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October 22, 2014

Pam's mom is coming to The Office

by Kona Gallagher, posted Sep 2nd 2009 8:04AM
linda purlMichael Ausiello is reporting that the role of Pam's mom has been cast on The Office. The name Linda Purl may not sound familiar to you, unless of course, you're a huge Matlock fan, but the woman best known for playing Matlock's daughter has snagged the role of Mrs. Beesly.

Some fans may be disappointed that the role didn't go to a bigger name, but if you think about it, that's just kind of the way of The Office. As BJ Novak says, "it is supposed to be real average Joes, and casting a famous actor takes away from that." So casting Glen Close, for instance, would be a bit of a distraction. However, this news still disappoints me-- but for a different reason.

We've already briefly met Pam's mom back in season two, when she came to visit Pam at work (back when she and Roy were still engaged). At that time, she was played by Shannon Cochran. While TV shows recast roles all of the time (especially small, one-shot ones), it seems as though The Office would be better about this. One of the things that makes the show so great is its attention to detail, and the fact that they don't underestimate their audience by just assuming they've forgotten plot points from seasons past.

So why not bring back Cochran? I have nothing against Linda Purl, of course; I'm sure she'll do a great job in the role. A quick look at Sharon Cochran's IMDB page though, doesn't show anything that may conflict with taping. Of course, they may have asked her to come back and she just said no, but it's hard to imagine why a working actress would turn down a role on The Office, so I'm just sort of stumped.

Why do you think producers decided to recast the role? Does it even matter, or are you just excited to see Mr. and Mrs. Beesly in the same room? Leave your comments below.

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Mary

In an interview with a producer from The Office, it was noted that they absolutely wanted to use Shannon Cochran, however she is on tour performing Broadway's August: Osage County and is not available.

September 02 2009 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matthew Golem

I think there are a lot of people who will be happy to see Linda Purl back on TV. She should fit right in on "The Office".

September 02 2009 at 7:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kip

I wouldn't be surprised if they offered her the chance to audition, but they didn't feel she'd be the right fit for the character, or they just thought the new lady did a much better job. It's not like the character was very well fleshed-out in the earlier episode, they may be planning to develop her character in a different direction now, or make her a more central character (which would require a stronger actor).

September 02 2009 at 5:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kickit

While I agree that it can be annoying when a character is recast (even such a small role as this), it definitely does not make or break the character.. and can even be better for the show.

Two major examples where the new actor worked out perfectly and better than the original:

Seinfeld -- Morty Seinfeld - Barney Martin
The Dark Knight -- Rachel - Maggie Gyllenhaal

Nothing against the original actors that were put in these roles, but could you imagine anyone else now better for these roles than those actors mentioned above?

September 02 2009 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cathy

I doubt if anyone even remembers four years ago a 1 episode guest star. I dont consider an actor working in 1 episode 4 years ago a recast. If it distracts you, then I would guess you have the attention span of a 2 year old. I also think that Shannon Cochran looks like Jan, and that wasnt odd 4 years ago.

September 02 2009 at 2:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cathy's comment
Cozumel

I remembered it instantly. That's why I found this sight-It bugged the heck out of me and I Googled it. And remembering an episode from season two is not so difficult when the show is syndicated on four networks daily.

November 01 2009 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LInda Frey

I love Linda Purl. I used to watch her in the pioneer movies she made. Because of her, I will tune into The Office. I've never watched it before even though my son said it's great. Because of Linda Purl, I will watch it!

September 02 2009 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Courtney

It does bug me a bit that they're recasting. Don't get me wrong: I watched Matlock all the time, and it kinda entertains me that she's back on TV. But I hate recasts. Enormously. Even the Twilight recast--and I don't even care about those stupid movies!

I would have thought The Office would have been better. Plus, this picture of her really looks like Jan. And that would be odd.

September 02 2009 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aaron

That is suprising. As you say, The Office is usually very good about attention to detail. There are tiny visual and dialogue references to things in past episodes all the time. Not to an annoying degree, or to a level that makes the show inaccessable to casual viewers, but still there. A new Momma Pam will be distracting to big fans of the show, such as myself!

September 02 2009 at 8:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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