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3.18 The Negotiation
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Apr 12th 2007

And now to contradict myself, we don't know if Karen was saying the kiss was not a big deal because she wanted to minimize it or because Jim told her it was not a big deal. Both, maybe?

Apr 12th 2007

What Karen did was like an emotional sonar "ping" between two submarines (bear with me here). It allowed here to assess what Pam might be thinking/feeling, and at the same time announced her presence and authority.

Apr 12th 2007

I got the feeling that it's open to interpretation what Karen meant by "It's no big deal". Either that's what Jim told her (wasn't this all in the "Traveling Salesmen" episode? Someone should look that up), or that's the impression he gave her because he's interested in not pissing her off. Or it's what she told herself to make it okay for Jim and Pam to interact in her presence (though that's dropped markedly low since then).

Apr 12th 2007

See, why does it matter whether it's what Jim told her or not? She didn't have to SAY this to Pam. She couldn't have been trying to make it less awkward between them because it wasn't awkward to begin with...Pam was not treating her in an awkward way. The kiss information wasn't new to PAM, in other words. It wasn't as though some drunken Dundies kiss happened the weekend before, WHILE Karen was dating Jim, and Karen benevolently approached Pam to say, "Hey, don't worry about me finding out because I already know, but it was just something that happened while everyone was sloshed and it's no big deal, I just don't want it to be awkward between us now."

This kiss happened months ago, BEFORE Karen even knew Jim, and it hadn't come up between them in the entire time they worked in the same office together (Karen and Pam). I mean, honestly...if Pam had gotten pregnant and given birth to Jim's child, is it really Karen's place to march up to her and say, "I just want you to know that it's totally okay that you have a child by Jim...me and Jim have talked about it and it's no big deal"?

No, it doesn't. The idea was for a) Karen to assert that she and Jim are close enough that he tells her this stuff, b) for her to make sure Pam knew that, one way or another, she got the impression that the kiss was 'no big deal', so in other words don't get any ideas that what was between them previously means anything to him anymore, c) BRING the 800lb. gorilla to the forefront (where it WASN'T before) so that Pam would feel awkward interacting with Jim in front of Karen and, thus, stay away from him, and d) assess the danger of Pam approaching Jim through gauging Pam's current feelings about him. Because by that point, she knew Jim still had feelings for Pam and therefore she couldn't totally count on the idea that he'd reject Pam if Pam ever made an overture.

Also, I don't see how Karen could have thought it was 'no big deal', anyway...hadn't Jim just told her he STILL had feelings for the woman? How could a kiss between them have been 'no big deal'? No...those were Karen's words. I'm sorry, I stand by it...the WHOLE THING was inappropriate.

Apr 12th 2007

That's pretty much a slam dunk, Emmyjean. In regards to the possible implications of the breakroom scene, Pam speaks with Roy after it, and when he asks her if she'll try to date Halpert, she gives a coy glance to the camera (attempting to hide it, of course), so I don't think she's too hurt by what Jim said, and in a way his curtness in the matter propel the Jim/Pam relationship forward in a way that saying everything is okay doesn't. Namely, it creates tension that fingers crossed will have to be relieved.

Apr 12th 2007

Yeah, a lot of people have been agitating for a fight between Jim & Pam. It didn't happen happen in the Parking Lot of Expression, and they weren't shouting, but I think this is as close to a real fight between Jim & Pam as we're going to get. And I think it's a good thing: It shows that Pam can still get under Jim's skin, even if it is in a bad way.

Apr 12th 2007

c) BRING the 800lb. gorilla to the forefront (where it WASN'T before) so that Pam would feel awkward interacting with Jim in front of Karen and, thus, stay away from him

Just to clarify, you don't mean Carol, right? I was all set to argue with you, but by the end of your post I pretty much agreed with you. I mean, if they were going to be friends, it probably would have been good to acknowledge the situation at some point. But Karen clearly wasn't aiming to ease tensions, though let's face it. She's been right all along to view Pam as a threat to her relationship with Jim.

Apr 12th 2007

I don't think this really makes much difference either way, but it's something I wondered about today. Roy said something at the end of the episode to the effect of "I wasn't going to do anything, but I kept thinking about the two of you together..." so here's my question. When we saw Roy pacing in the parking lot, do you think that:

A) He was trying to decide whether or not he should go in and confront Jim in the office (and decided yes, of course).

or

B) He was waiting to confront Jim in the parking lot, for a more traditional beat-down, but got tired of waiting and went inside.

We clearly saw him looking to see who was coming out the door at one point, but I think that he would be anxious about that in either situation.

Apr 12th 2007

I've watched the scene between Pam and Karen over again, and I just don't see or feel any negative, territorial vibe coming from Karen. I just don't. The way I watched it, Karen and Pam were becoming friends, Karen found out about the kiss, and she wanted to clear the air so there were no secrets or misunderstandings. That's it. Even though Karen knows the Jim has feelings for Pam, she has no real proof that Pam returns those feelings, so why would she see her as a threat? I don't dislike her, she's never shown that she's evil or nasty or has any motive other than wanting to be with Jim, and she seems like she just wants to settle into Scranton and make friends. I think she was trying to gauge Pam's feelings, but I don't think she was issuing a thinly-veiled threat or make Pam feel awkward about being around Jim.

Now, Juliet from "Lost"...she clearly has other issues going on with her ;-).

Apr 12th 2007

You know LT, I agree with you that I don't get that vibe from Karen in that scene, but I also realize that everything Emmyjean listed (points a - d) did happen as a result. Maybe she went in with the intention of an amiable "clearing of the air," and it just turned into what it did, or maybe she really did plan on those results. This is one issue that I don't think I'm going to be able to convince myself either way.

Apr 12th 2007

A) He was trying to decide whether or not he should go in and confront Jim in the office (and decided yes, of course).

I would like to think that even Roy sometimes wrestles with his conscience and debates right vs. wrong on occasion, so I'm going to go with A. I think this is part of why his decision to physically confront Jim is totally in his character, too. If Pam had told him about Jim at the bar, and Jim happened to be standing near them at the time and Roy just lashed out and punched him, on impulse, that might be understandable to me. Instead, he waits at least several hours, has time to contemplate the information and cool down, and he still decides to try to beat him up. Nice.

Apr 12th 2007

I think it's possible, too, TRBF. I'm just going with my gut when I say I don't feel that way. Plus, even though those things happened, we don't know that they happened as a direct result of the Pam/Karen conversation. I'm giving Karen the benefit of the doubt...and I really don't believe she had any underlying intentions, either ;-).

Apr 12th 2007

B) He was waiting to confront Jim in the parking lot, for a more traditional beat-down, but got tired of waiting and went inside.

This was my interpretation.

I don't think she was issuing a thinly-veiled threat or make Pam feel awkward about being around Jim.

I've always thought that's exactly what she was doing. I also don't think she wants to settle into Scranton and make friends. I think she sees Scranton as a temporary stop in her career as she moves to bigger and better things like a job at Corporate. And after saying that, I still agree with this:

I don't dislike her, she's never shown that she's evil or nasty or has any motive other than wanting to be with Jim

Apr 12th 2007

I think she sees Scranton as a temporary stop in her career as she moves to bigger and better things like a job at Corporate.

Maybe she does. But that doesn't mean she doesn't want to make friends while she's there. Karen might like her job - do we even know that? - but if she's trying to climb a corporate ladder, is working for a mid-level, Northeastern Pennsylvania-based paper company really where she should be? Really, maybe she does like her job and really does want to move up in corporate. Or maybe we all just think that because she works when she's at work and wears androgynous suits.

Apr 12th 2007

I don't dislike her, she's never shown that she's evil or nasty or has any motive other than wanting to be with Jim

But you don't have to think she's evil or nasty to believe that she had all the ulterior motives I listed above in approaching Pam about that kiss. If she was evil and nasty, she would have stalked up to her and stated what she meant clearly and not bothered with the guise of wanting to 'clear the air' (which wasn't polluted to begin with, as I keep pointing out).

And besides, wanting to be with Jim IS a motive for sending subtle but clear signals to Pam that she shouldn't try anything. Deterring Pam from thinking Jim placed any importance on that kiss, and making sure Pam knew that Jim and Karen are doing great, is a way of making sure she can continue to be with Jim. If she didn't care about being with Jim, and she had no concept that Pam was a threat at all, she would have 'been honest and cleared the air' by saying, "Listen, I heard about everything that happened between you and Jim and I know he still has feelings for you, but we talked it over and he's not going to approach you again...we're working it out. I just didn't want things to be awkward."

Of course, no girlfriend in her right mind would say that...I'm just saying that she most definitely 'spun' it to her advantage in every way possible.

Apr 12th 2007

But that doesn't mean she doesn't want to make friends while she's there.

I should have clarified better, I didn't mean to say she was being outright hostile to everyone at Scranton, just that she doesn't seem to be making any effort to form a deep relationship with anyone there but Jim. And obviously, this is mostly extrapolation on my part.

Apr 12th 2007

I'm just saying that she most definitely 'spun' it to her advantage in every way possible.

I see what you're saying, Emmyjean, I just don't think she did spin it or had an ulterior motive. If she did, it was totally unintentional and unconscious, but I don't even think that. If I were in her shoes, and I realized that I was on the verge of finally making a real friend in a new city, and I discovered a piece of information that might make it awkward for us to develop our friendship, I'd do exactly what she did to clear the air and make sure there was nothing that might derail that friendship down the road. Maybe it was as simple as that in this case.

Of course, no girlfriend in her right mind would say that.

Exactly. Which is why I think she approached it the way she did.

Apr 12th 2007

but if she's trying to climb a corporate ladder, is working for a mid-level, Northeastern Pennsylvania-based paper company really where she should be?

True, and was a mid-level, southwestern Connecticut-based paper company really where she should have been?

Apr 12th 2007

Okay, jumping in late, and jumping back to an earlier topic of discussion.

The Casino Night confession and kiss.

First off, I think of them as two seperate but related incidents.

The first was Jim putting himself out there and declaring his feelings, putting the ball in Pam's court. Which she proceeded to drop on the ground and let roll under a car, where you'd need to get your shirt all dirty and maybe even have to use a stick to get it.

I always interpreted the "what are you doing" comment not as horror at Jim's feelings, which I don't think were a surprise to Pam, but at the fact that Jim was potentially disrupting her safe, risk-free course of action.

Jim, realizing from past history how meek and risk adverse Pam was, knowing she would need help to make the leap, kissed her to raise the stakes in hopes that the more dramatic gesture would get her to admit her feelings.

Which she basically did, and then proceeded to deny.

From that point on, Jim basically acted as well and as maturely as anyone could in that situation. He didn't continue to pursue anything with Pam, or try to disrupt her relationship with Roy. He removed himself from the situation, and left her to pursue the course of action she told him she wanted, respecting her expressed wishes.

Now, as to Roy being mad at Jim, I think it's realistic, if illogical. How many incidents are there where someone in a relationship is cheating, and the bulk of the anger is directed at the outside party, rather than at the partner who was cheating? I've never understood that. If my wife ever cheated on me, I certainly wouldn't be inviting the guy out for a drink, but he's not the one who broke a promise he made to me in front of our families, friends, and God.

But we all know Roy has some issues with misplaced blame.

Apr 12th 2007

Emmyjean you are one of a few posters who say pretty much everything I think and say it much better. You also say a lot that I don't think of and then immediately agree with.

Here is what I heard during the conversation between Karen and Pam: When Karen said, "It's no big deal; it was just a kiss," I heard, "It was just a kiss; Jim and I are doing a lot more than that and our relationship is real and solid." I thought she was letting Pam know that what Pam and Jim shared couldn't even compare with what she and Jim did (Though I believe Jim's love for Pam trumps his sex life with Karen).

I also wondered during that scene if Karen had gotten out of Jim that Pam had asked him to coffee on that first day (after 5 nights of talking, who knows what info he gave up) and that was another reason Karen was passive-aggressively telling Pam to step off.

Apr 12th 2007

I'm with Emmyjean on the Karen/Pam interaction. It was definitely territorial.

Apr 12th 2007

If Karen was being territorial, it wasn't necessarily in the Jerry-Springer-Fight Mode. It was more like establishing boundaries ("you and Jim are friends, right? Because he and I are more, and I'd like to keep it that way"). Karen doesn't come off as any more insecure about her relationship with Jim than any normal person might, given the same circumstances. If someone I was involved with had a history with someone that they normally saw under social or work conditions and there was a recent occurrance like that between them, I doubt I wouldn't be trying to establish boundaries.

That being said, the possibility exists that Karen will go all Single White Female on Pam's ass before the season is over ;-)

Apr 12th 2007 edited

How many incidents are there where someone in a relationship is cheating, and the bulk of the anger is directed at the outside party, rather than at the partner who was cheating? I've never understood that.

I have a theory about this, and it's basically that it's easier to get mad at the other person. Thinking that someone else came in and seduced your mate is perhaps less painful than realizing that they were an equal and willing participant, and even that you may be partially at fault for pushing them away somehow.

Apr 12th 2007

My head is spinning from all the viewpoints of why Karen approached Pam. I think this is what I've finally decided. ("Decided" meaning until someone posts right after me with something brilliant and makes me change my mind)

Karen approached Pam because...

  • Jim is Karen's boyfriend
  • Jim and Pam kissed once
  • Jim still has feelings for Pam
  • Karen and Pam all work together
  • Pam doesn't know that she knows now

Karen wanted to accomplish...

  • Tell Pam that she knows and let her know things don't have to be weird between them
  • Find out if Pam still has feelings for Jim
  • Find out if she should be worried about Pam making a move for Jim

Some may find this to be negative and territorial, but she's a "get-to-the-point" kind of girl and I think she was just being practical. Anyone is her position would be at least a little worried that Pam may have feelings for Jim. I don't really consider this to be establishing boundaries. She just wants everything out in the open. That's the kind of person Karen is.

And as for the "it’s totally fine. It’s not a big deal. It was just a kiss." comment- I interpreted this earlier as Karen giving Pam forgiveness for it but now I think what she was trying to tell Pam was that because it was just a kiss, she is not going to feel weird around Pam (like a lot of women would feel around their boyfriend's ex).

Apr 12th 2007

I don't have anything brilliant to add, just that I like this:

And as for the "it’s totally fine. It’s not a big deal. It was just a kiss." comment- I interpreted this earlier as Karen giving Pam forgiveness for it but now I think what she was trying to tell Pam was that because it was just a kiss, she is not going to feel weird around Pam (like a lot of women would feel around their boyfriend's ex).

That's how I took it, too. I didn't feel like she was trying to offer forgiveness (not that Pam needed any), absolution (ditto), stick her nose where it didn't belong, or anything of that nature. It was her way of saying just that: "Please don't feel weird around me, because I don't want to feel weird around you."

Apr 12th 2007

I might buy that EXCEPT for the fact that (as I keep pointing out) it hadn't BEEN weird between Pam and Karen. In fact, they were laughing about the Ben Franklin impersonator when Karen suddenly brought it up.

The only way I would buy Karen trying to clear the air or get rid of any awkwardness would be if there was any to begin with. Pam had been nothing but friendly to Karen, and so Karen didn't have any reason to believe that Pam felt awkward. Karen did what she did for HERSELF. And I don't care how 'practical' she is...some things just aren't appropriate. There are certain social graces one must conform to in order to avoid being rude.

Just because it might be 'practical' for an obese person to lose weight doesn't mean you should go up to them and tell them this. Ya know what I mean, jellybean? ;) What happened between Jim and Pam before Karen was even in the picture is NOT for Karen to ask Pam about.

Apr 12th 2007

Well, she didn't ask what happened before she came into the picture. She asked how Pam feels now. And when I say "clear the air" what I mean is try to to everything she can to be up front and prevent any problems arising in the future from perceived secrets. Asking anything about a person's weight is not parallel to this situation. Karen was not being rude, and I don't see how she stepped on any social graces. Of course she was trying to make herself feel better - by clearing a path for herself and her new friend, and by reassuring herself that Pam was definitely not interested in Jim. The question shouldn't have flustered Pam, anyway, and Karen had no indication that it would upset her. It's not as though she thought the question would throw Pam into a tailspin and she asked anyway, Pam's feelings be damned.

Apr 12th 2007

It's not as though she thought the question would throw Pam into a tailspin and she asked anyway, Pam's feelings be damned.

Pam's feelings were the LAST thing on her mind when she entered into the conversation. She may not have known Pam would get that flustered, but she had to have assumed it would be an uncomfortable conversation for her. As I said, the information that Jim had kissed Pam was new only to Karen, so she must have assumed that Pam had already made her peace with it. She didn't care if Pam got flustered, angry, indignant or whatever...the point was that she had an agenda - a) to send Pam a message and b) to find out if Pam felt anything for Jim. The first, I've already discussed at length on this thread and the second was NONE of Karen's business. Pam's feelings are for Pam alone, and whoever Pam wishes to share them with...which, at this point, is nobody. ;)

I will stand by this, I'm sorry...I think Karen WAS rude to ask Pam to answer personal questions. She should have saved those for her boyfriend. Also, I think too much is being made of this Pam/Karen 'friendship'. Karen hadn't been overly friendly to Pam, it wasn't like they were hanging out after work, nor has Karen ever expressed interest in that. She can't congratulate her on winning an art award, but she CAN ask her about her deepest darkest? Sorry. I don't like it.

Apr 12th 2007

I might buy that EXCEPT for the fact that (as I keep pointing out) it hadn't BEEN weird between Pam and Karen. In fact, they were laughing about the Ben Franklin impersonator when Karen suddenly brought it up.

Karen figured that the only reason it wasn't openly weird between them is because Pam thinks Karen doesn't know. Karen probably thought it was possible that Pam secretly worried about Karen finding out that she kisssed Jim. Karen was was getting it out in the open so that both Pam and herself didn't have to hide anything from each other.

Apr 12th 2007

Agreed Emmyjean. Moreover, I felt that Karen was laughing and joking about the Ben Franklin thing (in private, as opposed to when they were all in the conference room) as a way to butter Pam up for the assault that would ensue. However, I do think Pam's feelings are partially Karen's business only because she is Jim's girlfriend and Jim had feelings for Pam and she was attempting to gauge whether Jim's feelings would be reciprocated by Pam if given the opportunity. Again, however, just by saying that she had motive to find out doesn't mean it was okay to do so, and epecially in such a dismissive and hostile way towards Pam.

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