The Office fans can finally relax — Jim was never going to cheat on Pam.
Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who played Pam and Angela on the hit sitcom, respectively, addressed the years-long rumor that the show initially had plans for a Jim and Pam infidelity plot during the Tuesday, September 27, episode of their “Office Ladies” podcast.
“People wrote in and said, ‘There’s a story going around on the internet saying that the writers originally intended for Jim to have an affair with Cathy [Lindsey Broad], but that John Krasinski was so heavily against the idea that he convinced the writing staff to change their minds about the story line,” Fischer, 49, explained to her cohost. “We can clear this up right now. Jim was never going to have an affair with, or hook up with, Cathy. However, there were things about the proposed story line that did bump me and John [the wrong way].”
Fischer explained that she and Krasinski particularly took issue with Cathy having an “out of the blue” phone call during season 8 episode “Special Project” that teased her plans to go after Jim when they traveled to Tallahassee, Florida. Fischer called it a “total record scratch for me and John,” noting that the pair immediately went to showrunner Paul Liberstein for answers.
“We were like, ‘What? Where is this going?’ We said, ‘There is no way that Jim can hook up with Cathy.’ And he said, ‘That’s not part of our plan, we promise you. That’s part of her plan, that’s Cathy’s plan. Jim is not in that plan.’”
While Cathy does, in fact, invite herself into Jim’s hotel room in Florida to try and make a move on him in season 8’s “After Hours,” she’s unsuccessful as Jim tries everything in his power to get her to leave. And although Jim was never supposed to reciprocate Cathy’s feelings, Fischer revealed that he was originally supposed to convince the audience of the possibility.
“In the very first drafts [of the “After Hours” episode], there was a lot more kind of teasing. Like, will he? Is he being charmed by her? Is he flirting with her or is he just being a nice guy?” she said. “In the version [that aired] he’s so clearly uncomfortable and everything is a giant ‘no’ every time she does something, but in the original script there was little bit more repartee.”
Fischer added that both she and Krasinski were “really bumped” with the concept of Jim entertaining Cathy at all and felt that “even walking that line was a betrayal” to the couple. “We did not want that for Jim and Pam’s relationship,” she told Kinsey.
The critically acclaimed sitcom, which premiered on NBC in 2005, starred Steve Carell (Michael Scott), as the manager of Dunder Mifflin, a small paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Kinsey, along with Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute), Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor), B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard), Brian Baumgartner (Kevin Malone), Ed Helms (Andy Bernard) and Kate Flannery (Meredith Palmer) rounded out the zanier cast of characters, while Krasinski and Fischer’s Jim and Pam served as the main ship and moral center of the show.
The couple worked to ground the series in juxtaposition of an otherwise off-the-wall office and the twosome’s early stage will-they-won’t-they dynamic made them instant fan favorites. After tying the knot in season 6, the pair had a steady marriage until the characters of Cathy and Brian (Chris Diamontopoulos) were introduced in seasons 8 and 9, respectively, to shake things up.
While the show received backlash for the introduction of Cathy — and later Brian — Fischer shared on Tuesday’s podcast episode that Cathy, in particular, was meant to be a “provocateur” for Jim and Pam, but it was “never pitched with the intention that Jim would have any romantic feelings.”
“It was always kind of understood by the writers that that was off limits,” she added.