After five seasons of adorably awkward courtship, TV’s cutest couple are finally making it official—and this week’s Entertainment Weekly has an exclusive preview of Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam’s (Jenna Fischer) long-awaited wedding on October 8. The special hour-long episode of NBC’s The Office is a happy occasion, but one that in TV terms is also fraught with risky finality, since marrying off The Office‘s resident Ross and Rachel could damage the couple’s plot-generating will-they-won’t-they energy. “It’s about keeping this relationship as real as we can instead of making it a television romance,” explains Krasinski. “When you have two characters who are so perfect for each other, it’s a little weird for them to not get married. So you have to put that step in, whether it’s been done on television successfully before or not.” Adds exec producer Greg Daniels: “We didn’t want to do the soap opera-y thing and cheapen it. Besides, our ratings keep going up, so I don’t think anyone minds them being together.”
The duo’s first smooch in the season 2 finale set the budding lovebirds on a complicated and unconventional course of courtship, featuring love triangles, long-distance agony, and job stress. “I don’t think it’s the typical romance you see on TV,” says Steve Carell, who plays Jim and Pam’s extremely unself-aware boss Michael Scott. “It’s complicated and it comes out of a difficult place. That’s the way relationships are in real life.” Last season brought Jim’s surprise rest-stop proposal and the shocking revelation that Pam was pregnant in May’s finale. “That was thrilling,” Krasinski says. “To have these characters who are squeaky-clean facing this very real thing is exciting.”
Of course, the whole Dunder Mifflin gang tags along to the wedding, and that’s when the fun starts—including a rehearsal-dinner gaffe from Jim that will wreak some pre-ceremony havoc. “When I got married, people told us, You have no idea where it’s going to come from, the thing that will go horribly wrong,” says exec producer Paul Lieberstein (a.k.a. HR sad-sack Toby). “That’s exactly what happens: Jim ruins his own wedding.” Still, Jim and Pam’s big day left Carell all choked up. “I feel very emotional,” he says. “I’ve been with these people longer than anyone I went to high school with. These are the people who have shared the biggest ups and downs. There’s a lot of nostalgia and sentiment wrapped up in this.”
Meanwhile, Pam is only four months along, which means Fischer is facing a series of progressively larger prosthetic bellies. “When I sit down, it presses in on my bladder, so I actually feel like I have to pee all the time,” she says. “And it makes my lower back hurt because I sway form wearing it. All that’s missing from a real pregnancy is my ankles swelling.” Still, once Pam has the baby (the birth will fall conveniently sometime around February sweeps), “I don’t think the show will become The Office Baby,” says Carell. Lieberstein promises that “we’re certainly not going to ignore the kid. But one of the things that’s great about being an office comedy is kids don’t really come to work with you.”
For more details about Jim and Pam’s wedding, and to read what Carell has to say about how long he’ll stay with the show, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, September 25.