Why Jim Halpert Comes Across as a Jerk

Jim Halpert, lead character and protagonist in the incredibly popular US sitcom series The Office, is viewed by quite a large part of the fanbase as something of a bully and a jerk. While people are clear that they view him in this way, their expressions for just why they hold this view lack the same clarity. Here is a good explanation for why Halpert comes across as a jerk.

He is Too Good

The trick with comedy is that it must be self-abbassing for the lead character. In Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David is often cast as the cause of problems which makes him more likeable and human. In The Nanny, while many of the characters such as CC are made fun of, Fran is mercilessly attacking herself and her culture at the same time. This makes it tolerable when CC loses and Fran wins as it is not Ms. Perfect triumphing but a human being. However, the almost unlimited success of Jim Halpert in being cool, athletic, intelligent and attractive begins to wear on the audience. In earlier seasons this was somewhat undermined by the fact that despite these qualities he lacked confidence and was somewhat lazy. He was a talented person who had character flaws that lead to him being stuck working as a salesmen for a paper merchant in Scranton.

He is Becoming Increasingly Content

The reason he is mean to the people around him such as Dwight is that they revere a work environment that he ultimately, and fairly, finds dull and close to pointless. This was somewhat forgiveable when he was not making a career out of it and Dwight was making his day dramatically harder then it needed to be. However, as Jim has not left the place it is hard for the character to justify his stance when these people are seemingly going to be his long term friends as he is not going to move on to something else. Contempt for their contentness with such a dull environment is hard to justify when the character is becoming increasingly content with it as well.

He is Mean to Nice People

Ultimately, whether Dunder Mifflin Scranton is basically a waste of time or not, the people there are nice people. Even Dwight, in his strange way, is nice to those around him. He is a good person who has cultural and personality differences which cause him to clash with everyone around him. While the series does bring up how silly it is for Jim to give him a hard time, it was ultimately justified as Dwight hit back pretty hard and really was a great pain to be around. However, as Dwight became increasingly human and less likely to cause trouble for employees around him, Jim’s excuses to give him a hard time decreased.

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