What if Scranton’s greatest love story fell apart?
The new book “Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office” reveals that there was almost an irredeemable rift between leading lovebirds Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer).
It was originally scripted that Jim was going to “make out” with Pam’s replacement Cathy Simms (Lindsey Broad) in the Season Eight episode “After Hours,” when the two found themselves together in a Florida hotel room while Pam was home on maternity leave.
But the big tuna let out a resounding “No” that could be heard all the way in Dunder Mifflin’s Nashua branch.
Krasinski revealed his opposition to the potential plotline — one he said would have completely altered the show’s legacy — in the oral history, which was compiled by Brian Baumgartner (who played Kevin Malone).
“That’s the only time I remember putting my foot down … I remember saying things that I never thought I’d say before, like, ‘I’m not going to shoot it,’” Krasinski said, adding he took his issues straight to creator Greg Daniels.
“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.”
Daniels was ultimately convinced to ditch the cheating storyline, but he defended his choice to have Jim and Pam at odds with each other towards the end of the series.
“I feel like that kind of worry was good in terms of the fans’ engagement. I think they knew what was coming,” Daniels said about plot devices like bringing in Brian the boom guy (Chris Diamantopoulos) to comfort Pam during fights with Jim in the ninth and final season.
“They were very comfortable with the show they were getting, and I needed to worry them that maybe I was going to give them a bad ending so they were happy when they got a good ending.”
And even though the audience fell head over heels for a good sequence featuring PB and J, the same couldn’t be said for the cast.
“Nothing brought production to a screeching halt like a big Jim-Pam scene,” Baumgartner testified in the book.
“I would be like ‘Please get me out of here before they film this or it’s going to be seven hours.’”
The on-screen couple has taken accountability for making the “The Office” crew work so much overtime to perfect their roles.
“It’s true… John and I would fight hard for what we believed and we were usually on the same page,” Fischer said about the dedication it took bringing the romance to life.
“We had a singular mind when it came to Jim and Pam.”
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