In this series, Flonkerton investigates some of the unanswered questions from “The Office.”
Question: When exactly did Jim and Karen start dating?
In “Women’s Appreciation,” Ryan was surprised when Jim announced he and Karen had been dating for six months. Ryan wasn’t the only one; if one considers the “real time” factor, as well as some comments Jim has made, then one would find the time doesn’t quite add up. So, how long have these not-so-in-love-birds been going out?
Some Dates and The Theories:
The Office strives to keep things in real time. It’s often assumed the events in the episode take place during the week the episode airs. If we want to go strictly by dates then here’s what we know:
Week of Nov. 2, 2006: “Diwali” Karen drives a drunken Jim home, (though he’s a sleepy drunk, not a flirty, touchy-feely drunk).
Week of Nov. 9, 2006: “Branch Closing” Karen declares her interest in Jim to the cameras (thought she doesn’t think Jim’s into her).
Week of Nov. 16, 2006: “The Merger” This is where things get fuzzy. The episode takes place on two different days; Stamford Branch’s last day and the day of the Merger in Scranton. How much time is between the two day is unknown, though I would guess it’s a couple (perhaps a weekend). On Stamford’s last day Jim high fives Karen and she responds with this rather unsure look. However, by the end of the episode, Jim tells Pam he’s “sort of” started seeing someone (we may never know what that “sort of” meant).
Week of Nov. 30, 2006: “Convict” Jim confirmed to the camera he and Karen are dating.
Week of Jan. 4, 2007: “Back from Vacation” Jim tells Pam he and Karen have been dating for about a month.
Week of May 3, 2007: Jim announces he and Karen are celebrating 6 months together.
Theory 1: Jim and Karen’s first date took place on or around “Diwali.”
1. The show often prides itself on being in real time
2. We just don’t see what happens after Karen and Jim leave work, it’s entirely possible something date-like occurred, maybe a drunken come-on that Jim forgets or feels awkward about, or hanging out, or breakfast after Jim slept off his drunkenness.
3. Jim did tell Pam in early January that he and Karen had been dating for a month, but it’s possible he was fibbing a little to make the relationship appear less serious than it was.
Theory 2: They started dating mid-to-late November, and liberties were taken with time for the sake of the story line
1. “Real Time” is not a hard and fast rule for The Office. Though there was 6 weeks between the airings of “Cocktails” and “The Negotiation,” the events didn’t take place 6 weeks apart.
2. The signs point to nothing happening between them in Stamford. In the episode after Diwali, Branch Closing, Jim is surprised Karen is considering going to Scranton, pointing out New York City is less than an hour away. At the end the episode, Karen says “I don’t think he’s into me, but I’m kinda into him”. Then the last day in the Stamford office (at the beginning of “The Merger”), there’s Jim’s high-five, which . . . what was that?
3. It’s close enough to six months the writers just decided to just make it so.
Thoughts? More evidence? Another theory altogether? Please comment!