Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski have been acting with each other for so long, and the writers have been writing for Jim and Pam for so long, that they have an ease with each other, a long-running chemistry that is that of a real couple: Watching it fray, even quietly, is intense.Last night, without raising their voices and without talking of Brian, Jim and Pam got to the painful heart of the problem. “I liked our life in Scranton.” “And I have started a business in Philadelphia,” he replies.It's OK to admit that The Office's Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly give unrealistic relationship goals that, even years after the show's finale, you still can't capture. Listen, I've watched The Office through about five or six times, so I've scrutinized their romance back and forth.In fact, there's a reason behind it: It was all genuine. And while there's a rockiness evidence in later seasons (seasons that we kind of breeze through with nominal attention) it's clear that you can get a lot of relationship tips from Jim and Pam.I don’t believe that when the series is done, Jim and Pam won't be together.But, for now, they are in trouble, and the show is methodically, un-histrionically exploring the painful disintegration of their soul mate relationship. That's always been the description of "The Office" at its best, something the show hasn’t been in a long, long time — maybe since Jim and Pam got together in the first place.
An essay in the Awl a few years ago described “The Office” as the "most depressing show on television" because of Jim, a man audiences think of as the funny, competent, prank-playing, romantic hero of the show, but who is actually “a mediocre man who has already realized his full potential,” content to wile away his life at a dysfunctional paper company.
This season, Jim finally realized that he can do more, that he wants to do more, and he did what he should have done a long time ago: He got a new job. That Jim is going after a better, more creatively satisfying career is a cause for celebration, but he’s handled it poorly with Pam from the start.
Pam worked out her own “I want to leave Scranton and have a bigger life” issues a few seasons ago when she went to Pratt, and she really is content with Jim and their two kids and Dunder-Mifflin.
In the next episode he knocked a guy out on her behalf, and promptly got fired.
Brian has been filming Pam for years and years and they’ve gotten close.