Fans of The Office know that the final five minutes of the Season 3 finale,”The Job,” changed everything. On the latest episode of the , however, Jenna Fischer revealed that the cast and crew filmed an alternate ending for several of the episode’s storylines.
“The Job” officially ends with Jim’s big interview with David Wallace at Dunder Mifflin’s corporate office in New York. After Jim finds a yogurt lid gold medal and an encouraging note that Pam slipped into his bag, he becomes visibly flustered and recalls an intimate moment he shared with Pam in the “Beach Games” episode. We then see him drive back to Scranton where he interrupts Pam’s talking head to ask if she wants to grab dinner after work. Pam says yes, and Jim replies, “Then it’s a date.”
After former co-stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey admitted the scene was a perfect end to the season, they reminisced on alternate endings that were filmed and talked about what could have been.
What it was like filming the final episode ending
“Jenna, many, many people have talked about how great you are in that moment. And you are,” Kinsey said talking about Pam’s emotional talking head. “You are so good in that moment. So many emotions go across your face and your eyes tear up. [Director] Ken Kwapis said you made him cry.”
“I was actually looking at Ken Kwapis and he had tears in his eyes and that made me tear up.”
“Well, here’s the thing. I owe that moment to Ken Kwapis. And I’ll tell you why,” Fischer said. “It’s crazy because Ken Kwapis, he was a type of father figure to us. Right, Angela? When he was on the podcast, he explained that his technique is to love people into their best work.”
“We had kind of planned it out with the camera when it was going to swish over and when it was going to come back to me,” Fischer explained. “So in that moment when the camera swishes back to me, I was actually looking at Ken Kwapis and he had tears in his eyes and that made me tear up. And we just shared this moment — this private moment of acknowledgment for this journey of this character. And he smiled at me in a way that a parent smiles at you when they’re proud of you.”
“Listen, if Ken Kwapis looked at me with tears in his eyes, smiling, I would disintegrate because he’s just, it’s like your dad looking at you like that,” Kinsey said. “Like you did it, kiddo. You did it.”
“Yes. And I don’t even know if that performance could have been there with any other director, frankly,” Fischer admitted. “That was a moment between Ken and I that was about so much about my personal Jenna journey with [him] on this show.”
All about the alternates
Though Kinsey loved the final Jim and Pam scene, she was left with one massive unanswered question: What happened to Karen?
“Did Jim frickin’ leave Karen in New York? They rode together, he drove back alone. What the eff?” Kinsey asked.
“Well, I’ll tell you… there were actually two versions in the script for the ending of this episode. There was this version with Jim interrupting my talking head, and then there was a second version which we shot,” Fischer explained. “And in the script it says, ‘Shoot both versions.'”
“Did Jim frickin’ leave Karen in New York?”
The scene didn’t even make the deleted scenes reel, but Fischer described it for listeners.
“In the second version, you hear voiceover of Jim throwing his interview with David. But it’s even more. It’s like, he’s really cracking jokes. He’s not taking it seriously at all, to the point that David actually says, ‘Do you even want this job?’
“Oh, that would have made me uncomfortable,” Kinsey said, to which Fischer replied, “Yeah, it really tips it a little bit more than what you see.”
“Meanwhile, while all that’s happening, you see Pam leaving for the day. She doesn’t do a talking head. She’s just leaving for the day,” Fischer continued. “She gets in the elevator, she goes down the elevator, and then when the elevator doors open, Jim is standing there and she says, ‘You’re back.’ And he says, ‘Yeah, do you want to go to dinner?’ And Pam says, ‘Yeah, I do.'”
“She walks out of the elevator and Jim pushes the camera back into the elevator. And as the doors are closing, they walk off together and he puts his arm around her and they smile at each other,” Fischer said before Kinsey expressed how strongly she dislikes that version of events.
Fischer reached out to The Office director/producer/editor Dave Rogers to inquire about the scene and he confirmed that it still exists in an archive somewhere. He also said they shot an alternate scene where Karen gets the job in New York instead of Ryan.
Ultimately, they didn’t end up giving Karen the job, because around that time Rashida Jones landed her role as Ann Perkins on Parks and Recreation and had to leave The Office.
Be sure to listen to the full podcast episode and read last week’s recap post for more behind-the-scenes stories about filming “The Job.”