Thought Catalog

Why Is ‘The Office’ Screwing With Jim and Pam?

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The Office
The Office

Pam and Jim have long been the heart of ‘The Office.’ The very first season centered around Jim’s crush on Pam and they’ve steadily been the stronghold couple. Their love inspired many people and was generally a great, big, unbreakable OTP that no one ever expected to break up, or even have dire problems.

If you’re still watching ‘The Office,’ you know they introduced the boom guy, Brian and sort of, the rest of the documentary crew. It’s a fun idea because it’s been nine years and those silent observers have been watching these weirdos and wackos live their lives. (Though there were a few times where they, morally, should have intervened but didn’t and now I’m like, why?) Then, they revealed that Brian and Pam had become close, and there seemed to be a special bond between them. Brian was there for Pam emotionally in a way Jim hadn’t been since he moved to Philly and took a new job. He was there when Pam needed a shoulder to cry on and he got fired for intervening on her behalf.

Pam and Jim’s relationship has really started to crumble. He’s been callous and self-centered, she’s been demanding and selfish. He almost went back to Philly on Valentine’s Day after they’d been sniping at each other all day, but eventually he stayed and they fought it out (which seemed to be a good thing.) But then last week, Pam revealed she didn’t want to leave Scranton — which seems about right. They’re both scared of success. But it threw a wedge in Jim’s plan to move her and the kids to Philly.

It’s the last season of the show, which has been on its last legs for a while now, and they needed a way to spice things up, I guess. But did anyone want to see Pam and Jim struggle? It’s a sign the show’s gone on too long that they’re trying to stretch what should have been a happy ending. I mean, I know it’s probably inevitable in marriages (I’ve never been married so I don’t know) but Pam and Jim are both just acting so out of character. ‘The Office’ truthfully, while one of the funniest shows, has never been great with character consistency. People tend to act however fits the script or however the writers need them to act so that the next funny thing happens. Pam, especially, has never had a very strong personality that stuck around — they kept changing her to make her fit Jim’s fantasy and then changing her to make her work for the high-jinks of the show.

Pam IS prone to emotional cheating. She did it with Jim behind Roy’s back and they do say that “whatever they do with you, they’ll do to you.” But she kind of only does it when her dude is being a total asswipe. And Jim’s loved Pam since pretty much the moment he saw her. They made us believe that he was constantly in awe of her and felt super lucky to have her. And now all of a sudden, because he has a new job and moved to Philly, he’s a total dickwad to her when she doesn’t deserve it? That’s the only reason she’s seeking emotional attention elsewhere — because Jim, who we are supposed to believe is a nice guy, just up and ditched her with their two kids. Very contrived.

Plus, Jim is being really immature. He’s loving living in a bachelor pad, but he doesn’t seem to remember that that’s not his real life. It’s just a “single guy” fantasy. His real life is in Scranton. Pam, too, isn’t thinking clearly. Is she really going to cheat on Jim with the random sound guy? Really?! Does she really not want more for herself outside of Scranton?

Maybe they’re just both growing resentful because neither of them got a chance to do what they wanted in life. Pam wanted to be an artist but she’s ridiculed by the warehouse guys and has never really done anything successful with her work. Jim is just now realizing his goals but for a while he was kind of unambitious deadbeat.

So much has changed about the show since it was in its prime, it just seems like messing with Jim and Pam is ruining the only good thing left. ‘The Office’ is supposed to be a comedy, though it does have its dramatic moments. In the end, I want to enjoy these characters and laugh — not hate them and feel super depressed. (PS: What have they done to you, Ed Helms?)

My main complaint is not that a married couple is fighting, but that neither Pam nor Jim seem like themselves. They’re both acting so out of character and it reeks of a ploy to keep the show interesting in the final season, rather than a natural progression for their relationship. In those fleeting moments where they’re joking with each other and being sweet and self-aware (Jim calling himself a “douche”), they seem way more like the Jim and Pam we’ve come to love and less like a purposeful trainwreck to gain viewer eyeballs. TC Mark

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