John Krasinski has opened up about a scene from The Office that he flat out refused to do. It might have actually saved the whole show. Had this happened we'd be talking about the series very differently.
The Office is one of the most iconic shows ever on television. The mockumentary holds up nearly 17 years since its premiere as being one of the most recognizable shows ever, which is in large part due to the cast of eccentric characters. And while famous actors like Steve Carell might have been considered the initial cause of success for the sitcom, it was arguably the relationship between John Krasinski as Jim and Jenna Fischer as Pam that held the show’s attention with its fans. It earned the duo a title amongst the ranks of the greatest on-screen couples. But what would have happened to the show’s success had the celebrated couple’s relationship not stood the test of time? Luckily we didn’t have to find out because of John Krasinski and the only time he refused to act out a scene.
According to John Krasinski, who portrayed Jim for all nine seasons of The Office, there was only one time that he refused to film a scene. The scene in question wasn’t refused by John Krasinski for being absurd or controversial. Instead, John refused a scene that he felt would have shaken Jim and Pam fans to the core by requiring Jim to make out with another character. The full story is found in the new book titled Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of the Office.
The new book was released on November 15th and written by The Office’s own Brian Baumgartner, who portrayed Kevin on the show. Co-written with the show’s producer, Ben Silverman, the book shares details from exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes stories. Through the book, the entire Office gang reminisces and divulges never told before secrets from the set of the show. One of those secrets, shared by John Krasinski, detailed the only time the actor ever refused to film a scene for the show. In the book, John Krasinski depicts how he was supposed to kiss Cathy, Pam’s temporary replacement in season eight while she was on maternity leave.
The refusal by John Krasinski in question happened on the episode titled After Hours. In the episode, Jim and a few other Dunder Mifflin employees take a business trip to Florida. Attempting to seduce Jim, Cathy works her way into Jim’s hotel room in an attempt to seduce him. True to the character’s form, Jim assures Cathy he is happily married, before hastily forcing her out of his room with an impromptu Dwight mishap, in which Dwight barges in the room spraying for bed bugs. This would be the ending to the Cathy and Jim fiasco, but John Krasinski reveals in the new book how showrunners really wanted that scene to play out.
At the time of filming the episode, showrunner Greg Daniels wanted Jim to make out with Cathy in Florida, to which Krasinski vehemently refused. “My feeling is there is a threshold with which you can push our audience. They are so dedicated. We have shown such great respect to them. But there’s a moment where if you push them too far, they’ll never come back. And I think that if you show Jim cheating, they’ll never come back.”
Greg Daniels still defends his idea for the infidelity scene even with the objection by John Krasinski, saying, “I feel like that kind of worry was good in terms of the fans’ engagement. I think they knew what was coming. They were very comfortable with the show they were getting, and I needed to worry them that maybe I was going to give them a bad ending so they were happy when they got a good ending.”
But the show’s ratings at the time beg to differ. After frontman Steve Carell left the show at the end of season seven, season eight of The Office received the lowest ratings of the series. Rotten Tomatoes gave the season a rating of 44. Likewise, the consensus from fans over the additions of Cathy’s character was anger. So much so that the actress portraying Cathy still to this day receives hate from the fanbase for trying to break up the iconic couple. Ultimately, whether or not Greg Daniels was right in saying that the almost-kiss between Jim and Cathy would have improved the show, once again the world is thankful for John Krasinski, and his attentiveness to these details.