herself. Things reached a head when the couple got into a fight over the phone after Pam failed to record their daughter’s dance recital.
She broke down in tears after the call and then spoke to the boom microphone operator from the documentary crew, who comforted her and told the camera crew to stop filming.
It was the first time viewers saw the film crew, and the idea of breaking the fourth wall in that way came from something Krasinski pitched.
Daniels explained that “to get a good ending” for Jim and Pam’s story, “you needed to inject a bit of upset in the tranquility … and try and get the intensity back.”
To achieve that intensity, podcast host Brian Baumgartner (who played Kevin on The Office) explained, “They put Jim and Pam’s relationship to the test.”
John Krasinski explains his idea
An accident inspired the idea to show the film crew after Jim and Pam’s fight. When one of the camera people on The Office “put down the camera and left it running,” Krasinski said he found the footage it captured interesting. “I said to Greg, ‘Dude you should do that, you should have the camera crew put their camera down, not knowing that they’re catching a moment,” Krasinski said on the podcast.
“It ended up in the episode with the boom guy,” he added.
Baumgartner explained: “In this moment, we realized that Brian the boom guy, played by Chris Diamantopoulos, had been there all along, watching everything unfold, and it was instantly clear that in those 10 years, he had developed a crush on Pam.”
Daniels added that not all fans liked Brian the boom guy.
“My guess is that was maybe a misfire,” Daniels explained. “But you can’t have a happy ending without an act two break, and I feel like that kind of worry was good in terms of the fans’ engagement. Like, I needed to worry them that maybe I was going to give them a bad ending, so that they were happy when they got a good ending.”