“I don’t believe you. Continue!”
–Dwight Schrute, “The Office”
I find the current news cycle so depressing at the moment—even for me, who trades in a certain level of existential dread—that I’m instead going to segue into a pop-cultural discussion. I hope you don’t mind. (For me, pop-culture, the esoteric, and real-life all seem to exist in a continuum anyway.)
Today I’m going to talk about Jim Halpert.
Jim Halpert is primarily known for three things:
b) His rivalry with co-worker Dwight
c) His “fourth wall”-breaking glances at the camera
To be clear, these glances are not technically breaking the fourth wall…as one of the conceits about the concept of The Office is that they are continually being filmed by a documentary crew. But, as Dennis from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia might say, it’s the implication. (Not quite what Dennis meant by “the implication,” but whatever)
Of course, the documentary crew in The Office is really just a metaphor for the series itself…and these glances are made to the audience at home. Jim is “communicating” in a unique way with the viewer, which to me is still a fourth wall-violating act the same way it is when Ferris Bueller or Deadpool does it. Thus, Jim is the most “self-aware” of anybody on the show.
And according to the post “Jim Halpert Is Sort Of An Asshole,” Jim is also apparently a little bit of an asshole. One could make the argument that while Dwight always seems like the asshole and Jim is adorable (“adorkable”), Jim is often just plain mean and mocking of Dwight.
Then there is the related issue of Jim seeming “too good for it all”—it’s assumed that Dwight is the one with the superiority complex, but Jim constantly has an attitude of being too advanced and cool for his surroundings…he just does it in a “funny,” Bugs Bunny trickster type way, whereas Dwight is just blunt.
This occasional assholery seems to be at odds with the way most females I knew at the time The Office was at its height felt about Jim…which was that Jim was the most ideal mate ever. He was sensitive, funny, loyal (well there was that whole Karen thing but that wasn’t Jim being disloyal, I mean he was dating because he was A MAN and all and had needs), and just…well, that “sweet spot” blend of big strapping guy and dork and a sweetheart.
And so John Krasinski rose to super-stardom based on The Office and Jim, and as that show was closing he actually auditioned with Marvel Studios to play Captain America…
…a role he did not get.
And perhaps his failure to snag the role of Cap is why Krasinski then radically changed his image from Nice Dorky Sensitive Guy to super-jacked unsmiling Tom Clancy Dude:
Krasinski went from an adorable spread in a GAP catalog modeling whimsical striped scarves to a 2015 Men’s Health article entitled, “How Actor John Krasinski Got Incredibly Ripped in Just Four Months” (a.k.a. “How John Krasinski Got Jacked”).
Was this the end of the Jim Halpert that Pam Beesly fell in love with?
Was there simply no more room for Gentle Jim in what was quickly becoming Trump’s America?
Matters of image…it’s so important, isn’t it? It’s everything. You really can’t escape it.
More Dwight vs. Jim:
Tom Clancy’s Jim Ryan: