From our first glimpse of her, sitting in reception, Jenna Fischer has portrayed the demure and put-upon Pam Beasley with style, wit and grace. We fell in love with her over the first two seasons, but it was in the third that she really shone. From the first episode, as Pam struggled to adjust to her new life as a single girl and a life without Jim, we saw the shy receptionist grow into a confidant woman. While she was exceptional at all times in the third season, there are a few moments where she really proved what an amazing actress she is.
Pam realizes Karen and Jim are dating
Just one of her many exceptional moments was in “The Merger,” where Pam tried her best to return her and Jim’s relationship back to normal. She is heartbroken, however, to realize that Jim has yet to truly forgive her for rejecting him and that he is now involved with the sophisticated Karen. Despite this, Pam pushes on, trying to become a stronger person while at the same time trying to repair the distance between her and Jim. In “The Convict,” Jim plays a prank on Andy by giving him misinformation on what Pam likes and Pam is thrilled to see a glimpse of her old friend again. Then, in “Back From Vacation,” Pam puts aside her own feelings to encourage Jim to take the next step in his relationship with Karen…allowing her to move to a place close to him. In one of the most tear jerking moments of the season, we see Pam crying as she accepts she has just pushed Jim closer to Karen. However, over a short time, Pam makes a remarkable transition from pining for Jim from afar to accepting what has happened and trying to start afresh with Roy. She enters into an art show in “Business School”, which unfortunately no one from work, except Oscar, comes to. Just as she is about to take down her artwork, however, Michael comes along and tries to buy one of her paintings.
Pam hugs Michael
As he tells her how proud of her he is, Pam surprises him and herself by hugging him. As Pam tells us in “Cocktails,” “I have decided that I'm going to be more honest. I'm going to tell people what I want. Directly. So, look out world, cause ol' Pammy is getting what she wants.” But when she tries to be more honest with Roy and tell him that she and Jim kissed, it backfires and he tries to attack Jim. Once again, Pam and Jim are at a crossroads, with Pam insisting she and Roy are over and Jim not convinced they won’t find their way back to each other.
All of this has been leading up to Pam’s best moment of the season…her confession on Beach Day. After she is the only person, other than an absurd attempt by Dwight, to walk across fiery coals, she makes an impromptu speech to her co-workers.
Pam prepares to get her feet burned
It is at this moment that she decides to confess to Jim her reasons for calling off her wedding and how much she misses him. The entire speech only lasts a few minutes, but it is one of the best and most heart-wrenching scenes of the season. Though her co-workers tease her about the confession, Pam seems to have had a weight lifted off her. While Jim goes to New York City to interview for a job, Pam is given the position of “Secret Assistant to the Regional Manager” by Dwight, which she happily accepts as a way to goof off. Even how she acts around the other employees has changed since Beach Day. She is more assertive and confidant, even insisting everyone listens to Dwight’s presentation on The History of Paper. It’s the final few minutes of the season finale, however, that really prove why Jenna Fischer deserves an Emmy. Pam is in the conference room, telling the cameraman that she is sure Jim got the job at corporate and that even if he doesn’t come back, everything will be fine. Just then, Jim enters the room and asks Pam out to dinner. Pam accepts, Jim leaves, and she turns to the camera. Her smile and tearful eyes say it all. “I'm sorry, what was the question?”
"I'm sorry. What was the question?"
From an unknown to our favorite receptionist, Jenna Fischer has blossomed over the past three seasons. If you compare her to the other actresses in the category, I think she stands out above the crowd. While she will probably exceed our expectations next season, I still think she deserves the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series this year because she was both remarkable as an actress and remarkable in supporting the entire ensemble cast. I truly think that without her, the show might have fallen flat.