When I think of television moments that make me cry from pure joy, there’s nothing better than Jim and Pam discovering that they’re going to be parents at the end of the “Company Picnic” episode of The Office. What begins as a heartfelt moment of reflection from Michael Scott about his relationship with Holly perfectly transitions into a moment of complete bliss from the couple Michael was obviously thinking of and hoping to emulate.
This scene was the first one that made me fear breaking the rewind button on my DVR—and it’s all because of John Krasinski’s face. The decision to use no sound in the moments when they first found out about Pam’s pregnancy was genius. It forced us to focus on their reactions, and Krasinski is the king of reaction shots. The complete surprise on his face was adorable, but the tears started flowing for me when he hugged Pam. I love how real it still feels after so many re-watches; when he holds her, it’s such a genuinely beautiful moment. It feels like you’re watching a private moment between these two characters, and that only adds to the emotional power of the scene.
And once Jim calls Dwight back, I lose it every time. The little crack in his voice, the tears in his eyes, and the gloriously shocked look on his face when he finally faces the camera say it all. There’s no need to directly say what’s going on in the scene; we can see it, and, more importantly, we can feel it. There’s no better example of the “show, don’t tell” mantra of great storytelling.