In The Office S09E12, Jim is away in Philly and Pam goes to their Daughter's Recital. Later Jim and Pam have an ugly argument over why Pam could not record the recital for Jim to see

[cell phone rings]
Pam: Hey.
Jim: Hey.
Pam: So, how’s it going?

Jim: We lost Bridgeport Capital. I have no idea what happened. It’s like everything I did, he just wouldn’t go for it.

Pam: I’m so sorry.

Jim: I have no idea where we’re gonna come up with this money, and we have to work insanely hard over the next few weeks.
Pam: [sighs] Oh, I’m sorry. I feel like you’ve already been working insanely hard.

Jim: Can you figure out how to upload Cece’s dance recital? I definitely could use a pick-me-up.
Pam: Um, actually, funny story -- I didn’t get it. I shouldn’t have been so cocky about my rectangle-holding skills after all.
Jim: You’re not serious, are you? You didn’t get any of the recital?
Pam: No, I got the teacher introducing them and then the applause afterwards. But not so much of the middle part.
Jim: Come on, Pam. Pam, I asked you if you could use the phone, and you swore that you knew how.
Pam: Yeah, okay, I’m sorry. I’m sure we can get a copy. A lot of people were taping it.

Jim: Oh, great. So we’ll see somebody else’s kid with Cece in the background? I mean, it’s really not that hard to film a video.
Pam: Is there-- um... you want to ease up a little bit?
Jim: Look, Pam, I don’t know what to tell you. I mean, what do I do? It’s gone. That moment’s just gone. I missed it.
Pam: I don’t know, Jim -- maybe you should have been there.
Jim: You’re not serious, right? I mean, how is that fair? I’m in Philly. These are my days in Philly. You’ve agreed to this.
Pam: You know what? I-- I-- I don’t think you want to start a conversation with me about what’s fair. Okay? This is way more intense than I ever --
Jim: Pam, I’m not explaining this to you-- Pam, I’m not going over this again.
Co-worker: Jim. We need you.

Jim: I don’t know how else to tell you, okay? I’m doing everything I can every week to bring home something...
Pam: I am-- I am-- I am trying to make everything perfect here, okay? So that you can have everything that you want.
Jim: I’m doing this just for me? Is that what I’m doing? I’m doing it just for me. If that’s what you think, then this is a really sad night. But you know what? I got to go. Okay?

Pam: Yep.
Jim: We’ll talk tomorrow?
Pam: Yep. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Jim: Okay. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Pam: Bye. [quietly crying, sniffling]

And immediately after Brian (The Documentary crew member) Intervenes. The question is, were they not with Pam to record the recital? I mean, they travel with employees to different locations, were they not at the recital? If they were, they could have avoided the Ugly argument by giving the video to Jim & Pam so why did they not show the video?

  • 2
    The argument wasn’t really about the recording of the recital. If it had been, then Pam’s idea to use a recording made by someone else (which could include the film crew’s) would have ended the argument. Aug 29, 2019 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


While they very probably could have recorded the recital (and imagine the production value of a professionally-recorded performance versus the shaky phone-recorded version), the purpose of a documentary recording crew is typically to capture without interfering. Agreed, this fourth-wall was broken a few times like when Pam was going to be assaulted by a warehouse worker and one of the crew stepped in to defend her, but this was an exception and not the rule.

The purpose of the documentary was to record the daily lives of the employes of the paper company and to some extent their families. Cece is their child, yes but not a major focus of the documentary.

They could have caught a snippet and shared with Jim and Pam but this would have removed the tension from the plot that we as an audience needed to see that their relationship was suffering as a result of the situation they were in.

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