The characters in The Office are iconic-- easily recognizable to nearly any TV fan, whether you watched the show or not. No doubt you’ve encountered memes or quotes or screen grabs from the show on social media or surfing the Internet. You might even have a friend or two that references The Office every chance they get.
Michael Scott, Pam Beesly, Jim Halpert, and Dwight Schrute are the faces of The Office, but all the people at Dunder-Mifflin have a quirkiness to them that shines. Some are funny, some are serious in a ludicrous, and others act hilariously insane or crazy. No matter who you love watching or the episodes you repeatedly view or if you binge all nine seasons, a few characters are what they first seem after you dissect their actions, lines, and motives. One of those characters is Jim Halpert.
On the surface, Jim gives the impression of a paper salesman haplessly trudging through his job just to get to quitting time. The show presents Jim in a very sympathetic light, but many fans focus too much on this aspect of Jim and miss some extremely important other factors to his character. This list provides you with lines of dialogue, scenes, and other pieces of evidence so you can understand why what you see in The Office about Jim Halpert is not 100% accurate. Many of the items you see may have spoilers within the text, so be warned if you haven’t seen The Office yet.
Here’s The Office: 20 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Jim.
20 Jim's a Nice Guy
When you look across all nine seasons, it’s easier to see that Jim is not a nice guy. Watching him in the first season, viewers think, “Aw, that Jim Halpert is so sweet.”
]Jim lies a lot. He lied to the whole office about having Jury Duty a full week instead of telling them he went home. He pranks Dwight out of frustration and anger sometimes. With Michael Scott, Jim constantly pokes fun at him and encourages Michael’s often idiotic behavior.While he does have his nice streak, Jim often plays it up for the camera with facial expressions saying, “I’m just having fun” or “It’s just a joke.”
He doesn’t take his co-workers feelings into consideration.
Halpert does pretty much whatever he wants.
19 He's a Good Salesman
It’s apparent in his interviews with the documentary crew in the first season that Jim Halpert is an unmotivated Dunder-Mifflin employee. It may not be the job he wanted to spend years at, but he could at least try harder at it, especially since his position is commissioned-based.
Jim simply isn’t a good salesman. He does try a couple times, like when he chases a renewal on the account that gives him his biggest commission for the year. But when Dwight inadvertently makes the sale, Jim lets it go. That's probably a client he should have fought to keep. Isn’t it possible that he didn’t leave Athlead for Pam, but because he was terrible at convincing investors and potential athletes to believe in his company?
18 He's a Romantic
Jim tries to be romantic, but he’s really not. In “The Client”, Jim and Pam have an impromptu friend dinner on the roof of the building, which later Jim tried to play off as their first date.
He did plan a decent proposal in “Toby’s Goodbye” but was thwarted by Andy when he proposed to Angela. He let it go and didn’t say anything.
The actual proposal was exceptionally lame.
On an impulse, after talking with Michael, Jim messaged Pam to meet him at a gas station. He asked her to marry him while they stood on a cement median. The only romantic thing about it was the rain. The “big Jim gestures," as Pam calls them, were usually last-minute and very lame.
17 Jim's Great With Women
The women on The Office find Jim charming and adorable. They seem to fall for the cute and funny dork. Katie loved spending time with Jim, Cathy wanted to hook up with him, and Karen kind of thought Jim was the one. Even when the office played “Who Would You Do?” in the episode “The Fire”, some of the other women gave Jim as the answer to the party question.
Jim is not actually that great with women, as viewers see. Halpert impulsively breaks up with Katie in “Booze Cruise”, and Jim harshly admitted to Karen he still had feelings for Pam. Those were short-lived relationships, and as far as we know, Jim hadn’t really had a long-term one before his pairing up with Pam.
16 Krasinski is the Only Halpert
John Krasinski is the Jim Halpert we know and love. For nine seasons, over 180 episodes, it’s hard to imagine another actor in his place. However, Krasinki wasn’t the only actor who wanted the role of Jim Halpert.
Adam Scott, who eventually went on to star in Parks and Recreation, tried out for the part.
Another actor who almost was Jim Halpert is Hamish Linklater. He’s also a playwright who has been in the TV shows American Dreams and Gideon’s Crossing. He also had a starring role in The New Adventures of Old Christine. Linklater, based on looks alone, probably would have fit the role, but Krasinski had our hearts from the pilot episode.
15 Jim Wanted Pam to Succeed at Art School
When Pam wanted to attend a Dunder-Mifflin program for art, Roy was against it, thinking it was a waste of time. Jim encouraged her, annoyed that she was listening to Roy. Ultimately, Pam never went. There was an opportunity for Pam to attend Pratt, and Jim helped Pam jump on it. She got accepted, and they figured out how to make their long-distance relationship work.
Jim was supportive-- at first.
Pam attended Pratt and almost made it through the semester. She planned to come home, but Pam found out she had to retake a class. It would be another three months away. Even though Pam missed Jim, Jim apparently missed Pam more: he had no problem selfishly suggesting she come home.
14 He's an Amazing Dad
By the end of the series, Jim and Pam had two children, Cece and Philip. While he’s excited for the birth of each kid, Jim Halpert is a sub-par dad with no gumption to step it up.
When Jim and Pam go to Kelly’s to watch Glee in “Viewing Party”, Jim is reluctant to cater to Dwight when CeCe gets fussy with Pam. Dwight is successful in calming CeCe down, no thanks to Jim. The episode “The Christening” shows Jim as the absent-minded and annoyed dad when he was positive he included an extra onesie after CeCe dirtied her diaper. In “Michael’s Last Dundies”, Michael gives ‘Best Dad’ to Jim, but Jim’s acceptance speech had no mention of Pam. When asked about it, Jim responds with the nonchalant, “Didn’t I?”
13 The Hair was Always Real
Jim’s hair was an iconic look for him. It was stylishly messy, as if he’d just gotten out of bed and neglected to wash or comb it. There was actually a short time when the hair wasn’t real.
John Krasinski had a part in the movie Leatherheads and had to shave his head.
The shooting took most of season three of The Office. When Krasinski returned to complete the second half of the third season, the producers forced him to wear a wig. They wanted consistency, which makes sense, because there really wasn’t a reason Jim for to remove his hair. It was a good wig, but in a few scenes of the later episodes of season three, it's pretty obvious.
12 Jim Tells Pam the Truth
Jim and Pam didn’t have the rock-solid relationship everyone thought they had, whether dating or married. The biggest lies came during season nine, during the Athlead storyline. He holds in the secret, even when Pam asked if there was something about him she didn’t know. The purchase of the house from Jim’s parents is contentious, because Pam should have been consulted since it involved her and their family. It’s easy to assume that he had to have lied to her about it.
If you want to hear a blatant lie, what was his answer when Pam asked Jim if he found Cathy attractive? It was “No.” During the interviews with the documentary crew, he says the complete opposite. He just didn’t want to upset his pregnant wife.
11 Outside Work, Jim has Many Friends
Jim isn’t as outgoing as you might think. Sure, he’s open and talkative with his co-workers. When Jim is outside of work, he’s not with his friends, but with others from the office. He did have a roommate who was seen briefly when Jim held his BBQ in “Email Surveillance”.
Even when Jim was organizing his poker party, we're not sure how many friends are coming. He still invited Kelly. He and Pam became friends with Brian (the boom operator) and Alyssa because of the documentary. Most of his friends that we know of, he only made during filming of the documentary.
10 Jim Plans to Succeed at Dunder-Mifflin
From the get-go, Jim Halpert has a dismal attitude about his job. Selling paper was never his life’s dream, which is why he tends to skate by, doing the minimum to at least make ends meet.
When he transfers to Stamford, it’s not because he’ll make more money, but because he wants to get away from Pam.
He has big clients and does manage to get in the top 10 of Dunder-Mifflin’s sales people during one year (”Dwight’s Speech”). Is that because others in the company are trying even less? After he has CeCe, Jim doesn’t really buckle down. He continues his life at the Scranton branch as if it were the early seasons.
9 His co-workers adore him
They simply don’t. Pam finds Jim adorable, but Jim’s other co-workers in the office have disparaging attitudes towards him. Michael called him out when telling Jim about the new neighbor in his condo complex, Tom Cruise. Michael picked up on the joke and called him a jerk. Maybe Kelly was onto something when she faked client reviews to get revenge on him. There’s truth in her saying Jim is smug and arrogant.
Co-workers got annoyed when they stayed late to get work done, and Jim never called Hank the security guard to keep the fence unlocked. Jim was supposed to collect everyone’s Christmas money to give Hank, but he never did. Although it was rarely shown, do you think the office approved of what Jim put Pam through with Athlead?
8 Jim's Supportive
Jim isn’t the best when it comes to supporting his co-workers. As the unspoken leader of the office, Jim had the responsibility of helping other salespeople who struggled. Pam, for one, when she became a salesperson after the Michael Scott Paper Company. Andy Bernard had issues pretty much since he got there – and Jim should have had an idea since he worked with Andy prior to the merger.
The worst was that he always seemed purposely antagonistic towards Michael Scott, his boss.
To Jim, it was more important to poke fun at Scott and get the office to make fun of the boss instead of becoming a better salesperson or providing ideas or assistance to make the whole branch better.
7 He's perfectly Loyal to Pam
As much as we all like Jim and Pam together, there were times when Jim was not loyal to Pam. There are theories that suggest Jim cheated on Pam more than once. First, there’s some subtle evidence that Jim and Cathy got together during the Tallahassee story arc. She clearly wanted to do more than work in Florida opening the Sabre stand-alone store. How hard did really try to rid her when Cathy invaded his hotel room? There’s some speculation that Jim cheated on Pam when he was in Philadelphia and the documentary crew helped cover it up.
Jim was ready to leave Pam high and dry during “Dinner Party” to escape Michael and Jan’s awkwardness. Also he should have been working on his marriage more than commuting to Philadelphia.
6 There Have Been Consequences for Jim's Pranks
Can you name a time when Jim got in trouble for pulling a prank? He has a job to do – which he doesn’t do very well – but wastes time in playing jokes on everyone. When the opportunity arises, Jim drops the work he’s doing to get the prank done. He’s done a lot to many in the office and he doesn't really get reprimanded, written up, or suspended. The closest he came was during “Conflict Resolution”, when all the complaints came out about Jim from Dwight.
Dwight tends to snitch, but he has a right to: Jim is disruptive to his colleagues when they are trying to actually work.
Michael Scott has been blamed often for the lack of productivity in the office, but could it be Jim Halpert the culprit?
5 Jim is Funny
Some of the best lines come from Jim Halpert and some of the best things involve him. He has a quiet humor that can make you burst out in hearty laughter, but that's our experience as viewers. The rest of the characters in the office really don’t find Jim that funny.
As you watch episodes, his co-workers rarely react to what Jim says or does.
A few of the pranks elicit laughter, but no one outwardly cares about Jim’s quips and meanness to Dwight, no matter how funny you think it is.The only person who finds anything Jim does funny is Pam. It seems he’s always doing or saying something to get a reaction out of her.
4 He is Patient
It may appear to you that Jim has the patience of a saint. Some of his pranks have gone on for days, weeks, and even years. That’s the case with his jokes, but when it comes to anything else, he’s impulsive and pressures people.
In “Casino Night”, he confesses his love for Pam, who rejects him in a romantic sense. Then he goes to the office to kiss her and try again. The wedding proposal at the gas station was a last-minute idea. Investing the entire $10,000 dollars he and Pam agreed was the maximum – she clearly hoped for a lot less – was a sudden decision for him.
3 He treats Pam with respect
For some time, Jim had a crush on Pam. He tried to start a relationship in “Casino Night” and again after Pam broke up with Roy, but the timing wasn’t right. In all that time, Jim Halpert didn’t have full respect for her.
Jim reported Pam to H.R. about how much time she was using to plan her wedding to Roy.
When wooing Pam, Jim constantly was up in her personal space. Once she even said something about it and clearly moved her body away in slight annoyance. Also, Jim could be considered a bit of a stalker with how often he talked to her, was around her, and how he followed her up to the office for the famous kiss in “Casino Night”.
2 Jim has Ethics
One of our favorite characters on The Office isn’t very ethical. He blatantly lies in “Jury Duty”, then has the audacity to use his kids to make his co-workers forget about what he did. He nixed the idea, but he still planned it, and it shows you how manipulative he really is.
He’s loyal to Pam in the sense that he must think it’s okay for her to trick the office (Gabe and heads of the departments) into giving her a made-up promotion for more money. However, he kept vital information about Athlead from Pam, when it obviously would affect his family in major ways. Let's not forget all the times he pulled pranks and declined to admit it was him.
1 The Office is About Everyone
In the pilot episode, you learn that a documentary film crew has decided to tape the day-to-day activities of Dunder-Mifflin’s Scranton branch. Many of the workers found that strange, but there are tiny pieces of evidence in “Performance Review” that indicate the way the previous employee passed away was the real reason the film crew is there.
It has been suggested the show within a show is not a documentary at all, but a sitcom, written completely by Jim Halpert. Throughout the show, Jim is cast in a good light. He receives no consequences for his shenanigans, and even when it appears he might get some negative pushback, attention is moved over to another character. It all seems a bit convenient.
What is something others misunderstand about Jim from The Office? Let us know in the comments!