Pam Beesly, left, is a shy, put-upon receptionist at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Jenna Fischer, right, is the glamorous Emmy-nominated actress who plays Pam in the NBC TV series, "The Office," now entering its fourth season. They are not the same person (though they share the same body), but they do have some things in common.
Pam works in a boring job with an overbearing boss who thinks he is funny but is not (played by Steve Carell, left.) Fischer spent her first five years in L.A. working temp jobs (she types 85 words a minute, with 90 percent accuracy, according to her official biography), before she got her first speaking role in a TV show, an episode of "Spin City" in 2001.
But there are some differences. Pam is involved in something of a frustrating love triangle. Her office worker Jim (played by John Krasinski, left)really likes her, but she is engaged to warehouse worker Roy (played by David Denman).
Pam has been engaged to Roy for so long, without getting married, that the toaster oven she got at her engagement party has already broken down, but it's beyond its warranty. Here she sits in the pew of somebody else's wedding.
Many of the episodes in the series show scenes of Pam and Jim enjoying each other's company. (The elf is a colleague, played by Rainn Wilson, who also received an Emmy nomination this year.)
Fischer, on the other hand, has been married to writer-director James Gunn since October, 2000. How they met is an interesting tale. Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Fischer took her first acting class at the age of 5, with Sean Gunn, who played Kirk on the "Gilmore Girls." They kept in touch, which is how Fischer met James Gunn -- Sean Gunn's brother.
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Gunn directed his wife in the 2006 movie "Slither" (co-starring Michael Rooker, left). He also co-wrote (and co-starred in) "LolliLove" in 2004, a "mockumentary" (similar in style to "The Office") co-written by, directed by and starring Jenna Fischer, about a couple whose idea of helping the homeless is to give them lollipops with upbeat sayings on their wrappers.
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Fischer keeps a blog, and a My Space page, in both her own and her character's name. But there is little confusion between the two. Another difference is that she seems to smile more frequently, even in the company of her colleagues.