I know almost nothing about Jenna Fischer’s career outside of The Office. I know she had a major role in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, but I haven’t seen the movie. She was also apparently in Blades of Glory — didn’t see it. I kind of remember her being on That 70s Show, but I don’t remember her character’s name or purpose.
But she has brought to life a believable and memorable TV character as Pam Beesley, the funny-while-put-upon receptionist who finally gets the love (though not the respect) she deserves on NBC’s Thursday night must-seer. Her character first appeared kind of frumpy and depressed and has blossomed as the storyline has developed. And I think the show’s writers have correctly judged that another “will they, won’t they” sitcom romance will hold so little suspense that it’s almost better to let the characters get on with it. (I feel I should here quote Cosmo Kramer, who was once enchanted with a bookstore clerk, “And that name! Pam. Pam! PAM!!!”)
Maybe it was her introduction, performed by boss Michael Scott — “If you think she’s cute now, you should have seen her a couple years ago”– or her long engagement to the unworthy warehouse lug Roy, or the distress she felt at office-buddy Jim’s declaration of love, or the yet-unfulfilled dreams of being an artist instead of a receptionist, fans have felt protective of Pam Beesley. We may not need to any longer.
In this past week’s episode, Pam plays hard ball when it comes to the employees’ recommendation on how to spend a budget surplus, obliquely threatening her co-worker/mate into agreeing with her. As much as I liked the hounded look of the ol’ receptionist, I love the daring, sexy character that she has become. Lucky John Krasinski.
And lucky us, the pathetic television-addicted guys, who have something to look forward to each Thursday.