I’ve been making my way through the American version of The Office the last week or so. I originally watched it (for the first time!) when it was available on Netflix a few years ago, and I think I made it through two or three seasons before stopping for whatever reason? Since the show moved to Peacock, I decided to start re-watching from the beginning. It’s so hilarious and fun. I need escapist sitcoms (meaning, an easy 22-minute watch) in my life. Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) is insane in the best, most hilarious way. The entire array of characters is perfectly cast, though, and all of them are interesting in their own way.
One of the main storylines from the get-go with The Office is the footsie sort of budding love between Jim Halpert (played by pre-beard studliness John Krasinski), a sales rep at the Scranton branch office of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, and Pam Beesly (played by Jenna Fischer), the receptionist. What makes the footsie budding love complicated is that Pam is already engaged (for three years and counting!) to Roy (played by David Denman), a warehouse worker for the company.
Both Jim and Pam play it off as if they are just friends and coworkers who get along well. But it’s clear that Jim definitely has a crush on her, and it’s clear that Pam likes him, but is trying to avoid those feelings since she’s engaged.
They’re constantly talking to each other, laughing with each other (they have many inside jokes), and conspiring together to prank Dwight (played hilariously by Rainn Wilson), Jim’s cubicle mate and fellow sales rep.
There’s even a moment in the first episode of Season Two, “The Dundies,” where Pam gets drunk and when she’s celebrating winning a Dundie, she kisses Jim. But it’s never talked about again! Later in the season, during “Booze Cruise,” when Michael takes the team on a “motivational cruise,” Jim is the drunk one telling Michael (of all people!) about his crush on Pam. The catalyst for that was that Roy (also drunk; it’s a booze cruise, after all) finally set a wedding date with Pam.
Later in the season in episode, “The Secret,” the whole office learns of Jim’s crush on Pam because Michael can’t keep a secret, but of course, Jim tries to play it off as if that was “way in the past” — three years ago when they first started working together — and when she learned she was engaged, those feelings ended. Pam seems rather delighted (and flattered) by learning of this news, but she’s not going to play into it, obviously.
All of this brings up the question: Why is Pam with Roy, of all people? They don’t seem compatible, at least from the outside looking in. Pam even relays to the other members of the office that her worst first date was a date with Roy! Where he left her at a game or something. But also, he’s just so brutish, openly sexist and talks about how hot and sexy other women are in front of Pam, and seems to not be that attentive to the details of Pam’s life, her interests and likes, in the way Jim is. And of course, there is the whole “three-year engagement” aspect.
While I don’t like judging relationships from afar, I think we, as viewers, are meant to wonder why Pam is with someone like Roy instead of someone like Jim, so that we pine for those two to get together. It works! I’m a sucker for these sitcom romances dangit! Especially when they are playing into the will-they-won’t-they aspect, whether it’s Ross and Rachel (Chandler and Monica, too!), Penny and Leonard, Zack and Kelly, Urkel and Laura, and while not a sitcom, another favorite, Lois and Clark (and Clark and Lana!), I’m here for all of them! What I can I say, I’m nothing if not a sap at heart.
And again, while I don’t like judging, it frustrates me to see how Roy treats Pam. But she has her reasons, for now. We shall see (okay, I know they eventually get together, but I’m trying not to spoil myself)!
Roy is a walking plot complication, an obstacle to the True Love between Pam and Jim. In this, I’ve always thought David Denman did some absolutely terrific work. I never had a problem accepting that someone as meek as Pam was presented (at least in the early seasons) could get trapped in a relationship with someone like Roy. We’ve witnessed this in real life, no?
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Very true. It’s pretty realistic!
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