One of the most high-profile job openings in Office history — the role of Pam’s mom — has been filled. And true to their word, producers resisted the urge to cast Meryl Streep. Or Goldie Hawn. Or Bonnie Hunt. Or…… anyone else whose name you’d recognize. Instead, the plum part went to Linda Purl, a relatively unknown actress whose biggest claim to fame was playing Andy Griffith’s daughter on Matlock.
Stop the presses! On second though, don’t.
It’s not like I didn’t see this coming though. Last month, Office producer/star B.J. Novak warned me that Mrs. Beasley probably wouldn’t get an A- (or B- or C-) list portrayer. “That’s the rule we have stuck to on our show — it is supposed to be real average Joes, and casting a famous actor takes away from that,” he said. “We have only cast a famous actor when they can blend right in as was the case with Amy Ryan. Or if it makes sense for the role, like with Jack Black.”
I can respect that. I don’t have to like it, but I can respect it.
Back to whatsherface Purl, she’ll make her Office debut next month at Pam and Jim’s wedding.
Bonus footnote: This is technically a recast. We first caught a glimpse of Pam’s mom in season 2 when she was played by actress Shannon Cochran (The Ring).
Thoughts? Happy the show maintained its creative integrity by hiring Purl? Or are you of the “Screw creative integrity, hire Bette Midler!” mindset? Sound off below! (Additional reporting by Jennifer Armstrong and Carrie Bell)