Office Mysteries: Jim & Karen’s first date (part 2)

In this series, Flonkerton investigates some of the unanswered questions from “The Office.”

Jim and KarenQuestion: When exactly did Jim and Karen get together?
status: unsolved

In a previous post, I investigated Jim’s claim that in “Women’s Appreciation” he and Karen had been together for 6 months. But I don’t think I addressed the real mystery, which is when did it go from Karen saying she’s “kind of into Jim” at the end of Branch Closing to Jim stating he’s dating her in “The Convict. So here is the Jaren first date mystery, part 2.

What we know

  • Jim and Karen are not dating at the end of “Branch Closing”, though Karen admits she’s into Jim.
  • “The Merger” takes place on two different days; Stamford’s very last day and the day of the merger in Scranton. I’m not familiar with mergers and transfers and all that, but I’m going to guess there would be at least a couple days (maybe a weekend?) between these days so people can get moved to Scranton.
  • In “The Convict” Jim confirms he and Karen are dating, though he’s still attempting to keep it quiet from Pam everyone.

*Edit: In Season 7’s Halloween episode (706 “Costume Contest”) Jim has this line: “Four years ago, when I was in Stamford Connecticut and dating someone else…” I’m not considering that evidence since it was a little throw away line years after the fact but it does nicely muck up everything!

The Theories
Theory 1: Jim and Karen had their “first date” while still in Stamford (sometime between the end of “Branch Closing” and the beginning of “The Merger”).
supporting evidence
1. Jim claimed in early May 2007 that he and Karen were together for 6 months, if we’re to take the “real time” factor literally, then between “Branch Closing” and “The Merger” would be the closest to 6 months.
2. When Jim and Karen get to Scranton, they seem to be in “new relationship” mode. Karen is being more flirty with Jim, rubbing his back, handing him gum without asking. Jim is all smiles with Karen (when he not aware Pam’s looking).
3. Karen liked Jim, Jim liked Karen (at least enough to date her) and was subconsciously looking for a shield from Pam, what’s to stop them?
4. Karen’s post high-five look: I could interpret this one of two ways. In “The Convict” it’s clear Jim don’t want to be too obvious to the cameras (or Pam) and he’s with Karen, and it’s possible in the beginning part of “The Merger” Jim and Karen have been on a couple dates but Jim would rather not be too obvious about it (hence the high five). Karen doesn’t seem to care if the cameras know, so her unsure looks make come from not understanding why Jim acts so different around the cameras.

Theory 2: Jim and Karen had their “first date” after moving to Scranton, but before Merger day (so sometime between day one and day two in “The Merger”)
supporting evidence
1. Back to Karen’s post high-five look: The other way I interpret this look is she’s very put off. The guy she’s moving for gave her a high-five, and she unsure if he even see her as more than a co-worker or friend. But then suddenly on the day of the merger she’s giving him gum before he asks for it, scratching his back in front of co-workers, and asking him to met her at a restaurant at her suggestion (like they had recently been there), indicating their “status” changed after the Stamford branch closed.
2. Jim let Karen live in a motel for a month: If they were established as any kind of couple before moving to Scranton, one would think that Jim, who obviously knows the area, would give Karen a few pointers on where to look for places.
3. Jim telling Pam he’s sort of started seeing someone, it’s a somewhat abiguous statement but it could be seen as Jim trying to deliver the news as kindly as possible.

Theory 3: Jim and Karen’s “first date” was after “The Merger” (quite possibly at Cooper’s)
supporting evidence
1. Though I say in the first theory that they were acting kind of like a new couple on merger day, Jim and Karen weren’t acting that close. Jim came into the office with Martin, not with Karen. The gum and backscratch were kind of couple-y, but it could be interpreted as just friendly also, as could their phone conversation in the parking lot.
2. Again, he let her live in a motel for a month, I mean, what is that?
3. Another “real time” factor: In “Back from Vacation” (aired Jan 4th) Jim said he and Karen have been dating for about a month. If that’s true, then after “The Merger” would closest to a month.
4. Jim’s comment to Pam that he’d “sort of started seeing someone” could be interpreted many different ways and and could support all these theories. But it didn’t seem like a planned remark, just a somewhat flustered reaction to Pam throwing his comment that things where weird between them back at him. He seems to be wanting to see where he stands with Pam, maybe to figure out if she had any interest in him or if he should pursue Karen. He may have been keeping Karen on “stand-by” so to speak until he got a chance to talk with Pam.

Alright, that was a very crazy Office Mystery. Questions? Comments? Different theories? Please post!


One thought on “Office Mysteries: Jim & Karen’s first date (part 2)

  1. There is an episode in which Karen says “I moved to Scranton for you…” in which I interpreted it that they were dating before the merger an she followed him there.

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