Still crying over a fictional character’s death from a movie you saw years ago? Having trouble letting go of that one episode of your favorite series? Grieving a gone-too-soon show? We are, too — so with this column, EW staffers pay tribute to something in the pop culture world they’re still not over. This time, Derek Lawrence remembers Jim and Pam’s wedding on The Office.
Jim. Pam. Wedding.
On the surface, not being over something has the connotation of being sad or negative. “I can’t believe they killed Wallace on The Wire!” “Why isn’t Happy Endings entering season 8?!” Honestly, I’m still not over either of those, no matter how famous Michael B. Jordan gets or how many reunions the cast of the ABC comedy has. But why does it have to be negative? Why can’t I still not be over something beautiful, funny, and emotional? And that’s exactly what Jim and Pam’s wedding was.
You can have your Ross and Rachels, Carrie and Bigs, and Cory and Topangas. Give me Dundler Mifflin’s sweet secretary and hopeless romantic salesman every day of the week. This is the TV couple that everyone can get behind. Whether it was Pam falling asleep on Jim’s shoulder in season 1, their brief drunken moment outside of Chili’s, or their first kiss, it was clear that these two were meant to be together — and not even Roy (David Denman), Karen (Rashida Jones), art school, or some lame boom operator could get in the way.
After shipping Jam through five-plus seasons of will-they-won’t-they drama, engagements, and an unplanned pregnancy, it all culminates in the hour-long episode “Niagara.” The couple’s hope that an out-of-town wedding will dissuade their co-workers from attending backfires, and the whole office makes their way to Niagara Falls for the big weekend, which consists of Jim pulling a Michael and revealing news of the Pam’s pregnancy, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) hooking up with a bridesmaid, and Jim demonstrating why he’s so damn lovable. “Four years ago, I was just a guy who had a crush on a girl who had a boyfriend,” he shares during his rehearsal dinner speech. “Even then, I knew that I was waiting for my wife.”
And if you thought that was emotional and made
me you cry, then let’s get to the best part of the episode. Inspired by a viral clip from a Minnesota couple’s wedding, writers Mindy Kaling and Greg Daniels, director Paul Feig, and the cast deliver what might be the best and most delightful scene of the entire series. Last we had seen of Jim and Pam, they had scurried off from the chapel, leaving their friends, family, and co-workers wondering and waiting. Upon their return, the ceremony takes an unexpected — or, as we later find out from Jim, maybe expected turn. As Pam and her bridesmaids prepare to walk down the aisle, Dwight turns on Chris Brown’s “Forever,” and soon enough, the standard for TV weddings was forever changed.
The wedding party and all the members of the office proceed to dance their way down the aisle. Dwight kicks his new lover in the face; Kelly (Kaling) and Ryan (B.J. Novak) do the sprinkler; Creed (Creed Bratton) goes R-rated with a crotch grab. The surprise could have outraged Jim and Pam, but they aren’t fazed by it — and for good reason.
Intercut with the dance party is the charming revelation that the couple had stolen away for a boat ride on Niagara Falls, where they were married by the captain. A mere traditional wedding wouldn’t have fit these two or this series; the show found a way to exceed fans’ sky-high expectations and leave us all more than satisfied. (That’s what she said.)