TV

Why Jim Halpert Was Actually The Villain Of ‘The Office’

For Michael Bay, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is a small-scale passion project. The story of the Americans who protected a diplomatic compound in Libya from terrorists only cost $50 million to make, or $160 million less than Bay’s previous film, Transformers: Age of Extinction. In the context of Bay’s filmography, 13 Hours and Pain & Gain are (pretty decent) indies surrounded by blockbusters. The difference between the films is how they were marketed to the moviegoing public. Pain & Gain had America’s ids, Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson; 13 Hours has America.

It was not an effective strategy, effectively marketing only towards conservatives, or as Gawker put it, “pissed-off patriots.” Well, conservatives, and fans of NBC single-camera comedies.

The closest thing 13 Hours has to an A-list name is John Krasinski, who’s had trouble capitalizing on his Screen Actors Guild award-winning role as Jim Halpert on The Office. License to Wed was a gooey rom-com; Leatherheads, a handsome bomb; Monsters University, well, I just learned he’s in Monsters University, so that’s not good. One possible reason why: Off camera, Krasinski seems like a nice dude, but Jim Halpert? Total d*ck. Here’s why.

1. His obsession with Dwight

Through the first few seasons, Jim was The Office‘s adorable, prank-playing scamp. He encased Dwight’s stapler in Jello-O! He convinced Dwight it was Friday when it was actually Thursday! He put Dwight’s items in a vending machine! You may have noticed what these pranks have in common: Dwight was the target. Yes, the Schrute Farms proprietor would be annoying to work with and frequently left himself open for mockery, but Jim’s pranks quickly accelerated from mischievous to deranged.

By season five, Jim was recording Dwight’s every move, convinced him to fight his greatest enemy (himself), and stripped off his suit in front of everyone. He made his poor co-worker, who’s just trying to earn an honest paycheck, travel to Los Angeles on his own dime (Pennsylvania to California isn’t cheap) when he thinks he’s won a walk-on role on NCIS, and tricked him into calling the company CFO over a fake hostage situation. At this point, Jim — who kept going even after being confronted with his monstrous ways — wasn’t pulling pranks; he was actively trying to destroy Dwight’s life.

2. His tormenting of Andy

No longer content to only mess with one person’s sanity, all because he’s fed up and frustrated with his unfulfilled life at a small-town paper company, Jim began to prank Andy when Dwight left for a job at Staples. He hid his phone in the ceiling, so that every time Andy received a call, signaled by a self-recorded “Rockin’ Robin” ringtone, he grew increasingly and understandably impatient. So much so that at the end of the episode, Andy punched a hole in the wall, and checked into an anger-management program. Haha, good one, Big Tuna, you caused someone’s mental breakdown.

3. Show some respect

You know what’s worse than going to a destination wedding? Going to a destination wedding where the bride and groom are late because they decided to get married somewhere else. Jim and Pam, after years of will they/won’t they tension, finally get hitched, not in Scranton, where all their “friends” live (more on this soon), but damp Niagara Falls, a five-hour drive away. It’s close enough that everyone felt obligated to go, but not so far that it could double as an exotic vacation. It’s the worst kind of destination wedding, especially when Jim and Pam get sick of their family and “friends” and leave the church to have the Maid of the Mist‘s ship captain legally marry them. Meanwhile, their invited guests were waiting impatiently, in tight suits and dresses on uncomfortable pews, for the bride to walk down the damn aisle.

They didn’t deserve a carefully choreographed dance.

As for the “friends” issue: Does Jim have any? There’s Pam, of course, but outside of her, we never saw him hanging out with anyone besides his co-workers, who he thinks are beneath him. Jim has a textbook superiority complex. He constantly complained about being stuck in a dead-end job, with a haughty smirk on his face, in a town that’s seen better days, but it took him years to do anything about it (and when he did, he became a “complete bastard”). Jim’s like a middle-aged guy who resents the world because the sh*tty garage band he was in as a 20-something never made it.

Also, he was a jerk to Karen, which is not cool.

4. It’s never sunny in Philadelphia

Jim’s a Philadelphia Eagles fan. He cannot be trusted.

5. “James”

When Michael left Dunder Mifflin to move to Colorado with Holly, Jim was put in charge of selecting a new regional manager. He didn’t take his new responsibility very seriously. His voice dripping with sarcasm, Jim told Oscar, “I think at the end of the day, I’m just gonna pick a name out of the hat,” to which a pissed-off Stanley responded, “The hell you will! I worked for the last boss for 15 years… My next boss will be my last boss. He’ll be at my funeral. So I would appreciate it if you would take this seriously.” Meredith agreed, adding, “You pick a crappy boss, you’re responsible for my crappy life.” Ouch. Ryan provides the dagger: “Little advice? Take a day off from the whole Jim schtick. Try caring about something. You might like how it feels… James.”

This, from a guy who was working in a supply closet.

Jim was so self-involved that he forgot that his bored actions affected other people. The “new Michael” wasn’t just his next boss; it was the next boss for everyone he worked with, lower-class-middle Pennsylvanians with mortgages, car payments, loans, and families. Lord, beer them strength.

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