Fans of “The Office” who have been worried about the end of the fairy-tale romance for Jim and Pam got to exhale at the end of last week’s episode when the couple shared a wonderful kiss and simultaneous “I love yous.”
It was a signal that they can work out their troubles, says half of the on-screen couple, John Krasinski — but not necessarily the end of them.
“I remember [showrunner Greg Daniels] saying, very smartly, we have to give the audience something as far as trying to see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Krasinski said Wednesday (May 1) in a conference-call interview. “But I don’t think it necessarily answers all the questions as to how they’ll solve it. I think as always with Jim and Pam [Jenna Fischer], there’s a romantic hope that everything will be OK at the end of that episode. Now they have to be a little bit more brass tacks, if you will, as far as getting to understand how this will work.”
They do, obviously, still have to deal with Pam’s desire to stay in Scranton vs. Jim’s excitement over his new company in Philadelphia. But Daniels says he wanted to give PB&J fans — who have worried about the couple’s future as the series heads toward its May 16 finale — a reason to be hopeful.
“We’re going to end up with [200-plus] episodes, and … my hope is people will treat the last several episodes as the finale and not force us to do everything in the last episode,” Daniels says. “We didn’t want there to be such anxiety over Jim and Pam that you could think of nothing else during the last episode.”
The idea for the strain on Pam and Jim’s relationship came from Krasinski, who had seen his brother go through a similar (albeit less dramatic) situation involving lots of work-related travel that left him with little time to spend with his family.
“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,” Krasinski says. “I said to Greg it would be really interesting to see how that split would affect two people you know so well. I think the exciting thing was to know the audience would sort of take a guess at what Jim would do and what Pam would do.
“To run the numbers on this relationship was really, really interesting to me, rather than introducing an affair or something like that, which I think, in huge credit to Greg and the writers, they’ve never gone the easy route. They’ve always gone the very realistic route.”
“I was very attracted to the idea of doing something that would matter, and where people would feel very involved,” Daniels adds. “I think there are a number of moments this year where you really become involved in what’s happening. And in order to get that feeling of involvement, you need some ups and downs.”
“The Office” airs a one-hour episode at 8:30 p.m. ET Thursday (May 2) on NBC.