When TV -almost- Gets it Right- Jim and Pam of “The Office”

I’ve been an Office regular for some time now and one of the most amazing things about the show is the (often) painfully slow development of the relationship between Jim and Pam. Long time viewers will know that from the very first episodes there was a chemistry between the two characters. They just worked.

Well, the writers weren’t going to let us off easy. They pulled us into a relationship that took time to develop and that saw many highs and lows and false starts. Which brings me to the point of this post, the relationships you see on TV or in the movies are often terribly flawed. Too often Hollywood portrays men as bumbling beer drinking fools who care about little more than sex and sports. Jim, while a flawed character, is still a vast improvement. While he can often be lazy and sometimes makes bad decisions about relationships, he ultimately deeply loves and cares for Pam and would do anything to see her happy.

Pam, on the other hand, often gets in trouble because she is too motivated and jumps blindly into things that end up being a bad ideas. Jim is very supportive of her dreams and is always there to help her pick up the pieces if things don’t work out and offer support for good ideas.

Time and again throughout the series we see them making their friendship work through good times and tough times. We see them making their dating and engaged relationship work through good times and bad times. Very few characters/actors/writers have done such a great job of capturing the awkwardness, joys, laugh out loud moments, and trials of a relationship. Their relationship seems so normal and so right in  comparison to an office full of broken relationships and dysfunctional friendships.

Maybe that’s why the final moments of season 5 rank as some of the best television I have seen. I greatly appreciate “human” moments in TV and movies and the finale of season 5 was one of the best ever put to film. When Jim and Pam find out that she is pregnant, the reaction from both is priceless and the acting is perfect. The reaction was so atypical of what we so often see from Hollywood. There was complete surprise (expected) and than joy and happiness from both parties at the unexpected (and sure to make things more complicated) pregnancy. This solidified in my mind how unique their relationship is on television today. Jim and Pam care about each other and are committed to each other which makes an unexpected pregnancy, while still scary, something to be excited about.

Unfortunately, their relationship is flawed from a Christian standpoint. While they are great examples of love and support through hard times and unexpected things, they also live together before they got married. I know that it has become so common both in real life and on TV that very few people will even notice, but the fact remains. It is unfortunate that a relationship that gets it right in so many ways must have such a big asterisk on the end of it. Christian families hoping to find a solid, functional male/female relationship can find it with Jim and Pam, but they also must be aware of the moral pitfalls of their relationship and explain to their families that while many parts of their relationship are good, there are some parts that should not be imitated no matter how good they look on TV.

That said, it will be interesting to see how the characters develop as season 6 starts up later this month. I’m sure we’ll see more struggles for Jim and Pam, but I think that is ultimately what makes them so endearing. Real relationships have good days and bad days, but those of us privileged to have wonderful significant others know that someone will be there to celebrate the good times with us and help us through the bad. It’s too bad so many TV shows are content with one night stands and male leads that have no redeeming qualities.

Below are some YouTube clips that some folks have put together of their top Jim and Pam moments:

By the way, I bought my wife’s engagement ring a month after we started dating. 🙂

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