For so many TV lovers, Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly represent the perfect couple, but their relationship almost took a much darker turn. Over the course of The Office's nine seasons, Jim and Pam went from the will-they-won't-they coworkers every fan was rooting for to the sweet, romantic married couple that seemed to have it all worked out. But a new book on the behind-the-scenes history of the sitcom revealed that Jim and Pam were supposed to break up on The Office's final season, but John Krasinski made a compelling case to keep the couple together.
Andy Greene's new book, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, has delivered some bombshell news to the show's superfans in just the few days since its March 24 release, including the surprising revelation that Steve Carell didn't want to leave the show when he did. Another shocking reveal: Jim and Pam were originally planned to break up in Season 9.
The show's final season included a few hints that there may be trouble in paradise for Jim and Pam, as Jim accepted a job in Philadelphia while Pam grew closer to the documentary crew's boom mic operator Brian, but in the end, the two remained strong up to the end. However, showrunner Greg Daniels' initial plan was for Jim and Pam to separate halfway through the season. Writer Brent Forrester said that the story was going to revolve around the documentary finally airing, and the toll of that would then cause Jim and Pam to split up. Then, a reunion episode would have brought them back together in the end.
The planned storyline would have been so different from the one that actually aired, and believe it or not, John Krasinski was one of the people pulling for this split. "My whole pitch to Greg [Daniels] was that we’ve done so much with Jim and Pam, and now, after marriage and kids, there was a bit of a lull there," Krasinski said in the book. "For me it was, ‘Can you have this perfect relationship go through a split and keep it the same?’ which of course you can’t. And I said to Greg, ‘It would be really interesting to see how that split will affect two people that you know so well.’"
Writer Owen Ellickson echoed Krasinski's position, noting how some fans had gotten a bit bored with Jim and Pam's tranquil relationship in Season 8. A breakup certainly would have shaken things up, but as the final season began laying the groundwork for the split, Krasinski made a case for keeping Jim and Pam together for the fans. Forrester recounted why The Office team ultimately decided against writing the planned breakup:
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.'"
So as a gift to the fans, Jim and Pam got their happy ending without any mess. Still, it's interesting to imagine the alternate version where they broke up in the final season due to the content of the documentary, even though that version probably would have made a lot of superfans upset. You can learn more secrets about The Office in Greene's newly released oral history, which is available now on Amazon.