John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer brought to life one of TV's most beloved couples on The Office as Jim and Pam, becoming clear fan favorites throughout the nine season run of the sitcom. However, the writers on the show originally envisioned the couple splitting in Season 9.
In Andy Greene's new book, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, it has been revealed that Greg Daniels wanted to shake up Jim and Pam's relationship in the final season. When the couple's relationship is tested as Jim takes a job in Philly, and Pam struggles to take care of their children, it was clear the show was hinting at the two separating. Pam even turns to Brian, who's part of the camera crew, for advice, breaking the fourth wall and inspiring a one-sided crush on his end.
John Krasinki also wanted to do something different with their relationship at first, which undoubtedly helped inspire their issues in Season 9. "My whole pitch to Greg [Daniels] 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," Krasinki told Greene in the book, per Collider. "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.’"
Writer Brent Forrester added that the plan was initially to have Jim and Pam split halfway through the season, later reuniting in the final episode of the series. "Greg really wanted to do something extremely risky and high-stakes, which was the documentary airs and we see what effect it has had on these characters," Forrester explained. "And there was going to be a reunion episode where you see that Jim and Pam have split up by this time, and they will have their reunion in the reunion episode."
Daniels ultimately had the final say in the matter, but Warren Lieberstein said the idea "wasn't universally loved" by the rest of the writing team. Incorporating Brian, who would have been an unseen presence in Pam's life throughout the series, was one of the few ways the writers believed they could pull off a possible love triangle. Writer Owen Ellickson said at one point there was talk about Pam and Brian "maybe hooking up a little bit," but Daniels never wanted to challenge their relationship to such an extreme level.
"It was just to introduce worry in the audience, which I think happened," said Ellickson. "I mean there are people who in season eight were like, 'They’re so boring. They just hang out together and there’s no angst. We used to love the angst with their relationship.'"
The plotline was met with a mixed response from fans, so they decided to rework it during production. "We had to pull the ripcord on it because it was so painful to the fans of the show," added Forester. "John Krasinski said to me, ‘Brent, this final season is for the ultra fans of the show. They’re the only ones really still left watching, right? This is for them. Jim and Pam splitting up is too painful for them to sustain all the way to the reunion. We have to get them back together immediately.'"