The Transformation of Jim Halpert - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

The Transformation of Jim Halpert

November 9, 2007 by  

Jim Halpert

STOP! This post is really only for diehard OFFICE fans who will forgive me for this perhaps unnecessary keyboardic diatribe on the emotional growth of Jim Halpert. If you choose to continue please know that I am fully aware that James Halpert is a fictional character. And yes, sometimes I scare myself that I put so much thought into this person that doesn’t really exist. Only true Office fans and real TV addicts will understand me. (And yes I am proud for bringing ‘keyboardic diatribe’ into the lexicon.)

“He’s content with the money he makes, but though he could probably leave whenever he wants to,”the thing that keeps him there is Pam. He really believes he’s found someone he really, really cares about. It’s not just a crush,” he says. “I think you realize over the course of the episodes that it isn’t something he enjoys, it’s something he finds that he needs. … [The job] is not about the excitement for him, it’s about, Do I have everything I need, and every time he runs through that checklist, he’s got it.”

The above is a quote from an interview with John Krasinski back in 2005 as he spoke about how he perceived Jim Halpert’s lot in life and his contentment at Dunder Mifflin. Fast forward to 2007 and I wonder if Krasinski would describe Jim’s mindset in the same way. The writers have been subtly pulling back the layers of Jim Halpert since day one of the show, and now it seems that Jim Halpert is starting to see that maybe there’s a little more to life than what he had on his little checklist.

For so long Jim was content being the big tuna in the little pond. The guy that everyone loved…the guy that made everyone laugh…the guy that made Her smile. But these days, now that he finally has the love of his life, Jim is perhaps thinking more about the future and whether or not a future as Dunder Mifflin is the right path for him.

The audience has been on perhaps a faster track of realizing Jim’s need for growth because of the moments we have been privy to. Oscar’s lack of amusement with Jim’s incessant need to crack a joke. Toby’s annoyance with Jim’s lack of respect for Finer Things. The office’s displeasure with Jim’s handling of the birthday situation. Even the antics that led up to the prank in Utica. Whether Jim realized it at the time or not, he was getting a taste of his own medicine and when the tables were turned he didn’t find it quite as funny. This time around it wasn’t Dwight’s cell phone being destroyed, it was Jim’s.

We’ve seen a bit of Jim’s struggle this season with his lack of ambition and the regrets he has because of it. Jim loves Pam and I don’t think for a minute that he regrets not taking the job at Corporate to be with her, but there is no denying that Jim has had a few “what if” moments as of late. What if he took the job at Corporate – he sure as hell would be better at it than Ryan, and might have enjoyed some of the perks that came along with that job. What if he never went into the paper business and pursued a career as a sports writer? What if he wakes up one morning and he is the Regional Manager of the Scranton branch?

I think we might be in for an interesting storyline in the post-strike future when Jim and Pam start to explore some of these what if scenarios. Will Pam think that she held Jim back from making the most of his life? Will Jim in some small way resent the years he spent pining over Pam when he could have been succeeding outside of Dunder Mifflin? Will Jim think that maybe Pam isn’t happy being with a guy who is just a paper salesman? All this could lead to some really palpable tension and possibly growth not only for Jim but also for Jim and Pam. I’d be interested in seeing it played out.

Something tells me that Steve Carell is most interested in seeing Jim Halpert grow too. Is it just a coincidence that in the two episodes he has written, Jim has questioned his lot in life and his place in Dunder Mifflin. In ‘Casino Night’ we had Jim lamenting over his lack of dreams:

“Pam, these are people who have never given up on their dreams. I have great respect for that. And yes, they’re all probably very bad. And that’ll make me feel better about not having dreams.”

Last night we had Jim’s actualization that he was slowly following Michael’s path. One clearly he had little respect for until last night.

I’m really enjoying watching Jim’s transformation this season. I think John Krasinski has the chops to pull it off and I like that they are giving him more to do than long over Pam, pull pranks and throw looks to the camera. There’s more to Jim Halpert than that and I’m interested in seeing more.

Filed under Jim Halpert, The Office


30 Responses to “The Transformation of Jim Halpert”

  1. Heather B on November 9th, 2007 4:14 pm

    GMMR – This is awesome. I too think that Jim has been coming to some realizations this season and they are going to manifest into something big soon.

    I think that Jim and Pam are going to go through some really rough times in the future. I think Jim is going to get frustrated and maybe make a sly comment about not taking the job at corporate because of her. It’s going to become a big thing and may break the two of them apart. Hopefully not for good.

    I love that you love these characters as much as I do.

  2. Shannon on November 9th, 2007 4:27 pm

    You put everything that I was thinking and feeling beautifully into words. Here’s to hoping the strike ends soon so we can see of Jim’s growth!

  3. Urkel Grue on November 9th, 2007 4:31 pm

    Ohhhh GMMR that was good. I’ve been waiting for someone to really address the new layers we’ve seen from Mr. Halpert in Season 4. I also think that John is doing an amazing job with Jim’s transformation. I hope the strike ends soon so we can see what else the writers have in store for Jim!

  4. Tanja on November 9th, 2007 4:36 pm

    What you have written was what I was thinking after the show last night. Being in a house where I am the only The Office fan it’s great to come here and read things about The Office, that i either agree with or disagree with.

    What you have written about Jim is so true, and I think that had the strike not gone into effect this would have been the season of Jim. Last season we saw Pam grow, I think this year it would have been Jim. Also with that a growth in their relationship as well.

    I can see hard times coming for my favourite tv couple. With maybe a break up, but in the end they will come back together.

  5. The Transformation of Jim Halpert — All This Nonsense on November 9th, 2007 4:37 pm

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  6. mg714 on November 9th, 2007 4:56 pm

    GMMR- Great “keyboardic diatribe”! I definitely agree with your assesment of our Jim Halpert. He seems to be going through a transformation in the way that Pam did last year (but differently, of course). I do think we will see a time when Jim is going to directly face his current career situation and will have to have some answer for himself as to why he’s still at Dunder Mifflin. This is the same Jim who said in season 1 that if this were his career, he’d have to throw himself in front of a train. So we know he’s always wanted more, but maybe now that he and Pam are together he’ll be more motivated to figue out what that is. (Though of course I don’t want him to leave The Office! 😉 )

  7. Give Me My Remote on November 9th, 2007 5:03 pm

    I wonder if maybe the show will end when Jim quits Dunder Mifflin…and he and Pam and the baby walk out the door the final time. A girl can dream…

  8. Jo on November 9th, 2007 5:08 pm

    “and the baby”…Heee, GMMR.

  9. Jennifer on November 9th, 2007 5:13 pm

    I hate to be a “yes-man” when so many have posted before me, but I am also jumping on the “GMMR is AWESOME” train. This is exactly what I have been thinking over the past few episodes. Now that Jim’s got the girl of his dreams he’s turning his full attention to his work goals, realizing that he has none, and trying to figure out what to do about it. And the revelations this season about not everyone in the office loving Jim the way we do…..WOW!

  10. Poppy Cedes » The transformation of Jim Halpert on November 9th, 2007 5:21 pm

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  11. katayla on November 9th, 2007 5:35 pm

    *adds her agreement*

    Though, I’d add the caveat that I don’t want to see it interfere too much with the Jim/Pam relationship. I’d love to see Jim grow with the full support of Pam. Occasional tension is great, but they love each other. They should be able to overcome any obstacles together.

  12. Kismet on November 9th, 2007 5:39 pm

    I have to say that this post made me so happy!!! I thought I was the only one who obsessed like this about fictional characters!

    I have a huge, crazy prediction for where this season’s going and I really hope that the strike ends in time for me to see if my predicitions are even a little close. I think that Michael’s going to get fired…And Jim’s going to end up being regional manager, at least temporarily. This will lead to lots of Ryan/Jim confrontations and since there’s already tension there I can imagine Ryan making Jim pretty miserable. I’m not sure exactly where things are going to go from there, but I’m kind of leaning towards a cliffhanger-type season finale where Jim or Pam has to decide whether to accept a new job or stay in Scranton. In the meantime, we’ll still see Michael fumbling around, possibly visiting Scranton almost weekly, possibly even camping out in the parking lot…hahahaha

    What do you think?

  13. Andrea on November 9th, 2007 5:44 pm

    Pam has shown before that she knows Jim is capable of so much more than just Dunder Mifflin. Wasn’t it in “Halloween” that she suggested he apply for a job in a different state? Like a lot of people, Jim probably came up with many excuses not to try for it – and not just because of his crush on Pam. We all can get into a rut in our careers – I know I can. I think Pam could be very supportive of Jim in whatever he wants to do. It doesn’t necessarily have to cause tension.

    I’m wondering which direction the writers were planning to go with Jim. Were they going to have Jim become resentful of Pam? Were they going to have him leave? I really don’t see how the show could continue with Jim not at Dunder Mifflin in some capacity.

    I just hope we don’t have to wait too long to see what they have planned.

  14. samanthemofthesun on November 9th, 2007 5:55 pm

    I have been wondering myself, whether (gasp) or not this should be the last season of my favorite show. I can see an ending where perhaps Pam graduates from school with a degree in art and moves on to the job she wants and loves, and seeing this, Jim does the same. They both leave at the same time, to be together, in the lives of their dreams. I don’t know. I hate to see the show end, but along the lines of Sienfeld, go out on TOP! What an appropriate ending. Just to see them succeed as a couple and go on with their lives…..I guess we sill just have to wait and see.

  15. Ryan on November 9th, 2007 7:10 pm

    Good topic.

    I think for some reference we have to look at the character Jim is based on–Tim from the BBC version. Granted Jim doesn’t live with his parents at age 30 and seems to be a bit more motivated then Tim (he did interview for the job in New York, Tim flat out turned down a promotion), but like Tim Jim doesn’t like to rock the boat all that much. He’s kinda lazy and enjoys stability and comfort. The only thing that really motivates them to try something daring and out of their comfort zone is the women they are in love with (Dawn and Pam).

    He’s afraid to leave Dunder Mifflin–his comfort zone. He’ll need to be pushed. Is that Pam’s role? She tried to in Halloween.

    I guess my point is that I really don’t think Pam is holding Jim back. He’s still holding himself back. He may end up blaming Pam for his lack growth, but it really comes back to him completely.

    Michael getting fired is an interesting predicition Kismet. The BBC did the same thing with David and had him visit the office all the time even though he didn’t work there. Its tough to imagine the office being run by anyone but Michael Scott though.

  16. BrokenBrain on November 9th, 2007 7:13 pm

    Great post, GMMR. I have enjoyed watching Jim’s slow transformation these last few episodes. I thought, like Kismet, that Michael would get fired and Jim would take over the branch but the last couple of episodes have made me wonder about that. Also, while overall happy with Jim & Pam this season, I have been a little surprised with how Pam has been a little snarky with Jim. Just an overall impression regarding the FTC and then directly when Jim even asked her what she thought about his combined birthday idea. I guess that may be due to different writers.

  17. Emily on November 9th, 2007 7:31 pm

    I was thinking the same thing. Steve Carell really pushes that aspect, and I have been enjoying Jim’s growth throughout the series (and season in particular), and its fascinating to me.

  18. Matt R on November 9th, 2007 8:33 pm

    I really like that we are getting to explore the internal workings of Jim this season just as we did with Pam last season. I don’t think there will be a lot of Jim vs Pam tension from this story, but lots of Jim vs. Jim drama.

    So much of his life was tied up in longing for Pam, then running away from Pam, then trying to protect himself from Pam, that when he is now finally with Pam and happy that he doesn’t know what to do. Pam seems to want to encourage him, but he isn’t opening up about his “dreams” with her yet.

    Maybe it is wishful thinking but I don’t think there will be any “I gave up NY for you” drama between Jim and Pam simply because if Jim said “I am moving to Philly tomorrow” I think Pam would respond “When do we leave?”. Pam wouldn’t hold him in Scranton. The only thing holding Jim in Scranton is Jim. I think much of this season will be him trying to overcome himself.

    Of course from the “this is a TV show, not real life” angle the end of this arc can’t be Jim deciding to leave permanently. They have to come up with an outlet Jim can have to improve his life but still stay at DM Scranton. This is why I think the the ultimate resolution of this arc isn’t going to be a new job or even replacing Michael. My guess is a little odd and maybe it is just because they mentioned Jim’s brother having a baby, but I think there is an outside chance that Jim will realize that his “dream” is not a new job, but starting a family.

  19. TheOfficeMattress on November 9th, 2007 8:34 pm

    GMMR, I am a big fan of your “keyboardic diatribe” of our beloved Jim Halpert. Last season was Pam finding herself and now it seems like it’s Jim’s turn, which should be interesting b/c we never do really know the Jim/Tim life dream like we do about Pam/Dawn. So I’m excited about finding out more about the cutest guy on TV once the studios decide to pony up and pay those great writers the money they deserve!

  20. Kris on November 9th, 2007 10:55 pm

    I loved this post, GMMR, and agree w/ everything you said. Last night’s episode was wonderful and it’s so nice to see past the prankster Jim. There’s more to him (obviously), and this season is a clear indicator of that. The Jim/Michael parallels last night were very well done and Steve did a great job on this episode. I’m excited for Jim’s future but i’m also nervous. MY comfort zone is that Jim stay at The Office forever (for as long as the show lasts) but, in reality, Jim would want to strive for more than DM and therefore may leave at some point (who knows?).

    Matt, you got me thinking: when you mentioned the “TV show, not real life” angle, you said that they would probably keep Jim around and have some other DM outlet for him so that he stays on the show. I think that, if they were to go that route, the only way to resolve this would be that Jim comes to terms w/ the fact that, yes, he is probably going to be at DM for the rest of his life, and he’s ok w/ that. He’s finally happy. Though that would be the easy way out of Jim’s self-discovery and potential.

    Overall, i can’t wait to see what they’re going to do w/ Jim’s character this season (of course, that depends on the strike ^^;;).

  21. Dianne on November 10th, 2007 1:24 am

    I think it would be weird for Jim to play the “I gave up NY” card on Pam. It just sort of sounds mean, and I think he loves her too much to pull that.
    Pam doesn’t have a dream job, and by no means needs to stay at DM to support herself, so if Jim DID get a diff job somewhere else, she could move, too.
    I am so invested in their relationship, and I can’t wait to see what the writers do with it. I love Matt R’s comment about Jim wanting a family. WOW.

  22. Holly on November 10th, 2007 11:03 am

    Having kids is death for a comedic couple. Jim would be a great father, but having kids would have no effect on the office. This show is called the office, not Jim’s House. On the other hand, pregnancy scares, family deaths, injury/accidents, long lost lovers… all those are fair game and much easier to work into the current story line. Kids and moving away would not be easy.

  23. Shannern on November 11th, 2007 2:07 am

    Umm, in response to comment #2, “Here’s to hoping the strike ends soon so we can see of Jim’s growth”-

  24. ShruteBeets on November 11th, 2007 5:42 am

    Wow. What a perfect place to express and articulate what everyone’s been thinking.
    I am really of the opinion that Jim would have absolutely no right to tell (or even hint) Pam that he regrets not taking the job at DM Corporate and that she had something to do with it. Because I can guarantee you, he could have told her and they would have moved together.
    His growth HAS to include her. Any distance that may come between them, mustn’t have anything to do with his own growth, because “he’s in love with Italian food”.
    Which means that everything he pined for with her was real and has only grown. How weird for that to turn?
    I hope that makes sense.

  25. jenn on November 11th, 2007 9:42 am

    I love the exploration of Jim’s character this season. It’s so realistic to see the dawning of realization on Jim’s face that he thought he finally had everything he ever wanted (Pam) and that might not be enough. I think Jim didn’t totally believe that he and Pam would ever get together, and was reacting to that by leaving and being with Karen for way too long. Now that he and Pam are together, I think it makes him look at the rest of his life and actually see other possibilities. What I’m trying to say here is that finally being with Pam may help him grow more in other areas in life. Totally realistic given the age of his character (late 20’s).

    This show is gold!

  26. Faith on November 11th, 2007 1:35 pm

    Here’s what I don’t understand: Why didn’t he take the job at Corporate, then come back to Pam & say, “I love you, come move to New York with me.”?? Why is it all or nothing? I hope Jim & Pam realize they both have the ability to do the things they want to do without losing the happiness they have with each other. Of course, it would be a sad show without them in the office, so I guess it’s a double-edged sword. (=

  27. Kristin on November 12th, 2007 12:36 pm

    OMG, you made me so happy GMMR! Not only to realize that I’m not the only one to geek out so much on a fictional television character, but for giving me the Halpert fix I needed during this bleak time of no new Office to look forward to after Thursday. The most fascinating thing about this show is the degree to which you become invested in these characters over the long-term. To take a whole season to focus on one character’s personal growth? Amazing. And that’s what we were in for with our beloved Jim in Season 4. Hopefully the writers will get their due and be able to get it on with Jim’s story very soon.

  28. A ‘Night Out’ with THE OFFICE » Give Me My Remote on April 25th, 2008 10:36 am

    […] BREAKING NEWS: Jim Halpert is not perfect… I think we’re starting to get the hint – Jim Halpert is not management material. Despite his good intentions he just can’t seem to get it right when he’s left in charge. Whether it’s an ill fated attempt to consolidate office birthdays, or locking his fellow employees inside a building (which most already consider hell) Jim ‘good ideas’ always seem to backfire. No one really seems to be bothered by Jim’s slackertude until it affects them, but when it does the DMers are pretty quick to turn on ‘management’ (and management’s girlfriend). Jim has the good sense and self awareness to not turn into Michael Scott, but we’ve seen a few times this season that the two guys are a little more alike than Jim would like to admit. (For more on this I direct you to my self indulgent post titled ‘The Transformation of Jim Halpert‘). […]

  29. A ‘Night Out’ with THE OFFICE » Give Me My Remote on April 25th, 2008 10:36 am

    […] BREAKING NEWS: Jim Halpert is not perfect… I think we’re starting to get the hint – Jim Halpert is not management material. Despite his good intentions he just can’t seem to get it right when he’s left in charge. Whether it’s an ill fated attempt to consolidate office birthdays, or locking his fellow employees inside a building (which most already consider hell) Jim ‘good ideas’ always seem to backfire. No one really seems to be bothered by Jim’s slackertude until it affects them, but when it does the DMers are pretty quick to turn on ‘management’ (and management’s girlfriend). Jim has the good sense and self awareness to not turn into Michael Scott, but we’ve seen a few times this season that the two guys are a little more alike than Jim would like to admit. (For more on this I direct you to my self indulgent post titled ‘The Transformation of Jim Halpert‘). […]

  30. Jenna on May 19th, 2012 8:46 am

    I am so glad so many of these storylines did not come to light. Jim and Pam are my favorite television couple, and I would have been devastated to see them lose each other due to misplaced resentment or anger over lost opportunities. I enjoy watching them grow together, as a family, and would be broken hearted to see them lose each other. Fortunately, even with the arrival of a hot young temp (Kathy Simms) that does not seem to be a worry for TVs most solid couple.