Table of Contents:
- Fanfic/Fandom Terms
- Writing Terms
- The Office/Jim&Pam specific terms
- Locations & Settings
- Common Questions & Misconceptions
AU: Alternative Universe, a fanfic with a premise that differs wildly from the original premise.
- Historic AU: the story takes the characters and basic premise and sets it in a different era of time eg. Pam and Jim meet during WWII
- Modern AU: the story is in modern times and contains same characters but a very different premise eg. Jim and Pam meet in college.
Canon: the material (plot/characters) officially part of the story in the individual universe of that story. In other words, what we saw happen on screen.
- Canon Compliant: a fanfic written with the intention of fitting in and not contradicting established facts and events of the show, often Canon Compliant fics focus on inner dialogue or on “missing scenes”.
- Canon Divergent: a fanfic that uses established facts and events of the show as a basis for the story but eventually departs from the canon, usually Canon Divergent fics will answer a "What If" question.
Canon Pairings: characters that actually got together on the show, Jim/Pam, Dwight/Angela, Michael/Jan etc
Fanon: an element widely accepted among fans but has little to no basis in the canon of the show. Example: Before Season 5, Jim was often portrayed as having a brother named Jonathan, an OC created and frequently used by girl7 and borrowed by other writers.
Fanon pairing: characters that are often depicted in fanwork as having a romantic relationship, but never had one in the canon storyline. Can range from couples that had quite a bit of interaction maybe even a one sided crush (Pam/Toby) to characters with relatively little interaction (Andy/Kelly)
Fix-It Fic: fanfic written specifically to "correct" something that fans felt went wrong in canon, typically things like plot holes, inconsistent characterization, couplings that didn’t happen that should have (and vice-versa).
Headcanon: a fan's personal interpretation of canon, especially in regards to a character’s backstory or the nature of the relationship between two characters.
OC: original character created by the author.
OOC: Out of character, when a character is depicted behaving in fanfic much differently than on the show. Occasionally an author writes "out-of-character" on purpose but often it's unintentional.
OTP: short for "One True Pairing" a couple that the fan prefers above any other pairing on a show.
PWP: short for "Plot? What Plot?" or sometimes "Porn without plot", typically refers to fanfics that depicts one or multiple sexual encounters with little to no set up or plot development.
Retcon: short for retroactive continuity, a retcon is a new piece of information that revises the previously established canon (in other words a new element that was clearly not planned on from the start). In a long running series, retcons are all-but-inevitable. A good retcon will fit right in with the established canon, while a not-so-good retcon will contradict the previously established canon. The revelation in S7 that Pam dated Danny Cordray while Jim was in Stamford is an example of a retcon, and while it doesn’t quite fit with the impression the show gave us about Pam’s dating life in S3, it doesn’t directly contradict anything. However, Pam turning out to be a volleyball champ in the S5 finale “Company Picnic” is an example of a retcon that’s somewhat contradictory to canon since it’s well established Pam was shy and artsy in school and even had a line the previous season about avoiding athletics.
Ship/Shipping/Shippers: A ship is a particular romantic relationship (get it?) that fans support or wish for. It typically described a relationship that either hasn't happened in canon yet, or a friendship fans feel could become romantic (whether its supported by canon or not). Shipping is the act of wishing for this pairing, and the people who wish for pairings are called shippers.
Slash: fanfic that explores a romantic and/or sexual relationship between two characters of the same sex or gender. Slash usually refers to two male characters while femslash is a more common term for female/female pairings.
Smuff/Smuffy: smut + fluff = smuff, happy and sexy fics that typically are short with little plot.
Stan: used to describe a very enthusiastic (sometimes overzealous) fan of a particular celebrity, but can also be used to describe an enthusiastic fan of a character. Calling someone a "stan" can carry a negative connontation that they blindly love a celebrity/character and refuse to acknowledge that's person/character's flaws.
The Powers That Be, TPTB: Term for the people creating and writing the show, the ones who pull the strings
Beta/Beta Reader: Someone who looks over a fanfic before the writer published and helps edit and make corrections.
Nanowrimo: Short for National Novel Writing Month, a writing challenge you may notice many of your favorite fanfic authors participating in every November. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
POV: Point of view, from what perspective is the story written
- 1st Person POV: Pronouns "I, me, my", are used for the main character and then "he/she/they" when referring to other characters. Very occasionally the writer will use "I" and "you".
- 2nd Person POV: Pronouns "You, your" are used for main/POV character, and "he/she/they" for other characters. The least commonly used POV.
- 3rd Person POV: Pronouns "He/She/They" used for the main/POV and all other characters. The most commonly used POV. Typically we are limited to one character's thoughts and feelings (3rd person limited) though sometime we are privy to all characters thoughts and feelings (3rd person omniscient)
WIP: work-in-progress, the fic you are currently working on. Multiple WIPs, while allowed, are not advised for your sake.
27 Seconds (of Silence): Refers to the amount of time Jim and Pam spent silently looking at each other in the "Booze Cruise" episode
Beesly: The correct spelling of Pam's surname. Not Beesley, not Beasly, not Beasley.
CN: Casino Night, the Season 2 finale episodes in which Jim confessed his love to the then-engaged Pam, which ended with Jim kissing Pam.A.k.a The Episode that launched a thousand fanfic
Cugino's Pizza: according to a deleted scene for ep 207 "The Client", Jim and Pam went here shortly after they met, Jim thought it was a date but then learned Pam was engaged.
Dunder-Mifflin: Later Dunder-Mifflin Sabre, the paper company that is the central setting and focus of the show.
Dundies: The employee appreciation awards given at an annual* ceremony, typically at Chili's. (*it’s supposedly annual but we only see two Dundie ceremonies during the course of the show and they were at different times of the year)
Fancy New Beesly or FNB: this is a term of affection Jim drops when he and Pam have their unexpected phone call in S3's "Initiation", the fandom adopted this nickname as a term for Pam becoming more assertive and outspoken by the end of S3 and into the rest of the series.
Greg Daniels: TV writer/producer who adapted and developed The Office (UK) for American television. Full-time show runner for Seasons 1-4 and 9. Often gets blamed for Jim and Pam's early season woes, (though somehow escapes blame for their S9 woes)
GWH: Gay Which Hunt, the Season 3 premiere where we learned the fate of Jim and Pam after Jim's Casino Night confession and kiss.
JAM: Jim + Pam, PB&J is also an acceptable name
JKras: celeb nickname for John Krasinski, the actor who plays Jim
Mixed Berries: Pam's favorite yogurt flavor
PLOD: Parking Lot of Doom, a reference to how the Dunder Mifflin parking lot often seemed to be bad luck for our beloved pair (where Pam rejected Jim on Casino Night, then later Jim told Pam he was seeing someone in Branch Closing)
"Sing" by Travis: The song that Jim and Pam listen and sway (not dance) to in 207 "The Client" and gets frequently referred to in fic.
Talking Head: In broadcasting, this is a term for a commentator directly addressing the camera in closeup (with typically only the head and shoulders visible). On the show this is used for any of the “interviews” where the character is speaking/commenting directly to the documentary crew! Usually seated in the conference room or in their office.
WGA/Writers Strike: All members of the Writers Guide of America went on strike in November 2007 for just over 3 months in a dispute over residuals from DVDs and digital downloads/internet streaming market (which was in it's infancy at the time). The Office, in it's 4th season at the time, was one of the first shows to halt production due to many of it's cast members also serving as writers. The strike resulted in Season 4 being about 10 episodes shorter than planned and is also the reason we never got to see Jim and Pam's first Christmas and Valentine's Day together.
Scranton: the main setting of the show, located in North-East Pennslyvania (NEPA), USA
1725 Slough Avenue: the address of the Scranton Office Park where Dunder Mifflin is located. This is a fictional street, named for the English town of Slough which was the setting of the UK Office. The full address is 1725 Slough Ave. Suite 200 Scranton, PA 18505 (this zip code puts Dunder Mifflin somewhere in the south-east part of Scranton)
Dunmore, Carbondale, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton: Towns sometimes referred to on the show located near Scranton
Lackawanna: The county that Scranton is the seat of.
Lake Wallenpaupack: a man made lake east of Scranton that serves as the setting of “Booze Cruise”. When filming, Long Beach Harbor, California stood in for the lake, the actual Lake Wallenpaupack is frozen over in January (when the episode takes place). Additional its in a heavily wooded area and while boat tours are offered in the warmer months, the boats are much smaller than what was shown in the episode.
Poor Richard's, Farley's, Cooper's, Alfredo's Pizza, Cugino's: real bars and eateries in Scranton that the characters frequently referred to.
Dunder Mifflin Branch Locations:
- Current Branches (at series end)
- Midtown Manhattan, New York City - Corporate Headquarters
- Scranton, Pennsylvania
- Albany, New York
- Utica, New York
- Nashua, New Hampshire
- Syracuse, New York - first mentioned S8
- Akron, Ohio - Never mentioned on air, listed on show website*
- Rochester, New York - listed on show website, mentioned once in S5
- Former Branches
- Pittsfield, Massachusetts - closed pre-series
- Stamford, Connecticut - closed in S3
- Buffalo New York - closed after S5
- Camden, New Jersey - first mentioned in S4, closed in S5
- Yonkers, New York - both first mentioned and closed in S5*
- Binghamton, New York - both first mentioned and closed in S8
* Akron and Yonkers were both mentioned in a season 4 deleted scene
If you are looking for info about the characters Pam & Jim like backstory, family tree, timelines, etc, check out our All About Pam and Jim page.
How many seasons are there of The Office (US)?
The Office ran for 9 seasons on NBC from 2005 - 2013. The first season was only 6 episodes long and some confuse the first 2 seasons for one season. The 4th season was a shortened season due to the WGA Strike of 2007-2008.How many episodes are there?
Depending on who you ask, there are somewhere between 188 and 201 episodes.
The official episode tally on Wikipedia is 201 episodes, but that number comes from counting every half hour as an episode, so episodes like The Job are counted as 2 half hour episodes instead of one hourlong episode. There also ends being some inconsistencies in the episode tallies on different services. For example, Weightloss and Niagara aired as a single hourlong episode and are listed as single episodes on the DVDs, but on Netflix are divided into two parts.
Was The Office cancelled?
No, when the show was renewed it's 9th season, the creators came to the decision that it would be the final season. The ratings *were* slipping in it's later seasons but the show was never a ratings hit to start with. The show also saw the rise of online streaming which has made most every broadcast network see lower ratings.
I saw an article that the The Office is coming back, is it true?!
It seems about every six months the internet is abuzz with rumors that The Office is coming back or being rebooted, but so far it's all been nothing more than rumors. Unless it's an official statement from NBC, that article claiming The Office is returning is probably clickbait.
Do deleted scenes "count" as canon?
In Season 3 showrunner Greg Daniels was asked this and his answer was yes, deleted scenes do count. They were scripted and filmed so, to the writers, they happened and though they didn't air, the writers were "relying on them anyway for the mythology of the show". Typically things that happened in deleted scenes weren't brought up later on the show but one case where it did was in season 9 when Jim gave Pam a framed sketch. The same sketch was seen in a Season 5 deleted scene where Pam is showing Jim some of her failed design projects and he notices her much more impressive cafe sketches.
Some deleted scenes do contradict what happened on air (such as a deleted scene from ep6.06 “Mafia” where Erin accidentally destroys Pam’s painting of the office building) and other deleted scenes appear to be different takes of scenes that are in the episode, in cases like these we personally defer to what happened in the aired episode.
Why does Pam have two different moms?
Chalk this up to a simple scheduling conflict. When we first met Pam's mom very briefly in "Sexual Harassment" (2.02) she was played by actress Shannon Cochran. When the character was brought back for Season 6, Cochran was touring with a play and unable to reprise the role, so the role was recast with Linda Purl. Pam's mom was also not given a name until Season 6 and thus why you have probably run into many names for Pam's mom on the archive.
Before Season 4, the overwhelming belief in the fandom was that Jim started first. This was mostly due to Jim and Pam's kitchen exchange in The Secret (season 2 ep. 13):
Then came along Launch Party (season 4 ep. 03) and the line about Pam showing Jim to his desk on his first day, thus ruining the canon compliance of many of it's 2000+ fanfics MTT already had published at the time.
Jim: Hey oh, listen, um, I told Michael on the booze cruise. It's so stupid. Um, I told Michael that I had had a crush on you when you first started here.
Jim: Well I thought that, I figured you should hear it from me rather than, I mean you know Michael.
Jim: And seriously, it's totally not a big deal, ok? And when I found out you were engaged, I mean.
Pam: No, I know, like, I kind of like, I thought that maybe you did when I first started.
Greg Daniels himself later said he wasn't even sure who began first, so MTT official position is you should go for whatever makes more sense for your fanfic.
Jim gave a "Larisa Halpert" (also written as Larissa) as his emergency contact in "The Fight" (2.06) and immediately this female relation of Jim's started appearing - and still appears - in many fanfics. Though some speculated Larisa was Jim's mother, most cast her as Jim's (typically younger) sister. It wasn't until Niagara (6.04) that we got confirmation that Larisa was indeed Jim's sister, and even then it wasn't very emphatic confirmation. In the wedding program prop, Larisa Halpert was listed as sister to the groom, and there's a very brief scene with Jim's brothers planning a prank on their sister who was "in the can" although they don't say the sister's name. Larisa also left a message in the Guestbook of Pam & Jim's wedding site. As for which wedding guest was supposed to be Larisa, there’s three notable possibilities who all can be spotted in the church/ceremony/wedding dance scenes: a younger brunette sitting between Jim's parents, a third unnamed bridesmaid you see best when Pam is talking to her sister (both appears in this wedding photo) and a brunette wearing a black dress sitting two rows back from Jim’s parents.
Whether he was gone from Scranton the next day or whether he was still there for a week or two (and probably having some very intense, awkward avoidance of Pam), the show didn't really offer any clues on how exactly Jim's transfer went after he confessed his love.
But it was more or less confirmed that Jim did not go to Australia. Writer Paul Lieberstein (who played Toby) said after the events of Casino Night, Jim wasn't up for the trip.
If Pam was such a great volleyball player in Company Picnic, how come the season before in Job Fair she said she'd fake PMS to get out of gym volleyball?
We could probably come up with a plausible reason about how skilled athlete typically don't want to compete with a bunch of inexperienced player and risk injury here, but the simple truth is the writer of company picnic just plain forgot about the "Job Fair" line.
Was Jenna Fischer actually pregnant when Pam had Cece?
No, for Pam's first pregnancy during season 6, Jenna Fischer wore a fake belly. However, in season 8 Jenna was actually pregnant with her first child and it was written into the show as Jim and Pam's 2nd child, Philip. Fun Fact: her husband Lee Kirk had a cameo as Pam's lactation coach in the Delivery episode.
What was written in the teapot card?!
In the season 2 Christmas episode, Jim included a card with his teapot gift to Pam. We never see what Jim wrote but can guess from his line "Christmas is the time to tell people how you feel" and from the way he took the card back at the end of the episode that it contained some sort of declaration of his love for Pam.
Fast-forward to the penultimate episode of the series, AARM. Apparently before shooting, John Krasinski took the card and wrote a personal message to Jenna Fischer. Jenna has since said many times that she'll never reveal what John wrote in the card, only that it was very special.
Were Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski ever together in real life?
With that amazing on-screen chemistry, we definitely get why fans think these two were an IRL couple at some point but they have always been just co-stars and good friends.