I’m going to miss Jim and Pam.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss The Office as a whole, but I’m really going to miss Jim and Pam.
I spent a sizable portion of my 20s associating with a fictional television character. While I don’t assume that’s all that odd, I do think that it leaves a bit of a hole in a person when that character goes off to the big TV studio in the sky.
After nine seasons, the American version of The Office came to its inevitable conclusion this evening.
As is often the case when a long-running series ends, the show was given a proper goodbye with a retrospective and an extra-lengthy episode to tie up all of the loose ends.
Most sitcoms end on a happy note—simply to leave a good taste in the mouth of the viewing audience—and The Office was no exception.
We saw the nuptials of Dwight and Angela, the redemption of Andy, the return of Michael Scott, the seemingly inevitable union of Kelly and Ryan, the reunion of Erin with her birth parents, Nelly finally getting her baby, a beautiful display of true, unadulterated affection between all of the Dunder Mifflin co-workers, and we saw Pam make a big, selfless gesture for Jim in attempt to pay him back for years of grand gestures (and tiny looks) that won her heart time and time again.
As much as I might wax poetic about The Office, I’m not going to pretend the show wasn’t running on fumes for years. The end of Michael Scott’s reign of terror should have been the end of the show. In fact, even if it had ended then, it might have felt as though the show went on too long.
The thing is, everyone kept watching. No matter how unwatchable the show became, people couldn’t stop watching. The Office, for all of its faults, still resounded with people. It was still very, very real.
We’ve all had (or been) a horrible boss. We’ve all had (or been) an awkward co-worker. We’ve all had (or been involved in) an office romance. We’ve all had (or been) co-workers that became best friends without anyone even realizing it.
I said it at the beginning and I’ll say it again, I’ve long associated with the fictional character of Jim Halpert.
As far as we—the viewer—can tell, Jim is a swell guy who happens to be pretty good at this job, but is simply bored with it and going through the motions (also he is tall and has some wonky hair and over-exaggerated facial reactions).
This character bio could describe a very large part of my life. Much of my twenties were spent at a job where, although I was good at it, I was pretty bored. I didn’t have a Dwight to prank, but I made my own fun and never took things too seriously.
What I never had in the workplace, was a Pam.
That’s because I was lucky enough to meet my Pam on the very first day of college. I didn’t have to fight off a Roy or endure an awkward move wherein we were in different branches and—unfortunately—at no point was Rashida Jones a factor in our lives.
Although we lack a lot of the drama of the real Jim and Pam, I can say that I did, much like Jim, have to grow up and get my shit together to make things work.
Over the years, in addition to the small looks, I’ve had to make some grand gestures, but they’ve all been worth it.
As fate would have it, just shy of two years ago, my Pam started working with me. She’s not a receptionist or a secretary (note: the PC term is administrative assistant, dicks)…but she’s my Pam.
She’s my Pam in the sense that she’s long made me want to be better than I am and to strive for more than I otherwise would.
She’s the reason I busted ass for years to earn extra hours or a raise or a minor promotion from one support staff job to another. She’s also the reason that when my boss left and his job became available, I got through my own personal bullshit and applied for his job.
She’s also the biggest reason I got that job. Not me, not the work I’ve done, but my desire to be better for her and to do bigger and better things for us.
Someday I want to own a house. Someday I want to have our babies. Someday I want to have a minivan. Someday I want to have a trampoline (that’s unrelated, I just really like trampolines). Someday I don’t want to have to worry about money.
These are the things that drove Jim to be a better version of Jim. These are the things that have driven me to be a better version of me.
It’s all about trying to find that one reason to make it all happen and, for me, Grace is that reason.
Grace is my Pam.
Nah, you know what…fuck that…Pam was Jim’s Grace.
Rest easy, Jimbo. I’ll take it from here.