For years, Jim Halpert and Pam Halpert (née Beesly) from The Office have served as relationship goals for viewers all over the world. But as it turns out, the show had originally planned to split up the lovebirds in season 9.
In the book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, author Andy Greene reveals that the show's creator Greg Daniels envisioned a much different path for Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer), who were married with two kids at the end of the series.
The Office follows the employees of the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company as they are filmed for a docuseries. After flirting nearly every episode, Jim and Pam finally confirmed their relationship in season 4 and tied the knot in season 6 – after Pam found out she was pregnant. Pam got pregnant again in season 8 after the writers decided to write in Fischer's real-life pregnancy.
"Greg really wanted to do something extremely risky and high-stakes, which was the documentary airs and we see what effect it has had on these characters. And there was going to be a reunion episode where you see that Jim and Pam have split up by this time, and they will have their reunion in the reunion episode," writer Brent Forrester says of the twist in the book, Collider and Vulture reported.
The writers even wanted to introduce a relationship triangle with Pam and the docuseries' cameraman, Brian.
Brian was first seen during season 9 as Pam and Jim's relationship grew strained after he took a job in Philadelphia. The two had a tense phone call, and Brian was there to comfort Pam afterward.
Writer Owen Ellickson says in the book that there were talks of Pam and Brian possibly "hooking up a little bit," Collider reported.
"Ultimately, I don't think it was about actually going there. They never did anything. It was just to introduce worry in the audience," Ellickson says in the book.
Nonetheless, the writers didn't go forward with Brian and Pam or her split with Jim, as Krasinski says it would be too "painful" for fans.
"We had to pull the ripcord on it because it was so painful to the fans of the show. John Krasinski said to me, 'Brent, this final season is for the ultra fans of the show. They're the only ones really still left watching, right? This is for them. Jim and Pam splitting up is too painful for them to sustain all the way to the reunion. We have to get them back together immediately.' I was like, 'Wow, we can't allow this beautiful couple to really be like on the verge of divorce. It's too awful for them,' " Forrester says in the book, the Collider reported.
The Office ran on NBC for nine seasons, wrapping in 2013. Over that eight-year period, fans became acquainted with Steve Carell as the bumbling, usually well-meaning-yet-clueless Michael Scott; as well as more relative newcomers like Krasinski, Fischer, Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute), B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard) and Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor). Rounding out the crew of Dunder Mifflin misfits: Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin), Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone), Phyllis Smith (Phyllis Lapin Vance), Craig Robinson (Darryl Philbin), Oscar Nunez (Oscar Martinez), Kate Flannery (Meredith Palmer), Leslie David Baker (Stanley Hudson), David Denman (Roy Anderson), Paul Lieberstein (Toby Flenderson), Creed Bratton (Creed Bratton) and Melora Hardin (Jan Levinson).
Krasinski, 40, and Fischer, 46, opened up about their on-camera relationship, saying in the book that they hit it off immediately.
“Over the course of two days, I was asked to read with John Krasinski a lot, which I thought was a good sign since he was definitely the best Jim,” Fischer says in the book.
“The moment I sat down with [Jenna] I thought, ‘This girl is going to get it,’ ” says Krasinski. “When we were walking out, I was like, ‘You are going to get it. I know it.’ ”
“It was exactly as sweet and cute and supportive as anything Jim would say to Pam,” she adds. “I smiled really big and said, ‘I’m so glad you said that because you’re my favorite Jim and I don’t think anyone could do it except for you.’ It gave me a big confidence boost to know we were rooting for each other.”