The backstory of the harried HR head from the animated series Archer is key to tons of character arcs in the show, both hers and thsose of others.
So you're a girl from a failing dairy farm somewhere in the MidWest, but the thought of staring at cows and pastures for the rest of your life in the family business isn't how you envisaged everything working out.
So, like generations of hopeful young adults from suburbs and midwestern and upstate towns all over the United States, you hitch your wagon to dreams of a great life in Gotham, with the ritz and glamor of a city that never sleeps. Where anything can happen and where you go to be discovered, to make your mark, to stand tall in the middle of Times Square and realize you're finally a somebody.
Needing a good job to afford the high rents and to pursue your passions, you take on a human resources position at a company you've never heard of. You're going to be the only one in HR, but that's alright, that just gives you more of a chance to make a difference in a New York company.
So you dress up in the kind of plain-Jane office-drone respectability that suits the potbellied, chubby frame you brought with you from the midwest, put your hair up, and dig in, thinking of yourself as being next to glamorous spies, which, for all intents and purposes, could lead to an exciting and glamorous career, right?
Well, there's the fact that your two main concerns are the biggest source of your sexual harassment complaints, and also the boss' only son. He's partnered professionally with someone who he broke up with acrimoniously. So you put a dolphin puppet on one hand to try to defuse the tension, only to find yourself on the ground, sobbing, being beaten with it. You try to bond with the other people there but they're thin and good looking and it makes you stand out more than ever, so the only person you ever truly end up talking to around the office is a mentally unstable trust fund baby who is extremely aroused at the thought of being choked to death, all while inhaling - and also EATING - plastic wood.
And in your private life, you're not getting any further. You're around all these sophisticated New York City people, but you're still fundamentally a girl from the country. You crap with the bathroom door open oblivious to who might be able to look in, you belch and break wind with abandon, and you openly eat large amounts of slow cooked food with a ladle out of a crock pot.
This is where we're introduced to Ms. Poovey in the animated series Archer. She's plucky comic relief, a fish out of water. Eating copious amounts of food out of a crock pot she brings, contents and all, to the lunch room daily.
But as time goes on you get hints as to just how repressed that free spirit is, and just how much she's willing to do to be noticed, to be loved, to feel the exhiliaration of being a part of something.
At first it was the NYC style graf spray painted in the bathrooms, or a tag here or there.
Then we find out she'll consume mass quantities of any drug she'll get a hold of, be it ganja (whilst sporting cornrows and a Jamaican flag sweater) or in Archer Vice, cocaine. She does herculean amounts of cocaine and loses all the weight while maintaining her double D breasts, something she's assured herself will make everyone love her. The days of gambling in backrooms in Chinatown in illegal fighting fish matches, or drifting in Yakuza-organized races, or reverting back to her tomboyish fighting days and getting involved in unlicensed boxing seem to be over. The latter actually handwaves away any moral concerns about having the women in Archer tortured or otherwise hurt as a result of what they're doing - Cheryl is literally too kinky to torture, and Pam punches out men twice her size for fun, seemingly enjoying being hit as much as doing the hitting.
When ISIS is shut down and they're forced to survive on their wits and the ton of cocaine or so they had stashed away (to sell) for a rainy day, she becomes a complete jerk, sabotaging nearly everything they do and cutting into their profits by constantly snorting the product. To be fair though, it's really their fault she became addicted in the first place, as they put her in a cocaine plaster body cast and flew her to a drop in order to smuggle it (causing her to absorb enough of it to kill most people).
But it turns out that all of this comes from a deep seated need not only to be somebody, but to be loved. Sure she could find a bareknuckle prize fight, or a tattoo parlor, or a drifting competition to be a part of, but none of that would ever love her back. One of the most awfully touching moments in the series occurs when she breaks down in tears, tired of being the office joke - ostensibly lined up to have sex with gorgeous exotic spy co-worker Lana (it's a long story, she's trying to get revenge and isn't really sleeping with anyone). In a monologue that moves Lana to actually sleep with her on the office desk, she sobs that everyone else is thin and beautiful and glamorous and romping around with office affairs, and yet all she has for company is her food and her fighting fish. But it isn't fair because she has so, so much love to give.
Something in that hurried office passion awakens some courage in her, because she then goes on to seduce Cyril, the office accountant, before finally bedding the ruggedly handsome Sterling Archer.
Pam is a side character in the Archer series, but in small doses, adds an excellent top note to the story and the comedy. Her character arc, seen in glimpses here and there and often the McGuffin to advance the plot - is far more complex and unexpected than the predictable boy and girl aren't talking after a breakup, girl kind of pines after boy, boy aggressively beds everything in sight to spite her, touching near-death moment, touching sacrifice, boy and girl kind of get back together arc of the main cast.
One of the most delightful aspects of Pam is that she's voiced by Atlanta, Georgia area improv comedienne Amber Nash. Amber is a small, constantly smiling woman who, in contrast to fellow voice actor H. Jon Benjamin practically acts out the character as she voices it. The accent is affected, but one of the things that you can almost hear in her performance is the faces and the actions she puts in when behind the microphone, and it's warmly charming to watch her animate the character herself in the confines of a vocal booth. One of the highlights of the bonus footage on the DVD is watching Amber work, especially in one scene where Pam's supposed to be eating bear claws. They find a succession of actual foodstuffs to eat and show take after take of her going "rowr! bear claw!" with pieces of biscuit falling out of her mouth. One look at her fresh-faced, ever-happy countenance and you understand why she was chosen for the role.
Have we seen the end of Pam's development and is she going to be reduced to "girls poop, too" jokes as the series moves on? Or are they going to give her even more gonzo character development? Given that in one series they completely disband the premise of the show and have the characters off smuggling cocaine in expy of 80s cop shows, why not? Of all the characters in "Arrested Development meets James Bond" that is Archer, it's the quiet ones you really should be watching the most.