Fans of The Office always knew that Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly were destined to end up together, even if it took them a little bit to get their timing right. When one of Jenna Fischer’s co-stars pointed out a subtle hint that Pam was thinking about Jim long before they got together, the actor said it gave her chills.
‘The Office’ director shut down production to get Pam’s art just right
During the Sept. 23 episode of the Office Ladies podcast, Fischer and her co-host, Angela Kinsey, did a deep dive into the season 3 episode “Business School.” Part of the episode involved Pam’s local art show and how her co-workers didn’t support her, leaving her deflated.
The art that was on display, which Oscar’s boyfriend Gil called “motel art” because it was uninspired, had to be just right. The episode’s director, Joss Whedon, even shut down production because he didn’t like one of the watercolor paintings.
Writer Brent Forrester explained the story behind it, telling the Office Ladies there was “a crisis that happened around one of the watercolor drawings” made by the show’s art department. Whedon felt strongly that a drawing of a church shouldn’t have been in the lineup because it wasn’t true to Pam’s character. “He just felt it was out of character for her,” Forrester noted.
As a result, they stopped production, found a classroom of art students, and paid one woman to paint a picture of a stapler.
Joss Whedon didn’t want to regret the decision
Forrester later asked Whedon why this small background detail was so important to him.
“He said, ‘Brent, in my experience, as a director, every single time that I have felt strongly about some detail of the shoot and I have allowed myself to be persuaded out of it because of time pressure — 100% of the time, I have intensely regretted making that choice,’” Forrester recalled Whedon told him.
Whedon also told the writer how that lesson is always with him, explaining, “and so now I understand that I should never compromise when I feel something strongly as a director.”
Pam’s art show holds a small detail about Jim
There’s a small detail in one of Pam’s art show pieces that speaks volumes about her future with Jim — that even Fischer herself didn’t identify.
Fischer explained how the watercolor of the stapler really stood out to her the most when she watch the episode.
“Me too,” Kinsey said. “It was absolutely what Pam would have done because Pam, we already established, she’s sort of drawing things in her world and she sketched a tape dispenser… it would make sense to me. And you know, Jim… I feel like that stapler also represents Jim. Jim put that stapler in Dwight’s jello mold.”
“I never thought of that,” Fischer said.
Kinsey continued, “I thought Pam painted that stapler because she was thinking of Jim.”
Fischer was stunned, noting after a second of silence, “I just got chills.”