Pamela Morgan "Pam" Halpert (née Beesly) March 25, 1979 is a fictional character on the U.S. television sitcom The Office, played by Jenna Fischer. Her counterpart in the original UK series of The Office is Dawn Tinsley.
* 1 Overview
* 2 Casting and character development
* 3 Character history
o 3.1 Seasons 1–3
o 3.2 Seasons 4–6
o 3.3 Season 7
* 4 Coworker relations
o 4.1 Jim
o 4.2 Roy
o 4.3 Toby
* 5 Appearances
* 6 References
Pam Halpert is one of the office employees at the Scranton branch of the fictitious paper-distributor Dunder Mifflin. Many episodes of the series revolve around her desire to be more assertive and have an artistic career, as well as her relationship with co-worker and husband Jim Halpert. The office pranks she and Jim play on his deskmate Dwight Schrute are a cornerstone of the series, as are the often bizarre tasks, assignments, and advice questions given to her by the branch's boss Michael Scott. At the beginning of the series, she was engaged to warehouse worker Roy Anderson, leading to several story arcs of "will they or won't they" tension between her and Jim. She later married and had a baby with Jim. Pam is portrayed as a friendly and generally amicable employee of Dunder Mifflin.
Casting and character development
The character was originally created to be very similar to the British counterpart, Dawn Tinsley. Even minute details, such as how Pam wore her hair each day, were considered by executive producer, Greg Daniels.
"When I went in for The Office, the casting director said to me, 'Please look normal'," recalls Jenna Fischer. "Don't make yourself all pretty, and dare to bore me with your audition. Those were her words. Dare to bore me."
Heeding the advice, Fischer said little during the auditions, during which she was interviewed in character by show producers, in an improvisational format, to imitate the show's documentary premise. "My take on the character of Pam was that she didn't have any media training, so she didn't know how to be a good interview. And also, she didn't care about this interview," she told NPR. "So, I gave very short one-word answers and I tried very hard not to be funny or clever, because I thought that the comedy would come out of just, you know, the real human reactions to the situation...and they liked that take on it."
"When I went in to the audition, the first question that they asked me in the character of Pam - they said, 'Do you like working as a receptionist?' I said, 'No.' And that was it. I didn't speak anymore than that. And they started laughing."
Fischer found herself creating a very elaborate backstory for the character. For the first few seasons, she kept a list of the character history revealed on-screen by the creators, as well as her own imaginative thoughts on Pam's history. She created a rule with the set's hair and make-up department that it couldn't look as though it took Pam more than 30 minutes to do her hair, she formulated ideas as to who gave Pam each piece of jewelry she wore or where she went to college. Fischer also carefully crafted Pam's quiet persona. "Well, my character of Pam is really stuck," she explained to NPR. "I mean, she's a subordinate in this office. And so, I think that for her, the only way she can express herself is in the silences, but you can say so much by not saying anything."
Originally meek and passive, the character grew more assertive as the seasons passed, prompting Fischer to reassess her portrayal. "I have to approach Pam differently [now]," she explained in Season 4, a defining season in which her character finally begins a long awaited relationship with Jim and is accepted into the Pratt Institute. "She is in a loving relationship, she has found her voice, she has started taking art classes. All of these things must inform the character and we need to see changes in the way she moves, speaks, dresses, etc."
At the beginning of the series, Pam and Roy have been dating for eight years and engaged for three. Their open-ended engagement has become one of Michael's running gags and a sore spot for Pam.
Pam does not want her current job to become permanent, remarking that "I don't think it's many little girls' dream to be a receptionist." Pam is apathetic toward her work, evidenced by her frequent games of FreeCell on her office computer. However, in the pilot episode, she breaks down crying when Michael pulls an ill-advised prank by telling her that she will be fired.
Michael has criticized Pam for simply forwarding calls to voice mail without answering and (in a deleted scene) for not sounding enthusiastic enough when speaking on the telephone. Pam is usually happy to abandon her work if asked to do something else by Jim. She will do extra, unnecessary work (such as making a casket for a dead bird or paper doves for the Office Olympics) to make other people happy, however she is no longer allowed to be served at the Chili’s Restaurant chain because she got too drunk at the 2005 Dundie Awards Show.
Despite the abuse she takes from Michael, she never goes any farther than calling him a jerk in the pilot. In later seasons, however, she becomes more honest and forward with Michael and will often make sarcastic comments toward him.
Pam denied, or was in denial about, having any romantic feelings for her friend Jim. After Jim confesses his love for her at the Dunder Mifflin "Casino Night" she turns him down. She later talks to her mom on the phone and says Jim is her best friend (though she doesn't say his name), and says "Yeah, I think I am" to an unheard question.
Season three marks a turning point for Pam's character; she gains self-confidence and appears less passive and more self-assured as the season progresses. In "Gay Witch Hunt," the season's opener, it is revealed that Pam got cold feet before her wedding and did not marry Roy after all (to the dismay of Roy), and that Jim transferred to a different Dunder Mifflin branch, in Stamford, shortly after Pam rejected him. Pam moves into her own apartment, begins taking art classes, a pursuit that Roy had previously dismissed as a waste of time, and buys a new car, a blue Toyota Yaris. Jim returns to Scranton later on as a result of "The Merger", and brings along a female co-worker, Karen Filippelli, whom he begins dating. Jim and Pam appeared to have ended all communication after Jim transfers to the Stamford branch (aside from an episode in which Jim accidentally calls Pam at the end of the work day), and their episodes together following the branch merge are tense, despite both admitting to still harboring feelings for the other during the presence of the documentary cameras.
Meanwhile, Roy—who was arrested for a D.U.I. shortly after his and Pam's break-up—vows to clean up his act and win Pam back. Roy's efforts to improve his relationship with Pam are quite successful, but once Pam and Roy are back together, he falls back into old habits almost immediately. When Roy and Pam attend an after work get-together at a local bar with their co-workers, Pam, feeling that she should be more honest with Roy, tells him about Jim kissing her at "Casino Night." Roy yells, smashes a mirror, and trashes the bar. Pam, frightened and embarrassed by his reaction, breaks up with Roy immediately. Roy vows to kill Jim, and in "The Negotiation", Roy unsuccessfully tries to attack Jim at work (Jim is saved by Dwight's intervention), and is subsequently fired. Pam later reluctantly agrees to meet Roy for coffee at his request, and after the polite but brief meeting, it appears that their relationship has ended amicably with Roy encouraging Pam to pursue Jim.
Pam participates in an art show, but few people attend. Her co-worker, Oscar, brings his partner along who, not knowing that Pam is standing behind him, criticizes her work by proclaiming that "real art requires courage." Oscar then goes on to say that courage isn't one of Pam's strong points. Affected by this statement, Pam tells the documentary crew that she is going to be more honest, culminating in a dramatic coal walk during the next-to-last episode of the season, "Beach Games", and a sincere speech to Jim about their relationship. Michael also comes to the art show and reveals his erratically kind heart and loyalty by buying, framing and hanging Pam's drawing of the Dunder Mifflin building in the office. In the season finale, "The Job," she leaves an affectionate note in Jim's briefcase, which he sees during an interview for a job in New York City. He then withdraws from consideration, driving back to the office and interrupting a talking head Pam is doing for the documentary crew about their relationship, and asks her out for dinner. She happily accepts, visibly moved, forgetting what she was previously saying.