For avid TV fans, there are certain love stories that transcend the rest. There's Sam and Diane from Cheers, Rachel and Ross from Friends, and Jim and Pam from The Office. The latter is one of the most gut wrenching couplings in modern TV, as The Office audience sat through season after season of watching their mutual attraction grow. And when they finally became a couple, the show kept on breaking our hearts through a touching wedding, the birth of their child, and even some marital problems. Jenna Fischer played Pam Beasley with charm and vulnerability throughout the show's nine seasons, but it turns out her acting roots were a bit more humble. Namely, she got her first acting gig appearing in a sexual education video.
Jenna Fischer dropped this cringeworthy bomb in an op-ed in the New York Times, revealing her hilariously uncomfortable first job as a professional actress. After a year of living in LA without booking any jobs, the sex ed video came at the perfect time. In her piece, Fischer revealed how bizarre the script itself was, saying:
The scene was shot in an apartment bathroom. I wore my own clothes and did my own makeup. I played a girl preparing to go on a date. While getting ready, my older sister entered the bathroom, and we exchanged the following riveting dialogue:
SISTER: Wow, you're spending a lot of time getting ready. You must really like this guy. Are you bringing protection?
ME: Protection? Protection from what?
SISTER: If you plan to become sexually active, you'll need protection from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Apparently my character had never spent much time in this bathroom, because at this point, the sister opened a drawer and revealed every type of contraceptive device ever invented. This included an IUD, which actually has to be implanted by a gynecologist.
Well, my day is made. This seems almost like a script Michael Scott from The Office would write, and then force the likes of Pam and Phyllis into performing. Seriously, it's just one step away from Threat Level Midnight.
Jenna Fischer's New York Times article proves how things can change with one great job. Her struggles attempting to establish herself as a working actress in LA echo the struggles that many celebrities have upon first arrival. Fischer did the sexual education video back in 1997, so it was quite a few years before she'd steal our hearts as Pam in The Office's 2005 premiere season. She'd end up booking the occasional guest spot before then, including two appearances on Six Feet Under, but The Office was certainly her big break, and the role she is most known for today.
And if Jenna Fischer didn't land that first role that helped keep her in LA, we might never have gotten the love story of Pam and Jim. So thanks, weird sex ed video. We owe the love for the Halperts to you, in an way.
The Office is currently streaming in its entirety on Netflix. She's also set to star in an upcoming ABC comedy Splitting Up Together this spring. In the meantime, check out our midseason premiere list to plan your next binge watch, and our cancellation list to see if your favorite show got the chop this year.