The ‘Office Ladies’ Podcast Finally Squashes That Ugly Rumor About Jim and Pam’s Marriage
To those obsessed Office fans who have spent the last decade worrying about their favorite fictional relationship, rest easy — at no point were the Office writers seriously considering making Jim Halpert step out on his marriage to Pam. After all, he’s no Angela.
The legend of a scrapped infidelity storyline has been swirling around Office fan forums since John Krasinski appeared on the podcast Off the Beat with Brian Baumgartner in late 2021 and dropped the juicy behind-the-scenes secret that the writers wanted him and Cathy Simms, the late-season seductress introduced as Pam’s maternity leave replacement played by Lindsey Broad, to share an on-screen kiss. The scandalous smooch never made it into the script, but this tidbit was enough to cause the overly invested Office fandom to spiral out of control speculating that their favorite TV Wife Guy was supposed to be a philanderer before Krasinski bravely fought off the infidelity arc.
On the most recent episode of another one of the many Office-themed podcasts, the Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer-hosted “Office Ladies,” Pam herself squashed rumors that the most important marriage in sitcom history was supposed to be rocked by a cheating scandal before the actors stepped in to save the day. “Jim was never going to have an affair with, or hook-up with, Cathy,” Fischer stated. “However, there were things about the proposed storyline that did bump me and John (Krasinski) the wrong way.”
“There’s a story going around on the internet saying that the writers originally intended for Jim to have an affair with Cathy, but that John Krasinski was so heavily against the idea that he convinced the writing staff to change their minds about the story line,” Fischer summarized, explaining that the battle of Jim and Pam versus the writers never actually happened the way some overdramatic fans have speculated — though the two definitely had their concerns about the whole “Cathy the Homewrecker” arc.
When Cathy was first introduced in Season Eight, her role as Pam’s replacement causes minor friction between the Halperts as Jim refuses to admit to his heavily pregnant wife that he finds her younger substitute attractive. Then, at the end of the episode “Special Project,” right as Jim, Cathy and a handful of other Office characters are preparing for a multi-episode arc in Tallahassee, Florida, the camera captures Cathy on the phone with an off-screen friend plotting to seduce Jim and speculating that his marriage is most definitely on the rocks.
Fischer called the phone call a “total record scratch for me and John,” saying that, upon reading the “Special Project” script, she and her sitcom husband went to talk to Paul Lieberstein, the actor behind the maligned Toby Flenderson and the showrunner of the series at that point. “We were like, ‘What? Where is this going?’ We said, ‘There is no way that Jim can hook up with Cathy.’ And he said, ‘That’s not part of our plan, we promise you. That’s part of her plan, that’s Cathy’s plan. Jim is not in that plan.’”
Upon reviewing old scripts and outlines from the season, Fischer confirmed that Jim and Cathy were originally supposed to have a more overtly flirtatious relationship, but Jim was never supposed to tread into adulterous territory. Speaking of the infamous “After Hours” episode when Cathy invites herself into Jim’s hotel room, Fischer said, “In the version (that aired) he’s so clearly uncomfortable and everything is a giant ‘no’ every time she does something, but in the original script there was little bit more repartee.”
Basically, Jim is not and was never supposed to be a cheater, but if either the audience or Cathy herself got mixed signals from him, they should all feel free to blame Toby.