Jim & Pam: Trouble in Paradise

JAM's romance has been on the rocks for the first time in Office history.  The iconic couple has had its share of ups and downs, sure, but nothing so heavy as to inspire fans all over the web to start asking whether PB&J might be headed for divorce court. They say there are three sides to every story.  His, hers and the truth.  Here's our attempt at sorting it all out.

The Problem

In the beginning of Season 9, we're told Jim's college friend is starting up a new sports marketing company in Philly. Jim says in the season opener that the location "doesn't really work for the family".  A little later on, Jim gives an ominous look as Pam proclaims: "Nothing interesting is going to happen to us for a long, long time."

Whoa. Nothing?
When The Office calls Pete the new Jim, Jim investigates.  First he says he has nothing in common with "Plop", but then has this to say: "If he doesn't watch himself, he’s gonna be here for years, doing nothing. Wow, maybe Pete is the new Jim."

By the end of the episode, Jim's secretly calling his friend and telling him he's "all in" on the company, without Pam knowing anything about it.  Jim explains his reasons for keeping Pam in the dark as "It's not even real yet. And I'm not gonna tell her 'til it's real." S9E2 "Roy's Wedding

When Jim tries to recruit Darryl into the new company, Darryl tells him "It's not real... until your wife is on board." S9E3 "Andy's Ancestry" And Jim finally spills the beans to Pam, but we don't hear the exchange.

The conversation must've gone well from Jim's perspective, because he has this to say afterwards: "I don't know what I was so worried about. I have the best wife in the world." S9E3 "Andy's Ancestry" Pam says "I still can't believe he didn't tell me"

In the next episode, Jim understands he was wrong for keeping the secret and is very appreciative of how well Pam is handling it. 

"Last week, I finally told Pam about the other job I took in Philly...the side job. And she was so incredibly cool about it. And now I just wanna do something huge for her. Like if we were in some biker bar and she mouthed off to some bikers and they came lumbering over and I was like wham! [mimes punch] Gotta go through me first." S9E4 "Work Bus"

Jim spends the remainder of that episode trying to go out of his way to get Pam pies she likes from a rural pie stand to make up for his mistake.  In the next episode, it's clear Pam's not entirely cool with it. 

Pam: So the sports marketing business that Jim told everyone about except for me?
Jim: There’s a big investment lunch today, so I decided to skip the costume.
Pam: Unless he has a secret costume that he told everyone about except for me.
Jim: Gettin’ a lot of mileage out of this, aren’t ya?
Pam: Yeah, well, get used to it, bud.
S9E5 "Here Comes Treble"

In this episode, Jim has a meeting with the Athlead people and ahead of time, Pam encourages him to invest in the company.  But when he tells her how much and that he invested after everyone else said they were past the investments, Pam flips out.  

In a subsequent episode Jim says for the first time he's excited about work, referring to his first board meeting with Athlead via conference call.  When Colin tells him he's not sure how things are going to work with Jim staying in Scranton, the episode ends on a question mark.  In the next episode, Jim and Pam tell the camera crew he'll be asking David Wallace if he can work part time for Dunder Mifflin, while working the remainder of the week in Philly.

In S9E9 "Dwight Christmas" Jim's heading off to Philly at the end of the day while Pam plans a Dwight centered Christmas party for his last full day in the office.  He leaves on a good note with Pam and then comes back.  When Pam asks if he missed his bus, he says no.  "I missed my wife" (aww!)

In S9E10 "Lice" The cracks are starting to show.  Jim has a meeting with Dr. J, complete with limo ride, which he keeps from Pam so she won't know how awesome his day is.  Pam keeps from him that things are so challenging for her at home, especially now that Cici's contracted lice. 

In S9E11 "Suit Warehouse" Pam is told by one of Athlead's employees that they wish Jim didn't have to work part time in Scranton and Pam says she thinks of him as working part time in Philadelphia   To which the employee responds that he can't wait until they move to Philly. Pam clearly hadn't considered that they'd be moving. 

And by S9E12 "Customer Loyalty" Pam and Jim are officially breaking under the pressure of it all.  When Jim can't make it to Cici's dance recital, he asks her to record it on her phone.  Meanwhile, Pam's waiting for  a call telling her she got a major mural commission   The call comes in right in the middle of Cici's number and Pam's unable to record her performance.  When she tells Jim about her mistake, he comes down hard on her.  She doesn't have a chance to tell him about her mural and Brian the sound guy swoops in to comfort her crying.

In S9E13 "Junior Salesmen" Pam thanks Brian for being there for her.  When Dwight is in charge of replacing Jim for the days he is gone and his choices aren't the best desk mates for Pam, Jim intervienes so that Clark ends up being Pam's new desk mate.  At the end of the episode, Jim explains that where people sit matters because those are the people you end up spending your life with.  When he goes on to say his position in the office was responsible for him falling in love with Pam, the camera shows a smiling Brian watching Pam.

In S9E14 "Vandalism" Pam's upset that her mural in the warehouse was defaced.  When she says she feels like she's on her own since Jim's gone, Brian bumps her in the head with the boom mike, and she says she's not totally alone.  When Frank the warehouse guy tries to attack Pam in the parking lot, Brian steps in and comes to her rescue.  At the very end of the episode, Brian's being fired for stepping into the story and Pam tries to comfort him.  As he leaves, an awkward moment passes between them as Brian says: "Look. I don't, I don't wanna put myself where I don't belong. If you ever need me, you just call me. And I'll be there for you."

In S9E15 "Couple's Discount" Jim and Pam are having lunch with Brian, whom Jim calls a good guy earlier in the episode.  At the lunch, Brian explains his wife Alyssa and him are splitting up. When Brian gets choked up about it, he comments that Pam and he shouldn't keep crying in front of each other.  And Jim's surprised, obviously not knowing how Brian had comforted her in S9E12 "Customer Loyalty" Also in that conversation, Brian mentions how his wife and he had stopped fighting.  When Jim's upset with Pam about her not telling him about the intimate moment she'd had with Brian and talks about just leaving early, she stops him and says he should stay so they can fight.  

In S9E16 "Moving On" Pam's setting off to interview for a job in Philly.  She explains that things are moving a little faster than she'd expected.  When the job turns out to be a receptionst job for a very familiar type boss, she says she just "can't." She calls Jim to tell him about it, but he's busy with work and pushes her off till later in the day.  When she comes to Athlead to meet him that night, he's ordered a romantic meal for the two of them. They fall into their familiar old banter about her interview and when Jim encourages her that her next interview will be better, Pam finally speaks up.

Pam: I don't know.
Jim: What do you mean? Of course it will. You're amazing.
Pam: I know. It's just even if it was, a great boss and a great job, I just, I don't know, I don't know if I want, um, I don't know if I want this.
Jim: [long pause] Huh. This is a little out of left field.
Pam: Is it? I just, I liked our life in Scranton.
Jim: And I have started a business in Philadelphia. [Pam shrugs]
In S9E18 "Promos" Pam's excited to see her and Jim's past moments in the new Promos showing their upcoming documentary. But it's obvious they haven't resolved their issues by the awkward phone conversation they have. Later in the episode, Pam goes to visit Brian to find out how little privacy the Office crew actually had over the last 10 years.  When they go out onto Brian's terrace, Pam comments that it has a nice view (Perhaps a throwback to Pam's comment in S2E15 "Boys & Girls" "I always dreamed of a house with a terrace upstairs...I'm not going to try to get a house like that. Um... they don't even make houses like that in Scranton. So, I'm never going to...[cries]" And in S8E3 "Lotto" where she talks about her dream house in New York City "And then every morning, I'd walk out on to my terrace...") When she sits down to talk to Brian, instead of asking about the documentary, she blurts out a question about her marriage. 

Pam: Do you think Jim's changed?
Brian: Um...
Pam: I'm sorry. Did that? That was out of the blue-
Brian: No no, it's-
Pam: I just mean because you know us and you like observed us for ten years and I feel like he's- I just feel like...he's so into his work right now and....I don't know, am I crazy?
Brian: No, you're not crazy.
Pam: Well, I wish that made me feel better.

In S9E19 "Stairmageddon" Jim and Pam are headed for marital counseling.  Before going, they discuss their issues individually with Nellie and Toby.  Pam says she feels like Jim always makes their big decisions for her and at some point he needs to stop being rewarded for this, while Jim says if he didn't make big moves without talking to her, she'd be married to Roy.  Pam says he's always making the family decisions and she's left playing catch up, while Jim says Athlead will be huge for their family if only she can hang on for just a little while.  Toby poses an interesting question by saying:

TOBY: What's a little while?
JIM: What do you mean?
TOBY: I mean, what's the end date? You know, it must be really hard for her to sign on to be unhappy if she doesn't know when it's going to end.
JIM: That's kind of an impossible question. S9E19 "Stairmageddon"

Pam says later on that she doesn't want to talk ultimatums, but she doesn't want Jim to be part of Athlead anymore and she is not moving their family to Philly.  Jim says if Pam doesn't agree to go to Philly then "We're going to need a lot more than counseling" (Yikes)

(Episodes will be added as they air)

Jim's Side

Alright, so right now our beloved Jimothy isn't looking so hot.  But in his defense, we offer the following as proof that he's always been fairly clear (at least with us) about his feelings toward his job as a paper salesmen and his dreams for a better life.

Flashback to S4E5 "Local Ad" in which Jim creates a Second Life alter-ego to track Dwight.  Jim gets embarrassed when Pam wants to know more about his avatar.  In his Second Life, he's a sports writer in Philadelphia   Jim keeps trying to change the subject away from his secret dream, but Pam pushes saying "I want to see more of Philly Jim. I want Philly Jim."

Second Life

Here's some quotes from throughout the series highlighting Jim's conflicting desire to leave or move up the ladder with Dunder Mifflin:

"Right now this is just a job. If I advance any higher in this company, then this would be my career. And well, if this were my career I'd have to throw myself in front of a train." S1E3 "Health Care"

"Jim: [on cell phone] Great. Yeah, I'll see you next week. Thank you, and here is Karen Filipelli. Bye.
Karen: Hello? Yeah, hi David. Yes, I would like to be considered for the corporate position in well.
Jim: In well?
Karen: As well." S3E22 "Beach Games"

"Jim: Well, I don't think I'll be here in ten years." S4E7 "Survivor Man"

"David: Jim had an interesting idea to help you with this extra work load and it involved you being promoted to oversee all northeast sales and then Jim would be promoted to your position.
Michael: This was Jim's idea?
David: Mmhmm.
Michael: Wow. Ummm, well I'd have to talk to my mother and my guy at H and R Block.
David: Ummm... okay, here's the thing though. The plan doesn't work unless we have someone to replace you. I was hoping... plus we have to worry about Jim, he has another job offer. We may have to replace him." S6E2 "The Meeting"

"Jim: How many times have I asked you to put me up for a branch manager job?
Michael: I never recommended you because I didn't want to lose you and I didn't want to lose Pam, and now I don't wanna lose the baby." S6E2 "The Meeting"

"Jim: [on phone] Well, I really appreciate the offer, but I'm just happy the way things are. Okay. Thank you. [to Pam] That was Jo, asking me if I wanted to take over as acting manager while they find a replacement." S7E23 "Dwight K. Schrute (Acting) Manager"

He's asking a lot from Pam, obviously, but hasn't he always been by her side?  

Exhibit A: He suffered through her conflicting feelings toward him for nearly 4 years before they finally hooked up.  He's encouraged her to pursue her dreams of becoming an artist since way back when she was still with Roy.  When they started dating, he supported her decision to go to New York to study graphic design and never complained much at all (definitely not to her) about the wear it was causing on their relationship.  He even proposed while she was still living there! It was Pam's choice in the end to decide to return to Scranton and begin her life with Jim, not his. 

Pam, also, should have spoken up much sooner about her apprehensions with Athlead before Jim had fully committed himself to the company.  Pam's lack of courage highlighted in Season 3 rears it's ugly head again and puts Jim in quite the difficult position.

Pam's Side

Of course Jim's been supportive of her throughout their relationship, but he was never duped into said support without Pam discussing things with him first.  Jim can't say the same this time around.  He made decisions on his own that should be a team effort in a marriage.  Like getting involved with Athlead after they'd decided together it was a bad idea.  And investing more money than they'd agreed to.  Pam also remained supportive of him and his split-residences even though it meant her taking more on with the kids, and only began to voice her concerns once she realized these changes meant uprooting their entire lives, changing jobs, cities and schools for the kids.  

Now the big problem we see is the fact that Pam is slowly reverting back to her old self, pre-PBJ.  While Jim's not nearly the douche Roy was, he is acting awfully selfish and as episodes go by, more and more expecting Pam to just be OK with everything and all the changes he alone is making.  Pam is closing in on herself, just as she did with Roy, keeping the stress for him to a minimum while taking everything on herself. When this was going on with Roy, enter comforting, supportive, I-care-about-you-more-than-he-does Jim.  Now that it's going on with Jim, ditto Brian.  Now we're not saying the show will end with Pam running off with the Boom Guy into the proverbial sunset, but they're certainly hinting toward an affair.  Here's hoping the documentary itself can save our beloved JAM before things get too far.  We're guessing the writers are just throwing a curve ball into the bore-fest that's become of JAM since the wedding really, so we can have an emotional reunion just in time for the finale. 

On why the writers decided to start giving PB&J some real marital problems this season: Watch this video

Agree with our commentary? Disagree? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook

For the best of PB&J Check out our up to season 3 guide to the best of JAM: The Essential PB&J Episodes: A Guide