Baby Blues for The Office
"'Shipper," "'shippiness," "'shipperhood." Those words -- used to describe your allegiance to certain fictional characters getting together with other fictional characters -- make my skin crawl, as do the multitude of forums and sites devoted to the discussion of said 'ships.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, count yourself lucky. Until now -- because once I explain it, you can't unread it. So, "'ship" is the abbreviated way of referring to a "relationship," because in this impatient world where we communicate in 140 characters or less (hey, I've been bitten by the Twitterbug, too, so I'm not judging), it takes too long to say "relationship," so we say "'ship." As in, "I'm a big fan of the Archie and Betty 'ship, but NOT the Archie and Veronica 'ship."
Taking it a step further, fans of various "'ships" refer to themselves as "'shippers." They put themselves squarely in one "'ship" camp or the other and quite often come to online blows with fans in an opposing "'ship camp." Like, "I'm SO an Edward-Bella 'shipper! I loathe the idea of a Jacob-Bella 'ship." Those "'shippers" often come up with combined names to shorten the term even more. So, if you are in the tank for Pam and Jim over on The Office, you might call them "Pim" or "Jam." Personally, I call them Pim, but only because I like to drink.
Aaaand that is how I will segue into my topic o' the week: The Pim relationship on The Office.
Gael over at PopCultureJunkMail linked up to some spoilers for the new season, and commented, "Love that show, but I'm not sure how the big new Jim-Pam plotline will help things." I'm of the exact same mind.
At the risk of becoming HUGELY unpopular after only my second post here at BlogHer, I have to admit that while I've been a Pim 'shipper in the past (sigh, it's unavoidable, that word), I got not just a little sick of their Jim and Pamminess last season. I was thrilled when they finally got together at the end of season three for two reasons. The being the way they got together. Jim just running in and asking Pam for a date was subtle, sweet, and not cloying in the least. The second reason is that in season four, the writers did an excellent job with Pim. In fact, the writers did so well that they actually managed to prove wrong the well-founded idea that TV relationships are ruined once they are consummated and the public yearning is gratified.
Quite the contrary, plenty of story lines kept the signature quirkiness going for Jim and Pam. Among others, there was the time they spent their first night away together to Dwight's beet farm bed and breakfast ("Money" is one of my favorite episodes of all time); and then there was the "Dinner Party," that horrifically strained, hysterical, craw-under-the-couch-and-hide awkward episode. I ask you, how can a couple be cloying when one of them tries and fails to ditch the other at a dinner party from hell?
And yet. There were a few moments last season where I caught myself rolling my eyes over their cuteness. Like, I found it a bit much when Pam got offended when no one from the office had congratulated her on getting engaged to Jim. And when they spent the entire day on their bluetooths (blueteeth?) together? Yeah. That made me throw up in my mouth -- not a little -- a lot.
It leads me to believe that the Pim 'ship works best when the light isn't shined directly on it. Instead, as it catches the glints bouncing off other story lines, it manages to give off its own comical, yet endearing, glow.
Because of that, I'm afraid I must disagree with both Queen at GlossLip, who commented, "I am sure Pam and Jim’s nuptials, Pam’s pregnancy and their journey into parenthood will be simply hilarious" and Jane from TV Squad who said, "Now I can't wait to see how things develop with the wedding and (possibly) baby. Just the thought of the storylines and reactions from their office-mates is making me giddy."
I'm actually really concerned over how precious Pam's pregnancy is going to get. Because, as I said, if their relationship was already bordering on the so-sweet-it-makes-your-teeth-itch side for me, throwing a baby in there is just going to shove it into a root canal.
And I don't say that as someone who hates kids and babies in all forms. Quite the contrary, I say that as the mother of her first two-month-old, who, unfortunately, HAS become One of Those Mothers who thinks her baby IS the cutest baby ever and who WILL offer to show you photos of said cutest baby ever, knowing full well you can't, in all politeness, refuse to look and coo over those photos. It's evil but it's true.
Frankly, I think the only way to save the story line is to Michael it up. You KNOW Michael's going to treat Pam and Jim's baby as if he's directly related to it. Remember how involved he got in Phyllis' wedding? Well, think about it, that was just Phyllis. Jim and Pam are the "popular couple," and Michael wants to be part of that.
Will he nominate himself as the baby's godfather and force an entire baptism-palooza on the couple? If so, he'll either decide to perform the christening himself or spend the entire episode locked in a very bad Marlon Brando imitation. Or, given that Jan cheated Michael out of being involved in her baby's birth, I could totally see Michael undergoing doula training just so he can be in the room during delivery. With Pam in stirrups and Michael encouraging her to breathe, squat, or yoga through the pain, there's plenty of room for those sweet, but horribly uncomfortable, moments that Steve Carell does so well.
I do agree with Dan Hopper at Best Week Ever about how the show handled the pregnancy reveal:
On to less pressing matters...Pam's pregnant, huh? On paper, a go-to season finale plot twist, but the show never built it up, ads for the show never said "WAIT'LL YOU SEE THIS CUH-RAZZZY ENDING," they didn't stupidly dramatize it, and it ended up being a really nice, really fitting end to a season that really hasn’t given Jim and Pam much to do comedy-wise.
All true, so maybe they will handle the rest of the pregnancy the same way. Fingers crossed.
Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a contributing editor to BlogHer's Pop Culture and Entertainment sections. She spends a great deal of time yelling and throwing the occasional fruit and/or vegetable at her TV. That said, she loves television almost as much as she loves cooking. Her personal site is The Grub Report where she makes fun of her food and other aspects of her life.