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The Office's Producers Were Initially Concerned About Pam & Erin's Similarities

If you were to ask someone who works in an office environment to describe their workplace, odds are they wouldn't have much fun stuff to say. They'd likely describe the setting as pretty mundane, with minimal off-the-wall moments to speak of. That's a far cry from the office culture depicted on the hit sitcom "The Office," where all kinds of shenanigans take place at the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. This is thanks to its crew of entertaining characters portrayed by some of the strongest comedic actors around.

Names like Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) are now pop culture mainstays due to their antics and arcs on "The Office." While some members of the Dunder Mifflin crew aren't as popular or well-known as their colleagues, they still contributed to the show's legacy and stand as individuals in the eyes of fans. In hindsight, it might be difficult for "Office" fans to imagine any of the characters getting lost in the shuffle or not standing on their own, but this was a very real concern with some of the series regulars.

As it turns out, producers of "The Office" were initially worried that fans would see Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) and the character-breaking Erin Hannon (Ellie Kemper) as effectively the same character due to their similarities.

The Office team worked hard to make Erin's personality different from Pam's

As revealed in the book "The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s" by Andy Greene, from the moment plans were in place to introduce Erin Hannon, folks were worried that she would come across too much like Pam Beesly. "The concern off the bat was that she was going to be too much like Pam," revealed writer Warren Lieberstein (via Cheat Sheet). To counteract this, they tried their hardest to make her as different from Pam as possible. As Lieberstein recalls, she became a people-pleaser who was just behind the curve and thought the world of Michael Scott — very much setting her apart from Pam.

This course ultimately helped Erin not become a forgettable clone of Pam, but all in all, the "Office" writers didn't always take Erin in the right direction. According to Ellie Kemper herself, one of the weakest elements of her character was her relationship with Ed Helms' Andy Bernard. "I felt like Andy was a bit too childish. He wasn't ready to take care of Erin. Erin was ready to take care of Andy, but I felt that it was uneven in that respect," she told Kevin Malone actor Brian Baumgartner during her appearance on his podcast, "An Oral History of The Office."

Like pretty much every character on "The Office," Erin Hannon had her share of ups and downs. Thankfully, she now endures as a fully-fledged character all her own — not one remembered for being identical to Pam Beesly.