Years after The Office aired its ninth and final season, the characters the show introduced continue to resonate in pop culture. New fans are discovering these iconic characters, and old The Office enthusiasts still appreciate what they brought to the series. Even secondary characters, like Gabe Lewis and Jo Bennett, captured The Office fans’ hearts with their quotable lines and quirky behavior. It also helped the show was very relatable, whether you worked in an office environment or not. The Office was more about the character interactions and relationships between everyone, good and bad.
Word association: what character(s) do you typically think of when you hear, “The Office?” Most tend to picture Jim and Pam because they were the "it" couple focused on so much. Others conjure up Michael Scott because of his dim-witted antics and famous phrase, “That’s what she said.” The character Dwight Schrute comes up often as well, but mainly because people tend to associate Dwight with Jim’s pranks.
Though he's based on Garrett in the British version of The Office, the creators of the American The Office quickly brought Dwight into his own. They gave him goals and motivations and a number of storylines. It probably helped the American version lasted far longer than the original. As lovable as Dwight can be, though, many things about him make no sense. This list examines Dwight's inconsistencies and behaviors that don’t fit in the context of the show.
Here are 20 Things That Make No Sense About Dwight.
20 Ambiguous Moral Compass
Through many episodes, Dwight purports himself to be of high moral character. He follows the letter of law and makes sure others do the same. Everything seems to be by the book with Dwight. However, he's not as moral as he wants people to think.
There are two prime examples. One, Dwight begins a relationship with Angela, while she is engaged to Andy. They secretly meet in “the old spot” - a storage closet in the warehouse - many times. It’s mostly Angela who fuels their cheating, but Dwight is perfectly fine with it. Two, which directly involves the police, is when Michael needs to submit clean urine to eliminate him as a suspect that left a “doobie” in the parking lot. Dwight lets Michael convince him to relieve himself into a container for Michael to use.
19 Lack of Respect for Authority
Dwight is a volunteer policeman for Lackawanna County and is ready to lend his hand in any matter involving the police (”Dinner Party” and “Frame Toby”). When it comes to authority within Dunder-Mifflin, however, Dwight has a complete lack of respect. He tries to undermine Michael by suggesting to Jan he could do a better job with the branch in “The Coup”.
The worst comes when Dwight runs the dangerous fire drill that ignites Stanley’s heart attack. Dwight was nonchalant about any consequences. If that wasn’t enough, he then immediately bucks authority by cutting the face off an expensive CPR dummy. He’s removed as Safety Lead, but never takes that consequence seriously, either.
18 Dwight Doesn't Want Angela
Given how Dwight spent time with Angela when they secretly dated early in the series and when they began their illicit affair while she was with Andy, Dwight and Angela clearly should have been exclusive. Dwight had obvious feelings for Angela through the first few seasons - Dwight was compassionate and caring then. He showed those the same feelings when Angela was engaged to Andy. Dwight was so smitten then that he went to Phyllis for advice on how to win her back.
That was the hardest he tried to be with Angela. They did get together at the end of the series, but Dwight had ample opportunities to step up and share his feelings in the seasons between their first affair and the final season.
17 Dwight's Drive to be Better
From the moment viewers meet Dwight, it’s apparent he has aspirations for a higher position in the company. Those aspirations might cap at branch manager, but Dwight’s drive is focused. For most of the series, Dwight is a great salesman, even winning an award for his ambition in “Dwight’s Speech”. He’s aggressive and calculating but is consistently top in the company.
There’s one hindrance to his promotion: Jim’s pranks. Dwight lets those pranks rule his life as he tries to get Jim in trouble, but it never goes his way. They impede him from being the best employee he can be, but he doesn’t really press the issue until “Conflict Resolution".
16 Assistant to the Regional Manager
A running joke in The Office involves the title “Assistant to the Regional Manager.” Dwight assumes the title is real, but everyone in the office knows the truth: it’s to placate Dwight. What doesn’t make sense is why Dwight thinks “Assistant to the Regional Manager” is a real position. Michael hinted the job isn’t real multiple times. Jim told Dwight outright, “It’s not a real title, Dwight.”
When the merger happened, Jan made Jim the number 2 man at the Scranton branch because he was the number 2 man at Stamford. This irritated Dwight - as it should have - as he didn’t realize that Jim’s title was basically “Assistant to the Manager,” but he kept the “Assistant to the Regional Manager” title. He should definitely have figured it out sooner.
15 Dwight's Ignorance vs. Intelligence
Many absurd things happen to Dwight over the course of the show. Most of them are because Jim pulls pranks on Dwight. These absurd things make Dwight look dumb.
Aside from those pranks that paint him as unintelligent, Dwight has proved to be very smart. He runs multiple businesses, like the bed and breakfast, and later becoming the landlord of the Scranton Business Park building. Through the whole series he keeps his beet farm thriving as well. Plus, he’s not afraid to try new endeavors, like using his land to host parties for others. It’s obvious Dwight has the intelligence to hold his own in the business world, but somehow that intelligence doesn’t translate into keeping up with the antics of his officemates.
14 His skills with women
Maybe due to his upbringing or due to his behavior in the show, but Dwight comes across as socially awkward. This is first evident in “Hot Girl” when he tries to pick up Katie, the purse salesgirl.
However, Dwight becomes quite the ladies’ man when he meets Pam’s friend Isabel at Pam’s wedding in “Niagara” and two later episodes. In “Night Out”, he picks up one of the women from the basketball team that helped him, Michael, Dwight, Ryan, and Ryan’s friend get into a club. Dwight manages to have sweet and beautiful moments with Pam, especially in “The Whale”, when he sincerely calls Pam his friend. It doesn’t make sense that the show makes seem him awkward with women when he's obviously got some moves.
13 He hasn't been fired
Be honest with yourself: Jim and Dwight would have been fired if they behaved as they do in The Office in the real world. Focusing on Dwight, he brought gun into the workplace, and it went off. Accidental or not, it was inappropriate and probably against Sabre/Dunder-Mifflin policies.
Dwight has also blatantly lied to Michael (in “The Coup” especially) and is nonchalant about all the romantic ctivity he undertakes on office property. Lastly, Dwight has pulled some dangerous pranks on Jim, one of which drew blood in the episode “Classy Christmas”. Any of this should have been cause for termination immediately.
12 His friendship with Andy
We get the impression that Dwight Schrute holds grudges. He’s upset with his brother and sister for leaving the family behind to pursue their own dreams, and there’s a constant irritation with Jim throughout most of the series.
When Andy finds out Angela is cheating on him with Dwight, there’s a short “duel,” which Andy wins. After “The Duel" Dwight and Andy are suddenly best friends. They’re hunting together, doing favors for each other, and performing a duet together with a banjo and guitar. When they both become attracted to the new receptionist Erin, they are overly nice about letting the other pursue her since they don’t want another Angela situation.
11 Knowledge of Useless Facts
Dwight is known to spout the most random facts at the strangest times. Many of his quotes sound made up, and they are, but knowing the specifics about napalm and how to create invisible ink with what’s laying around is impressive. That indicates Dwight has at least a moderate level of intelligence, but apparently that doesn't apply to the real world.
When moving Nellie, Dwight says something clever, then mentions that he should have a “Tweeter” account. Dwight also doesn’t understand how menstruation works and thinks yeast infections came “downriver from that old bread factory.” On the other hand, Dwight has an insightful observation about a popular piece of software: “PowerPoints are the peacocks of the business world; all show, no meat.”
10 Dwight's True Motives with Michael
Viewers find out early in the series that Dwight Schrute wants to be the branch manager. He does anything he can to be close with Michael, doing whatever Michael says. Occasionally, Dwight tries to hang out with Michael outside of work. At the end of the series, Michael and Dwight do become legitimate and sincere friends. Michael was elated to be Dwight’s best man as his wedding with Angela.
In most of the episodes prior to Michael leaving, Dwight has indicated a few times that he’d rather overthrow Michael. “The Coup” is the prime example. Dwight goes behind Michael’s back to convince Jan to let Dwight run the branch. It also goes to Dwight’s head when Dwight pretends to be left in charge in “Health Care”.
9 Karate Aspirations
Dwight is obsessed with Karate. For many years Dwight has pursued his black belt in the martial art. In “The Fight”, viewers see him in action as he tries to kick and punch his way to victory against Michael. One thing is clear: Dwight is terrible at Goju Ryu.
For some time, Dwight is a purple belt in Karate, seemingly never moving up. That might be the fault of Sensei Ira, as viewers get the impression Ira was bilking Dwight for tens of thousands of dollars with no belt promotion. Or maybe Dwight never improved. In “Livin’ the Dream”, Sensei Billy fast-tracks Dwight to his black belt. The teacher mentions Dwight’s tenacity and devotion, which could the only reason Dwight finally got the belt.
8 He claims to remember his own birth
There has a great deal of numerous scientific research that suggests humans aren’t able to remember our births. Typically, we can’t remember childhood events prior to ages 3 or 4. It’s called “infantile amnesia” and is based on evidence that babies just don’t have the mental capacity for “journaling” linear time.
Dwight, however, is the exception to this rule. He remembers in exceptional, vivid detail the night of his birth. Dwight Schrute II, his father, delivered Dwight from the womb after his mother gnawed off the umbilical cord. Somehow Dwight also remembers that he was a twin and “resorbed” the twin while in the womb. Even in a fictional show, it’s hard to believe Dwight is the only one in the world to recall the events of his birth.
7 Why is Dwight so Suspicious?
Dwight knows a lot of survival skills, both in the wilderness and corporate worlds. In the latter, it probably helps not to trust anyone. In The Office, did each co-worker give him enough of a pause to find them all suspicious?
Of course, we don’t know what much of what happened before the series premiere, but Dwight is quick to think everyone has ulterior motives when dealing with Dwight. In “The Alliance”, Dwight immediately distrusts Jim when he sees him talking to Pam. When Jim was co-manager, Dwight suspected that Jim was out to get him, so he concocted “My Diabolical Plan” to pro-actively beat Jim at his own, imagined game.
6 The Wigs
In “Classy Christmas”, it’s revealed that Dwight has wigs for each person in the office. Why would he need wigs to disguise himself as his co-workers?
In the episode, he uses them to get back at Jim while they spar back and forth during the first snow of the year. Viewers see him wear wigs for Meredith, Stanley, Kevin, and Pam. He does say he has one for everyone. They aren’t mentioned before or after, but it’s very possible Michael Scott uses them when he makes the introduction video for “Michael’s Last Dundies”/ Dwight’s reasoning for owning these wigs? “You never know when you’re going to need a passing resemblance to someone,” he says.
5 Dwight Instantly Becomes a Great Husband
Dwight’s character grows through the series in positive and impressive ways. He becomes a shrewd businessman and treats his co-workers as friends (Jim and Pam) near the end of the show. Near the end of the show, Dwight also becomes an instantly good husband to Angela.
He’s suddenly a good husband, co-worker, and friend to everyone else in the show. Maybe getting all the things he ever wanted - Angela and the branch manager position - allowed him to settle down. The series finale shows viewers that there’s probably not much more Dwight can achieve in the context of the show.
4 He Allows Jim's Pranks to Continue
It doesn’t make sense that Dwight allowed Jim’s pranks to continue. While viewers don’t know a lot of the history between them two prior to season one, one thing can be inferred from “Conflict Resolution”: Jim has played many pranks on Dwight.
Why? They’re disruptive and sometimes mean. In a way, Jim picks on Dwight, who just wants to do great at his job. They don’t only affect Dwight-- others in the office are sometimes caught in Jim’s friendly fire. Maybe Dwight became immune over time; he did say in the final season that the pranks never worked. When Jim tried to play a prank on Dwight in that same season, Dwight’s exasperated response was, “I’m serious, I need you.”
3 Evil Genius or Misunderstood?
Dwight might be an evil genius, but it possible he’s just misunderstood. Or maybe he's both. When in a relationship with Angela early in the series, he treated her tenderly. He had true feelings for her, and she accepted him for who he was.
On the other hand, Dwight seemed to be hatching some wicked plan. Take, for example, his manifesto titled “My Diabolical Plan” mean to take down Jim. Ryan found the document in the copier. What about the detailed plan to prove Angela and The Senator’s baby was his? He attempted many different ways to get a sample of the baby - hair, skin - for a DNA test.
2 Dwight's Not the Office Funny Guy
Jim is clearly funny guy in the office with his quick wit and amazing elaborate pranks. Whether the rest of the office find him as fun as fans do is up for debate.
When you think about it, many of the funny lines actually went to Dwight. Now most of them are ridiculous or don’t make sense, but how can you not laugh at something like, “My feelings regenerate at twice the speed of a normal man’s.” It’s amusing whether you think Dwight is being serious or not. Another hilarious gem from Dwight is, “Nostalgia is truly one of the greatest human weaknesses.” That’s actually an interesting thought-- until he adds, “Second only to the neck.” It’s apparent that Dwight should have been considered funny as well.
1 The Farm
“The Farm” was a back-door pilot that aired in the ninth season. That episode was intended to launch a proposed series starring Dwight. Ultimately, NBC decided not to order the spin-off. Though panned by critics, the amount of good and potential outweighed the negative. Maybe NBC should have given it a shot anyway. After all, the first season of The Office didn’t do so well, but network stuck with it.
The Farm could have been charming. NBC didn’t have to make the series all about Dwight all the time. The writers of "The Farm" included enough characters and future plotline ideas that the show could have had lots of heart and appealed to a wide audience like The Office.
What else about Dwight makes no sense in The Office? Let us know in the comments!