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The Jim And Pam Moment From The Office That Wouldn't Fly Today

Most fans of The Office would probably consider Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesley (Jenna Fischer) to be the embodiment of couple goals, but it's unlikely that some of their early flirtations would have been viewed the same way by audiences today. While Jim is known for his hilarious antics and the heartfelt, vulnerable moments he shares with Pam, a lot of his actions make for great TV but would never fly in an actual workplace, which stars of the show have even admitted themselves.

During a December 2019 episode of the Office Girls podcast, Jenna Fischer admitted that when re-watching old episodes, she realized she'd "forgotten how really cringey and uncomfortable the show can get sometimes." When it comes to cringe, there's no shortage of scenes that fit the bill — but there's one truly uncomfortable interaction in particular that will go down in Office history as being one of the best examples of something that happened on the show that would result in termination if anyone ever tried it in real life.

Jim crossed a major line during a season 2 episode

Without a doubt, one of the most uncomfortable scenes in the entire series takes place during season 2, episode 6, when Jim and Pam's relationship takes a surprisingly physical turn.

On the episode, entitled "The Fight," Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) are determined to have a physical fight to settle a debate about which one of them is stronger. The entire office treks down to a local dojo to watch the ensuing slap-fight, and while the main action is taking place, Pam and Jim are engaged in their usual flirting. As viewers of the show know, this is par for the course in early Office seasons, but things take an inappropriate turn when Jim and Pam start to pretend-fight. Jim lifts Pam off the ground, causing her shirt to ride up and reveal her midriff. 

Though at first, Pam laughs as she tells Jim to stop, once she notices Meredith Palmer (Kate Flannery) watching them, her tone turns serious and she seems genuinely upset as she again asks Jim to let her go. Jim, who initially ignores Pam's repeated protests, quickly puts her down. She walks off, visibly unsettled. Jim, meanwhile, looks shaken and confused.

Verbally flirting is one thing, but physically picking up your co-worker? Is this the moment where Jim really crossed the line? And for that matter, did Pam cross the line first by pretending to ram into Jim during their mock-fight?

Jim was eventually able to repair his relationship with Pam

While describing Jim's actions as harassment might be going too far, most who have actually worked in an office setting would agree that touching your co-worker in any way — outside of a short handshake — isn't common behavior. Physically lifting a co-worker off the ground and exposing their body in the process could be basis for an employee to get fired, and maybe even sued. 

The awkwardness of the scene is compounded by Pam's discomfort at the fact that her co-workers have seen the inappropriate moment take place. Even though Jim's intentions aren't to embarrass Pam or make her uncomfortable in any way, he's unwittingly engaged in behavior that could damage her career by making others view her as unprofessional.

Luckily, The Office addresses how inappropriate Jim's behavior was by having him struggle with the aftermath during the rest of the episode. In one scene, he writes and deletes an email apologizing for the misstep, and although he never sends it, it's a relief for viewers that Jim is aware that he crossed a line and behaved unprofessionally. His remorse is solidified by the end of the episode when he leaves a bag of chips on Pam's desk on his way out as a way to extend an olive branch, erasing the awkwardness of the day and putting their relationship back to normal — or, at least what counts as "normal" in the world of The Office.

The Office devoted itself to being realistic, especially in later seasons, and it almost backfired

The awkwardness between Jim and Pam during "The Fight" is realistic but uncomfortable to watch, and that feeling is exactly what The Office is known for. Unfortunately for fans of the couple, that dedication to being reflective of real life almost culminated in what would have been a devastating break-up in the show's ninth season.

In writer Andy Greene's book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History, it's revealed that John Krasinski almost successfully petitioned for a Jim-and-Pam split during the final season.

"My whole pitch to [showrunner] Greg [Daniels] was that we've done so much with Jim and Pam, and now, after marriage and kids, there was a bit of a lull there, I think, for them about what they wanted to do," Krasinski recalled. "For me it was, 'Can you have this perfect relationship go through a split and keep it the same?' — which, of course, you can't. And I said to Greg, 'It would be really interesting to see how that split will affect two people that you know so well.'"

Luckily for Jim and Pam fans, that reality never came to fruition. The couple ended the series strong, with their relationship firmly intact, despite a few uncomfortable missteps along the way.