'The Office': Why There Was No Sound in This Pivotal Scene Between Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly

As a mock-documentary series, The Office showcased the relationships between the employees of a fictional paper company. One of the most treasured relationships was that of Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer). 

Often, the scenes between Jim and Pam sparked much debate between showrunners and writers. Most of the time, their scenes were filmed straightforwardly. But there’s one moment between Jim and Pam where showrunners decided to leave the audience in dark and shoot the scene without sound. 

There was a lot of debate surrounding certain scenes on ‘The Office’ 

When it came to shooting big moments on The Office, like Jim and Pam’s first kiss or Michael and Holly’s engagement, showrunners felt the pressure. The audience cared deeply for these characters, so the important moments had to be perfect. 

Greg Daniels spoke with Office actor Brian Baumgartner on his podcast, An Oral History of The Officeabout filming these moments. 

“When Jim says he likes Pam in the parking lot, the writing staff kind of went nuts,” Daniels said. He also discussed the debate between director Ken Kwapis and the writers, who had different ideas regarding how the scene should be shot. 

Kwapis wanted to shoot the shot straightforwardly, but the writers wanted the shot to stay true to the show’s mockumentary style and catch the kiss as it ended. 

Jim Halpert’s proposal to Pam Beesly sparked another debate about sound

As the star couple of The Office, the big moments between Jim and Pam were coveted. 

Once again, showrunners, writers, and even the actors were torn about how to best capture Jim’s proposal to Pam. 

Having waited so long for that moment, some people thought fans should hear what Jim was saying as he asked Pam to marry him. On the other hand, some people thought so much of their relationship was publicized. Why not let them have this beautiful, subtle moment to themselves?

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The proposal was filmed in both ways, and the security guard in the building that The Office was edited in decided which shot was best. He chose the second version — the one with sound — “because [he] could hear it.” 

Two of Jim and Pam’s biggest moments — their first kiss and their engagement — featured sound. But there was another big moment for the couple to experience. And in that moment, showrunners decided no sound was best. 

When Jim and Pam find out they’re having a baby, it’s silent 

Editor Dave Rogers felt like viewers needed to hear the scene where Jim and Pam find out they’re going to have a baby. “You have to have sound — I don’t think you know really know what happens if there’s no [sound],” Rogers told Baumgartner. 

On the other hand, Paul Feig didn’t think the scene needed sound at all. After much debate, the two opted to put a tiny clue in the episode to make fans think Pam could be pregnant. 

When they first arrived at the hospital, a nurse asked Pam if she had any metal plates or if there was a chance she could be pregnant. Later, when Jim went into the exam room with Pam, viewers weren’t able to hear what was being said. Though the scene was silent, it became clear from their reactions that they were going to have a baby. 

Finally, showrunners were able to capture a meaningful scene and convey emotion, but without sound. 

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