[WARNING: SPOILERS if you haven’t completed The Office]
Throughout The Office television series, viewers are introduced to numerous characters, each with their own individual storylines and developmental tracts. Perhaps no characters are more important to the show than Jim, the humorous and slacking salesman, and Pam, the ambitious and kindhearted receptionist. Over time, the two characters go from work friends to husband and wife.
This creates an interesting span of events for the relationship to go through over the nine seasons. Throughout the beginning of the show, Jim’s love for Pam is nothing short of unconditional. Pam, despite hiding her feelings while engaged to another man, later admits that she too loves Jim. This creates a fairy-tale type love sequence that fans of the show loved to watch and longed for in their own lives.
But as the show made a few changes in the late seasons, namely the loss of main character and manager Michael Scott, the writers were lacking ideas and had to change things up a bit.
Jim, who has been portrayed as the ideal husband, was changed to add more tension. His slacker characteristics were exploited into pure dishonesty.
Jim’s most lovable attributes were suddenly toxic. He became very secretive. The biggest cause of this is how he goes from being the perfect team with Pam to being perpetually dishonest; for example, when one of Jim’s old colleagues decides to create a startup with the idea that Jim was influential in coming up with. Jim initially declines to be involved, but a few episodes later, he stays late after work and calls his friend to ask if he can still join. He joins, which leads to a few problems because the job is in Philadelphia, while he and Pam and their two children still live in Scranton, which is a few hours away. He also cannot quit his current job, which leads to him hiding the job from Pam.
He doesn’t tell Pam until after telling everyone else, which is just not a good move by anyone, and certainly not expected by someone like Jim. He then talks with Pam, and they together decide to invest in this startup. But once again Jim goes by his own individual judgment and puts in twice the agreed investment amount. Pam is noticeably upset at Jim, but he does nothing to apologize.
Jim acts selfishly throughout the entire season 9, and it takes nothing short of Pam being the perfect wife to save the marriage. At first glance, it may seem that this is an extreme character change, but Jim does actually show a flash of this behavior in an earlier season, as he goes behind her back to purchase a house.
His parents decide to sell their home and Jim makes an offer to purchase it from them. He doesn’t tell Pam until after buying the home and taking a mortgage. This does not appear to lead to much more stress until season 9, which is 3 seasons later.
The couple does end up going to counseling sessions in the end and ends the show being happier than ever.
But it almost ended very badly.
According to a new book by Office writer Andy Greene, the writers had planned for the couple to divorce in the final season. John Krasinski, who plays Jim, and showrunner Greg Daniels were both on board with it. Krasinski explained:
“My whole pitch to Greg was that we’ve done so much with Jim and Pam, and now, after marriage and kids, there was a bit of a lull there, I think, for them about what they wanted to do. For me it was, ‘Can you have this perfect relationship go through a split and keep it the same?’ which of course you can’t.”
The writers began to move towards this outcome, but superfans caught on and wrote in their complaints, and the idea was scrapped. The couple remained happy throughout the conclusion of the series.
It’s interesting to watch the Jim-Pam storyline play out through nine seasons. As with any love story, there are plenty of ups and downs, and Jim and Pam, despite being considered the perfect couple by so many fans and viewers, are just like anyone else in the end.