Throughout the nine-year run of “The Office,” one of the more appealing storylines was Michael Scott and Pam Beesly (Steve Carell and Jenna Fischer). Pam always had her foolish but well-intentioned boss’s best interests in mind, even as her own life was disintegrating. But a crucial episode in season three unveiled a depth to their bond that had not previously been witnessed. And the focal point of it all was a prop that wasn’t what it first appeared to be.
Pam was the only employee who had Michael completely under control. She was the sole employee to transfer to the Michael Scott Paper Company from Dunder Mifflin. Despite all of his shortcomings, Michael Scott always had Pam’s best interests in mind. When Pam left for art school, her supervisor wrote her a farewell poem. Since Pam and Michael had such a close relationship, many “The Office” viewers feel that the show should have concluded with their tearful airport farewell at the end of season seven.
The nine-year run of “The Office” involved significant effort to attain authenticity because the show was recorded in “mockumentary” style, disguised as a documentary being made at a Pennsylvania paper firm. Hardcore fans may be disappointed to discover that the cherished watercolour depiction of the Dunder Mifflin skyscraper from Pam’s art exhibit in season three was not actually a watercolour at all.
It revealed more about Michael than Pam
The “Business School” episode had a significant impact on Pam and Michael’s relationship as well as their character development. We start to witness a more assured Pam Beesly in “The Office’s” third season. Even though she has reconciled with her ex-fiance Roy (David Denman), who claims she had “the prettiest art of all the art,” she is unwilling to revert to her old ways.
Except for Oscar and his snobbish partner Gil, virtually no other members of the office showed out to support Pam’s confidence. Until Michael Scott shows up, that is. Their friendship deepened as a result of the touching encounter.
However, the episode also focuses on Michael Scott’s personal development. In “The Office,” Michael has many bad days, but this could be one of the worst. Because temporary Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak) asks Michael to speak at his college business class, the episode is titled “Business School.” Michael initially feels honoured, but soon understands that they are there to talk about the paper industry’s failed business strategy.
The classmates in Ryan’s business class might as well have been assaulting Michael Scott because Dunder Mifflin embodies who he is. He must confront the reality that his knowledge of the paper industry is deteriorating.
Michael, one of only two coworkers to do so, nevertheless dashes across town to make it to Pam’s art exhibition (Oscar being the other). Once there, Michael praises Pam’s work in a way that brings Pam to tears. In subsequent episodes, we would gradually start to see more of this previously unseen aspect of Michael.
How crucial was the painting to the production? A flashback shows Michael hanging Pam’s watercolour in the Dunder Mifflin office in the final frame of the entire series. The problem is that it isn’t exactly a painting.
There’s no real painting of the Dunder Mifflin building
Fans of the programme were informed by Fischer in Episode 46 of the “Office Ladies” podcast that no one had painted the watercolour because it wasn’t a genuine work of art. By Fischer
“I got a little lowdown on the Dunder Mifflin painting from Kentapedia [producer Kent Zbornak]. He said that is not actually a watercolor, but it was a photograph of our building that they manipulated to look like a watercolor. So no one ever did a from blank page watercolor of the building.”
When you consider Michael’s final speech from the show, in which he discusses the watercolour, there is a rich undercurrent of sarcasm. “The message is there. It serves as motivation. It is an aesthetic source. It would not have been possible without paper, “Before turning to the watercolour and speaking to the camera, Michael pauses, muses, and then changes his mind. Unless you had a camera, that is.
Even though it wasn’t true, it still has significance. In a season six deleted storyline, the painting came dangerously close to being destroyed. Fischer stated that in the “Mafia” episode, Erin nearly destroyed Pam’s watercolour when attempting to clean it on Episode 111 of the Office Ladies podcast. They even prepared to film the sequence, but Fischer successfully convinced Greg Daniels, the program’s creator, to save the painting, referring to it as “the heartbeat of the show.” It was abruptly taken out of the episode.
Jenna Fischer has the original prop
When the series came to an end, Jenna Fischer made a request for this cherished prop. In episode 28 of her podcast, Fischer admitted, “I inquired if I could have Pam’s watercolour of Dunder Mifflin and I was formally told from production that I could not have it since it was going to be catalogued as part of the set décor.”
It’s difficult to imagine such a “The Office” treasure being hidden “Indiana Jones”-style in a massive warehouse filled with innumerable catalogued TV items. Fischer, though, wound up with the image in a practical joke that would have pleased Jim and Dwight.
Fischer admitted, “[prop master] Phil Shea went up to me as I was leaving.” “Here, you ought to have this, he remarked. I captured it in colour on camera. They’ll never find out. The original is in my home.”
We doubt Pam Beesly would ever give up to such a daring move. But if it can’t remain hanging at the “The Office” production facility, we’re kind of thrilled it’s back with its original inventor.