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3.18 The Negotiation
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Apr 8th 2007

About how much time elapsed between Pam telling Roy and "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral"? I think it would be hard for Roy to hold back for a month, but it seems to have occured some time afterwards (Roy saying how he was just thinking about it again and again suggest it was a slow build).

Apr 8th 2007

I also want to comment on the "Jim as a jerk" moment in the break room, because that seems like a major point of contention (or it does to my formerly-fever-addled mind, after four hours of nice sleep):

Yes, Jim was a jerk to Pam, and he didn't necessarily have to be. But in real life, more often than not a person who is in a Roy-Pam situation tends to grate on the sympathies of all around because they seem either unwilling or unable to break that unhealthy habit. Think about it from Jim's perspective: every time he's made some sort of effort to be with her, Pam has turned him down for Roy. And then when she got back together with him at Phyllis' wedding, it can't have felt good.

So when she said things were over with her and Roy, I don't blame Jim for being skeptical or responding the way he did. However, I agree that it was harsh of him. But that's often what happens in life: you say something out of anger or hurt that you don't necessarily mean, but which does convey your emotions at that moment. After all, it's a bit like the old Real World slogan, "see what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real".

Jim's comments were harsher than we've seen before (usually he was supportive of Pam even when he was taking her to task, like about the graphic design internship), but they're not born out of any ill will towards Pam. More likely, he's had a rough time of it and doesn't know how to deal with the new reality of him back in Scranton, Pam single when he's with someone else that he's too guilt-stricken to break it off with, and her ex coming after him with the clear intention of getting him acquainted with the head trauma ward of the local hospital.

Something tells me Jim's jerkiness will be a big motivator in what Pam does for the rest of the season, as much as Roy's questioning why she doesn't pursue Jim. Every crappy thing that's happened to the poor woman this season is leading to the final episodes, and I think Pam is gonna be all the better for all the trauma she's been through when we get to May.

Apr 8th 2007

After all, it's a bit like the old Real World slogan, "see what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real".

Oh, The Real World, what hast thou wrought?

Apr 8th 2007

Oh, The Real World, what hast thou wrought?

Over a decade of (mostly staged) catfights, bitch-slaps, drunken sexual encounters, and Puck (the world's most obnoxious human being)

Apr 8th 2007

Yeah, and the invention of reality television, which I maintain is worse than the atom bomb.

Apr 8th 2007

But would shows like The Office be possible if not for reality TV? Paradox...;-)

I agree, most reality shows (hell, pretty much all of them) are good reasons to bemoan the death of Western civilization. But considering what was the fad before then (sitcoms with stand-up comedians as the center, all trying to cash in on Seinfeld) I say it could be worse.

Not to get off on a tangent here, but I've found it difficult to watch Seinfeld reruns ever since the whole Michael Richards incident. They're on pretty much every channel you can think of, though, so I've been getting back into it for Jerry, Elaine, and George. But my perception of Kramer has definitely changed...

What were we talking about? ;-)

Apr 8th 2007

I never really cared for Seinfeld all that much, and the combination of the Richards thing and the fact that I have been pampered by Arrested Development, Scrubs, and The Office into hating laugh tracks prety much means I'm never going to learn to like it.

Apr 8th 2007

It is hard to watch shows with laugh tracks now, I have to say. That and the fact that a lot of them aren't that good. It's like being in the Matrix and being shown the truth by Laurence Fishburne...and then somehow stretching that thin premise into two more films.

I know back in the day MASH did no laugh tracks during the surgical scenes, which is okay because the jokes during those portions of the episodes weren't that good.

Anyway, back to topic: do you think we'll see the full bloom of "brand new Pam" in the next couple of episodes? I gotta think there's some forward momentum being made in her character (either towards Jim or towards a more rewarding career, or both)

Apr 8th 2007

Think about it from Jim's perspective: every time he's made some sort of effort to be with her, Pam has turned him down for Roy.

I have to disagree on this point, sort of. Pam responded positively to a great deal of Jim's efforts to get close to her in spite of her commitment to Roy. Also, it's not like Pam was free and choosing between two suitors and was stupid and thoughtless enough to choose Roy. She was practically married to Roy already when she became acquainted with Jim, who presented himself to her as a comrade, not a suitor, until the very last minute.

And then when she got back together with him at Phyllis' wedding, it can't have felt good.

Pam got back together with Roy at Phyllis' wedding because Jim was demonstrating to her in every way that he was perfectly happy in a commited relationship with someone else. Jim's behavior with Karen was a big scream that he didn't care at all what Pam did with or without Roy.

Apr 9th 2007

Also, it's not like Pam was free and choosing between two suitors and was stupid and thoughtless enough to choose Roy. She was practically married to Roy already when she became acquainted with Jim, who presented himself to her as a comrade, not a suitor, until the very last minute.

I have to disagree on this. Pam absolutely was free to choose, and to change her mind about, who she was with. She was not entering into an arranged marriage, and she was not yet in the commitment of a marriage, so she certainly had the freedom to end her engagement, difficult as that would have been. Her hands were not tied. That's why I also take issue with the idea that bad things have been happening "to" Pam all season, because there aren't very many things in her life this season that have happened "to" her (or to anyone on the show). She, like everyone else on the show, makes choices and lives with them. This isn't a gripe, because in my opinion, that's just one way of looking at Pam. I don't think she sees herself as a helpless victim, and I don't see her that way at all.

(I also don't think Pam saw Jim as a mere comrade, either, and that goes as far back as the beginning of Season 2. If a "friend" presented me a gift of a teapot - a thoughtful gift in itself - filled with small mementos of our time together, including old yearbook photos and a mini-golf pencil, I'd surely have an idea that his intention extended well beyond one of friendship. Pam knew.).

Apr 9th 2007

I think this was one of the best Michael episodes to date. He was funny, but not over-the-top ridiculous; he wasn't cruel to anyone; and we got to see a little of his naive side (when he was negotiating his salary with Jan and truly didn't understand the "game" she was trying to play when she asked him to say one number so she could "settle" with him on a lower figure). It reminded me a little of "Halloween," at the end, but not emotional like that. There was just enough there to remind me of why Michael is a good guy. And no wonder Dunder-Mifflin keeps him around as a boss (something about which I've always wondered), in spite of his frequent missteps in the arena of political correctness and common sense. What a bargain he must be for them in terms of salary.

Apr 9th 2007

Pam seems to be on the verge of something big. Her "Jim, I am really sorry" line in the break room seemed to me to be about so much more than just the near pummeling Roy tried to give Jim. It came in response to his saying she and Roy would end up together some day.

Did anyone notice the way, when Roy turns to accounting to pick up his paycheck, that Oscar jumps up and rather protectively inserts himself between Roy and Angela. It's very cool the way he does that. They seem to really have bonded since her tearful apology and then sharing wings at Poor Richard's.

And how about Darry's cousin's place being plenty big enough for Toby to stay over but not big enough for Michael?

One more thing, you can't put a price tag on a $100 gas card.

Apr 9th 2007

I also don't think Pam saw Jim as a mere comrade, either, and that goes as far back as the beginning of Season 2. If a "friend" presented me a gift of a teapot - a thoughtful gift in itself - filled with small mementos of our time together, including old yearbook photos and a mini-golf pencil, I'd surely have an idea that his intention extended well beyond one of friendship.

But LT, this is one point on which you and I always differ with regards to what should or shouldn't have been done by Jim and Pam last season. You say that Pam is just as much to blame for not making a confession of feelings to Jim last season, and you've always rejected the idea that it was Jim that was dragging his feet and preventing anything from happening between them in not telling Pam sooner how he felt.

My contention has always been that, although Pam hadn't make some kind of unbreakable vow to marry Roy, she WAS the one who had already make a committment to someone else...someone who had given her some concrete evidence of his plan to make a future with her. If she was going to be persuaded to take some HUGE step and give up on Roy, who she'd been faithfully waiting for for YEARS (not to mention living with), she deserved more than some relatively non-committal gift from Jim which, although it COULD be interpreted as something more than what a friend would give her for Christmas, also could be simply a gift from one good friend to another.

In other words, why should Jim have gotten away with never making a bold and undeniable move (such as giving her that card without chickening out, if he couldn't work up the enormous amount of nerve it would take to say it to her face) and still having Pam make the sacrifices she would inevitably have to make if she were going to leave Roy for him? In my opinion, that would have made it totally uneven.

As it is, Jim made the bold move, Pam responded by doing all the things she should have done in the first place (leaving Roy, moving out on her own, starting up with her art again, etc.)...only Jim wasn't there to reap the rewards of his effort to change Pam's mind.

Apr 9th 2007

I see your point, Emmyjean, but I am being totally honest when I say that I could not imagine receiving a gift like that teapot and not knowing that the person giving it thought of me as more than a "friend." I don't know why Pam had to have some sort of concrete evidence from Jim about his feelings - isn't that part of taking a risk, that you don't always have hard evidence to make your decision? And, like many of us have said before, she could have (should have) left Roy just because he was Roy and she was unhappy with him, not necessarily because she wanted to run toward someone else. I completely admire Pam for honoring her commitment (almost) to marry Roy (even if it was Roy ;-)), but I also think that at least half of her commitment to that idea was sheer force of habit, and not necessarily because she sat down and thought, "You know, in spite of all of the reasons not to marry Roy, I have made my choice and I'm going to honor my promise to marry him because it's the right thing to do." I think she will get to the do-or-die point with Jim and she will tell him how she feels, though. She's working to that point. It's just taking an excruciatingly long time ;-).

Apr 9th 2007

I also don't think Pam saw Jim as a mere comrade, either, and that goes as far back as the beginning of Season 2. If a "friend" presented me a gift of a teapot - a thoughtful gift in itself - filled with small mementos of our time together, including old yearbook photos and a mini-golf pencil, I'd surely have an idea that his intention extended well beyond one of friendship. Pam knew.

I think if "she knew" she would have reacted differently to the teapot gift. She would have recognized a problem, something to deal with, at the very least a misunderstanding to clear up. (I don't think she sees herself as helpless in this regard either). Instead she reacted to the personal nature of the gift with ordinary delight. And I think that Jim was happy with that romantically neutral reaction. If not, he would have included the card after all.

Apr 9th 2007

She would have recognized a problem, something to deal with, at the very least a misunderstanding to clear up.

She did recognize it. But she's not a confrontational person, and she was even less so last season, so that's why she let it slide and pretended all was well. If she didn't recognize the personal significance of the gift, she wouldn't have traded a video iPod for it.

Apr 9th 2007

She did recognize it. But she's not a confrontational person, and she was even less so last season, so that's why she let it slide and pretended all was well. If she didn't recognize the personal significance of the gift, she wouldn't have traded a video iPod for it.

We'll just have to disagree, LT. Whereas I believe she recognized the gift had personal significance, I don't see any evidence that she recognized it as a romantic overture meant to challenge her attachment to her fiance.

Apr 9th 2007

Did anyone notice the way, when Roy turns to accounting to pick up his paycheck, that Oscar jumps up and rather protectively inserts himself between Roy and Angela. It's very cool the way he does that. They seem to really have bonded since her tearful apology and then sharing wings at Poor Richard's.

Angela and Oscar would make a dynamic crime-fighting duo, that's for sure.

In the grand scheme of things, the argument about Pam's unwillingness to pursue things with Jim (whether her ties to Roy were really so tight that she couldn't break them when she was engaged) is simply something that we're not gonna agree on. It's easy to say that she was hurting herself with Roy (both times) and that she should've seen what was out there with Jim. But it's the principle of uncertainty at play here: staying with something you know versus risking it all on an unknown. We know that Jim is devoted to Pam, but she doesn't see it or doesn't want to see it, and self-doubt comes into play. If someone has a psychological barrier to happiness, they're not gonna jump right into something like that.

I feel a lot more sympathetic for Pam in terms of her reluctance to take a chance on Jim. That's something that takes guts and sometimes certain people don't have that (or think that they do). You can be beat down so much by the world that you start to believe it when they say you'll never accomplish anything or have a meaningful and loving relationship. But I think Pam's starting to see the alternative to a life without giving Jim a chance, and she's miserable.

This season it's been all about Pam growing. I think that will not be a lost or dropped storyline as the season wraps up.

Apr 9th 2007 edited

And, like many of us have said before, she could have (should have) left Roy just because he was Roy and she was unhappy with him, not necessarily because she wanted to run toward someone else.

I totally and completely agree with you on that point, LT. AND I think that's why it was important for the writers to get Jim out of Scranton so that he wasn't actually there when Pam made all these decisions. Much has been made of the fact that Pam didn't call Jim once she broke off her wedding with Roy, but looking back from a storytelling standpoint I can see that the main reason was probably because they wanted to show us that she did NOT break it off with Roy under any illusion of getting together with Jim. She did it in SPITE of the fact that she was probably never going to see Jim again, and there was nobody waiting to catch her after she let go of Roy.

Apr 9th 2007 edited

New direction - I have skimmed the discussion and don't see this anywhere, so....

How about the concept that Jim's determination that Dwight be appropriately 'thanked' was a way of acting out his desire for Pam's approval. The very first word of intervention when Roy walked in was Pam's, as Jim looked at her with a WTF NOW? look - His pursuit of Dwight, while certainly defensible in the Jim/Dwight alliance (which will be v. Andy), but also shows a good bit of his desire and his proclivity for concrete tokens. True, it did provide an opportunity for a mini-prank in the form of the 'certificate' - but there was also a gift, and a 'out for a ... ' moment. He cannot confront Pam directly, so he kind of worked through Dwight"

Also - the face when he saw Dwight with Angela, was a full round moment to Jim in the hall at the hotel when they were at the paper convention = "Dwight has a hooker, who should I call?" WhoM indeed?

Apr 9th 2007

AND I think that's why it was important for the writers to get Jim out of Scranton so that he wasn't actually there when Pam made all these decisions.

Excellent point, and one that I hadn't considered, Emmyjean. I still missed Jim during those episodes, though. I feel like his presence affects the chemistry of the office. But I can see why they had him leave.

Apr 9th 2007 edited

Angela and Oscar would make a dynamic crime-fighting duo, that's for sure.

Maybe they're having that gay affair after all. Another nice moment was the friendly conversation Stanley and Phyllis were having as they left together towards the end of the episode. I always enjoy the random scenes showing the Dunder-Mifflinites getting along.

Apr 9th 2007

I still missed Jim during those episodes, though. I feel like his presence affects the chemistry of the office.

Exactly. I think a lot of people dislike (or at least like less) this season compared to the first two because of Jim's initial absence from Scranton. They were showing Pam (and us) what the office would be like without Jim. The Office as a show seemed too different after Jim left, you know what I mean? I dunno, it's kind of hard for me to explain it, but I think you get the general idea.

Apr 9th 2007

I feel like his presence affects the chemistry of the office.

Which is the main reason why I want this whole Karen debacle to come to a far-overdue end...I feel like Jim isn't back yet. He hasn't been himself all season, and I can't take it. I want my Jimbag back so I don't have to snark on him anymore! ;)

But I can see why they had him leave.

Yeah, and this goes along with the feeling I get that this whole seaason is about Pam more than it is about anyone else. I feel like when the season is complete and we look back on it as a whole, it will become clear that everything they did this year was for Pam's character development, and that all this stuff that's going on with Jim is just incidental. Kind of like last year was all about building Jim up to the point of confessing to Pam, and all the stuff that happened to Pam was incidental.

I always think of that when I watch Booze Cruise. Pam's long-awaited wedding date is FINALLY set, and who do they focus on? Jim, and how the announcement affects him. I loved that.

Apr 9th 2007

I also don't think Pam saw Jim as a mere comrade, either, and that goes as far back as the beginning of Season 2. If a "friend" presented me a gift of a teapot - a thoughtful gift in itself - filled with small mementos of our time together, including old yearbook photos and a mini-golf pencil, I'd surely have an idea that his intention extended well beyond one of friendship.

Actually, it goes back to the end of Season 1. IIRC, the way Pam looks off at Jim as he leaves with Katy at the end of Hot Girl was the first clue we were given that Pam might think of Jim as more than just a friend. I guess whether she was able to see his intentions is another question, though.

Apr 9th 2007

I'm getting the sense that every thread on this forums has turned into a JAM thread. Remember when episode threads actually talked about stuff that happened in the episode?

I'm sorry. I feel like I'm talking really loud. Am I talking really loud?

Apr 9th 2007

This is my first comment. I love reading through all your comments and the recaps on this site are the sweetest.

I almost NEVER have a problem with the "reality" of this show. I don't have to suspend disbelief or whatever like most everything else on TV and in the theater.

I love what they have done with Pam Jim Roy building it up for two entire seasons! That is an incredible feat! This whole season has been all about turning the JAM upside down- it's awesome. Would anybody have been thrilled to see Jim and Pam get together S3 01? No way! We need more story to continue the storyline for seasons to come. Otherwise we would have a miniseries on our hands.

BTW, I would just like to say that I was and am a fanatic of the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant OFFICE. Damn. How did a little old US TV show (we have According to Jim and 7th Heaven on for years and years, but cancel Arrested Development and Freaks and Geeks,) manage to take magic dust in their hands, emulate it, morph it and SURPASS it in length and enjoyment? Go Greg Daniels! Go Writers!

Plus, for all the down on Jim and Pam peeps out there, don't you take great joy in watching other character development such as Darryl, Dwangela, Jan's newfound lease on life (like a star collapsing into itself...) ? I would still watch the Office if Jim and Pam never had a thing.

PS Let's see another ep with Pam's Mom! She can slap some sense into those two. This has been a very Lovey post. Sorry for the bias.

And the real heroes are a footlong :)

Apr 9th 2007

Would anybody have been thrilled to see Jim and Pam get together S3 01? No way!

Welcome, Office-Ay Over-Lay. Great name and great post. I wonder why Pam's mom never came back and played a role in the story. I'm betting we could get a spirited dialogue going about the statement above though.

Apr 9th 2007

I'm getting the sense that every thread on this forums has turned into a JAM thread. Remember when episode threads actually talked about stuff that happened in the episode?

Well, seeing as the Pam-Roy-Jim triangle set the whole episode in motion....I think it's legit to devote so much time to it. But I see your point; after a while it's like we're having the same discussion three times over.

Apr 9th 2007

As far as the concern that people are going a bit overboard on Jim and Pam to the detriment of other happenings on the show, I'm not sure what else substantively we can analyze/talk about. Sure, Darryl's funny and Michael and Jan are great, but, it kind of seems like Jim and Pam are the meat in the sandwich, to turn a terrible phrase. Certainly there's other stuff to talk about, but the Jim/Pam/Roy/Karen storyline(s) seem to run the deepest. But, as always, that's just my opinion after thinking about this quasi-dispute over the last few days.
And, to answer Office-ay Over-lay's question, I would have been thrilled to see Jim and Pam together: I am excited to see how the writers deal with that, if indeed that's what will come. (Says a guy who remains almost entirely spoilier-free!)

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