Saturday, September 02, 2006

Secret of the "Pam & Jim" mystique

I'm blogging from the road so this will be a quick post. This week I was thinking about Jim & Pam's cliffhanger on The Office. We'll get to see the resultion on September 21st.

A few things came to mind:

First, I think I've figured out part of the attraction of Jim & Pam, and why we are so attached to their story. In real life, few of us will get to be part of a "Pam & Jim" couple. Perfect for each other, working together, yet stuck in our previous commitments and unable to break out. Even when we find our future spouses, it rarely plays out with the drama and longing of their situation. Pam & Jim are a romantic ideal, and I can't wait to see how the writers advance the story.

On the other hand, the story is so relatable because many of us have been part of a "Pam & Roy" couple. Pam and Roy are the epitome of immature first love. I read that the characters met in high school, and their families are friends and hang out on the weekend. Roy is an insenstive dolt, but Pam's whole life and identity are tied up in this relationship. To leave Roy for Jim requires the courage to break out on her own--something she doesn't have yet.

My first love was my college boyfriend, and while we were clearly not meant to be, it was so hard to break up. I left him. Even though I was quite happy with that decisoin, I felt incredibly guilty about it for months, and he fanned those flames. We'd get together for dinner once in a while and I'd always end up crying. It was emotional enmeshment at its worst. But when you are young, romantic, and clueless, that's the way it goes.

So what will happen on The Office? Thinking as a writer, this is what I predict: The show takes place in real time, so the show will pick up after the summer of Pam's planned wedding. I think that Pam will have confessed to Roy that she kissed Jim, and the wedding will be postponed, but Pam & Roy will not have totally broken up. Roy will be angry. Maybe he'll try to strengthen his hold on Pam now that it's threatened. They will be in hellish relationship limbo, while Pam feels to guilty to break it off for good. Poor Jim will have to wait a while longer, with awkward moments galore in the meantime while Pam makes up her mind. It shouldn't be easy. It wouldn't be in real life.

But in the end, they'd better get together!

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