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 with other stars like Steve Carrell, John Krasinski, and Rainn Wilson.
Strangely enough, as well-known as her character is, not much has been seen of Fischer either before or after The Office when it comes to the big or small screen. But she’s become a star in another medium, and it all has to do with The Office.
THE OFFICE LADIES IS A TOP PODCAST
Jenna Fischer 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.
On the show, the two go through each and every episode and talk about the story, behind-the-scenes stories, thoughts they had at the time and things they noticed on a rewatch, as well as other elements of the series.
Along the way, they’ve had numerous The Office cast members, writers, and talents in to talk about the episodes and the series as a whole. As of this writing, The Office Ladies was through 153 episodes and had just recorded “Garage Sale” which was the 19th episode of Season 7. So they still have some way to go here.
It’s been an incredibly popular venture for the two real-life friends, becoming one of the most-listened-to podcasts in and around the television space. It’s also helped spawn similar projects with other series going back and looking at the show in an episode-by-episode fashion.
The Office Ladies was even turned into an animated series on Comedy Central’s YouTube channel.
JENNA FISCHER HAD TELEVISION WORK BEFORE THE OFFICE
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. 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. And what came would be a role many could only dream of getting.
JENNA FISCHER IS PAM BEESLY IN THE OFFICE
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 where she was being as boring as possible.
She told NPR’s Fresh Air hosts, “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.
Her will-they-won’t-they relationship with John Krasinski’s Jim Halpert was one of the truly classic television romances. Starting basically from the jump and continuing into the third season of the series, The Office was built simultaneously around Steve Carell’s Michael Scott and his relative cluelessness along with Jim and Pam’s near misses.
The two became the backbone of the series and their storyline, even if a bit fabricated near the end, was one of the most iconic on-screen couples we’ve ever seen.
JENNA FISCHER WAS IN MULTIPLE MOVIES DURING HER RUN ON THE OFFICE
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.
SHE SAYS SHE WAS IN LOVE WITH JOHN KRASINSKI
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 MARRIED AND DIVORCED JAMES GUNN
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.
The two met through James’s brother Sean. They even filmed a movie together, which Fischer directed and starred in, Lollilove. It was a mockumentary-style flick (sounds familiar) that had Gunn and Fischer as a couple who give lollipops to homeless people.
In real life, the two divorced in 2008.
SHE IS NOW MARRIED TO LEE KIRK
In 2010, Jenna Fischer married screenwriter Lee Kirk and the two have remained in wedded bliss since.
They also have two children together and when Jenna Fischer was pregnant in real life, it was timed with her Pam character going the same direction on The Office. It was a major part of the storyline in Season 8.
JENNA FISCHER HAS TAKEN A BREAK FROM ACTING
On the professional acting front, Fischer’s career hasn’t been exactly rolling as fast as 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.
And 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, Jenna Fischer 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 IS ON INSTAGRAM
Like most celebrities, Jenna Fischer has an Instagram account, which is relatively active. She has more than 3.6 million followers on the social media platform.
The feed is a mix of personal and professional elements as well as callbacks to The Office. In general, while Jenna Fischer’s career hasn’t followed the same path she saw early on with a massive sitcom, she has continued on with projects and there is still a contingent of fans that will always know her as Pam.
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