25 Inimitable Men 3/25
Jim Halpert (The Office)
A prankster with an absolute heart of gold and wisdom that’s through the moon? Where can you go wrong? Perhaps in certain places but certainly not with The Office’s Jim Halpert — especially with his ridiculously distinct sense of humor. Jim plays a crucial role in making The Office extraordinary and it’s essentially due to the significant growth his character experiences in his time working at Dunder Mifflin. In a number of ways, we saw a lot of greatness through his eyes, it was through his perspective where we were able to understand characters a little bit more because his means of description weren’t always sugar-coated — they were just incredibly honest. And honesty, plus a knack for laugher is easily a great combination for a man. Jim Halpert is a character you don’t expect to fall in love with, that’s why when it happens and you’re able to find a sense of comfort through his sincerity, it’s simple to understand how easily he cares for those around him, and how ardently he values love above all things.
There are quite a few personality traits that make Jim incredibly admirable, but his attention to detail is at the top of the list. This isn’t something that’s instantly noticeable, but from the moment it is, you realize that it’s not a characteristic many possess. And while Jim may brush it off with sarcasm, things like knowing Dwight’s middle name says a lot about him. And in season two when his gift to Pam is something that he knows she needs along with a few fun elements that serve a sentimental purpose? Perfect. It’s knowing and understanding little things about his coworkers that allow him to be the most unexpected team player. Sure Jim often looks to the camera with disbelief in the stupidity present within the office, but beyond that, he’s aware of the fact that Michael is much more than the unusual, sometimes problematic boss for Jim sees his heart more often than not. Jim knew enough about each Dunder Mifflin employee to see that in their own unique ways, they were each special — special and worthy of something great in the world.
Jim Halpert is the kind of man anyone would love to have as a husband, and by extension, a father — someone who’ll do anything and everything in his power to ensure that those he cares for never go unappreciated. Prioritizing family should essentially be any great father’s main goal in life, and it’s Jim Halpert’s without a doubt allowing viewers to understand that while life can get ugly at times, when selfless objectives in life are set, there’s nothing that won’t be achieved. And for Jim especially, his heart is reflected through his actions — he’s not just the man who verbally promises to do the best he can, but he’s the man who shows up to prove that he is honoring his word. While he’s most certainly not perfect, as no one in the world is, he is the perfect husband and father. And to a degree, that’s enough — at the end of the day, our family should always be first on our list. In this case, they were, they always were. Pam Beesly is his entire world and their children are the reason for everything he does; what else is necessary?
Now while I absolutely adore Jim, it’s fair to admit that he, much like every character on The Office is incredibly flawed. However, that’s what makes them inimitable. The perfect character isn’t purely good, they’re complex. I’ll be frank, I’m a fan of a fun-loving, hilarious prank but there’s a limit and to say that Jim never challenged that limit would be blind worship of a character. And that’s essentially what’s made him special — Jim Halpert in season nine isn’t the Jim Halpert we meet in season one. Jim didn’t exactly love everyone at Dunder Mifflin, but at the end of the day, he cared for them as much as any human being is capable of. People within Dunder Mifflin mocked one another a bit too much for my liking, but when worse came to worst, they still cared. And this is clear during moments such as Michael’s goodbye — he wasn’t the perfect boss, but he was the best one, and the inability to say goodbye in spite of the fact that they’ve often clashed showcases the very depth of the admiration within Jim’s heart. It’s also present most evidently in season nine when Jim makes it his mission to make sure that Dwight understands that he will not be happy in life until he admits to himself that he’s in love with Angela. The bottom line is, the pranks have crossed lines, they’ve caused problems, they’ve been innappropriate, badly timed, but Jim Halpert knows his coworkers enough to be there for them when they’re at their lowest. While he’s often annoyed by a lot of them, when they aren’t around, he misses them, and that alone is a reflection of adoration. Where there have been harmful pranks, there have also been extraordinary ones. It may not have always been rainbows and butterflies, but it’s been good enough. He’s good enough.
Now while Jim frequently messed around to compensate for his boredom, he also served as the voice of reason when it came down to Michael or Dwight’s mishaps. He served as the voice of reason in light of every office party or outing, and he took it upon himself to be there to help his coworkers when he realized they weren’t doing okay. And essentially, this takes us back to his attentiveness showcasing that though he’s flawed, his self-awareness strengthens his interactions with others by allowing him to understand when he needs to stand back or step forwards.
Now, let us take a moment to remember that no character is ever extraordinary without the actor who brings him to life and John Krasinski’s portrayal of the character is as close to perfection as it gets. Krasinski took the character and gave him the kind of humor and resilience that only a few people could do. There aren’t many TV series that are as accurately casted as The Office, and each actor has brought some incomporable to their character. They’ve layered them in ways that are so distinct, you can never come close to describing how phenomenal the performances are. John Krasinski grew remarkably as an actor during the nine season by rising to every challenge with a full range of emotions and meticulous choices to showcase nuances within Jim we may not have otherwise seen.
Jim Halpert starts off hating his ordinary lackluster job fearful of the fact that if he doesn’t work hard enough, it may become a career. But the growth that takes place within the nine years we know him allows him to understand that the simple, ordinary things in life can bring out the best in a person. They can heal a person. They can force a person to look deep within themselves in order to find their mistakes and learn from them. They force a person to look within themselves in order to find the thing they’re most afraid of and conquer it. They force a person to take risks. They force a person to live, and at the end of the day, we all live our best lives by making mistakes and growing from them. We live our lives by finding moments to laugh at and people to laugh with. And Jim Halpert lived his best life by understanding that the greatest gifts in life are found in the most unlikely places. And by extension, he teaches viewers what it means to be a human being — every step we take should teach us how to be the very best version of ourselves we can.