The Office has been a staple in comedic television for almost a decade (and even longer if you count the original British version), but now, after nine seasons, the series is coming to a close. If that fact wasn’t emotional enough, Jim and Pam Halpert have been experiencing intense marital woes as we near the end of this iconic show.
Wetpaint Entertainment spoke with actor John Krasinski and executive producer Greg Daniels about the daring decision to stir up trouble in Jim and Pam’s marriage and the upcoming series finale.
The idea for Jim’s new job in Philadelphia, which sparked major Jam problems, actually came from John Krasinski’s brother who had gone through a similar move, causing stress on his own family.
“For me, it was, can you have this perfect relationship go through a split and keep it the same? And of course, you can’t,” John told us. “It would be really interesting to see how the split would affect two people you know so well. The exciting thing was to know that the audience would take a guess as to what Jim would do and what Pam would do — and so to run those numbers on that relationship was really interesting to me.”
John also credits Greg and the show’s writers for not taking Jim and Pam down a cliché relationship path and not “introducing an affair or something like that.”
“A huge credit to Greg and the other writers,” John explained, “they’ve never gone the easy route. They’ve always gone the very realistic route; and I’ve always really, really admired that.”
Fortunately for fans, the April 25 episode, “Paper Airplane,” gave Jim and Pam shippers a glimpse of hope when Pam flashed back on her romantic relationship with her now-husband, choosing to embrace him and their life together. The decision to air this before the finale was definitely strategic.
“My hope is that people will treat the last several episodes like the finale and not force us to do everything in the last episode,” Greg said. “We didn’t want there to be such anxiety over Jim and Pam that you could think of nothing else during the last episode.”
“I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t laugh, though, thinking about people being so terrified that they just sort of blacked out for the first part of the finale,” John admitted.
And with the May 16 extended finale right around the corner, the cast, crew, and viewers are preparing to turn the lights off in the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company for the last time.
“I’m saving my tears for Barbara Walters,” John joked. “I was a waiter before this show, so what I’m going to miss most about this character is way too complexly entwined in my real life. To me this was a winning lottery ticket, except with a winning lottery ticket you just get money, and with this you get a whole change of your life.”
With this life change, however, came great responsibility, as John elaborated.
“The thing I’ll miss most is playing a character that people believe in so much and attach themselves to in various degrees,” he continued. “There are some people who think they are Jim; there are some people who are looking for a Jim. Playing the Jim/Pam relationship and realizing how important it became to so many people was such an incredible honor that I think there was a small part of my brain that really didn’t want to let everyone down every single week. I feel like I was given a tremendous responsibility, and that responsibility I really will miss.”
Though the finale is still weeks away, the cast wrapped filming a while ago. The final day was obviously one that brought up a lot of emotions for the actors, writers, and producers who have been involved from the start.
“I’m a crier-laugher, which is a bummer,” John revealed. “I was crying-laughing with Craig [Robinson], and we were all joking around, waiting in the hall. And then one of the times we came back [in to do another take], instead of saying, “Go again,” Greg randomly appeared and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the end of The Office.” It was a gut punch. It’s a life-changing event, and there’s just no way to describe it. It’s not like ending college, it’s not like anything. It’s a part of your life that defined you, and to have it go away is so incredibly bittersweet.”
But the cast found a way to cope.
“The only thing that helped us all was that we’re so proud of the work and we’re so proud that we got to have a series finale,” he continued. “That’s a very rare thing. Growing up I remember the Cheers finale and M.A.S.H. and all these amazing finales; and I remember them being very, very important. And so for us to even be a show that got there is incredible, and the only thing that prevented us all from having a complete meltdown.”
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The Office series finale airs Thursday, May 16 on NBC.