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Why Pam From Home Sweet Home Alone Looks So Familiar

Few holiday movies have established a legacy on par with "Home Alone." The 1990 hit has spawned a number of sequels, and the beloved franchise will soon receive a reboot on Disney+ with the release of "Home Sweet Home Alone." Overall, "Home Sweet Home Alone" will utilize much of the same formula that made the original film so popular (so much so that original director Chris Columbus has been critical of its existence), but it will bring in plenty of new characters, including one known as Pam Fritzovski –- a robber looking to rob the home of Max Mercer (Archie Yates) alongside her husband, Jeff (Rob Delaney).

Pam Fritzovski will be portrayed by actor and comedian Ellie Kemper. Kemper has established a strong reputation for hilarious performances and bizarre characters, as evidenced by her lengthy IMDb page. Ahead of the release of "Home Sweet Home Alone" on November 12, here's a look back on some of Kemper's biggest and best roles to date.

She replaced Pam as the Dunder Mifflin receptionist

Following a solid career as a sketch and improv comedian, as well as a string of minor guest roles, Ellie Kemper eventually graduated to the role that would ultimately propel her to stardom: Erin Hannon on NBC's "The Office." Though initially positioned as a temporary character on "The Office," Erin's overly-bubbly and naïve persona proved popular with audiences, and Kemper stayed on the series from 2009 through the end of its run in 2013. Over the course of Kemper's tenure on the beloved series, her character became close with numerous Dunder Mifflin coworkers, including Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) who became a sort of father figure to her. 

In addition to serving as one of the main comedic powerhouses on the show during the back half of its run, Erin Hannon was also one of the main romantic storylines on "The Office." She first developed an awkward relationship with Gabe (Zach Woods), as well as a lengthy will-they-won't-they romance with Andy Bernard (Ed Helms). The latter romance played a pivotal role in "The Office" narrative for multiple seasons, but the actors behind the two characters have admitted that they did not like how the romance progressed with the series. In the final season, Erin began dating late-series addition Pete (Jake Lacy), though her finale arc focused on reuniting with her birth parents (Joan Cusack and Ed Begley Jr.) 

She was a bridesmaid in Bridesmaids

One strength that Ellie Kemper has long displayed as a comedian is her ability to take on characters that seem wholesome on the surface, but have a wild side lurking underneath. One film that definitely encapsulates that idea is her role as Becca in Paul Feig's "Bridesmaids." A naïve young newlywed who is recruited as a bridesmaid for Lillian's (Maya Rudolph) wedding, Kemper is paired up with the older and far more jaded Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), whose cynical view of married life ultimately instills terror in the young Becca.

Although "Bridesmaids" is largely anchored by the performances of Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Rose Byrne, the supporting cast played a huge role in the success of the film. Melissa McCarthy received an Oscar nomination for her performance as Megan, and the central "Bridesmaids" ensemble (Kemper included) won an MTV Movie Award for "Best Gut-Wrenching Performance." With so much fanfare surrounding the film, many have clamored for a sequel. However, earlier in 2021, Wiig revealed to US Weekly that they would not be moving forward with a second installment in the "Bridesmaids" saga.

She hit on Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street

The year after her appearance in "Bridesmaids," Ellie Kemper appeared in yet another instant classic comedy, this time under the direction of Phil Lord and Chris Miller. In the big-screen reboot of "21 Jump Street," she took on the role of Ms. Griggs, a friendly high school teacher who develops a crush on Channing Tatum's Jenko (who is working undercover as a high school student). Though she only has a few scenes in the film, Kemper makes her limited screen time count as Ms. Griggs, portraying her as a friendly (albeit repressed) woman who is unable to control herself at the sight of the film's resident hunk. Luckily for her, she gets her wish and beds Jenko in a closet during the film's end credits, likening him to "two Hardy Boys in one."

"21 Jump Street" is chock full of great bit parts for well-known comedians. In addition to Kemper, the film's supporting cast also includes "New Girl" star Jake Johnson, "Parks and Recreation" star Nick Offerman, and "The Daily Show" alum Rob Riggle. However, even among all of those great names, Kemper still managed to stand out among her peers.

She emerged from the bunker in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

If Ellie Kemper's previous credits prove one thing, it's that she knows how to deliver an impressive supporting performance with limited screen time. But she also has the charisma and comedic chops to anchor her very own project as well. Few TV series prove that better than Netflix's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," which ran from 2015 to 2019 with Kemper starring in the titular role. In the series, Kemper portrays Kimmy Schmidt: a young woman who emerges from a bunker 15 years after being kidnapped by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm). She must adjust to modern life after almost two decades away from the real world, but she couldn't be more excited to do so.

Created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" proved itself an immediate and undeniable sensation when it first debuted. The series was nominated for 18 Emmys over the course of its run on Netflix and featured excellent supporting performances by Titus Burgess, Jane Krakowski, and Carol Kane. In fact, in a writeup in The Week, writer Scott Meslow even went so far as to refer to "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" as "the first great sitcom of the streaming era." The show returned for an interactive Netflix special "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs The Reverend" in May of 2020.  

Kemper will have the opportunity to play the lead role again in the upcoming film "Happiness for Beginners," based on the book by Katherine Center, which is expected to be released sometime next year.