The Office: 20 Things Wrong With Pam We All Choose To Ignore

Pam Beesly is much more than one half of one of the greatest TV romances of all time. We watched her relationship with Jim Halpert develop over the course of nine seasons on The Office, which ran for over 200 episodes between 2005 and 2013. While the series may have concluded nearly six years ago, many continue to revisit the sitcom thanks to the beloved characters. As many fans will surely agree, Pam was one of the most lovable of them all.

Jenna Fischer portrayed the Pam throughout the series, as worked her way up from receptionist to saleswoman, and eventually to office administrator and entrepreneur. Her budding romance with Jim is what got many people hooked to the show in the first place, and when the two finally got together in season four, it was everything that fans had been waiting for.

That’s not to say that Pam is flawless. In fact, quite the contrary. There are many qualities about the character that are far from perfect — which is arguably what makes Pam so relatable in the first place. There were a few times these flaws and inconsistencies went too far, drawing attention to themselves in an unfavorable way. This may have been because Pam was simply having an off day, or because the writers weren't paying close enough attention. When you love a character so much, it can be easy to overlook these minor infractions.

Here are 20 Things Wrong With Pam We All Choose To Ignore.

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20 She doesn’t know how to spell her own name

The Office Pam with Resume

Before she became Mrs. Halpert, the most conventional spelling of Pam’s last name was “Beesly.” This is how it appears most often throughout the show, as well as anytime that Fischer is credited with playing the character. However, Beesly isn’t spelled the same throughout the series.

When Dwight is promoted to the office’s security advisor in season two, Pam’s last name is spelled “Beesely” on her I.D. badge. Earlier on that same season, it appears as “Beasly” on Kevin’s computer monitor. This wasn’t just a problem in the earlier days of the show, as her name was once again misspelled as “Beesely” during the final season. So either Pam didn’t care when people misspelled her name, or those making the show weren’t paying close enough attention.

19 Her love/hate relationship with volleyball

In the season five finale, we not only learn that Pam is expecting her first child, but that she is also an accomplished volleyball player. Her skills are on full display at the company picnic, where the Scranton branch gets to face-off against the corporate office for the championship. Pam tells us that she played throughout high school and college, and that she even went to volleyball camp most summers.

However, this doesn’t mesh with what we learned about Pam in the previous season, where she claimed she used to fake sick to get out of volleyball. Even if Pam wasn’t a big fan of high school, it seems unlikely that someone who was so passionate about volleyball wouldn’t take every opportunity to play the game.

18 When she started working at Dunder Mifflin

Jim close to Pam The Office

It’s widely believed that Pam started working at the Scranton branch before Jim. This seems apparently clear in the season four episode “Launch Party”, where Jim recounts Pam walking him to his desk and warning him about his future deskmate, Dwight.

However, at other points in the series, we’re also told that Pam started working at the office in 2002 and that Jim has been working there for seven years. This would put Jim’s start date ahead of Pam’s. This means Jim’s story about first meeting Pam would have been impossible. However, it seems far more likely that the writers confused the timeline of events rather than the characters not being able to remember their own pasts.

17 She knew she had feelings for Jim long before season 3

Jim and Pam in Casino Night The Office

For the first two seasons of the show, we watch Jim and Pam flirt with each other under the guise of being just friends. Of course, Pam’s hands were tied due to her engagement with Roy, but there’s no way she doesn’t share deeper feelings for Jim. When Jim actually confesses his love to her, Pam almost seems to go into shock. It’s as if she never even considered that there was an unspoken attraction between the two of them.

While this allowed The Office to string out the "will they/ won’t they" relationship between Pam and Jim for another season, it was strange on Pam's part. Even if Jim took Pam by surprise, we'd already seen her jealous of Jim dating Katy, indicating that Pam definitely had feelings for him long before season three.

16 She sabotaged Jim and Karen’s relationship

Karen might have been a better fit for Jim in the long run. She was far more driven, business-minded, and she had no problem leaving the small-town life. Fans of the show still couldn’t wait for Jim and Karen’s relationship to crash and burn so Pam could move back in.

This is why most turned a blind eye when Pam blatantly torpedoed the couple's relationship. During the office's beach day, Pam couldn’t help but let her true feelings be known, which drove a wedge between Jim and Karen. Maybe this is similar to what Jim did to Pam at the end of season two, but the big difference is that Pam wasn’t happy with Roy, whereas Jim seemed content with Karen. Not to mention that Pam had already had her chance with Jim and shot him down.

15 She wasn’t always turned off by Toby

For someone who is so mild-mannered, Toby Flenderson certainly gets the short end of the stick more than most. Fan theories speculating that he may have been the real Scranton Strangler certainly don’t help matters. In reality, the only thing about Tony that is a turn-off is his uncomfortable crush on Pam.

Believe it or not, Toby might have actually had a chance at one point. In the season two episode “The Fire”, Pam picks Toby as a possible suitor when playing conversation games with her co-workers. Once Toby develops a crush for Pam, she seems totally blind to his advances, which shouldn't have been the case if Toby was someone she was once interested in.

14 She didn’t trust Jim around Cathy

Pam and Jim’s marriage may have faced the first real test in season nine, but the couple still experienced their fair share of bumps along the way. One of these came when Jim was partnered up with the new Sabre employee, Cathy. Pam went to great lengths to prove that Jim found Cathy attractive.

Even if Pam was feeling insecure due to her pregnancy, it's pretty low that she needed to make her husband feel bad about something as simple as finding another woman attractive — especially when Jim had gone to such great lengths in the past to prove that Pam was the only woman for him. In fact, it's so uncharacteristic of Pam, that it seemed like the writers were simply creating drama for drama's sake.

13 She was a bad salesperson

Pam was such a fan-favorite character that it can be hard to admit that she didn’t deserve better-- or, at the very least, that she wasn’t able to succeed at the things she tried hardest at. That being said, Pam proved herself to be an incompetent salesperson, so much so that she needed to lie her way into a new position.

Though she had long served as the office receptionist, Pam gets experience in sales when she quits and joins the Michael Scott Paper Company. She stays on in sales when she rejoins Dunder Mifflin, where she ends up losing a number of clients in the process. Nevertheless, it can be easy to chalk this failure up as bad luck rather than accept it as one of Pam's shortcomings.

12 She doesn’t want her mom (or Michael) to be happy

Pam has her own complicated relationship with happiness at the beginning of the series. She seems complacent in a dead-end job and an unfulfilling relationship. It’s not until season three that she really steps up and takes control of her life, and thus, becomes a much happier person.

Therefore, Pam should have a better idea than most that people need to do what makes them happy, even if it scares them and doesn’t always seem to make sense. Yet, when her newly-divorced mother finds happiness dating Michael, Pam simply can’t let it stand. It would have been one thing for Pam to be annoyed by the relationship and keep it to herself. She explicitly tells Michael to not date her mother numerous times over, even though she can clearly see that the two are happy together.

11 She loves the house Jim buys (until she hates it)

Jim buys his childhood home so that he can start a family with Pam. While Jim definitely should have consulted Pam first, her surprise over the purchase quickly turns into loving appreciation — especially when Jim shows her the future art studio that she can set up in the garage.

When the couple's relationship took a turn for the worst in season nine, Pam confesses that she always resented Jim buying the house. While it's possible that she always harbored some apprehensive feelings, it simply doesn't mesh with what we'd already witnessed. It's as if things weren't already bad enough for the couple in the later episodes, so the writers had to come up with other ways to add fuel to the fire.   

10 She’s overconfident in her artistic abilities

Sadly, Pam just might not be the artist she thinks she is. While stuck as a receptionist, Pam seems to think of her artistic abilities as another possible career path — one that simply never came to fruition due to the circumstances.

When we first get a real look at Pam’s watercolor paintings, they’re not exactly groundbreaking. Of course, other characters seem to acknowledge this throughout the show, but it still might be hard for some fans to admit that it may have been Pam’s lack of skill — rather than her lack of motivation — that resulted in her never becoming a professional artist.

9 She blamed Jim for her parent’s divorce

In one of her more outlandish moments on the series, Pam ends up putting the blame on Jim when her parents decide to split up. The moment comes after Pam asks Jim to speak with her father, believing he might be able to offer some advice about her parents' marriage. Qhen Pam’s dad decides to move out of the house instead, Pam inexplicably believes that it must have been something Jim said that prompted her father to do so.

Pam doesn’t even try to talk to her father beforehand and find out exactly what happened before she deems Jim to be at fault. She even takes it as a sign that her marriage to Jim might not be as rock-solid as she previously thought.

8 She’s not nearly as innocent as she seems

The Office Pam Beasley Halpert

Everyone on The Office engages in their fair share of lying, often for the sake of keeping their relationships a secret. Pam is usually viewed as one of the more trustworthy employees at Dunder Mifflin Scranton, but is she really as innocent as she seems?

While Pam has certainly never gone as far as two-timing her partner, she does engage in her fair share of lying throughout the series. For instance, Pam decides to make up a totally new office position for herself when she ends up tanking in sales. She also lied for Angela on numerous occasions, along with making everyone lie on her behalf to trick her grandmother after she becomes pregnant. Sure, Pam had her reasons, but they weren't always the noblest.

7 She kept Jim from following his dreams

Jim Halpert A Bit Sad in The Office

After a nearly flawless relationship, the final season of The Office found Pam and Jim’s marriage seriously on the rocks. With Jim splitting time between Dunder Mifflin and Athleap, Pam was left back in Scranton, where she was forced to balance a job while raising the family.

To be fair, Jim could have done a much better job at being a husband and a father during this transition, but that doesn’t mean that Pam didn’t contribute to Jim not following his dreams. This is especially noticeable because Jim encouraged Pam to follow her dreams numerous times over with her art and work in sales, yet she wasn't able to do the same for him when he needed it most.

6 She let others take the blame

Pam may have her fair share of shortcoming, but in the end, she’s usually able to admit her own mistakes. However, in the season nine episode “Lice,” Pam seems to have no problem letting Meredith take the fall for her. The moment comes when Pam is at one of her lowest points; Jim is off having fun in Philly while Pam is stuck working and raising the kids. Things grow exponentially worse when Cece gets lice and Pam ends up inadvertently infesting the office.

Even though she knows it’s her fault from the get-go, Pam goes along with everyone else when the blame is pinned on Meredith. Meredith even ends up shaving her head as a result, and Pam never comes clean on her own. It's only after the truth is exposed that Pam is forced to apologize.

5 She bashed Michael for quitting, then did the same thing

Whenever Michael has a crazy idea, Pam is usually one of the first to try and steer him in the right direction — and often for good reason. Such is the case when Michael puts in his two weeks notice and decides to start up his own paper company on a whim. Pam questions the move, worried that Michael really doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. Then in the exact same episode, she turns around and decides to join him.

Of course, watching Michael go off and start his own paper company alone wouldn't have been very entertaining, and he needed others to go with him for the sake of the story. This sudden shift in character for Pam could have been handled better.

4 She’s okay with two-timing, as long as Jim doesn’t do it

The Office Andy and Angela

For years, Pam kept the relationship between Dwight and Angela a secret. Despite not being particularly fond of these two co-workers in the early days, Pam decided that they should ultimately be able to enjoy their privacy.

Things completely changed when Angela started dating Andy, yet continued seeing Dwight. While Pam knew about this affair for almost the entire time, she once again decided to keep her mouth shut. One could argue that she was simply minding her own business, but didn’t she (or any of the other co-workers) owe it to Andy to let him know the truth? Given how much Pam cared about remaining faithful in her own relationship, you would think she wouldn't let this type of dishonesty stand for so long.

3 Her changing mother

Most people remember Pam’s mother from the relationship she strikes up with Michael, but the character actually made her debut way back in season two when she visits the office before going out to dinner with Pam and Roy. It may be a brief appearance, but it’s also one of the first times that we get an idea that Pam might have additional feelings for Jim — as Pam’s mom immediately asks which employee is Jim upon entering the office.

When Pam’s mom reappears much later on in the series, many may not have even realized that she’s portrayed by a different actress. While this is far from uncommon for sitcoms, it’s also worth noting that Pam’s mother’s personality and the dynamic between the two seems to have changed quite a bit as well.

2 Her entire relationship with Brian, the boom operator

This unsavory Pam plot point doesn’t always get ignored by fans, but it’s so egregious that it’s still worth mentioning here. As if the breakdown in communication between Pam and Jim wasn’t bad enough in season nine, the writers decided to tease a possible clandestine relationship between Pam and the boom mic operator, Brian. While things go sour between the two long before this happens, the situation once again finds Pam oblivious to the feelings of a co-worker.

Just like the audience, Pam should have known that Brian was looking for more than just a friendship, yet she continues to confide in him behind Jim's back. Even worse, Brian turns out to be a bit of a jerk in the end and he is never mentioned again.

1 She’s her own worst enemy

Though Pam is innately loveable, that doesn’t change the fact that she has some serious character flaws. While it would be nice to think that much of her early season misfortune is a result of bad luck, the reality is that Pam is often her own worst enemy.

She stays in a dead-end job and a dead-end engagement for much longer than she should. Thankfully, she finds the courage to make a change in the later seasons — though this is not without its fair share of backsliding. At the same time, this is ultimately what makes Pam one of the most relatable characters on The Office. Everyone’s own worst enemy is ultimately themselves, and watching Pam overcome her flaws throughout the series is both heartwarming and encouraging.


What other issues with Pam do The Office fans overlook? Let us know!

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