25 Love Stories 2/25
Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly (The Office)
When I first began watching The Office, I found myself extremely frustrated with the “mockumentary” style taping. Naturally, our eyes are used to HD everything and thus, something so raw for a television series required some getting used to. And now years later, the distinctive camera techniques played a vast role in creating one of the greatest love stories on television. It’s difficult and quite saddening to imagine that Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly aren’t real people — they are perhaps, in every way, the couple that feels most authentic, and it’s the exact reason why they’re so far up this list. Audiences were given the opportunity to watch Jim and Pam fall for one another in a way we’ve never seen anything before. Since reality TV is actually 90% scripted, the world is much better off watching a series like The Office because at least this way, they’ll find themselves inspired. For the most part, love stories have similar entities making them up, but what makes Jim and Pam special in their own way is the simplicity in their relationship.
While Jim and Pam showcase the fact that there’s truly beauty in ordinary things, they also revolutionize the idea that the greatest adventures aren’t always the ones made up of horses and carriages, but the tender moments in which loving someone makes everything, even an ordinary desk job at a paper company wonderful.
“All I know is that every time I’ve been faced with a tough decision, there is only one thing that outweighs every other concern. One thing that will make you give up on everything you thought you knew, every instinct, every rational calculation. […] Love. No matter what happens, you’ve got to forget about all the other stuff. You’ve got to forget about logic and fear and doubt. You just got to do everything you can to get to the one woman who is going to make all this worth it. At the end of the day, you got to jump” (A.A.R.M. s9e22/23).
Jim Halpert’s description of love should be in the dictionary. It should be the universal definition for love.
What viewers are able to see through the duo is that wherever you end up in life, as long as you’re with your best friend, it’s bound to be a great adventure. For nine years we watched a salesman and a receptionist have fun. And through their delights we were able to see that love is the most remarkable playground — the one place where most of our troubles disappear because even when we scrape our knees, the tears are momentary for the swings keep calling us back.
Their journey’s been anything but easy — it took three whole years for them to finally go on a date and in between we’ve watched them each suffer deeply without one another. However, that suffering wasn’t a waste a time for it was during those moments where they’ve grown the most as characters. It’s in those moments they’ve taken the boldest risks. And it’s those moments that have made excellent television. Let’s take it back to a lovely episode titled “Beach Games” (s3e22), for it features one of the most incredible character defining scenes in history. Pam standing up for herself, her art, and her friendship with Jim is without a doubt one of my favorite parts of the series. It’s not easy to be the person that’s overlooked and for so long that’s exactly who Pam’s been — just the receptionist. It’s disheartening, it’s discouraging, and most importantly no one deserves such treatment. During those times, Jim and Michael were the only people who really saw her as who she was: an artist, a compassionate soul, a hilarious spirit, and most importantly an amazing woman. However, it’s in that scene where the rest of Dunder Mifflin sees her for her bravery. And when you’re in love, being brave is a wonderful risk.
Great romance stories teach us to never settle, but sometimes, life doesn’t work out that way; sometimes, the unfortunate truth is that people aren’t brave enough to take risks for love. Sometimes people stay in unhealthy loveless relationships because they’re comfortable. Surely everyone reading this knows at least one person in their lives who’s in this kind of relationship — whether they believe it’s all they’ll ever be worthy of or they’re merely scared of taking chances, it’s an ongoing tragedy in our everyday lives. That’s why Jim and Pam are so great — they’re ordinary people who were brave enough to take a chance on love. They’re no princess and prince. If Jim hadn’t confessed that he was in love with Pam, she could’ve stayed with Roy. If Pam hadn’t confessed that Jim was the reason she called off her wedding, he would’ve probably stayed with Karen. And that’s unfair to all parties because this way, everyone’s kept away from their one true love that’ll make every little thing in life worth it. Sometimes you fall in love with your best friend other times you fall in love with the one person you’d never expect to, but what matters is that you chose love over comfort and familiarity.
Every love story is special, but for Jim and Pam, and for us, it’s the fact that their lives weren’t glitz and glamour. It took nearly a decade for Jim to find a career he was passionate about and it took Pam a while to realize that school’s not for her. However, in the midst of all that, they’d spend every day of their lives making the best of their ordinary jobs — whether it was the pranks they played, the adoring gazes every second, or the silly break room conversations, together they had everything. It’s so easy to love them so much because it’s so inspiring to know that the little things in life are the most beautiful. It’s always been about each other, whether Jim’s buying a house with an art study to cutting his tie at the wedding to draw attention away from the fact that Pam’s veil tore, or Pam’s moving their entire lives to Austin, Texas so Jim can pursue his dreams.
Jim and Pam loved each other so ardently that they made the best of everything, even the downfalls — they listened to one another, praised one another, and always made sure their partner was at their happiest. And when their children grow up, they’re few of the lucky ones who’ll always know in their hearts that their parents are soul mates. They’ll know in their hearts that no matter what happens in life, love is truly the most beautifully rewarding risk you’ll ever take. There’s truly beauty in ordinary things.