John Krasinski and Greg Daniels – Shutting Down The Office
by Jay S. Jacobs
A couple of weeks before the series’ grand finale, we were able to speak with Krasinski and Daniels on a conference call with some other outlets discussing the final days at The Office.
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: Well, for this one, I want to compliment and share credit with John and the cast, who became producers this year – John and Jenna [Fisher] and Rainn [Wilson] and Ed [Helms]. This was something that we wanted to do, but the bones of it came a lot out of something from his brother. (to John) Do you want to tell the story?
John Krasinski: Yeah. My favorite thing about the show has always been, especially with the Jim and Pam story, how real the writers have always been to a relationship. Yes, there are 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 that it is enough. Or feel bland or more exciting from time-to-time. So my whole pitch to Greg was that we’ve done so much with Jim and Pam. After marriage and kids there was a bit of a lull there, I think, about what they wanted to do. The idea of Jim’s ambition was always one of my favorite things from the early seasons. It seemed like between Australia and trying to be the boss at corporate and NYC.
All those things for me were really exciting – that Jim always felt like there was something that he could be doing more of. 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. 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 seemingly simple things like basic spending time with your children and in the same city was becoming more and more difficult. Putting a strain on. Just harder to do mentally.
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. I said to Greg, “It would be really interesting to see how that split will affect two people that you know so well.” I think the exciting thing was to know that the audience would take a guess at what Jim would do and what Pam would do, 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. I’ve always really, really admired that.
Greg Daniels: I was just very attracted to the idea of doing something that would matter, and where people would feel very involved. I think that there are a number of moments this year where you really become involved in what’s happening. In order to get that feeling of involvement there you need some ups and downs.
Are there any finale spoilers that you might be able to tell us about? I know it’s a one-hour one this year.
Greg Daniels: Yeah, it may be even bigger than the one-hour one. We’re trying to get more time. The network’s being very creative about scraping some more time together for us without having us start the finale in a weird time that will cause half the audience to miss the first ten minutes or something. So, we’ll see how we’re doing, but we’re still hopeful to get slightly more than an hour too.