Steve Carell Saved The Office from 'Jumping the Shark' with Jim & Pam's Wedding Subplot
The intended subplot would have featured a horse plunging to its death in Niagara Falls in front of Jim and Pam's romantic boat ride
According to the new book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, developed by Rolling Stone senior writer Andy Greene and excerpted by Collider, a subplot initially planned for Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam's (Jenna Fischer) wedding episode in the season six finale, "Niagara," was the moment the series may have very well gone off track.
However, Carell, 57, voiced his major concerns for the proposed subplot of a horse plunging to its death in front of Jim and Pam's romantic boat ride after they got married.
According to Collider, episode director Paul Feig told Green that Pam’s ex Roy (David Denman) was originally going to crash the wedding on horseback.
“It was supposed to be that Pam and Jim are in the middle of the ceremony and Roy has been haunting around and regretting that he let her go and wanted her back,” Feig said. “When they were in the middle of the ceremony, it was supposed to be that Roy rides into the church on horseback dressed like a white knight to win her back."
In addition, there was a subplot written into the "Niagara" script by showrunner Greg Daniels and star Mindy Kaling, where Dwight (Rainn Wilson) has “an obsession with the falls and some sort of suicide gene to go over them," the book reports, according to Collider.
Throughout the episode, Dwight was planned to struggle with an urge to go over the falls. And once he ran into Roy at the wedding, he took the horse and headed for the falls.
In a later scene, Dwight would have abandoned the horse just before it fell to its death — with the camera cutting to Jim and Pam under the falls having a romantic moment, Collider reports from the excerpt.
Producer Randy Cordray told Green in the book that the horse subplot was locked into the script just a week before the cast and crew traveled to Niagara Falls to film, according to Collider. However, Carell's concerns at a table read led to the idea being squashed entirely.
"[Steve] is a producer on the show and he has some say over the writing of the show. Steve was the first one to speak up,” Cordray said. “He said, ‘Guys, I love the episode but you can’t throw a horse over Niagara Falls.' "
Continued Cordray, "And he’s like, ‘Yes, it’ is funny. I love your writing. I love all of you, but this is really an animated joke. This is a cartoon joke. This is a joke we might see on The Simpsons. I know many people think that The Office has already jumped the shark in many different ways, but let me just say, throwing a horse over Niagara Falls is really jumping the shark. I’m not in favor of this.’ "
Ultimately, Daniels gave into Carell's concerns and nixed the horse subplot, while the now freed-up budget was used to allow all of the cast members to travel to Niagara Falls for the finale.
The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s is available now on Amazon.com.