Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pam and Michael's "Graduate" Moment: My Doomsday Blog

If Jim and Pam have been void of interaction this year, being written as a boring couple about as interesting as bathroom wallpaper, you're in for more of the same. What better way to continue to keep them apart by having her leave Dunder Mifflin in a moment of epiphany to work at Michael's fictional company? Woo! No more Jim and Pam. No more basking in the warm glow of their cuteness and upcoming nuptials. Nope. What we might get to see is more Pam enabling and mothering Michael in a scheme that will never work. And if it does, it will be the most disappointing contrivance created since Fonzie went to the moon. Oh, he didn't? He jumped a shark? Even that expression is becoming as cliched as the storyline I fear will forge it's way into The Office in episodes to come. If the governor of New York can have a Doomsday Budget, this is my Doomsday prediction for The Office, which I pray to the gods of television will never ever happen.

Office fans are the most passionate and imaginative people around. There were some interesting comments on the fan boards these past few days that got me thinking. What happens if Michael and Pam recruit the Prince Family, (whose forty year old company died due to the economy and DM itself), employ Ryan and bring on Jan, creating a dynamic that will defy the laws of reality, physics and math, allowing their company to succeed? What happens if Pam's new found desire to be a salesperson proves her to be a natural, and she begins to take away clients from Jim? Do I want Pam to succeed as a happy person, an artist and an individual? Yes. Do I want her to succeed as a salesperson, who never wanted to be a salesperson, suddenly and uncharacteristically schmooze customers, perhaps throw all Beesly modesty to the wind, flash the cleavage, put on the girlish charm, as she was known to do in "The Surplus", and take away sales from Jim in a fun game of competition?. To put it bluntly...Oh, hell no!

This scenario, of course, is all heresay. But Office fans, such as myself, tend to fear the worst this time of the year. Since 2006, Spring in the Dunder Mifflin universe makes me sweat. The writers plant situations that could go anywhere, and I usually fear the worst, making up possible scenarios in my head that send chills. A few years ago, I would have sworn Jim was going to marry Karen, move to New York leaving Pam in the ashes of her failure to find courage. Last year, I thought Jim would surprise Pam with a wedding on Schrute farms, which would have pissed me off and made me hateful. They came close - Toby's goodbye ended with the biggest, annoying thud still felt almost a year later. But this? My head is spinning. Pam leaving DM like this? And Jim is ok with it? Even though he told Michael only a few moments before it was crazy to create a make believe company? Now his future wife is ditching her half of the household bills to do the same? Oh, the stories flying in my head hurt.

If my crack brained, fear induced scenario comes to pass, having Pam compete with Jim, although interesting for some, would be potentially negative. Jim’s support for Pam is sweet, but she doesn’t give any back. There is a passive aggressiveness she dishes that Jim laps up. She enjoys teasing him when he's down - gives him enough rope to hang himself and then makes fun of him when he does. One can argue he deserves it, but she doesn’t do much to help, especially with Jim’s needs and unspoken dreams.

In fact, it's all been about her while she finds amusement in Jim's struggles. She “shushes” him in conversation while interrupting to make a point. She makes fun of Jim's dainty bowling fingers. She had to mention in "Dinner Party" how useless Jim is around the house because he tooled with her TiVo and she didn't get audio for a week. She rubbed in his silliness over getting ready for 40 minutes to prank Dwight with his Tux . She didn't console him or even give him a dose of reality - which would have been great. Why not tell him, "Jim, come on...40 minutes? I have an extra suit in the car you can change into in case a client comes in, you big dork".

Jim has always been selfless when it comes to Pam. Indeed, buying a house she didn't know about may have been selfish, but it was selfless in that he was doing it for her – for their future. She loved it. He has always let her do her own thing to find herself. To have Michael's cockamamie business succeed would not only be an unholy story contrivance in this economic climate, it would place Jim in a perilous position of conflict. Pam could take his customers away. He could lose commission and even his job. I don't see Pam making a substantial income in the first year. They could lose that house.

Ok..ok..we're getting crazy here. This all may not happen. This is all too serious. Pam is such a great girl, but she has her flaws, and the writers seem to be showing this. Her ambitions are in flux. Our suspension of disbelief is getting tested. We were led to believe Pam wanted to be an artist, or possibly could be one in some capacity. I never pegged her as a salesperson. Especially since she's been sitting at reception at a sales office for several years with no inclination to work her way into that role. But, ok...this could just be a device to show us that she can make rash decisions. I sadly, do not want this business venture to work out. It would be painful in this economic recession - in this day and age when newspapers are dieing because people are reading news online, and emails have curtailed the use of paper products. I want Pam to shine. I want her to be successful - but not like this.

Nevertheless, Thursday's episode "Two Weeks" was actually good. Other than my qualms with Pam's decision to leave, it was slightly funny, dramatic, but provided some interesting elements to shake up the stagnation of the office. Charles Minor is a horrible hard ass manager, and it's good to see how the corporate heads of Dunder Mifflin continue to screw up by putting him in charge. Stanley as "Productivity Czar"? Kevin as Receptionist?

I need to step away from the computer...Reminder to self: This is all pretend. These people don't exist. There is always 30 Rock. Tracy can fly to the moon..."The Beeper King" will always come back to haunt Liz Lemon...Jenna is a needy actress with father issues...Kenneth sees everyone like Muppets..
And Jack...pukes like a kid again. There is something to look forward to....

The next new episode of The Office will air on April 9th. So far, the network has scheduled two new episodes for that night, but I suspect that's an error. The next one is entitled "Dream Team" (which sets up the scary Ryan, Jan, Prince Family scenario in my head), and the following is "Michael Scott Paper Company".

How I miss the days of Jim and Pam longing for each other, but thank goodness we get to see Lemon in old sex line commercials and Lutz...dear stupid Lutz...laughing so much he's "Lizzing."

One Week Later...(Written on April 1st)

Ok...more thoughts on Pam, now that I've had a week to think about it. This show isn't quite what it used to be, but perhaps the writers have a more intricate psychological bent to why Pam went with Michael. Here's something I wrote on TelevisionWithoutPity, and then took off to put on here (because people ignored it, and I'd rather it be ignored here than on a site where people beat things to death more than that I).

I've been befuddled by Pam's decision to leave DM just because several years of bad days culminated into a final wrestling match with the new copier and Michael's big speech that included a big scene. But I have to wonder what motivated Pam to up and leave after having just told Michael earlier that he needed to "think things through".

Yes, Pam has more going for her than being a receptionist. And yes, Pam wants to be an artist - so what's with all the "I want to be a Saleperson" stuff? I think we need to just table that for a while, because in the heat of that moment, Pam was probably taking a stand in not wanting to be placed in the same role in Michael's life - and in his business - even if it's all just pretend right now.

My feeling is that Pam clings to people who lash out with irrational actions and insensitivity, because she may feel they are crying out for help. Pam wants to be there to protect them. Case in point: Roy. He held her back, discouraged her from following her dreams, He didn't treat her with much respect and set her feelings aside. Yet, she stuck with him, partly due to fear of what he would do to her, or what he would do without her. Even with Jim in the sidelines, offering a better option in love and respect, urging her to be the best she can be - she clung to Roy, possibly believing in the nugget of good she felt he contained. And if you think about it - as hot as Roy is - he does seem to be a lonely guy. Pam was committed to Roy due to the years they were together, but perhaps Pam stuck with him out of sympathy, trying to help him by convincing herself she can protect him from emptiness - when she was the one getting drained.

Michael, although not brutish like Roy, contains that same neediness to Pam. He never outwardly shows her any respect. He insulted her at the Job Fair, which prompted her to look for other opportunities. Using her as the office hottie, he set her up as a fantasy past girlfriend to make Jan jealous, he always holds his personal situations above hers. As much as he tries to be the fun boss, he does berate her. With this latest turn of events, I can see how Pam may have been motivated to leave with him, because in addition to being fed up, she heard Michael cry out for help.

I think that's why she doesn't seem as sensitive to Jim as she is with Michael. Although Jim is horrible at confrontation and can be weak against someone who corners him, he is emotionally stable, incredibly supportive, and that gives Pam so much strength, that she knows he'll be fine if he's not placated with why she had to go and do this.

I think what Pam did made no sense. But judging from that "Graduate" moment at the end - she suddenly realized the same thing most of us did. What he hell did I just do? I think Pam agrees with all of us who are confused. Right now, there is no one more befuddled about Pam's decision than Pam herself.

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