Question: Fans got pretty nervous when Jim and Pam started experiencing marital problems after several seasons of bliss. Greg, what made you decide to explore that route in the final season, and John, what was that like to play?
Greg Daniels: I want to compliment and share credit with John and the cast who became producers this year, John and Jenna and Rainn and Ed. This was something that we wanted to do, but the bones of it came a lot out of something from his brother. Do you want to tell the story?
John Krasinski: Yeah. My favorite thing about the show has always bee, especially with the Jim and Pam story, how real the writers have always been to a relationship in that yes, they’re incredibly blissful times, like you were saying. But there’s also times where the world around them can stall out and feel like it’s not enough or feel bland or more exciting from time-to-time.
And so my whole pitch to Greg 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. And the idea of Jim’s ambition was always one of my favorite things from the early seasons that it seemed like between Australia and trying to being the boss at corporate and NYC. And I think that all those things for me were really exciting that Jim always felt like there was something that he could be doing more of, and then I wanted to explore that.
The idea of him going to another city came from my brother actually. In his work at the beginning of his job, he was traveling a lot all over the country for all his different clients and it was definitely a strain on the family in a very new way. Obviously, not a strain that was as dramatic as what we did on the show, but it was a thing where sort of seemingly simple things like basic spending time with your children and in the same city was becoming more and more difficult, and just harder to do mentally.
And so 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.” The exciting thing was to know that the audience would sort of take a guess at what Jim would do and what Pam would do, and so to run those numbers on this relationship was really, really interesting to me. Rather than introducing an affair or something like that. A huge credit to Greg and the writers, they’ve never gone the easy route. They’ve always gone the very realistic route and I’ve always really, really admired that.
Greg Daniels: Yeah, and I was just very attracted to the idea of doing something that would matter, and where people would feel very involved, and I think that there are a number of moments this year where, you really become involved in what’s happening. And in order to get that feeling of involvement there, you need some ups and downs.