Pam Beesly

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Pam Beesly Halpert
The Office character
Pam Beesley.jpg
Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly Halpert
First appearance"Pilot" (2005)
Last appearance"Finale" (2013)
Created by
Based onDawn Tinsley (British counterpart)
Portrayed byJenna Fischer
In-universe information
Full namePamela Morgan Beesly[nb 1]
GenderFemale
Occupation
  • Receptionist, Dunder Mifflin, Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Secret Assistant to the Regional Manager, Dunder Mifflin, Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Temporary Worker, Dunder Mifflin Corporate, New York City, New York
  • Sales Representative, Michael Scott Paper Company
  • Sales Representative, Dunder Mifflin Sabre, Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Office Administrator, Dunder Mifflin Sabre, Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Office Administrator, Dunder Mifflin, Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Freelance Mural Painter/Art Gallery Owner, Austin, Texas
FamilyWilliam Beesly (father)
Helene Beesly (mother)
Penny Beesly (sister)
Sylvia Beesly (grandmother)
Jocelyn Webster (cousin)
Betsy Halpert (mother-in-law)
Gerald Halpert (father-in-law)
Tom Halpert (brother-in-law)
Pete Halpert (brother-in-law)
Spouse
(m. 2009)
Significant otherRoy Anderson (ex-fiancé)
ChildrenCecelia Marie Halpert[4]
Philip Halpert[4]
ReligionPresbyterian
NationalityAmerican

Pamela Morgan Halpert[nb 1] (née Beesly) is a fictional character on the U.S. television sitcom The Office, played by Jenna Fischer. Her counterpart in the original UK series of The Office is Dawn Tinsley. Her character is initially the receptionist at the paper distribution company Dunder Mifflin, before becoming a saleswoman and eventually office administrator until she left in the series finale. Her character is shy, growing assertive but amiable and artistically inclined throughout the series. She shares a romantic interest with Jim Halpert, whom she begins dating in the fourth season, marries and starts a family with.

Casting and character development[edit]

Pam's character was originally created to be very similar to her British counterpart, Dawn Tinsley. Even minute details, such as how Pam wore her hair each day, were considered by executive producer, Greg Daniels.[5] "When I went in for The Office, the casting director said to me, 'Please look normal'," recalls Jenna Fischer. "Don't make yourself all pretty, and dare to bore me with your audition. Those were her words. Dare to bore me."[6]

Taking heed of the advice, Fischer said little during the auditions, during which she was interviewed in character by show producers, in an improvisational format, to imitate the show's documentary premise. "My take on the character of Pam was that she didn't have any media training, so she didn't know how to be a good interview. And also, she didn't care about this interview," she told NPR. "So, I gave very short one-word answers and I tried very hard not to be funny or clever, because I thought that the comedy would come out of just, you know, the real human reactions to the situation... and they liked that take on it."[6]

"When I went into the audition, the first question that they asked me in the character of Pam—they said, 'Do you like working as a receptionist?' I said, 'No.' And that was it. I didn't speak any more than that. And they started laughing."[6]

Fischer found herself creating a very elaborate backstory for the character. For the first few seasons, she kept a list of the character history revealed on-screen by the creators, as well as her own imaginative thoughts on Pam's history.[7] She created a rule with the set's hair and make-up department that it could not look as though it took Pam more than 30 minutes to do her hair,[8] and she formulated ideas as to who gave Pam each piece of jewelry she wore[9] or where she went to college.[9] Fischer also carefully crafted Pam's quiet persona. "Well, my character of Pam is really stuck," she explained to NPR. "I mean, she's a subordinate in this office. And so, I think that for her, the only way she can express herself is in the silences, but you can say so much by not saying anything."[6]

Originally meek and passive, the character grew more assertive as the seasons passed, prompting Fischer to reassess her portrayal. "I have to approach Pam differently [now]," she explained in Season 4, a defining season in which her character finally begins a long-awaited relationship with Jim and is accepted into the Pratt Institute. "She is in a loving relationship, she has found her voice, she has started taking art classes. All of these things must inform the character and we need to see changes in the way she moves, speaks, dresses, etc."[7]

Pam Halpert has appeared in almost every episode with the exceptions of "Business Ethics", "St. Patrick's Day", and "New Leads" in which only her voice is heard, and several season 8 episodes from "Mrs. California" to "Pool Party", where she did not appear at all as Fischer was on maternity leave at the same time as the character.[10]

Storylines[edit]

Seasons 1–3[edit]

At the beginning of the series, Pam and Roy have been dating for eight years and engaged for three years. Their open-ended engagement has become one of Michael's running gags and a sore spot for Pam.

Pam does not want her current job to become permanent, remarking that "I don't think it's many little girls' dream to be a receptionist." She will often do extra, unnecessary work to make her other co-workers happy. Pam is apathetic toward her work, evidenced by her frequent games of FreeCell on her office computer. However, in the pilot episode, she breaks down crying when Michael pulls an ill-advised prank by telling her that she will be fired.

Despite the abuse she takes from Michael in the early seasons, Pam becomes more honest and forward with Michael as the series progresses, often making sarcastic comments toward him.

While engaged to Roy, Pam denies, or is in denial about, having any romantic feelings for Jim. When Jim confesses his love for her at the Dunder Mifflin "Casino Night" she turns him down. She later talks to her mom on the phone and says Jim is her best friend (though she doesn't say his name), and says "Yeah, I think I am" to an unheard question. She is interrupted by Jim, who enters and kisses her; she responds by kissing back.

Season 3 marks a turning point for Pam's character: she gains self-confidence and appears less passive and more self-assured as the season progresses. In "Gay Witch Hunt," the season's opener, it is revealed that Pam got cold feet before her wedding and did not marry Roy after all. Meanwhile, Jim has transferred to a different Dunder Mifflin branch, in Stamford, shortly after Pam rejected him a second time after their kiss. Pam moves into her own apartment, begins taking art classes, a pursuit that Roy had previously dismissed as a waste of time, and buys a new car. When the Scranton and Stamford branches merge, Jim returns to Scranton alongside a female co-worker, Karen Filippelli, whom he begins dating. Jim and Pam appeared to have ended all communication after Jim transfers to the Stamford branch; after Jim returns to Scranton, the encounters between the two are tense, despite both admitting to still harboring feelings for the other during the presence of the documentary cameras.

Roy vows to win Pam back, and after his initial efforts to improve his relationship with Pam are successful, the two get back together. After attending an after-work get-together at a local bar with their co-workers, Pam, feeling that she should be more honest with Roy, tells him about Jim kissing her at the casino night. An angered Roy yells, smashes a mirror, and trashes the bar. Pam, frightened and embarrassed by his reaction, breaks up with Roy immediately. Roy vows to kill Jim and in "The Negotiation", Roy unsuccessfully tries to attack Jim at work; Roy is subsequently fired. Pam later reluctantly agrees to meet Roy for coffee at his request, and after the polite but brief meeting, it appears that their relationship has ended amicably, with Roy encouraging Pam to pursue Jim.

Pam participates in an art show, but few people attend. When Oscar and his partner visit the art show, they criticize Pam's work, not knowing that Pam is standing behind them. Affected by their statements, Pam tells the documentary crew that she is going to be more honest, culminating in a dramatic coal walk during the next-to-last episode of the season, "Beach Games", and a seemingly sincere speech to Jim in front of the entire office about their relationship. Michael also comes to the art show and reveals his loyalty and erratically kind heart by offering genuine and enthuaiastic praise of Pam's art, and by buying, framing and hanging Pam's drawing of the Dunder Mifflin building in the office. In the season finale, "The Job," she leaves a friendly note in Jim's briefcase and an old memento depicting the 'gold medal' yogurt lid from the Office Olympics, which he sees during an interview for a job at Corporate in New York City. While he is asked how he "would function here in New York", Jim is shown to have his mind back in Scranton, still distracted by the thought of Pam. Jim withdraws his name from consideration and drives back to the office, where he interrupts a talking head Pam is doing for the documentary crew by asking her out for dinner. She happily accepts, visibly moved, abandoning a train of thought about how she would be fine if Jim got the job and never came back to Scranton. Karen quits soon after, becoming the regional manager at Dunder Mifflin's Utica branch.

Seasons 4–6[edit]

In Season 4, Pam retains the assertiveness she developed in the third season. Jim and Pam confess that they have started dating after the camera crew catches them kissing. The office ultimately learns of their relationship after Toby catches Pam kissing Jim on the cheek. In "Chair Model", after teasing Pam about his impending proposal, Jim tells the documentary crew he is not kidding around about an engagement and shows them a ring he bought a week after he and Pam started dating. In the next few episodes, Jim fake-proposes to Pam multiple times. In "Goodbye, Toby", Pam discovers she's been accepted at Pratt Institute, an art and design school in Brooklyn, and in an interview, Jim announces that he will propose to Pam that evening. Just as Jim is preparing to propose, however, Andy Bernard stands up and makes his own impromptu proposal to Angela. Having had his thunder stolen by Andy, Jim reluctantly puts the ring back in his jacket pocket, leaving Pam visibly disappointed as she was expecting Jim to propose that night.

In the Season 5 premiere, "Weight Loss", Pam begins her three-month course at the Pratt Institute. In this episode, Jim proposes in the pouring rain at a rest stop. In "Business Trip", Pam learns that she is failing one of her classes and will have to remain in New York another three months to retake it. Although Jim is supportive and tells her he will wait for her, Pam ultimately makes the decision to return home, realizing she hates graphic design and misses Scranton. In "Two Weeks", Pam agrees to become Michael's first saleswoman in his not-yet-established company, The Michael Scott Paper Company. When CFO David Wallace makes an offer to buy the company, Michael negotiates in order to get their jobs at Dunder Mifflin back instead, including adding Pam to the sales team. In "Company Picnic", Pam, after dominating the company volleyball tournament, injures her ankle during a game and is taken to the hospital. At the hospital, the camera crew is stationed outside an exam room while a doctor updates Jim and Pam on her condition. There is no audio as the camera displays Jim and Pam embrace, looking shocked and ecstatic, implying that Pam is pregnant.

Pam's pregnancy is confirmed in the Season 6 premiere, in which Jim announces the pregnancy to the office staff. Jim and Pam have their wedding early in the season; the day before the wedding ceremony, Jim and Pam secretly get married at Niagara Falls. Following the wedding, a multi-episode story arc revolves around Michael hooking up with Pam's mother the night of the wedding. In response, Pam slaps Michael, and Michael and Pam's mother ultimately break up.

In "The Delivery", Pam and Jim have their first child, naming their daughter Cecelia Marie Halpert.

Season 7–9[edit]

In "Counseling", Pam feels inadequate about her poor performance in sales and tricks Gabe into promoting her to a phony new salaried position called office administrator. Pam tries to use her new authority to force building manager Dwight to stop his annoying cost-cutting measures. Pam threatens to move the office to a new building, which Dwight discovers doesn't exist. Pam saves face, however, when Dwight secretly has his assistant provide her with a book on building regulations that proves Dwight's measures were not allowed. Pam also uses her position to buy Erin Hannon an expensive desktop computer to replace the original computer at the front desk, discreetly giving Andy a new computer, and giving Darryl three sick days.

In "Goodbye, Michael", Michael plans to leave for Colorado; Pam almost misses saying goodbye to Michael, spending most of the day out of the office trying to price shredders. Jim figures out Michael's plan to leave early and tells her by text. Pam reaches the airport in time and is the last person to see Michael before he departs.

At the beginning of Season 8, Pam is revealed to be pregnant with her and Jim's second child, Philip Halpert. She begins her maternity leave after "Gettysburg", and eventually returns when she and Jim bring Cece and Phillip into the office. In both "Tallahassee" and "Test the Store" Pam is shown helping, and developing her friendship with Andy.

Early in season 9, Jim is restless about his life in Scranton and helps a friend start a Sports Marketing business, Athlead, in Philadelphia. However, he initially keeps this a secret from Pam. Upon discovering Jim's decision, Pam is concerned about the fact that Jim had kept it a secret from her, and is later disturbed to hear just how much of their money he had invested. Jim begins spending part of each work week in Philadelphia; in "Customer Loyalty", the strain of this on Pam is evident when she breaks down in tears. She is comforted by Brian, the boom mic operator of the film crew.

In "Moving On", Pam interviews for a job in Philadelphia to be closer to Jim, but she is turned off by the idea when her prospective new boss bears a striking resemblance in behavior to Michael Scott. Over dinner, Pam reveals to Jim that she doesn't really want to move to Philadelphia after all. However, in "Livin' the Dream", when Athlead is bought out and Jim is offered a large sum of money for three months to pitch the company across the country, Pam overhears Jim refuse the opportunity because of her and appears to have mixed feelings about this decision. In "A.A.R.M.", Pam tells Jim that she's afraid that he will resent her for making him stay, and that she might not be enough for him. Jim asks the camera crew to compile documentary footage of the two of them to show her. When she finishes the montage, which shows Jim taking back a letter he intended to give her with his teapot gift during Christmas; Jim finally gives her that letter, and she reads it, visibly moved. In the series finale, which takes place a year later, she reveals to Jim that she secretly put the house on the market, so that they can move to Austin, Texas, and take his job back at Athlead (now Athleap).

Coworker relations[edit]

From her years working the front desk, Pam has become well-acquainted with the Dunder-Mifflin staff and is consistently shown to have a thorough understanding of her coworkers' personalities, including the more eccentric individuals Dwight Schrute and Michael Scott. She uses this familiarity to manipulate them, often for their and the company's best interests (such as her giving the staff elaborate instructions on how to handle a heartbroken Michael in "The Chump") but also occasionally for her own. This familiarity plays a large part in her efficiency as office administrator and was crucial to her being promoted to the previously non-existent position.

Jim Halpert[edit]

The "will they or won't they" tension between Jim and Pam is a strong story line in the early episodes of The Office, encompassing much of Seasons 1 to 3. In the finale of Season 2, "Casino Night", Jim confesses his love for Pam but she denies him. They later on kiss in the episode but Pam rejects him yet again. In the opener of Season 4, the two characters are revealed to be dating. In Season 6, Jim and Pam get married in the beginning of the season, a feat considered noteworthy by many television critics, as bringing together the two lead love interests in a television series is often thought to be a risky venture.[11] Their child is born in the second half of the season, during another hour long, "The Delivery". Pam and Jim's second child is born during season 8. In season 9, their marriage becomes strained when Jim takes up a second job in Philadelphia. They ultimately decide to leave Dunder Mifflin together so Jim can pursue his dream job.

Roy Anderson[edit]

When the series begins, Pam is engaged to her high school sweetheart Roy Anderson; this engagement is revealed to be three years old and running. Roy is overbearing, neglectful, and dismissive of Pam's desire to be an artist; Jim tells the camera crew that the only two problems in Pam's life seemed to be Roy and her job at Dunder Mifflin.

In the early seasons, there is a great deal of tension between Jim and Roy, with Roy often acting threateningly towards Jim. In "Basketball", when Jim starts to impress Pam with his basketball skills, Roy elbows Jim in the nose. In Season 2, when Jim encourages Pam to pursue a graphic arts internship offered by Dunder Mifflin, Roy objects to the opportunity and eventually convinces her that the idea is foolish. Pam ultimately calls off her wedding to Roy, but they remain friendly and he is determined to win her back by being less of a jerk. She reconciles with Roy at Phyllis's wedding as a response to watching Jim date Karen. In an attempt at a fresh start with Roy, Pam comes clean about Jim kissing her during "Casino Night". Roy flies into a violent rage and Pam ends the relationship on the spot. The next day, Roy attempts to attack Jim in the office and is summarily fired. Following the incident, Roy meets Pam for coffee and encourages her to pursue her feelings for Jim.

Michael Scott[edit]

In the series pilot, Michael is overtly rude to Pam and at one point fakes her firing, leaving her in tears. He often makes suggestive if harmless remarks about her beauty and general appearance, and at one point lies to the camera that they used to date. However, his impulsive attempt to kiss her during Diwali is shot down and marked the end of any romantic dreams for Michael with Pam. Over time, however, Pam begins to soften her stance towards Michael, who expresses support for her artistic goals, even attending her art show when none of the Dunder Mifflin staff attend. The experience at the Michael Scott Paper Company further bonds Michael and Pam's relationship. In Season 6, Pam becomes furious at Michael for dating her mom Helene; however, after Michael breaks up with Helene, they are civil towards one another. In Michael's finale "Goodbye, Michael", Pam spends the whole day looking for a shredder, believing that Michael was leaving the next day. As Michael takes off his microphone and heads down the airport concourse, Pam runs to him with no shoes and hugs him as he kisses her cheek. In an interview, Pam tells the camera that he was happy to be going home to see Holly.

Toby Flenderson[edit]

Toby, the Human Resources Representative for Dunder Mifflin in the Scranton branch, has a secret crush on Pam. In "A Benihana Christmas" she gives him her Dunder Mifflin bathrobe, a display of friendly affection, after he spent the day feeling bad that Dwight took his. In "Cocktails", while walking into Poor Richards, Pam indicates a liking to one of the toys in a claw machine, and Toby tries to win the toy for her for the rest of the night. In Dunder Mifflin Infinity, Toby witnesses Pam kissing Jim Halpert in the break room, which prompts him to issue a memo about public displays of affection in the workplace. Later, when Jim and Pam admit they are dating and ask to fill out a disclosure form, he hesitates to give them a form, saying they should wait and see. In "Night Out", Toby awkwardly rubs her knee while they share a laugh, and the rest of the office watches in horror. In his mortification, Toby immediately announces that he is moving to Costa Rica before jumping over the locked gate and fleeing. In "Goodbye, Toby", Toby purchases a DSLR camera just to get a picture with Pam. On the eve of his departure, Pam confesses to the cameras that she always thought Toby was "kind of cute". In "Niagara", Pam and Jim are late for their wedding and he is visibly excited at the prospect that the wedding might not happen. In "Finale", Pam and Toby dance with each other at Dwight's wedding, with Toby beginning to cry as Pam comforts him. When she asks, "Is it me?", he replies that "It's everything!".

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pam Beesly's full name is Pamela Morgan Beesly (later Pamela Morgan Beesly Halpert). In "The Lover" Michael says to Pam, "Pamela Morgan Beesly, you need to apologize to your mother right now."[1] In "Did I Stutter?" Jim says to Pam, "You know what would energize me? If you, Pamela Morgan Beesly..."[2] In "Finale" Dwight says, "...and office administrator, Pamela Beesly Halpert..."[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Season 6 – Episode 06: 'The Lover'". OfficeQuotes.net. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  2. ^ "Season 4 – Episode 12: 'Did I Stutter?'". OfficeQuotes.net. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  3. ^ "Season 9 - Episode 23 'Finale'". OfficeQuotes.net. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Halpert Baby Blog". Halpertbeesly.com. Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  5. ^ Episode commentary, Season 2, "Valentine's Day"
  6. ^ a b c d "For Jenna Fischer, 'Office' Life Is A Great Act". NPR. 2008-12-30. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  7. ^ a b "Jenna Fischer rocks the OTCR". OfficeTally. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  8. ^ Season 2 DVD, "Valentine's Day", episode commentary
  9. ^ a b "Pam Beesly (Pam/Jenna) op Myspace". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  10. ^ Ausiello, Michael (September 8, 2011). "The Office Exclusive: 'Til Death's Lindsey Broad Befriends Pam". TVLine. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "The Office: Why Jim and Pam's wedding is good for TV comedy". NJ.com. Retrieved 2012-11-30.