“I don’t know how I fit in with these women.” — Pam Beesly
Jim, like most people, hates going to the dentist. And Pam’s caught on that he’s been in a funk. He didn’t say it, he wouldn’t say it, but even after 3 years of marriage, she’s perceptive like that. So she thought of a brilliant prank: contact their actor friend Steve, have him replace Jim while he’s gone, and drive Dwight insane. It was a rousing success. Steve was a natural, helped by the fact that he’s known both for so long. And the fake family photo? Pam’s amazing skills at Photoshop. She even managed to sneak in some shots of Dwight’s paranoia with her phone. It was Jim Halpert approved.
Today, she notices Nellie awkwardly tapping her pen at her desk.
“Everything okay?” Pam asks. Nellie insists that she’s fine, not wanting to burden her with her ‘massive stress freakouts’.
She does anyway.
“It’s just that I’m taking my driver’s test in two days,” Nellie offers, “and I need to practice with an experienced driver in the car, but I’ve had no time to do that thanks to… ‘Dem-Andy’.”
As dramatic as she comes across, she’s not wrong. Andy has proven to be more vindictive and rude towards her, asking her for ludicrous tasks like, in this instance, searching through his family history. It’s obvious to her that he has some deep-seated issues, but she never brings them up lest she gets fired. She was planning on pranking him by adding Michelle Obama to her family tree (since she has white relatives), but she decides against it, knowing it’ll set him off even more. Besides, it turns out he does have a black relative: Frederick Douglass. This will not go over well.
“Nellie I can practice with you in my car at lunchtime,” Pam quickly agrees, just to appease her.
“Oh Pam, thank you, you are my saviour!” Nellie exclaims. She can not wait to spend more time with her new friend. And Pam is, admittedly, excited about it as well. Jim can’t help but smile, he loves seeing how caring his wife is towards her coworkers.
“I’m sorry I’m leaving you alone for lunch,” Pam says to Jim.
“Don’t worry about it, I have some soup in the fridge. You two have fun,” he responds.
They take the drive together, and to Pam’s surprise, she thinks Nellie might be maybe even almost sort of fun! She’s fearless, sharp-witted, a go-getter, and if Pam was honest to the cameras, she’d say she is fun. Sure they almost die at least five times, but she knows that one of these days, she will have to be in that passenger seat with Cece and Phillip, so it’s good practice. Nellie is enthralled with Pam’s artistic prowess, even with the small things like the kids’ mural. And the two of them put their prank skills to use when Andy asks Nellie to “dig up dirt” on the various employees’ genealogies.
In short, Nellie reminds Pam of Fancy New Beesly. She makes a great companion for Mama Beesly.
Things take a turn for the awkward, though, when the subject becomes Jim.
“What should we say about Jim?” Nellie asks.
“Um… Oh, I’ll say he’s related to Richard Nixon”, Pam replies, “It’s an inside joke, he looks really Nixon-y when he wakes up.”
“My ex behaved like Nixon,” Nellie laments, “All of the lying, none of the sexual charisma.” She became cynical about romance after the split. It made her feel unvalued, like her time, her body, her soul wasn’t enough. She hates him and hated every single solitary second of the divorce. And the worst part is it further prevented her from becoming a mother.
She promised herself she will prevent everyone she cares about from making the same mistake.
“I just made a joke then,” Nellie clarifies.
“I’m sorry,” Pam responds, “It’s just um… I actually do have this weird feeling that there’s something Jim isn’t telling me.”
“Oh no… ugh, an affair. It is always an affair.”
“Jim? No.” Pam knows better, they are not that kind of couple.
Nellie sighs, “Can you be sure?”
“Because he just loves me too much,” she expresses. He does love her, with everything he has. So what is he keeping from her?
Nellie becomes impressed with her tenacity. “You’re a cocky little thing, aren’t you, Pam?”
Pam chuckles. There’s maybe some of Fancy New Beesly still in there.
“This is my research into how we might produce child-proof paper that doesn’t give you paper cuts,” Nellie explains to Andy, “We can’t.”
Andy thinks it can be done, Nellie just didn’t try enough.
“And here is a printout of your genealogy from thisisyourfamilytree.com.”
“Executive summary me, hit the highlights,” Andy says.
“Well, it turns out, you are a very distant relative of one Frederick Douglass!”
Andy is interested, “As in…”
“Fought against slavery, wrote a bunch of books, ended the Civil War.”
Andy cannot believe what he was hearing. The Frederick Douglass? One of the most prominent members of the abolitionist movement? This was truly a big day for both of them.
He, of course, brags about it to the entire office. His popularity, he says, will go through the roof. Most of them don’t say anything (while Nellie is giggling to herself at her desk), and all Clark and Pete can do are just… clap through it, man.
The only one who doesn’t know yet is Darryl, who’s in his office explaining batching to Jim. And he notices that Darryl seems… happy, fulfilled in fact! If Darryl can get into his work, surely Jim can as well, right?
Andy enters Darryl’s office with a smile.
“There he is!”
“Andy, you gotta check this out,” Jim enthusiastically explains, “he just showed me—”
“Ye-de-de-de-de-de-de,” Andy interrupts, “Right now, I need canned Tuna, okay?”
Jim just simply looks at the camera, as is his trademark, but with a look that says ‘Why did I not call the damn number?’.
“Darryl,” Andy continued, “guess which talented individual that has a killer singing voice is related to Frederick Douglas?” Darryl guessed Tracee Ellis Ross, but Andy quickly corrects him.
“What? Really?” Darryl responds.
Andy hesitates, “...I mean it’s distant, but…”
Darryl just awkwardly replies “That’s cool, man.” Andy is just hyped that Darryl called him a “cool man”. Things are going very well for him today.
…That is, until Oscar — the office’s single brain cell — clarifies the implications of being related to someone like Frederick Douglass, a former slave.
“Your connection to Frederick Douglass has some… negative connotations,” he tells Andy, “Most likely your family were… slave owners.”
The realization hits Andy like a train.
His distraction is noticed by Darryl, who is just annoyed this is even brought up in a meeting about productivity. “Look, Andy,” he says, “even if your ancestors did own slaves, it wouldn’t be your fault. This is only weird if you make it weird.”
Andy proceeds to make it weird.
A lot of the office just cracks jokes on him regarding his ancestry. (Oddly enough, Jim doesn’t participate in any of them.) Usually, Andy would just brush them off. And Andy… he needs to clarify some things.
He texts Nellie to get some dirt on the other employees ASAP (As soon as possible), and she and Pam do just that… in a way. He sits everyone down and just grills them.
Phyllis’ great-great-grandmother was responsible for spreading cholera to the United States.
Kevin is related to both John Gacy and John Bobbit (Kevin would rather the movie stars John Wayne and Dwayne Johnson).
Dwight’s grandfather is a tax evader (rather than someone who’s technically not a Nazi).
Meredith is a blood relative of Lizzie Borden (“Cool!”).
And Jim is related to “Rhichahrd Nihxohn”.
“Pam always says I look like Nixon,” he explains to the interviewer, “That’s crazy, right?…” As he feels his nose, he realizes that if he works at Dunder Mifflin Scranton long enough, he really will look like Nixon. “Oh no.”
In his attempt to prove a point, Andy digs himself a deeper hole when his mother calls back and says that they were not slave owners… but they transported them.
And Darryl thought he could get some actual damn work done and be productive today.
“I was intimidated by Andy’s family before, and now I have to talk about Frederick Douglass? They’re gonna be like ‘What’s your stance on politics?’ or ‘What is the best Civil War?’ and I will just be like ‘Duhhh’.”
Erin is not looking forward to meeting Andy’s family. Having a boyfriend coming from big money is stressful because family events become a list of expectations that she has to fill. Not that she wouldn’t for Andy, she’ll do everything for him, but sometimes it can be a bit too much.
While learning French, she asks Dwight how to impress Andy’s family. He had the answer: Dothraki. It is a language of warriors, and who is Dwight himself but a warrior? He’s just happy he can teach the next generation once the true game of thrones commences.
The moment she finds out it’s fake, she realizes that she is no closer to impressing Andy’s family than she was before.
And then it hits her: why can’t she just be herself? Isn’t she enough? She’s nice, she’s personable, she’s charming, she’s smart (at least she thinks she is). And you know what? She loved learning that fake language with Dwight. She got to shout a lot, and shouting is always fun! She doesn’t feel like putting in all of this effort just to impress a bunch of fancy people… she doesn’t want too.
It is too much.
As she and Andy walk to the car, Pete gives a cordial wave goodbye to both of them, Erin smiling wider than she thought she would.
“I like that guy,” Andy says, “We should hook him up with Meredith.”
“Oh!” Erin responds. They would make a cute couple.
The cameras catch Pete hearing that, and he just shudders at the thought.
Darryl tries. He tries. He tries so damn hard.
Getting the A.R.M. position? It excited him. It motivated him to try and do whatever it takes to succeed. He takes it seriously. More seriously than he should. Because he’s working under Andy Bernard, the man who tells him he’s not doing enough.
And to add insult to injury, he uses that productivity notebook Darryl made just for him as a coaster.
Darryl walks out to the warehouse, just overseeing the whole thing. His job was monotonous, but it was simple. It paid well enough, he was well suited for it, and after work, he could just head to Poor Richard’s with the others. That was it. Because of all of the nonsense upstairs? He didn’t have to deal with any of that. Things only sucked balls when they went down here. And then he was put upstairs, and he has to deal with Andy’s growing lists of insecurities, not to mention how Michael used to be. That’s what he gets for being motivated about his job.
He’s had it with this place. This is hell. And he’s breaking out of it.
Enter Jim, as if on cue.
“Hey, thanks for the advice on batching.”
“Hm,” Darryl shrugs.
Jim notices how downtrodden he looks. He knows that feeling all too well. “You doing alright, man?”
“I’m done,” Darryl bluntly states, “I need to get out of here.”
“Yeah, not the easiest day to be Assistant Regional Manager.”
“It’s not just today. It’s every day. Seems like the better title I have, the stupider my job gets.”
“Come on, it can always get better, right?”
“Huh, yeah right.”
“Nah, I’m serious, there’s always something better.”
Jim realizes that Darryl is in the exact position he’s in. And Jim’s not even A.R.M. He might not get into Athlead… but Darryl can. And Darryl just might be another foot in the door.
“Like what?” Darryl curtly asks. This was Jim’s chance.
“Like hypothetically, if I said there was another job… that you” and I “can” both “have.”
“Something cool, like… sports marketing, or…? Does that sound like something you would be into?”
“Hell yeah!” Darryl stated. He’s finally out of this hell.
“That sounds awesome.”
“Okay, but wait, what if I told you it was in Philly, so you’d have to—?”
“I love Philly!” Darryl replies happily.
“It’s not even a thought—”
“Not even a thought! It’s not even that far away, you” or rather I “could still commute, exactly. Exactly!” As Jim’s advertising this to Darryl, he realizes that he’s trying to advertise it to himself as well.
Darryl quickly realizes this is a pitch. “What, wait wait wait, so what, is this happening?
“Oh, it’s happening,” Jim states, “A friend of mine owns this new sports marketing company and it’s tailor-made for you.”
“Right?!” It is.
“You in this as well?” Darryl asks.
His face immediately sunk, “Nope.” Every time he has to answer that, it frustrates him even more.
“Well, why not?” ‘Why not’ indeed.
“I can’t do that to Pam,” he answers, “With us raising two kids, trying to do both jobs at once… it would be too much.” It would.
Darryl’s sympathetic. The last thing he’d want to see is him and Pam to split up over this. He’s been there. It’s not fun. “I get it.”
“Yeah. But it was our idea, after all, so I can put in a good for you.”
“Man, you’re the best,” he gives him a bear hug. As they separate, he says, “And hey, maybe you can get your wife on board.”
“Yeah, maybe,” he responds, with doubt. Hopefully.
After a fun-filled day, Pam and Nellie enter the warehouse. When Nellie sees that ugly wall, inspiration strikes yet again: a mural. She tells “Scranton’s most dangerous young muralist”, her new best friend, about the opportunity.
“Nellie, this is brilliant!” Pam states.
Darryl and Jim are leaving the warehouse themselves when they meet the two ladies.
“Hey!” Jim greets.
“Hey,” Pam states, “can I talk to you for a minute?”
Nellie quickly becomes the Phoebe to Pam’s Rachel. “Anything… you have to say to her, you can say to me,” she threatens Jim, “She never left you!”
“What? No, no, Nellie, I got this,” Pam reassures.
“This is his fault, it is not your fault,” Nellie whispers to Pam, “I’m gonna find you someone better… and rich.” And Philipino.
As they have the conversation, Darryl is excited that Pam’s onboard, while Nellie can’t bear to watch.
The audio guys don’t capture the conversation. It’s for the best.
“The phone was right there, and I almost did it, but I never called them back. I promise you, I didn’t,” Jim tells her.
“I know…” Pam admits sadly.
“Are you mad?” he asks. He's mad at her for not trusting him, but he doesn't want to upset her even further.
“I mean, I would have liked to have known you were tempted, but I’m not gonna chastise you for not doing something.”
“Thank God,” he says with relief and a slight chuckle. She returns that with a smile.
“Are you mad?” she asks in return.
He can’t lie to her. As he rubs the back of his neck as he admits, “I guess I’m just… upset that you didn’t trust me when I said I wouldn’t do it.”
“That’s on me,” she admits, “You’re telling the truth, I know that. It’s just… sometimes you make these spur of the moment decisions, especially when it involves something you really want.”
“You’re not wrong,” he confesses.
She has to know. “What stopped you?”
He sighs, “Look, I know we promised to never bring up the past, but—”
“Casino Night,” she instinctively replies.
“Transferring to Stamford… it was hell on earth. If I stayed in Scranton, everything could have been different. Been better. But none of that matters now, because I have you. And… I can’t do that to you again.”
Pam tears up. How could she doubt him for a second?
“Oh Jim,” she says, getting verklempt, “I’m so sorry, I—”
“Hey, hey,” he gets up and holds her, “It’s okay. I’m also sorry, I should have said something.” He forgives her, he does. But it still hurt.
“You do have me,” she reassures. How is it that even when he’s mad at her, she says just the right thing?
“I was worried over nothing,” Pam tells the interviewer with a relieved smile, “I have the best husband ever!”
Jim, in the same chair, just solemnly says, “I still can’t believe she didn’t trust me.”
Jim breaks it to Darryl, she’s still not on board, but he’ll do everything he can. Darryl can’t thank him enough.
After Pam picks off the shrubbery from her car, she explains everything to Nellie. As Jim approaches, Nellie gives him an apologetic hug and even compliments him on his body.