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As many of us were, I was completely thrown by Jim's behavior during my first viewing of Gay Witch Hunt (GWH). However, after repeated viewings, a review a previous analyses, and a couple of nights to ponder, I've come to the conclusion that Jim behaved just the way he should. We actually predicted his behavior in the original Jim Paradox! Subjective opinion just got in the way of us accepting the fact that JAM did not happen. Seriously, though, what would we have to talk about if it did in the very first episode!?

Jim's behavior seems baffling at first (giving up so easily, walking away, not crying again, etc.), however, his behavior follows a previously established pattern of conduct. Every line, every move, and every facial expression is 100% pure Jim. That being said, we must remember his behavior is always a bit of a paradox. He feels one thing and does another. It's this paradoxical standard that will help us understand the events in GWH.

The Kiss Aftermath:

After the kiss ends, Jim stares Pam down. He’s trying to determine her reaction. He's just made a huge move and he's wondering if it was the right move. Jim knows he's plowing over a line that she may not be ready to cross. He knows there is a strong chance of another rejection. She did after all turn him down twice already in the same evening. He's taking the last bit of confidence he has regarding her, for a final flight. What else has he got to lose? This is going to leave Jim in a very nervous and uncertain state of mind. As per the promo, he's laid his heart on the line.

Jim doesn't do anything until Pam slides her hands into his. He feels safe enough to smile as soon as he receives this perceived green light. He also feels safe enough to be blatantly honest with her that he’s wanted to do that for a long time. The smile he gives while telling her this is wrought with highly charged emotions. He’s thrilled and happy that she hasn’t pushed him back or rejected him yet. He has the safety of her hand is his, to help further this emotion.

However, she also hasn’t said anything yet or given an oral indication of her reaction. This is causing Jim’s anxiety level to rise. Through both previous seasons, we have seen Jim make nervous smiles around Pam. This is how he deals with tough situations with her. Variations of this nervous smile pop up in Booze Cruise, Halloween, E-Mail Surveillance, The Secret, and even in Casino Night, (check out the ever so slight smile that briefly appears on his face after he says “I’m in love with you.”). This a mechanism Jim uses to escape his fear. He is also smiling nervously, because his facial expression is asking her what she is thinking and if it’s acceptable that he went this far at the same time he delivers his statement.

When she responds with “Me to,” it’s clear that he is relieved. His posture changes to a more relaxed stance. For this split second, he feels he may have won her over. She has given him the reaction he wanted to hear. You can almost feel his heart leap.

Pam however, ensures that this feeling will be short lived when she mentions they both might be drunk. Jim posture immediately stiffens and he is now worried that he misread her and did push her too far. He knows something is up, its written all over his face. Her statement comes as a bit of a shock, because of her initial positive reaction. He is however quick to respond, probably out of desperation. He’s trying to save what has been for the most part a perfect and wonderful moment. He assures her that he is sober, mostly as a way to tell her that he meant to kiss her. It wasn’t a mistake or something done in a drunken stupor. He then immediately asks her if she is drunk. This is a the natural next question to ask, but there is another reason why he asks. The last time Pam kissed him was when she was drunk at The Dundies. He doesn’t want a repeat of a kiss that means nothing. Otherwise all of his actions will have been for naught. Furthermore, he asks about her sobriety as a way to reassess her feelings. Her response of “No.” again raises his hopes.

Even though we see him from behind, he is clearly smiling. This response lulls him into a false sense of security that she is receptive to his offer. He decides to test the waters again and leans in for another kiss. When Pam stops him, it takes him by surprise. He doesn’t pull back all the way at first, there is a small pause. It’s in this pause that he looks at her and realizes she’s not ready for this and its over. This is a huge blow. This is the rejection he was dreading the entire time. What makes it so bad is that it came just as he was becoming confident that she felt the same way and that he had a chance with her.

Jim takes the only course of action left for him, when he says “You’re really going to marry him.” It’s both a defense mechanism to protect himself and a reality check that he’s just made a move on an engaged woman. He’s looking to verify that she’s rejecting him because of Roy, not because of him. The statement also has indelible implications in that he is stating an obvious reason for the rejection and is looking for Pam to verify her intent to marry Roy.

Sadly, Jim is still hopeful that Pam will answer no or at least become undecided in her resolve to marry Roy. This is his last hope. Pam’s affirmative nod is all Jim needs to realize that he is out of options. He knows he is beaten. This is where we start to see Jim bottle everything back up again. In his face its clear that he is holding back about a million things he wishes he could say to her.

Here’s where the paradox kicks in. He’s desperately in love her, but at this point he will no longer act on it. He will not make any more attempts. Jim is returning to his familiar mode of backing down when he’s in a lose-lose (ha-ha, get it?) situation with Pam. Instances of this behavior can be seen in The Fight, Booze Cruise, The Secret, The Fire, The Alliance and The Client. He is choosing to let it go, because he realizes Pam is not ready and he knows he will upset her if he pushes it further.

In this instance, we are seeing Jim put Pam’s emotional welfare above his own. Furthermore, he’s smart enough to know that pushing it further, will drive an even larger wedge between them. He doesn’t want to risk that. Jim’s simple response of “Okay” is all he can muster. He says it with a clenched face. This isn’t what he really wants to say, but he knows it’s all he can say. He knows she wanted to kiss him, but he also now knows that Pam was not ready. He is in a way telling her that he understands this, and is reassuring her that he will not pursue this again. Jim knows if he says any more than that he runs the risk of being hurt further. Additionally, he runs the risk of distressing Pam. That is not a road he is willing to take.

The simplicity of the “Okay“ has one more implication. Jim knew walking into this, that there was a huge chance Pam would turn him down. He accepted this before he even walked in the room. The Okay is a simple culmination of the acceptance of his fate. It’s time for him to let go and he knows it.

Interestingly, he doesn’t let got of her right away. He takes a good long look in her eyes, before he starts to back away. He is hoping she will stop him in one respect, but in another he is taking his last look before he buries his feelings once again. He hangs onto her as long as he can before he finally lets go.

Noticeably missing from this scenario is a tear or two from Jim. He let one sneak out earlier in the evening, but not in this situation. It begs one to question: Why? The answer is simple. He already let Pam see him crack once earlier in the evening. The way he wiped his tear away almost indicates a sense of embarrassment that he let her see him react in that way. He doesn’t want to expose that much of his soul to her again, especially after just being rejected, again. He’s able to hold it in this time because he is resigned to the fact that he has lost her. Moreover, he has already bottled up his emotions; they are sealed airtight.

Bottom Line: Jim now knows Pam isn’t ready. He put her well being above his own and walks away.

Current Status:

Jim’s current status is a little tough to ascertain. We were not given as much information for him as we were with Pam. In Jim’s talking head he tells us that he transferred because he was promoted. I couldn’t help but pick up on the pause, before he said it. We all know he transferred because of Pam.

He's tightlipped for a number of reasons. Not only is he trying to move on, but he's also not ready to talk about her. The biggest reasons for his silence goes all the way back to Casino Night, when he bottled up his feelings; it's still an airtight seal. This transfer was just another way for him to escape his pain, pick up the pieces and start over. He is not however, willing to divulge that to anyone beyond himself. He doesn’t mention her name once.

Work wise, he appears to be flourishing. On a personal level, however, it is obvious from the first time we see him in Stamford that he is having trouble adjusting. It's obvious that he is having trouble adjusting to his new surroundings. He hasn't exactly hit it off with his new co-workers. We can assume this because he appears to be very lonely. I couldn't help but feel his estrangement as he stared out the window at the "view" he touted in his talking head.

His loneliness is again highlighted when he's pretty sure no one knows his real name. He's not exactly thrilled with his nickname either. Jim is used to being the center of attention in Scranton. In Stamford, he's the outcast. Jim attempts recreate the acceptance he had in Scranton by using his humor. Jim prides himself on his humor and ability to pull off a good prank. He's even chosen his new "Dwight" with Andy. When his trademark Jell-O prank backfires, this further separates him from his new co-workers.

The fact that he is playing pranks exemplifies his desire for thing to be normal again. He is delighted when Michael calls and he has the chance to be his old self. The phone call puts him back Scranton, even if for a little while. It's clear that Jim misses everyone, not just Pam. He has both a sad and nostalgic look on his face when he says "I miss that." He's homesick. We know this because he actually takes the time and expense of mailing Dwight a gaydar (hee-hee). He won't even be there to see Dwight's reaction, but it doesn't matter, because he's doing something that feels like home. Plus, Jim can't pass up a chance to mess with Dwight's head!

Despite Jim's difficulties in his new environment, he's sticking it out. He is trying desperately to start over and forget the past. He makes a number of changes to achieve this goal. His wardrobe is the first noticeable difference. We are accustomed to Jim's casual style; rolled up sleeves, Dockers, shaggy hair, etc. In Stamford, he's in a full suit. The shaggy hair is still there, but Jim has changed his image to fit with his new job. His desk is clean and professional looking as opposed to his usually messy desk (with toys) in Scranton. He even changed his trademark ham and cheese sandwich for a tuna sandwich (at least once.)!

All of these changes are just new manifestations of Jim's habit of escaping. All through Season 2 we saw Jim constantly wiggling out of difficult situations regarding Pam. Planning a trip to Australia, making dates with other women, and the transfer itself are all examples of this. Jim is trying desperately to get away from Pam and anything that reminds him of her. It's almost as if Jim is changing himself as a person to escape dealing with his feelings and his broken heart.

As much as Jim is trying to get away from Pam, he simply can't escape her. The transfer itself is a constant reminder. A poignant example of this is when we see Jim sitting in another Diversity Day training session. Mr. Brown says its necessary because of problems in Scranton (did you catch that?). This obviously takes Jim back to Scranton and everything he misses. He looks at the empty chair next to him and thinks of Pam. She fell asleep on his shoulder at the last Diversity Day. It was probably one of his favorite moments with her. We see him smile a smile of remembrance and sadness. All those feelings he tries so hard keep bottled up escape every once in a while. He misses her and he can’t help it. It doesn’t matter where he is, she is always on his mind.

Even though its an escape from the emotional pain the Pam/transfer connection has other implications. Pam is essentially the catalyst that gives Jim the motivation to break out of his rut. Without her he wouldn't have gone for the promotion. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen!

Bottom Line: Jim is a lost soul in Stamford.

As with The Pam Dichotomy I was hoping my multiple personality disorder would clear up, but its only gotten worse. Both sides have developments from GWH to support their viewpoint

Jim as a fixed element:

• He misses her
• He’s homesick
• Indifferent to blonde in the break room
• He didn’t want to let her go

Jim as a Variable:

• He’s in Stamford
• He’s buried his feelings
• He won’t make another move
• Pam rejected him again

Again, what makes this particular analysis so difficult is that there are a number of unknown variables. Here’s a list of what we don’t know that will have an impact on the accuracy of the above analysis:

• We don’t know if Roy knows about the events of Casino Night.
• We don’t know if Pam has contacted Jim.
• We don’t know how Jim and Pam acted around one another prior to his departure.
• We don’t know when Jim left.
• We don’t know if they knew the cameras caught their kiss and conversation
• We don’t know if Jim is aware that Pam called off the wedding.
Chapter End Notes:
This post was written ten years ago so go easy on me in terms of writing style! I’ve decided not to revise the original posts beyond filling in missing words or fixing wayward punctuation. Call it nostalgia if you will, but there’s something to be said for preserving this little snapshot of fandom.




Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

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