Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly’s love story almost took a major hit on The Office.
A new book titled Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office reveals that series creator Greg Daniels had a bold storyline in mind for the show’s strongest couple. The book, which was published Tuesday, was written by Office alum Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin, and former executive producer Ben Silverman.
Fans may remember how Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam’s (Jenna Fischer) marriage was put to the test in a season 8 episode titled “After Hours,” which was directed by Baumgartner. During a business trip to Florida, Dunder Mifflin’s temporary receptionist Cathy (Lindsey Broad) was unsuccessful in her attempt to seduce Jim.
“Greg said, ‘We need to come up with a good Pam-Jim story line.’ And I said, ‘I think we should get borderline separated, and I think we can do it and then come back,'” Krasinski, 42, says in the book. “He was so on board with that.”
But Daniels wanted to take the narrative much further.
“That’s the only time I remember putting my foot down. ‘Cause [Greg] was saying, ‘You’re going to actually make out with her in this scene.’ I remember saying things that I never thought I’d say before, like, ‘I’m not going to shoot it,'” recalls Krasinski. “I remember [co-showrunner] Paul Lieberstein was in the room, who I think was very much into it. He was like, ‘No, you’ll do it.’ Not in an aggressive way, but it was like, he saw the benefit of doing it.”
For Krasinski, it was important to scrap the affair storyline for the sake of the show’s dedicated fanbase: “I remember saying to Greg, ‘My feeling is there is a threshold with which you can push our audience. They are so dedicated. We have shown such great respect to them. But there’s a moment where if you push them too far, they’ll never come back. And I think that if you show Jim cheating, they’ll never come back.'”
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Jim and Pam had a will-they, won’t-they romance until they officially got together in season 4. They tied the knot in season 6 and welcomed two children together.
Their relationship did face hurdles in the final season of The Office. The couple got into a major fight over the phone, leading Pam to break down in tears once the call ended. Brian Wittle — a cameraman working on the Dunder Mifflin documentary — abruptly stopped filming to go comfort Pam.
In Welcome to Dunder Mifflin, Krasinski reveals he was the one to suggest Brian’s crush on Pam.
“I had this idea that I pitched Greg, and it came from [Office camera operator] Chris Workman. He had put down the camera and left it running. And I was like, ‘Let me see the footage.’ We went over the footage and it was just feet, and you could hear people talking,” he says. “I said to Greg, ‘Dude, you should do that. Have someone in the camera crew put their camera down, not knowing that they’re catching a moment, and they left to go to lunch or something.’ And then it ended up in the episode with the boom guy.”
Welcome to Dunder Mifflin offers an in-depth look at the history of the acclaimed sitcom, featuring interviews with various cast and crew members. The book is out now.