During my millionth-time re-watch of NBC’s “The Office” on Netflix — as I was cackling over everyone’s favorite love-to-hate boss, Michael Scott, showing Jim and Pam his tiny bench of a bed and “flat screen TV” in the hysterically dysfunctional (and personal favorite) “Dinner Party” episode — the internet went into a frenzy over BuzzFeed’s piece about how Jim Halpert is the worst.
It became a trending topic and fans took great offense, which left me in a serious state of confusion as I pondered the following: Wait, is this supposed to be brand new information…?
Jim Halpert has always been the worst. More importantly, Jim and Pam as a whole have always been the worst.
But let’s corroborate on Jim first. Listen, I hate to break this to you, but Jim is textbook definition of white privilege — no matter how enduringly comical his deadpan, confused expressions into the camera have always been.
During the early seasons, it’s well-established that he doesn’t care about his job in the least. The guy spent most of his time messing with Dwight (who actually cared about his job) and flirting with the engaged receptionist, so his sudden role as co-manager in the later seasons came as a strange subplot to me — especially considering that Dwight, despite his neuroticisms, was the best salesman. It’s a stark reminder that white mediocrity often goes the distance, so long as you’re deemed likeable by the boss. As a dude who always acted as if he were above his job and fellow colleagues, I found his promotion an annoyance — no matter how brief.
Secondly, regarding his treatment of Karen (portrayed by the flawless Rashida Jones), he did treat her like garbage. He totally strung her along, told her it’d be a great idea to relocate to Scranton, and turned into a giant baby when she found an apartment on his street because it felt like they were “living together,” even though she had been living in a HOTEL for like, months. He was well aware of his lingering feelings for Pam, and strung Karen along. That’s garbage. And let’s not forget his equally-garbage treatment of Katy in the “Booze Cruise” episode.
Lastly, Jim and Pam aren’t #CoupleGoals.
This is relatively true in the sense that they belong together, as they are both the worst. Their entire relationship stems from that ugly, meme-ified “friend zone” ideal that women have been accused of perpetuating for decades. (That sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s probably not, lulz). A friend once pointed out how awkward it was that Jim purchased an engagement ring a week after they started dating, and I’ve since realized the validity to her point. It’s weird.
The most depressing storyline of the series for me was Jim’s business venture in Philadelphia, which proved that he and Pam harbored a somewhat unhealthy dependence on each other. Jim nearly gave up his dream of Athlead, settling once more for a bland, stagnant life in Scranton that Pam had grown accustomed to — even though he had supported her artistic endeavors in New York, which she subsequently gave up on, and instead opted for a self-made office administrative role to ensure a decent salary while doing the bare minimum. *Whispers* white privilege.
While John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer are probs lovely people IRL, I’m not particularly fond of the Jim and Pam #CoupleGoals narrative. And yeah, I wholeheartedly concur with BuzzFeed’s analysis that Jim Halpert was actually a total dick. Sorry, not sorry. Michael and Holly 4ever.