To paraphrase my boy Billy Shakes, I came here not to bury “The Office,” but to question it. Over the last three episodes, we’ve been introduced to Brian the boom mic guy, who clearly has developed some strong feelings for Pam.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Greg Daniels said the following about the addition of Brian and the reveal of the documentary crew: “Pam and Jim have this incredible, intense bond that has developed over years and years of little workplace jokes and conversation, [and] the thing I think is so, like, disturbing, maybe, is the realization that there may have been another guy who was there in an invisible setting this entire time also participating in little jokes with them and killing enormous amounts of hours at work.”
It seems obvious that the producers/writers are trying to drive a wedge between Jim and Pam this last season, both with Jim’s new job and Philadelphia and the introduction of Brian. But while I can buy that Brian would have been around for all those hours with Jim and Pam, I don’t think it makes sense that he would be a threat to Jim and Pam, or even have intense feelings for Pam, for a few reasons:
1. When the documentary started, Pam was engaged to Roy. Plus, the initial focus of seasons 1 – 3 was in the obvious Jim-Pam will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic, both after Pam broke up with Roy and when Jim was with Karen. It doesn’t seem like Brian was on Pam’s radar at all. And it seems unlikely that he’d also throw his hat into that mix, given how emotionally charged the whole situation was.
3. If he’s a decent guy at all, then he, like the rest of us, were probably rooting for Jim and Pam to get together – we could all see their chemistry immediately.
4. Daniels says that Brian was around for little moments at work – but, again, he wasn’t around when Jim and Pam were building a life together with two children when the work day was over. And, presumably, he was around not just for the joking around during the office while Pam and Jim were getting together, but also for the big moments like their first kiss, Jim asking Pam out, Jim proposing, their wedding, etc., etc.
5. If he really wanted to sabotage Jim and Pam, he would have clued Pam in more with what was going on with Jim and Cathy.
I’m not frustrated by the reveal of the documentary crew – I love that the British “Office” aired their Christmas special and let the world know what happened after David Brent became “famous.” But listen to what Tim (British version of Jim) says at the end of the UK Christmas special: “If you turn the camera off, I’m still here…Life just goes on.”
When the cameras (and the boom mics) are away, Jim and Pam still had each other, for a number of years.
“The Office” is a workplace comedy, yes, but Jim and Pam’s story was its emotional center for the early (good) years of the show. The show has always delved into romance: Kelly and Ryan, Andy and Erin, Erin and Pete, Dwight and Angela, Phyllis and Bob Vance (Vance Refrigeration), Dwight and Val, etc. Based upon how sentimental the UK version ended, and how intensely fans rooted for Jim and Pam to get together, I have no doubts that they will get a happy ending. But, again, listen to Tim in the UK version: There is no ending; life is just a series of moments. I’m just hoping the documentary ends on a happy moment for PB&J.
And if not? I’ll probably react like this: