‘The Office’: Why ‘The Convention’ Episode Was ‘Calculated’ to Keep Fans Wondering About Jim and Pam
In season 3 of The Office, Jim Halpert headed off to another branch of Dunder Mifflin after professing his love for Pam and sharing a kiss with her — and ultimately getting rejected. The distance with Jim in the Stamford office and Pam back in Scranton meant that fans wouldn’t see them share any screen time for a bit. In the May 27 episode of the Office Ladies podcast, the reason behind the episode titled “The Convention” is revealed — and it has everything to do with connecting Jim with Scranton.
In The Office Season 3 Episode 2, characters from the Scranton and Stamford office meet up at an office supply convention in Philadelphia. Dwight and Michael travel from Dunder Mifflin in Scranton and Jim and Josh Porter come from Stamford. Jan comes to the convention from corporate.
Michael is still angry at Jim for leaving Scranton and is bothered by Josh and Jim’s inside jokes and camaraderie. Meanwhile, the story follows Pam in Scranton, who is now single, and is set up on a date by Kelly.
Michael attempts to throw a party in his hotel room but it’s a flop, but Jim comes to Michael’s room and reveals the reason he left Scranton was because of Pam rejecting him and not because of Michael.
The episode was a way to bring Jim together with his former co-workers
While the episode didn’t move the Jim and Pam storyline ahead, it did provide an opportunity for Jim to come together with his former co-workers in a way that didn’t feel forced.
During the Office Ladies podcast, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey discussed the episode and Fischer revealed that the whole concept of the convention storyline was to connect Jim with his Scranton co-workers without having any interaction with Pam.
Fischer shared that the episode concept was purposeful. “So they’re all reunited now at the convention and this was calculated. They knew that they needed to keep Jim and Pam apart by sending Jim to Stamford but they did not want to keep Jim from interacting with Dwight and Michael.”
She added, “So that was kind of the reason for this whole episode was to get Jim back in the world with these other characters but still separate him from Pam, who is back at the office dealing with her own stuff.”
The episode featured many extras at the convention
Since the episode centered around a convention for the most part, the show had to create a realistic conference scene, so they put out a request for extras to act as attendees and company representatives at booths.
During Office Ladies, Fischer shared a behind-the-scenes fun fact: the episode was shot at the Burbank Hilton Hotel in a convention room and the production staff filled out the event by contacting real businesses to see if anyone would participate.
Those interested were told to bring their own convention materials for the booth and set up the booth themselves, as well as provide their own staff and wardrobe. They were also told that they were not guaranteed screen time. The Office was so popular that they easily got the extras they needed to recreate the feel of an actual convention.
“There were 176 total extras/background performers and 140 of them were actual employees of actual companies,” Fischer shared.