Armchair Mogul
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Being Pam Beesly: Part 1 – the Problem with Pammy (and don’t call her “Pammy”)


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“Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam.”

It’s funny how the most innocuous things can make you feel so much.  Nostalgia. Longing. Warmth. Slight annoyance. Complete disdain.

When we first met Pam, we instantly loved her.  And it wasn’t the kind of love TV producers usually try to elicit from us either…and by “elicit”, I mean going through the usual routes, AKA our pants: (the sexy vixen, the sexy tough girl, the sexy lawyer, the sexy nerd – seeing the pattern here?)

No, this was REAL love.  The kind that makes you nervous, the kind that makes you think about forever, not just tonight…What you can give, not what you can get away with.   The show’s producers once described her character as “a flower blooming in a closet” – that is to say, something beautiful and undiscovered.  And I think that was pretty accurate. pam

With her frizzy hair, dowdy clothes and understated demeanor, Pam quietly became America’s unlikely sweetheart – she was that nerdy girl you were friends with but never saw in “that way” until she started going out with someone else and suddenly became the only thing you could think about.

Maybe we loved her because she reminded us of someone we knew or perhaps because she reminded us of ourselves.  After all, isn’t that the fantasy?  That there’s something special inside us that, while invisible to the world, is a shining beacon to that special someone we were meant to be with?  (Agree or disagree, Disney has built an empire of tween dollars based on that very conceit, so there’s got to be something to it.)

Or maybe Jim just loved her so much that we couldn’t help but see her through his eyes as they gazed lovingly down at her from the moorings of his gigantic head as it loomed over her from 4,000 feet in the air.

However it happened, and for whatever reason, stealthily and effortlessly, Pam Beesly became the girl men wanted and women wanted to be.

So when did she become such a B?!?

On tonight’s episode “Double Date”, Pam said the most self-aware thing I’ve heard her utter – EVER.  “I have the worst attitude in the office.”

YES.  YES SHE DOES.  And this includes Stanley “Did I stutter?” Hudson.  Over the last season and a half, even Blindman McSqueezy could see she’s become disruptive, selfish and self-absorbed, which considering how selfless and sweet she was when we met her, is pretty offensive.  Plus, she’s not funny…so…double offensive.

In short, her heart disappears to be working.  We don’t know who Schruted it down in the writers room, but we want our girl back soon or…we might have to start seeing other people.  (Is Karen still in Pawnee?  I wonder how she’s lookin these days?)

In the next entry, I’ll break down some of the ways we think Pam has lost her charm, the reasons she got off-track and what we think needs to happen to summon back Cupid’s sparrow and rekindle our dying love affair with Miss Pamela Morgan Beesly-Halpert.

Until then, drink with me to days gone by.  Here’s Sweet Diss and the Comebacks with “Pam Pong” with heartwrenching visuals by seat18b Productions.  Play me off, boys…!



11 Responses to “Being Pam Beesly: Part 1 – the Problem with Pammy (and don’t call her “Pammy”)”

  1. Oh, Pam. Dear, sweet Pam…what are they doing to you? I understand a character needs to evolve…I think we’d all feel annoyed if Pam Beesly were still the same vanilla, frizzy-haired, insecure, unmotivated, spineless blob she once was. Of course we loved her that way…but I think eventually we’d all just want to scream “DO something about it!!” The same goes for Jim…those things that were so endearing about him…his seeming laziness and immaturity…would eventually become the things that would make us resent him (“Uh, you’re staying indefinitely at a dead-end job b/c you just CHOOSE to be average? Loser!”)

    I get it. People (even fictional ones) have to grow. But it is still a necessity to maintain some of the things that made us fall in love with those characters to begin with. That’s why I think Jim’s promotion is a genius idea. He gets to be the motivated guy. He gets to be the one actually making an effort, but he’s still being sabataged by Michael (or the office) at every turn. It’s a smart way to keep him “down” (where we like him, b/c we love to root for the underdog) w/out making him seem like a total loser. Just like I liked the fact that Pam went to art school, but didn’t finish. She’s still not successful, but she’s less spineless for at least giving it a shot. She was still “down” for failing, but we respected her for trying.

    But in recent episodes, there seems to be a weird dynamic happening, and it started with Michael Scott Paper Co. imo, which I personally loved, but am now not so sure about. I think somewhere in the MSPC episodes, Pam and Michael’s dynamic shifted. It was already starting to happen gradually…people (or maybe it was the audience?) who used to despise Michael’s ways were slowly beginning to love him. And not in a romantic, rose-colored glasses sort-of love….but in a “that’s my mentally handicapped little brother” sort-of way. Pam and Michael became friends. I liked it at first, but then realized the flaw…there was significantly less conflict. The other night I watched an old episode in which Michael promised the entire office a “surprise” to make up for wronging them all in some way (I think it may have been the health insur episode). When everyone realized their only “surprise” was the ice cream sandwiches he’d brought earlier, they stormed out of the office. Jim even slammed something on his desk. People were genuinely mad a Michael. I don’t see that a whole lot anymore. I think it’s getting better now that people have Jim to be mad at, but Pam isn’t getting crap from Michael anymore, and even when she does, we don’t really see it bothering her like it used to. Why does that matter? Because without Pam being treated badly, we don’t feel sorry for her anymore. Why should we? She’s got Jim, she’s gotten prettier, got a baby, got the sales job she wanted, and now she’s chummy with the boss…yeah, why are we rooting for her again?

    Enter the episodes in which Michael dates Pam’s mom. Now we really get to see an independent, outspoken woman with a bad attitude. Not only is Michael’s idiotic authority over her NOT an issue for conflict anymore, but she seems to assert herself in such a way that we realize she no longer fears Michael at all. Kaput. Gone forever is the Pam who cried when Michael fake fired her for stealing office supplies. No longer do we have a girl stuck under the authority of a moronic boss…Michael is actually coming across as more and more of the wise sage with unorthodox methods, and Pam is sadly morphing into a…brat. And with her juxtaposition to Erin, Pam is really looking less and less like the girl we all fell in love with.

    I’m really hoping that the pregnancy and, later, the baby will open Pam up to some real challenges, insults and opportunities to let that sweet little Beesly we all used to know and love shine through. I’m also hoping Jim stands up to her a few more times like in “The Surplus”. Now that was refreshing.

  2. Sorry. I just realized how long my comment was. Guess you can see that I, like you, feel very passionate about the show’s characters. Hope I didn’t spoil anything you were going to say in the next few installments. I’m awaiting those with bated breath. 🙂

  3. My thoughts exactly!
    And that thing you mentioned? About People starting to love Michael? That’s the Kramering. And it cannot be stopped.

    Learn more about the Kramering in “Being Pam Beesly Part 2” – coming this Thursday, just in time for Scott’s Tots!

  4. TOTALLY agree!! Now Pam’s annoying.

  5. Wow guys… i think the new pam is so much more interesting. What with the baby, Jim, and Sales Job. The old Pam was a push-over. Now she is independent and is more of her own character. She is better than ever. Her peak is over, however. She peaked during the episode “Beach Games” when she confronted office mates about her art show, and Jim about how she called off her wedding for him. And she ran across the coals. Haters.

  6. Hey, Slumdun! Happy to have you! But listen…

    Being a hater implies that someone’s going to be against someone or something no matter what. That’s not the case here at all. In fact, it’s the opposite. We love Pam as the character she was when she was introduced to us. Like you, we love her story, we love her arc, we love her growth.

    Unfortunatley, that’s as far as her character, in terms of what it was designed for, can go. I totally agree with you that she’s independent and her own character now. I don’t agree that she’s more interesting.

    A well-balanced, well adjusted, completely fulfilled character isn’t funny or sympathetic. That’s why you never see them in movies and TV shows – or if you do, it’s always a background player. Pam found true love – the ultimate goal of her character – became whole and ceased to be interesting.

    That’s why love stories always end when they do. When’s the last time you asked a happily married couple what they did last weekend?


  8. […] so last time around, we outlined the problem.  And isn’t that the first step to recovery?  Admitting […]

  9. Oh wow so you mean that after she became less meek and expendable she became a worse person? Sorry you don’t like strong independent women.

  10. there is nothing strong or independent about her, that’s the point. she offers moral support, i give her that. and she painted a stupid mural in the warehouse but there is absolutely nothing else she did for that office. some examples of strong and independent women from that show would have to be, Karen, Jo, Holly, Jan…all ambitious, determined, hardworking career women who made names for themselves and never gave up because things just got too hard. If she didn’t have Jim or the babies she would have absolutely no accomplishments in life.

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