Television couples. They either work or they don’t. Sometimes they spend 10 seasons getting to an acceptable point of audience satisfaction. Sometimes they just start out that way. Whether it’s Rachel getting off the plane for Ross or Big flying to Paris for Carrie, some shows just get it right, but other shows just don’t know when to give up. Clark a.k.a. Superman pining for his high-school sweetheart Lana in a coma just doesn’t quite do it for me anymore. From star-crossed lovers Buffy and Angel to just plain stupid lovers Heidi and Spencer, most TV shows have you either cheering on or booing down a romantic team. So what happens when the team makes it through the relationship? That is, what happens if a couple survives until a show comes to its end? That is exactly what ‘The Office” seems to be setting out to discover with Jim and Pam, one of television’s favorite couples.
Most TV shows allow the relationships to drag on and on until the viewers just get fed up. The problem is, when the ones that everyone has been rooting for finally do get together, everyone wants them apart again for that awkward sexual tension that makes the show so entertaining. Ross and Rachel, Ryan and Marissa, Big and Carrie, Serena and Dan, Lana and Clark; the list goes on and on. These are classic examples of the couples that constantly get together and break up over the course of their successful seasons.
The difference with Jim and Pam is that, at least for the time being, it looks official. The writers have taken the risk of having one of the cutest couples on television get together.
After only three seasons of Jim and Pam neglecting their obvious attraction, Jim finally worked up the courage to ask her out. And guess what? She said yes. Not only did they start dating and stay together successfully for an entire season, but the show also didn’t lose its humor or get boring. In fact, some of the series’ funniest episodes occur in the fourth season while Jim and Pam are in a seemingly fairy-tale perfect relationship. Hysterical, laugh-out-loud funny episodes, such as ‘Money,” ‘Dinner Party” and ‘Goodbye, Toby,” prove to the audience that the brilliant writers are able to keep the show hilarious without Jim trying to win Pam over like he did in the first three (equally funny) seasons.
This is what makes Jim and Pam different from all the other relationships on TV. Other couples got together at the end, in the final episode of the final season. ‘The Office” is in its prime and, hopefully, has many more great seasons ahead with Jim and Pam in a real working relationship.
This brings us to the jaw-dropping, heart-stopping moment during the season five premiere where Jim got down on one knee in the rain to make one of the most romantic, perfect proposals ever seen on television and it was outside of a gas station. Immediately following the episode, I consulted my most devoted ‘Office” fans for their opinions. I was ecstatic, elated and ready to bask in happiness with my other obsessive friends. The first thing I heard was, ‘Well, bad sign for Jim and Pam.” My jaw dropped for the second time that night. My friend, like many others, went on to elaborately describe the pessimistic, doomed relationship of Jim and Pam, with Pam cheating on Jim and Jim getting mad at Pam for being away at art school for too long. I’d like to think that the writers, who have proved themselves capable of extremely entertaining television, are smarter than that. Two episodes later, the once-again incredible writers put a smile on my face, proving to us that, even while engaged and apart, Jim and Pam can last without having to constantly break up for our interest. Season five has provided some of the series’s funniest episodes yet, while simultaneously keeping ‘Jam”and their supporters happy. Could that possibly mean wedding bells are in the future? I guess we’ll just have to keep watching to find out.
Rosenberg is a member of the class of 2012.