It’s been a whole fifteen years since The Office first graced our TV screens. The iconic show popularized a certain sense of humor and a specific storytelling style, influencing shows such as Parks and Recreation, Modern Family, and countless others. It also gave us one of TV’s most beloved couples, Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley. However, according to wrier Andy Greene’s new book, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, this couple nearly split in later seasons! Here’s how that happened– and who prevented it.
John Krasinski, who played Jim Halpert, was actually the one who came up with the idea, along with showrunner Greg Daniels! “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,” he explained. “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 idea was to have another love triangle and force Pam to choose between two men (again…remember Roy?) The idea was for Pam and Jim to be going through some issues (which they did in the actual show), and have boom operator Brian comfort Pam until it developed into an emotional attachment of sorts. While this would have been pretty meta, and a clever way to introduce a third person into the relationship, it would have been absolutely heartbreaking for everyone.
Mindy Kaling, who played Kelly Kapoor and was also on the writing staff, was one of the first to pitch Brian as the other man. Fellow writer Warren Liberstein explained her idea like this: “The idea was to introduce some romantic triangle with Jim when they were such soul mates that you had to say, ‘How could she possibly be interested in somebody else?’ You think to yourself, ‘Well, I wouldn’t believe it if I just was introduced to the character.’…What if that character had been secretly there the entire time and predated the relationship with Jim and had been a shoulder that she cried on for years?”
Although the writers of The Office wanted Jim and Pam back together eventually, they still very much planned on them divorcing, and went right ahead with it. However, superfans of the show began to catch on pretty quickly– and they did not like what they were seeing. After fans expressed their distaste for Brian saving Pam from an attack in the episode “Vandalism,” explained writer Owen Ellickson, “Greg [Daniels] absolutely turned on a dime after that and we pivoted away, I think pretty skillfully given how quickly we had to do that. It involved decently sized edits to the next two episodes, if I recall.”
I think we can all agree that they ended up doing the right thing.