To most out there in TV Land, Jenna Fischer will always be known as Pam Beesly, the plucky receptionist/saleswoman/office administrator on the TV megahit The Office. Strangely enough, as well known as her character is, not much has been seen of Fischer either before or after The Office. Or has there been and we just didn’t notice?
THERE WAS WORK BEFORE THE BIG BREAK
There actually was a lot of work for Jenna Fischer before she got her big break. Her career kicked off a good seven years before The Office rolled into town as she took guest-starring roles in the Michael J. Fox TV series Spin City, Undeclared, What I Like About You, and Strong Medicine.
Fischer was also seen in episodes of Off Centre, Miss Match, and Cold Case. While none of these turns put her on the map, so to speak, it did give Fischer a good look at what life on a TV series would be and fully prepared her for what was to come. Lightning in a bottle.
JENNA FISCHER ON THE OFFICE
And lightning in a bottle it was. The Office premiered in 2005 and was based on the UK series of the same name. Jenna Fischer recalls her audition for Pam Beesly as one of being as boring as possible.
As she told NPR’s Fresh Air hosts, “And my take on the character of Pam was that she didn’t have any media training, so she didn’t know how to be a good interview. And also, she didn’t care about this interview. And so, I gave very short one-word answers. And I tried very hard not to be funny or clever, because I thought that the comedy would come out of just, you know, the real human reactions to the situation. And it was great. It was great. We clicked quickly. And they liked that take on it.”
But Jenna Fischer wasn’t the only one to audition for the role. Kathryn Hahn took a shot at it as did Angela Kinsey. Kinsey came in for the audition, but the producers decided she was a bit too feisty for the role. Instead she was offered the part of Angela Martin, which Kinsey gladly accepted.
The Office made Jenna Fischer a bona fide star. Her portrayal of Pam Beesly was at times low-key, timid and plain, eventually turning into a powerhouse of a character. Watching Beesly grow on TV was also watching Jenna Fischer grow as an actress, which is why Fischer tried many times to step outside of Pam Beesly’s shadow.
ATTEMPTING TO MAKE JENNA A MOVIE STAR
The Office ran from 2005 through 2013, when it aired its final episode. During that time, Hollywood tried to make a movie star of Jenna Fischer. And she went along for the ride.
During her hiatuses from the show, Jenna Fischer jumped over to the big screen, taking on movies that she hoped would launch her movie career. She was seen in: Slither, Blades of Glory, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The Promotion, Solitary Man, A Little Help, and Hall Pass.
As you can see, Jenna Fischer got tons of work in her “off-time” but sadly it never translated. It seems that fans wanted her as Pam Beesly and that was it.
THAT JIM AND PAM CHEMISTRY
Over the years since The Office went off the air, Jenna Fischer has always been asked about her relationship with on-screen husband John Krasinski, who played Jim Halpert. So, she decided to come clean about her feelings towards both John and Jim.
Jenna told Andy Cohen on his Watch What Happens Live show per the Los Angeles Times, “John and I have real chemistry,” she said. “There’s like a real part of me that is Pam and a real part of him that’s Jim. And those parts of us were genuinely in love with one another.” So, it was real!
JENNA FISCHER AFTER THE OFFICE
Life after The Office continued for Fischer. Before it ended, though, Jenna Fischer divorced Director/Writer James Gunn. Yes, the James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy fame and offensive tweets notoriety. They were married in 2000 and lasted until 2007. In 2010, Jenna Fischer married screenwriter Lee Kirk and the two have remained in wedded bliss since. They also have two children.
On the professional front, Fischer’s career hasn’t been exactly rolling as fast some of her ex-Office mates. She has been seen on various TV series such as The Mysteries of Laura, The Grinder, Drunk History, and The Guest Book. She did have minimal success with the TV series Splitting Up Together, which lasted two seasons.
Jenna Fischer’s biggest break ended up not being one at all. Fischer was up for a role on Man With A Plan as Matt LeBlanc’s wife. She was extremely confident she got the role, so confident that she had people ready to do her makeup and hair for the upcoming announcement. But on the day of the announcement, JennanFischer got a call, as she told Variety. “They’re picking up the show but focus groups didn’t love the chemistry between you and Matt LeBlanc — they didn’t believe you as a couple — and since it’s Matt’s show they’re obviously not replacing Matt. So they’ll be replacing you.” The brutal life in Hollywood.
JENNA FISCHER NOW
Even though life after The Office hasn’t quite been what Jenna Fischer had hoped for, she continues to work. But now, her work now is on the radio.
JennanFischer is a co-host of her own podcast called Office Ladies and she is on this venture with ex-Office co-worker Angela Kinsey. They started their podcast in October of 2019 and are still going strong. In it, they talk about many things, much having to do with The Office as they also bring in special guests from The Office. It’s a great listen, give it a shot and let’s hope that Jenna Fischer is back on the TV screen in the near future.