Love, Fights, and The Office

Note: This contains spoilers for tonight’s episode of The Office. If you don’t watch the show, I think you can still connect to what I’m going to say below about relationships.

This has been a weird and interesting final season of The Office. The boss has been gone for almost the entire season, Oscar had an affair with Angela’s husband (and nothing has really changed ever since she found out), and Jim has spent most of his time in Philadelphia.

Perhaps biggest of all has been the on-camera appearance of one of the members of the film crew, as well as the suggestion that he likes Pam. It hasn’t been suggested that Pam likes him back, but the story line has been trending towards him becoming a scruffy shoulder to cry on in Scranton while Jim’s away in Philly.

Until tonight.

Tonight reminded me why Jim and Pam’s romance is the best ever in television history. And I needed the reminder, because this whole subplot has been really confusing for me. I mean, Jim has been a pretty terrible husband this season, and Pam has been an almost too-good-to-be-true wife.

That goes against everything they’ve always been to each other.

They’ve always had such an amazing connection with each other (except for the one season Jim dated someone else), and their romance remained interesting on the show long after they were a sure thing. They were real and tender and loving with one another, and they kept up this flirtatious, playful chemistry that made me long for my Pam.

So this season has been weird and confusing. Until, as I said, tonight–here’s the spoiler:

During tonight’s episode, Jim and Pam are frustrated with each other. They almost begin to fight, but Jim brushes it off and they finish their day at the office. At the end of the day, Jim tells Pam that he’s going to head up to Philly instead of going home with her, because, as he says, “If I’m here, we’re just going to fight.” He then gives her a thoughtful gift and grabs his coat.

Pam barely looks at the gift. Something else is on her mind. As they’re walking out the door, she says, “I think you should stay in Scranton tonight. I think you should stay, and I think we should fight.”

Jim is hesitant, but with a weak smile he agrees to “duke it out.”

As someone who has not had a successful romantic relationship, I was really touched by that exchange. Especially with the story line I referenced earlier that had Pam using the scruffy boom-mic guy as a shoulder to cry on. The easy thing for her to do would be to avoid the fight with Jim, to let him go, and to find someone else with whom to talk about her relationship. Heck, that’s probably the most realistic thing she could have done.

But in the end, Jim and Pam are meant to be an example of a truly healthy relationship. That’s what touched me about this, that in the face of something easy, Pam took the hard route. She decided to fight for her relationship, even if that meant fighting with the other half of the relationship.

I don’t think I’ve ever walked away from a serious (and necessary) fight in a relationship, but I’ve most certainly checked out of them. I don’t like to fight, so I think that’s my subconscious way of walking away instead of dealing with the really important thing in front of me.

But I don’t think that’s healthy. I don’t think it’s healthy to fight for the sake of fighting, but to fight because you have something to work out that has reached its boiling point…I think it’s really important to have those fights. To get everything out on the table. To be real and raw and bare.

So thank you, Pam. Thank you for reminding me to fight for–and with–those I love.


3 Responses to “Love, Fights, and The Office”

  1. Emma says:

    100% agree. I really loved how they ended up not avoiding it. Whew!

  2. Katie says:

    I bet they had hot make-up sex afterwards.

    In all seriousness though, I’ve found that most fights can be avoided by honest and frequent communication from both parties. I think too many times people want their partners to be mind readers, and it just doesn’t work that way, no matter how well you know someone. So someone gets upset and resorts to passive-agressive sniping instead of admitting that they’re frustrated with how things are going. You’ve got to give someone a fair shot to fix what’s bothering you, and if they don’t…well, then you can fight. 🙂

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Well said, Katie. I completely agree. In Jim and Pam’s case, for a while Pam had been trying to hide the difficulties of home life from Jim in his absence so that he wouldn’t get stressed out. Pam wasn’t holding those things against Jim, but she started to break down because she felt that she couldn’t express those things to Jim without aggravating him. Her motivation was pure, but as you suggest, she could have avoided the issue by communicating better with Jim in the first place (and Jim could have facilitated that communication better too).

      I have found that I tend to shrug off the little things that bother me in relationships–I’m well aware that I’m pretty particular, so I figure that I shouldn’t be bothered by those little things. So I ignore them, and then they accumulate, and I often don’t even realize how much they’re affecting me and the relationship until my behavior changes and the woman notices before I do. Then we fight. It’s something I’d like to continue to work on.

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