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    Michael Gary Scott 

    Dwight Kurt Schrute III
"Nothing stresses me out. Except having to seek the approval of my inferiors."
"Today... Smoking is gonna save lives."

Played by: Rainn Wilson
Seasons: 1-9

Sales Representative/Assistant to the Regional Manager/Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin, Scranton.

UK counterpart: Gareth Keenan.

  • Affectionate Nickname: Called "possum" and "D" by Angela.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: While his eccentricities are likely just a product of his very strange upbringing, he’s easily distracted on random topics and turns minor issues into Serious Business, he is The Paranoiac and a Cloudcuckoolander displaying symptoms of many disorders, possibly being anywhere on the Autism spectrum.
  • Ambiguously Christian: The Schrute family has Amish roots, but the few times Dwight expresses any religious sentiments, they're very eclectic and hard to pin down. In fact, judging from his claim in "Crime Aid" that Angela introduced him to monotheism, and the deleted scene in "Drug Testing" where he considers praying to Thor to help him find the employee who left the joint in the parking lot, the Schrutes may practice some kind of Neo-Paganism.
  • Ambition Is Evil: He's infamously ruthless, ambitious and power-hungry. Every time he's in authority, he behaves like an unfeeling dictator and this isolates from his co-workers who don't desire to be his employees due to how obnoxious and egotistical he is. Luckily by the end, he develops a more amiable demeanor as he finally becomes branch manager of Dunder Mifflin.
  • Asshole Victim: Downplayed, but a lot of what keeps Jim's fondness for pranking him from seeming too mean is that, initially at least, he's often just taking Dwight down a peg or two; most of his pranks come after Dwight has been particularly arrogant, insufferable or abrasive.
  • Babies Ever After: By the series finale, he has a son, Phillip, with Angela.
  • Bad Liar: Dwight has many impressive skills. Deception is not one of them. In "The Coup", even ultra-dense Michael can easily figure out that Dwight is lying about skipping work for an emergency dental appointment with "Dr. Crentist".
  • Bears Are Bad News: A firm believer in this trope.
  • Berserk Button: If you value your life, don't ever talk badly about Angela in his presence.
  • Big Eater: In "The Coup", he orders a meal large enough to feed an entire family.
  • Birds of a Feather: Dwight and Angela are both very quirky, overly serious, and obnoxious egomaniacs who love being controlling of others.
  • Brutal Honesty: In "Pam's Replacement", Pam even starts taking advice from Dwight because he's the only one she knows for sure is being honest with her.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's the most-successful active salesman at Dunder-Mifflin, and yet his quirks are far more pronounced than Michael's.
  • Butt-Monkey: Exemplified in the penultimate episode of season four, when Michael leaves the office. Dwight (accurately) announces that he is in charge of the office for the day. Stanley simply stands up and leaves. Over the course of the episode, so does every other employee except Angela.
  • Catchphrase: "Idiot." Also begins countless sentences with "Question...", "Fact..." or "False..."
  • Characterization Marches On: He used to be an almost blind worshiper of Michael, eagerly doing all his requests, but in later seasons he grew increasingly dedicated to surpassing and taking the Regional Manager job for himself.
  • Character Development: In Seasons 8 and 9 he learns to appreciate his coworkers more. Examples:
    • When he's putting together a team to go to Tallahassee and gets saddled with his least favorite people in the office, but soon recognizes that even they have traits that he can appreciate.
    • When he tries to hire one of his personal friends to pick up Jim's slack (as he is busy starting another business), and when he finds out that none of them would be even remotely competent, he realizes that he holds his coworkers to a far higher standard than his friends.
    • By the time he is appointed Regional Manager again near Season 9's end, everyone in the office is actually happy for him, and among his final words in the series is him admitting that he does get along with his subordinates.
    • By the second half of the final season, Dwight actually considers Pam and Jim his close friends, and they are both happy to admit the same (even if they are still prone to pranking him). Dwight, without pause, tells Pam he thinks Jim would be best choice for Regional Manager, and Jim says this of Dwight to David Wallace. After Dwight's promotion, he immediately asks Jim to be his number two.
  • The Chew Toy: His relationship with both Jim and Michael.
    • Jim has next to no respect for Dwight, so Mr. Schrute routinely finds himself to be the go-to guy when Jim is bored and in a pranking mood. Dwight does, on rare occasion, get his own back.
    • With Michael, it's love-hate; he loves Dwight's obsession/idol worship of him and does everything he can to keep it, but he hates the kiss-ass sycophancy that comes with it and so dismisses Dwight as a friend and any of his attempts to gain authority, real or imagined.
  • Chronic Pet Killer: Euthanized Angela's cat Sprinkles because it was weak. He really thought he was doing both the cat and Angela a favor, though. He also shot a "werewolf" that turned back into the neighbour's dog. And, while volunteering at the animal hospital, euthanized over 150 pets by himself. Angela had asked him to take care of her cat because he was the only one she trusted. He proceeded to decide that Sprinkles' quality of life was too low and put her in Angela's freezer - while she was still alive. Sprinkles then proceeded to throw up her medication, choke on the vomit and die.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Dwight is someone who, while his behavior is mostly predictable, seems to have motivations and an internal monologue that indicate that he is one of these.
  • The Comically Serious: Everything is Serious Business for him and this is often, if not always, Played for Laughs.
  • Competition Freak: He went as far as taking on a computer (which he thought was sentient, by the way) on a contest who could get the most sales before the end of the day. He won. Near the end of the series, Dwight becomes Regional Manager, and Jim becomes the Assistant to the Regional Manager. When Jim decides to take on his own assistant and hold a competition to determine who it would be, Dwight eventually can't help but compete and win.
  • Control Freak: He greatly dislikes letting anyone share his status or have more authority than him, not even letting his girlfriend Angela share it when they plan for Dwight to take over the branch.
  • Crazy-Prepared: He has a large amount of weapons hidden around the office in case of attack. Also, he has a wig for every person in the office, because "you never know when you need to bear a passing resemblance to someone."
  • Determinator: In "Tallahasee" he tries to make it through a Sabre seminar even though he's in pain from an appendicitis. Later in the day he still tries to give a presentation just a few hours after having an emergency appendectomy.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: He tends to fall into this in his reactions to a lot of Jim's pranks; many of them would probably be unsuccessful, or at least less successful, if he were able to just roll with the punch and walk away, or even genuinely laugh it off. But he usually makes things worse for himself due to both his gullibility and his utter lack of a sense of humor about himself and Dunder-Mifflin, leading to him getting more engaged with and entangled with worse outcomes.
  • Ditzy Genius: While he is an intelligent salesman, he's still a naive, impulsive and socially oblivious Manchild that's gullible to many of Jim (and Pam)'s classic pranks.
  • Dumb, but Diligent: In contrast to Jim, who is Brilliant, but Lazy, Dwight, while not unintelligent, is very socially inept, gullible and lacks both social and self-awareness. Nevertheless, he manages to make a success of his career simply through his tendency to never give up or accept "No" for an answer. His interpersonal skills are inappropriate, sometimes even illegal, but he has a high level of passion for everything he does.
  • Enemy Mine: Prior to befriending Jim, there were a few things that would make him enter into this with Jim - the opportunity for a major sale (when Robert California closed the Binghamton Branch while drunk, for example) or Todd Packer being the most notable.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: He and Jim go from rivals to friends in the final season, to the point that Dwight makes Jim his Best Man at his wedding.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Fits the bill for Proximity and Supervision. Dwight is easily the least liked person in the office, with even friend hungry Michael trying to avoid him if he can help it. Most of Jim's pranks work largely due to nobody in the office being willing to support Dwight if he catches on or keeping quiet so he doesn't figure it out. Ironically, Jim seems to be about the only person in the office willing to treat Dwight as a friend.
  • Germanic Efficiency: He's German-American, and prides himself on his work ethic, productivity, and no-nonsense attitude.
  • A God Am I: Dwight calls himself "the King of Kings" of sales because thinks of himself as Jesus, something reinforced when he does a Tableau of The Last Supper so he can play Christ in the center.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: While he's not touchy as Andy, Dwight's not the type of person most people would like to upset due to his Hot-Blooded personality and a stubborn and a rather intense attitude that he displays with others.
  • Happily Married: With Angela as of The Finale.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Subverted in that everyone knows this is how he acts, but he's often so poor at it they just brush it off.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • He is an able entrepreneur. His antics aside, his farm and motel are actually well-managed.
    • To say nothing of adding becoming owner of the office complex to the mix. He juggles this, the above two jobs, and being the most effective salesman in Dunder-Mifflin with seemingly no trouble at all.
    • He's pretty good at basketball, yet not so good in martial arts (despite his boasts). He does obtain a black belt near the end of the series, so he may well have improved, or is better than his onscreen attempts to show off his skills make him seem.
    • Despite turning the office into a near living hell for his "subordinates" whenever he's Regional Manager, it's pointed out that the office as a whole runs very well under Dwight's watch. When he becomes Regional Manager at the end of the series after learning to respect his coworkers, he manages to bring that efficiency without sacrificing morale (he even brings back Devon!)
    • While Dwight can be seen as off-putting by a lot of people, he's surprisingly good with and quite fond of children and babies, including Jim and Pam's baby, Cece. This is best seen in the episode "Viewing Party" where Cece keeps crying and Dwight takes her from Pam and does a simple hand motion that stops her crying and causes her to fall asleep within seconds. Pam even notes that she "loves him" much to Jim's despair.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Some of the things he says about his childhood are pretty horrifying, including years of being shunned (starting when he was four- because he forgot to save the excess oil from a tuna can) and performing his own circumcision (okay, you can uncross your legs now).
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Angela who stands 5'1 next to his 6'3.
  • Hypocrite:
    • He is irritated when Jim dresses like Dwight and imitates him mockingly in one episode, he also tells Jim that "Identity theft is not a joke." In a later episode Dwight pretends to be Andy in order to annoy him, similar to what Jim did to him earlier.
    • He tells Meredith's son that he does not have games on his office computer because that would be inappropriate. But in a later episode, he plays Second Life during work. However he himself doesn't consider it a "game."
    • In general he is a stickler for rules and an enthusiastic authoritarian... right up until the point where the rules start constraining his interests and the authority figure is someone he dislikes or disapproves of.
  • Hypocritical Humor: During "Niagra", Dwight talks with a group of kids about how he believes Jim only got the co-manager position due to "kissing the boss-man's butt". Kind of a dubious argument for Dwight to be making, considering his being a Professional Butt-Kisser to Michael is one of the strongest aspects of his character.
  • Idiot Houdini: He has done numerous things over the course of the show that would have gotten him fired at best and is not only never disciplined for them but ends the show as the office's regional manager.
    • There's honestly no logical explanation for why corporate didn't fire him (or why Stanley didn't sue him, or why the police didn't arrest him) in "Stress Relief" (other than Status Quo Is God, of course). First, he intentionally started a fire in the office that not only led to people damaging corporate property in the panic, but almost killed Stanley, who has a heart attack from the stress. Then, after inexplicably not being fired, he costs corporate 3,500 dollars a day or two later when he deliberately destroys a CPR dummy. And he's still not fired. Top salesman or not, you've got to expect that he'd be fired and sued immediately in Real Life.
    • He also somehow failed to suffer any consequences whatsoever for assaulting (and then subsequently terrorizing) Jim to the point of drawing blood in "Classy Christmas." In fact, Michael and Holly wind up reprimanding Jim for the whole thing (granted, this was after he accidentally broke a window in the office trying to lob a snowball at Dwight with a lacrosse stick. Not cool- but nowhere NEAR as bad as what Dwight did to him.)!
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Showing off a family heirloom holster and an antique revolver he hopes will impress Jo, Dwight displays staggering incompetence with a gun for a man with Crazy Survivalist tendencies. He accidentally discharges the firearm in the office; thankfully, the damage is limited to bursting Andy's eardrum and putting a small hole in the floor.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Frequently insists that his coworkers be referred to as his subordinates, even when that's not really the case and this fact is pointed out to him.
    • In the earlier seasons he always referred to himself as "Assistant Regional Manager" despite others- frequently Michael, the actual Regional Manager- reminding him that his actual title is "Assistant to the Regional Manager". In both cases, his concern seems to be less about accuracy and more I Reject Your Reality, trying to pretend he has more authority than he does until everyone just accepts it.
  • Insufferable Genius: He's a great salesman with a gigantic ego.
  • Jerkass: His default mood is being harsh and rude to everyone he interacts with, except Michael, in which case he is a suck up. Due to his Brutal Honesty and lack of social skills, he comes across as aggressive, hostile and difficult.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • While he may deserve a few of Jim's pranks when they act as Laser-Guided Karma for his rude behavior to his coworkers, "Conflict Resolution" has Jim himself realize that the sheer number and excess of many of them is uncalled for and Dwight has a right to be angry about them.
    • His fire drill, while insanely dangerous, proved that he was right about how ill-prepared his coworkers were for an actual fire.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Occasionally. Though his compassion isn't seen by any characters (just the audience), its effects are obvious. Almost the entirety of his relationship with Angela shows this, especially getting fired (temporarily, though he didn't know it) due to respecting her wish to keep their love a secret. He also cares a great deal about Jim and Pam (even referring to the latter as his "best friend" by the end of the series).
  • Karma Houdini: See his entry on the main page under this trope.
  • Kavorka Man: Despite his rather questionable fashion sense, behavior and general ethics, he easily scores a one-night-stand with one of Pam's attractive friends. Said friend even came back for more, only to find Dwight talking with another woman the following day, again quite successfully from the looks of it. And then there was that entire women's basketball team in "Night Out"…
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: He's actually quite knowledgeable about a lot of different subjects. His issue is that he doesn't know how to use that knowledge properly, thinking that things like military strategy, wilderness survival tactics and animal behavior are applicable to everyday life.
  • Large Ham: He does often talk and act in ways that bizarrely over-the-top.
  • Lawful Stupid: Treats even the most trivial rules with the utmost importance. A joint at the parking lot is enough to have him don his (voluntary) sheriff uniform and subject the entire office to interrogations and drug tests. Another time, Jim tells Dwight that wasting valuable office time is against the rules and Dwight goes as far as peeing in a coke bottle at his desk and sneeze with his eyes open, simply not to waste time. Justified since he is actually a Competition and Control Freak and his extreme emphasis on the rules is as much about intentionally undermining or irritating others to advance his own agenda as it is any actual Uber-respect for the rules.
  • Lethally Stupid: He always thinks he's doing the right thing, but his actions are often dangerous to other people around him. Killing Angela's cat because she was in pain, bringing weapons to the office and accidentally firing a gun, or shooting Stanley with a bull tranquilizer are just a few examples.
  • Like Brother and Sister: There are moments with Pam where Dwight actually tries to be as supportive as possible towards her. By the end of the series, the two are pretty much like siblings.
  • Manchild: At his worst, he behaves like an impulsive, stubborn and petulant child when he's angry.
  • Manipulative Bastard: On occasion. One of his schemes to sabotage Jim in season 6 actually succeeds, and spends much of that season trying to get Jim fired or make him look bad.
  • Munchkin: In the episode "Murder," he and everyone else in the office play a murder mystery dinner party game set in Savannah, Georgia. He draws the Butler character but immediately abandons it to play a hardass detective.
  • Nazi Grandpa: Repeatedly hinted that his grandfather was a German war criminal, to the point that the Shoah Foundation protested Dwight's visa to visit him in Argentina.
  • Nerd Glasses: Has both the glasses and the look.
  • Nerd in Evil's Helmet: If he has a chance to perform for the camera or make a pop culture reference it will often be something villainous, and he will invariably take it way too far- case in point, his homage to Silence of the Lambs when he pretends to be Hannibal Lecter by skinning the face off a resuscitation dummy and wearing it as his own!
  • No Sense of Humor: Everything is Serious Business for him, which makes him a perfect target for Jim's pranks. The major exception is in "The Injury", when part of his Not Himself behavior after his concussion is that he starts telling jokes, even beating Michael to a That's What She Said quip.
  • No Social Skills: Comes with being raised on a beet farm, far away from society with a family that shunned him for two years (starting when he was four years old) for not saving excess oil from a can of tuna, just to name something. This is what he has to say about Angela:
    Dwight: She introduced me to so many things. Pasteurized milk. Sheets. Monotheism. Presents on your birthday. Preventative medicine.
  • Number Two: To Michael, but noticeably refused to be Deangelo's number two by season seven.
  • Not So Above It All: As much as he tries to avoid doing so, he does occasionally find himself involved in the antics of his fellow employees - among other things, he was a part of the Lip Dub of "Nepotism", he was one of the many people trying to see what Stanley would notice, and he was willing to help Jim and Pam trick Michael into believing he'd slept the entire day after the latter had eaten an entire chicken pot pie (mostly because he had to bring one of his horses to the vet and needed to leave early).
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Occasionally. In "Office Olympics," when Michael offers to rent his spare room to Dwight, Dwight intentionally annoys Michael into withdrawing the offer because he doesn't want to have to say no.
  • The Paranoiac: Dwight tends to believe that everyone else in the office has (or even, should have) just as much of a Chronic Backstabbing Disorder as he does and acts accordingly, plotting against others in the workplace and assuming that they are plotting against him; he is a security freak to the point that he doesn't let anyone walk behind him for fear of being attacked from behind, and hides numerous weapons around the office in case someone actually does; he is a Professional Butt-Kisser of the highest order yet mostly so he can abuse his power and further his own career, and ultimately plots to replace his own boss; he entertains numerous crazy fantasies and conspiracy theories whilst simultaneously pointing out the (perceived) stupidity of other peoples' more mundane ideas; and, like many paranoids, his behaviour and attitude becomes a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy as it just leads to almost everyone in the company disliking, undermining and pulling pranks on him.
  • Paste Eater: In "A.A.R.M." it's revealed that he snacks on Dunder Mifflin paper enough to know which stocks are the most flavorful, with the fact that Angela's son eats Dwight's preferred paper being one of the things that makes Dwight think he's the father.
  • Perpetual Frowner: "I never smile if I can help it. Showing one's teeth is a submission signal in primates. When someone smiles at me, all I see is a chimpanzee begging for its life."
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Was this until "The Coup", and then it was on and off until the Michael Scott Paper Company arc, where it seems he lost all of the respect he had for Michael.
  • Properly Paranoid: As mentioned above, Dwight keeps numerous weapons hidden around the office in the event of an assault. In "The Negotiation" when an enraged Roy enters the office and attacks Jim, Dwight stops him with the pepper spray; saving Jim. This was lampshaded in Dwight's talking head that he's brought pepper spray to work with him every day for eight years and everyone laughed at him for it. He responds with "Who's laughing now?"
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Dwight and firearms seem to be a bad combination. In "Survivor Man" he watches Michael through the scope of his hunting rifle- with the safety off (only when the camera crew apparently question him about what he's doing does he actually think to check it). And then there's the accidentally-discharging-a-gun-in-the-office incident mentioned above.
  • Refuge in Audacity: For example, sending the entire office into a panic by tricking them into thinking there was a fire for the sole purpose of running a realistic fire drill.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: With Angela.
  • The Rival: Jim. Andy, initially, but they become good friends in season 5.
  • Rules Lawyer: He has a tendency to come up with ridiculous, pedantic and arbitrary workplace rules and demand that they be followed to the letter. Which often backfires on him in his rivalry with Jim, since Jim is quick-witted enough to turn them on Dwight in a way that Dwight feels compelled to follow even if they're to his detriment.
  • Serious Business:
    • Dwight treats everything in his life with absolute seriousness, especially his job.
    • Never ever disparage Battlestar Galactica in his presence.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Even more than Michael.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Dwight feels this way about anything that "elevates" women to the status of men.
  • The Starscream: Starting from "The Coup", when Angela demands that he take over.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: He and Angela.
  • Super Gullible: He apparently suffers from Aesop Amnesia every time Jim pulls a prank on him, and always falls for Jim's tricks and ridiculous lies.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Dwight and Jim occasionally have to work together when faced with someone who annoys them more than each other (such as Todd Packer and Deangelo Vickers). It's also shown that they actually make a very effective sales team despite their personal animosity.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: For most of the show, he's a selfish, power-hungry Jerkass with occasional Pet the Dog moments. In the final season, he evolves into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who genuinely cares about his co-workers and is open about his friendship bond with Jim and Pam.
  • Tsundere: To Angela.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: He's quite average and a bit dorky-looking compared to his later wife the petite, pretty blonde Angela.
  • Ultimate Job Security: He even fired a gun in the office, and the worst punishment he got was being barred from the Regional Manager position, and Jo even lifted that when she saw how dedicated he was to getting the job. The fact that he owns the building the office is located in adds into the situation. Even earlier, in season 5, he deliberately started a fire and blocked all the exits (except for one) and all he had as punishment was to get everyone to sign a piece of paper (which he tricks everybody into doing).
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Back and forth with Angela.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Dwight's relationship with Jim is… complicated to say the very least. On the one hand, the two are always fueding and annoying one another that can cause problems in the workspace. On the other hand, the two can actually be an effective team when they can put their differences aside. However, the two of them eventually manage to become good friends as the show progresses, with Dwight even having Jim as his best man during him and Angela's wedding.
  • Worthy Opponent: With Jim.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Dwight treats real life as if it were a different genre of fiction. He treats the threat of layoffs as if he were participating in a competitive reality TV show like Survivor, keeps a variety of weapons in strategic hiding places throughout the office as though violent attacks were imminent, and at one point describes a detailed robbery plan that would be Genre Savvy if he existed in a crime thriller.
  • Yes-Man: To Michael in the first seasons. This stems from a mix of Hero Worship and a desire for authority, which he thinks being Michael's Yes-Man gives him. Later seasons, he loses this trait as he finds that being a sycophant would get him nowhere in his career and behaves more rebelliously.
  • You Are in Command Now: He's been given command of the office a few times (though none of them have stuck), such as when Michael left for the New York job and when Michael leaves for good but is almost immediately removed because of the aforementioned gun incident and two years later the new CEO David Wallace gave him another chance by promoting him after Andy's departure, and this time Dwight didn't screw it up.

    James Duncan "Jim" Halpert
"Right now this is just a job. If I advance any higher in this company, then this would be my career. And well, if this were my career I'd have to throw myself in front of a train."
Played by: John Krasinski
Seasons: 1-9

Sales Representative/Co-Regional Manager/Assistant to the Regional Manager/Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin, Scranton.

UK counterpart: Tim Canterbury.

  • The Ace: One of the best salesmen in the company, a Chick Magnet to the point that he's arguably the most handsome man in the office, gets away with every prank he pulls, and gets the girl of his dreams. Jim is likely the most conventionally successful person in the office.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Halpert is typically a Jewish surname, and his Deadpan Snarker nature fits with that, but there otherwise isn't any suggestion that he's Jewish, and the kilt his dad wears to the Jim/Pam wedding points to the family being Scottish (in which case Halpert might just be an alternate spelling of the British name Halbert).
  • Audience Surrogate: Jim is the one who most frequently reacts to the insanity around him, mostly by throwing Aside Glances as the camera.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: He loves messing with Dwight for his own amusement but he ultimately sees Dwight as a friend and will look out for Dwight's best interests. Like when he physically fought Dwight to prevent him from going into a meeting where he'd be scapegoated and fired and putting together the ultimate bachelor party so that Dwight can make peace with Kevin and stepping aside so that Dwight can have Michael as his best man.
  • Babies Ever After: By the series finale, he has daughter (Cecelia) and son (Phillip) with Pam.
  • Batman Gambit: A lot of Jim's pranks on Dwight can only fully work if Dwight reacts a certain way, like using the "gaydar" on himself in "Gay Witch Hunt". But Dwight, since he's Super Gullible and has very specific obsessions and thought patterns, almost always does exactly what Jim expects him to do.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Pam, both being apathetic about their work, and aware of being more normal and reasonable compared to their quirky coworkers. They are also both considered the most attractive and desirable people in the office, but don't have much social life outside of work.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy:
    • As noted by Pam in "Office Olympics", when Jim gets excited by something, he really gets into it and does an amazing job. Sadly, he works at Dunder Mifflin Scranton, so that doesn't happen often.
    Jim: Right now, this is my job. If I advance any higher, this becomes my career. And if this is my career...I would have to throw myself in front of a train.
    • When Sabre took away sales caps, he turned down a management position because he could make more money from actually giving attention to his job. Then the trope is re-proven when sales caps are reinstated, and when he finds he hit his he immediately goes in to slacking off again.
  • Bully Hunter: Downplayed, and more like "Jerk Hunter", but part of what takes some of the potential meanness out of Jim's tendency to prank others is that he usually targets people who are themselves being jerks. For example, several of his more notable pranks against Dwight tend to come after Dwight has been particularly arrogant, obnoxious or high-handed about something.
  • Butt-Monkey: After getting with Pam, Jim's awkward moments are played up. He's forced to confront Karen after getting suckered into a prank that backfired. He makes a fool of himself while trying to discuss "Angela's Ashes" with Pam's "Finer Things Club". His attempts at leadership expose his similarities to Michael and make his co-workers turn against him. He makes a bad first impression on Michael's new boss. He accidentally reveals that Pam got pregnant out of wedlock in front of her conservative grandmother. Then there's the snowball fight...
  • Chick Magnet: There's Pam, of course, but he also dated with Katy, Brenda, and Karen, who even went from "what's up with that guy?" to crushing on him in one episode. There's also Cathy, who unsuccessfully tries to steal him from Pam, and all the other women in the office admitted that, if they had to do it with someone, they would pick Jim.
  • Cool Loser: Despite his charismatic personality, he doesn't seem to have too much of a social life outside of the office and Pam. Probably Justified though because it's clear Jim spends a lot of time working.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mostly directed towards Michael and Dwight, especially during conference room meetings.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Michael once commented on how good looking Jim is.
  • The Everyman: An easily relatable average guy.
  • Everyone Can See It: With Pam.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • As much as he pranks and mocks Dwight, he strongly disapproves of Michael's treatment of him, notably in "Drug Testing" and "Golden Ticket". Probably at least in part because, whereas Jim's actions are in response to Dwight's Jerkass behavior towards him, Dwight practically worships the ground Michael walks on (most of the time).
    • Jim tends to avoid doing anything that involves putting Dwight in serious physical danger, causing him genuine distress, or threatening his job, and is usually among the first to step in if Dwight is in danger of any of those from another source.
    • He looks after Michael in the same vein and in the end, tells him how much he actually appreciates him as his boss.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: He and Dwight go from rivals to friends in the final season, to the point that Dwight makes Jim his Best Man at his wedding.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic.
  • The Gadfly: Loves playing pranks, preferably on Dwight. It's partly to keep Dwight's ego in check, partly to alleviate the boredom of the office.
  • Gaslighting: One of his more frequent methods of messing with Dwight. It helps that Dwight is extremely gullible. His more notable examples include:
    • Paying everyone in the office to call Dwight "Dwayne" all day.
    • Moving Dwights desk an inch every time he stepped away from it.
    • Telling Dwight that a Ben Franklin impersonator is actually the real thing.
    • Convincing Dwight that he's selling a packet of magic beans, then swapping the potted seeds with fully grown beanstalks immediately after Dwight plants them.
    • Asking an actor friend (who happens to be Asian) to go to work in his place and pretend to be him.
  • Happily Married: With Pam as of early season 6. They go to a couple of rough spots, especially in season 9, but the marriage survives.
  • Has a Type: He briefly dated Katy (the handbag saleswoman first seen in "Hot Girl"), who, as a demure, petite woman with long, light-colored hair, was similar enough to Pam to be dubbed "new and improved Pam" by Michael. Averted with his other major love interest, the dark-haired, feisty Karen (though it's implied that after he went to Stamford, he was specifically trying to avoid a relationship with anyone who would remind him of Pam).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: There are the rare moments when Dwight is able to turn the tables on Jim. Such as Dwight handily defeating Jim in a snowball fight and turning the guy into a paranoid wreck. Or when Jim tried tempting Dwight with his credit card number and security code, only for Dwight to use the information to send a very expensive bouquet of flowers to Pam, meaning Jim can't use the act to get Dwight in trouble.
  • Idiot Ball: He picks up the idiot ball when he becomes a manager, ultimately culminating with him outing Pam's pregnancy to her overly-traditional grandmother. Whether it's the position itself, or finding that actually trying to manage the cast of characters that make up the office that drives one to idiocy is up for debate.
  • In Series Nick Name: Andy calls him "Big Tuna" or sometimes just "Tuna" ever since he saw him eat a tuna sandwich for lunch.
  • Jerkass Realization:
    • Once Michael starts listing off all of the pranks he's pulled on Dwight over the years, Jim slowly realises that he's been incredibly mean to Dwight and even if Dwight "deserved it", if nothing else the sheer number of pranks he's pulled were excessive and the fact that he could waste entire days doing nothing but screw with Dwight is just sad. More poignant was that Dwight was trying to get Jim fired or at least transferred for all of these pranks and it dawns on Jim that the real reason he's been doing this is because he's become miserable at work and they are what he does to pass the time so Dwight might even be right.
    • When discussing marriage counseling with Toby, one of Toby's comments makes him realize exactly what he's been putting Pam through by splitting his time in Philly. This is the point where he starts to work on fixing things.
  • Jerkass to One: He regularly picks on Dwight, but is rarely mean to other people.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Downplayed. Some of his pranks on Dwight are genuinely mean-spirited, but most would agree he's a Nice Guy.
  • Karma Houdini: Most of his pranks should have gotten him reprimanded. More than a few of them should have gotten him fired. And a small handful of them should have ended in his immediate arrest.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: After getting away with pranking Dwight for years, he gets a pretty humiliating comeuppance in the snowball fight episode.
  • Last-Name Basis: Affectionately refers to Pam as "Beesly", even after they're married. He similarly uses "Filipelli" when he's dating Karen.
  • Lonely at the Top: When he briefly became co-manager alongside Michael.
  • Mellow Fellow: Jim is laid-back and hardly ever raises his voice.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • Mentioned by a few characters. It doesn't help that during a game of Who Would You Do, Jim jokingly said Kevin.
    • In season 3 Roy admits that he only tolerated Jim's friendship with his fiancée because he thought Jim was gay.
    • Todd Packer asked Jim if he is "still queer", though that's a pretty standard remark for Packer to make towards any guy.
    • Creed also seemed to think Jim was gay, despite knowing of his relationship with Pam and trying to hook Jim up with his daughter just a few seconds before.
  • My Own Private "I Do": On Maid of the Mist. Apparently, he got the tickets as soon as he saw the YouTube video of the wedding dance routine.
  • Not So Different: The occasions where he's allowed to take charge show him to be just as incompetent as Michael. When his plan to merge all the month's birthdays into one party backfires, Michael, who was away that day, reveals he tried the same exact thing with similar results when he started out as manager.
  • Noob: At Call of Duty. He accidentally kills his own team members, gets stuck in corners and wants to snipe in Carentan.
  • Oh, Crap!: Due to being the closest embodiment of No Fourth Wall on the show, his tend to be most visible.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Almost nobody ever refers to him by his actual first name, James.
  • Only Sane Man: While Jim is probably the most likely out of the entire Dunder Mifflin staff to point out his coworker's foibles and snark about them, he is more than willing to indulge them for his own amusement whenever he's bored, which is often. In later episodes, though, Jim has shown that he's not immune from picking up the Idiot Ball, especially when he's put in charge of anything, and he and Pam go through a good deal of drama in the final season due to their inability to communicate.
  • The Prankster: Though he usually limits himself to Dwight (or occasionally Andy). He tends to play pranks out of boredom, but occasionally because they're driving him crazy and pranking them allows him to turn their insanity into comedy. How sympathetic Jim is depends a lot on how funny his pranks are and how much the victims did to deserve them that episode.
  • The Rival: To Dwight, though there are occasional moments where they get along.
  • Second Love: To Pam — she was originally engaged to Roy, but after spending time with Jim more and more, getting tired of Roy's selfishness, and having a Green-Eyed Epiphany, she eventually became an Official Couple with Jim.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: When his two brothers make a first appearance in "Employee Transfer", it's clear that Jim is sweet, thoughtful, and encouraging in contrast to his brothers' mean (with a minor Pet the Dog moment), thoughtless, and discouraging attitudes.
  • Stepford Smiler: Jim is a snarker who enjoys lightening the mood with with pranks and jokes, and looks to be a fairly laid-back and easygoing guy. But in the season 4 episode "Money", he reveals to Dwight that for the entire time Pam was engaged to Roy, he was absolutely miserable and unable to enjoy much of anything.
  • Straight Man: Jim in particular serves to balance the insanity that is Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute.
  • Soul-Crushing Desk Job: While Jim is one of Dunder Mifflin's best employees, he hates working there because he finds selling paper to be incredibly dull. Eventually, he decides to join his friend from college in forming a sports marketing company.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Pam in early seasons. A lot of critical speculation said that its resolution would destroy the show. Its continuing strength even after dealing with the UST is a testament to the writing team. They Do.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: He proposed to Pam at a gas station. Outside. While it was raining. Despite the strange timing, she happily accepted.
  • Worthy Opponent: With Dwight.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When Jim gets tranfered he starts pulling his pranks Andy, clearly expecting to start up the same dynamic that he had with Dwight. Unfortunately for Jim he didn't count on Andy having genuine anger issues.
  • You Are in Command Now: Avoided. When Jo offers him the Regional Manager position sometime after Deangelo was incapacitated, Jim turns her down, reasoning that the Office was running smoothly enough without anyone needing to be in charge. It's also possible that he remembers the last time he had that position.

    Pamela Morgan "Pam" Beesly-Halpert
"I just... I don't think it's many little girls' dream to be a receptionist."
Played by: Jenna Fischer
Seasons: 1-9

Receptionist/Sales Representative/Office Administrator of Dunder Mifflin, Scranton.

UK counterpart: Dawn Tinsley.

  • The Alcoholic: It's not a defining trait for her, but it's clear she has a fondness for alcohol. In "The Dundies" she not only finishes her drink but sneaks swigs from other people's unfinished drinks, and gets very drunk in the process. In "Benihana Christmas" the party that she stages with Karen is specifically centered around margaritas. In "Dinner Party" she brings a bottle of wine to the party.
  • Ambition Is Evil: An interesting case. Averted in the first four and a half seasons in which her artistic aspiration is treated as one of her more positive qualities but played painfully straight after that. She quits her job to help Michael poach clients from her former co-workers in order to get promoted to sales. It's elaborated a bit that Pam frequently gets bored where she is and the bottled up frustration causes her to make too big a jump forward. As a result she also often runs out of steam and gives up on the thing she was ambitous for after she finds out it's harder than she thought. Ultimately the job she sticks with is one she made up that amounted to what she was already doing as a receptionist but without having to make calls.
  • Babies Ever After: By the series finale, she has daughter (Cecelia) and son (Phillip) with Jim.
  • Berserk Button: Do not call her "Pammy". And definitely don't date her mother if your name is Michael Scott.
  • Betty and Veronica: In the third season, she's the Betty to Karen's Veronica, being rather meek, quiet, and risk adverse.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Especially in later seasons, when she has learned to stand up for herself.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: In early seasons, she seems a sweet Shrinking Violet but often helps Jim pranking Dwight.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Jim, both being apathetic about their work, and aware of being more normal and reasonable compared to their quirky coworkers. They are also both considered the most attractive and desirable people in the office, but don't have much social life outside of work.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Despite her typical niceness, she has a selfish and passive aggressive streak, not to mention that she likes being The Gadfly along with Jim.
  • Butt-Monkey: Mostly in the early seasons when she's much more of an insecure Shrinking Violet, frequently being put in extremely awkward situations by Michael, but less so after she gains confidence after Beach Games. Slightly occurs again when Michael begins dating her mother, much to her horror and chagrin.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Is something of Pam's reoccurring flaw to the point where she can almost be a Master of the Mixed Message at times. Due to coming out of a controlling relationship with Roy, Pam has a hard time firmly speaking her mind and being honest about her feelings. This leads into dramatic results in particular in the final season when Jim starts pushing for a new business venture in Philadelphia; Pam is relunctant to tell him about her struggles raising their kids by herself or her desire to remain in Scranton and Jim takes this silence as Pam supporting his actions.
  • Character Development: She learns to gain a backbone and be more outspoken.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder:
    • Tries to be this to Michael, sometimes, but has a hard time keeping him on the ground.
    • When she's not antagonizing Dwight, she is also sometimes this to him, particularly when he gets a concussion.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Steadily became more of one over time.
  • Dude Magnet:
    • Was engaged to Roy; Jim spent three years in love with her before hooking up; Brian the boom mic guy has a crush on her and so does Toby; Andy and Ryan tried to ask her out; Kevin considers her the hottest woman in the office. Michael has also expressed his attraction to her a few times. Creed has stated his desire to see her topless. The Ben Franklin impersonator hit on her after only one hour.
    • She also dated Danny Cordray (Timothy Olyphant) and Kelly's cartoonist friend. Subverted with the former who ends up dumping Pam after their second date because she is too "dorky". Also subverted with Dwight who apparently thinks she is "plain"; when he stands up for her, he tells Danny that Pam is "One of the plain hearty women of Scranton that make this city great. And so what if she doesn't wear makeup? We like her better that way!"
    • Subverted when Ryan moves up to corporate and tries to be a slick New Yorker. He describes her as a seven for Scranton but maybe a six for New York.
    • She is aware of this and in one episode she gets jealous when an attractive woman named Katy comes into the office and becomes the new Dude Magnet among the male co-workers, including Jim. It doesn't help that Kevin outright tells Pam "She's much prettier than you".
  • Everyone Can See It: With Jim.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: After she starts going out with Jim in season 4, she wears her hair down and ditches the button-up shirts.
  • Extreme Doormat: She tolerates absolutely everything Roy does while they're together, no matter how insensitive or borderline abusive. She gets better.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic
  • The Gadfly: Like Jim, she likes to mess with Michael and/or Dwight for her own amusement.
  • Girl Next Door: A big part of her appeal is how approachable she is, combined with her obvious but understated good looks.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: A variation occurs in Season 2. When Pam lets her hair down she goes from being quietly pretty to breathtakingly gorgeous. Michael notices, which causes Pam to quickly tie her hair up again. Invoked in a Season 4 episode where Pam loses her contact lenses and comes to work wearing thick glasses. Everyone comments on how ugly she looks, except for Kevin who has a librarian fetish.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Pam first noticed her feelings for Jim when he began a relationship with Katy, a purse saleswoman.
  • Happily Married: With Jim as of early season 6. They go to a couple of rough spots, especially in season 9, but the marriage survives.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: For all the touting of her taking a level in jerkass, most of the people she mistreats are those who spent the first few seasons (and often continue right up to the present) treating her like dirt, so it's hard to feel too much sympathy for them.
  • Like Brother and Sister:
    • Her relationship with Michael. She often behaves a lot like a little sister who has to take care of her stupid big brother. Best seen when she races to the airport to hug him goodbye.
    • With Dwight. There are moments where Dwight actually tries to be as supportive as possible towards her. By the end of the series, the two are pretty much like siblings. In the finale, Dwight even says she is his best friend.
  • Lust Object: Occasionally seen this way by her male-coworkers, especially Kevin. Even Michael thinks she's the only "hot one", while he belittles the appearance of all the other women in the office (including the conventionally attractive Karen).
  • My Own Private "I Do": Breaks down shortly before the wedding as their friends and family are driving her crazy. Luckily, Jim had tickets for the boat ready.
  • Odd Friendship: With Michael, Dwight and Angela, though all three friendships are off-again, on-again. She is notably one of the few who will ever play along with Michael and Dwight's odder moments, such as Dwight's Recyclops act. She cheered him on while everyone else was just resignedly annoyed.
  • Only Sane Woman: Oscar labels himself, Toby, Jim, and Pam as Dunder Mifflin's 'Coalition of Reason'.
  • Plucky Office Girl: Her dream was always to be an Happily Married artist, but at the start of the series, she's a receptionist who has to put up with an insane boss and co-workers that treat her like dirt, and a fiancé that hardly shows interest in her at all. A confidence boost and a new relationship at the start of season 4 turn things around for her, though. The artist thing doesn't work out, but she does end up Happily Married and with a job she likes.
  • Retcon: Her name has been changed in canon three times without even counting going from a maiden name to taking Jim's. Her last name has been spelled differently multiple times in the first two seasons, and her middle name inexplicably changes from Jean to Morgan.
  • Sexy Secretary: Her male co-workers regard her as one.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Andy and Erin. She also ships Oscar with Matt from the warehouse: "Yes, they're the only two gay guys I know. But they should be together."
  • Shrinking Violet: In early years.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: The reason she likes Jim is because he's funny, it's easy to talk to him, and he encourages her aspirations.
  • Straight Man: Along with Jim she is this to the wackiness that emanates from various corners of the office.
  • Sweater Girl: As a receptionist. Mostly cardigans (check out the photo) but starts to wear more form-fitting turtlenecks as she gains confidence. She switches to suits when she starts working in Sales. Roy also says that as part of her "artsy-fartsy" identity in high school, she wore turtlenecks.
  • Team Mom: As Michael (and even Dwight)'s Minder, she sometimes ends up with this role when he needs help with his ill-conceived attempts to be the Team Dad.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Downplayed. After she learns to stand up for herself and gains more confidence, she sometimes takes it too far and starts acting selfishly.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: With Jim in season 3. She turned him down in favor of her marriage with Roy in season's 2 finale, but realizes this was a mistake when Jim transfers to Stamford and comes back with a girlfriend.
  • UST: With Jim. They Do.

    Ryan Bailey Howard
"Yeah, I'm not a temp anymore. I got Jim's old job. Which means at my 10-year high school reunion, it will not say 'Ryan Howard is a temp.' It will say 'Ryan Howard is a junior sales associate at a mid-range paper supply firm.' That'll show 'em."
Played by: B.J. Novak
Seasons: 1-8, 9note 

Temporary Worker/Sales Representative/Vice President of Sales (Corporate) of Dunder Mifflin, Scranton.

UK counterparts: Ricky Howard, Neil Godwin (in season 4).

  • Advertised Extra: Why he is even in the opening credits along with the main characters (Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam, and later Andy and Robert) is never made clear. The only logical explanation is that he, like he other main characters, is directly based on a character from the original UK series, but even then several secondary characters are also based on characters from the original UK series.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Ryan was known to be a very ambitious temp who dreams of running his own business, but his laziness, arrogance, selfishness, lack of commitment, and drug addiction kept him from from succeeding. While he's not exactly evil, he is one of the less sympathetic characters on the show due to his callous treatment of others and unreliable, flighty personality.
  • The Artifact: He has been part of the opening credits since the first season despite being an ultimately minor character with shifts in role and personality to justify his place there. There has been some Lampshade Hanging in the seventh season about how Ryan does not even have a real position in the office anymore nor does he bother to do any work. He has been removed from the opening as of season 9, but this is because BJ Novak has left the show rather than acknowledging that Ryan's role had diminished. Novak was actually a writer and executive producer for the show, and this was deliberate as he preferred having a smaller part to focus on the other jobs.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: A big problem with a lot of Ryan's business ideas is he focuses on making everything cutting edge, innovative, and cool without any concern as to whether the features are actually practical. Both Dwight and Jim question whether his new Dunder-Mifflin website really needs a social networking feature and Oscar points out that WUPHF's technology would be better as a service for emergency services to use for alerts than an app for people to send messages to each other.
  • Back for the Finale: Ryan is absent in season 9, save for returning in "Finale" when Ryan attends Dwight and Angela's wedding.
  • Beard of Evil: His rise to the heights of corporate executive and corresponding egotistical jerkassery are accompanied by the growth of increasingly douchey facial hair.
  • Birds of a Feather: A dysfunctional example with Kelly. They start off as Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, but as the show goes on, it becomes clear that their relationship is The Masochism Tango because they are both vain, selfish, superficial, and immature manipulators.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Ryan started out as a man with ambition and intelligence but ends up being the laziest coworker in Dunder Mifflin.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: His relationship with Kelly is this to a T. Whenever they're together, Ryan is completely disinterested in what Kelly wants in the relationship and will dump her as soon as something better comes along. But then when Kelly stops pining for him and shows interest in someone else, he attempts to win her back and succeeds, starting the cycle all over again.
  • Characterization Marches On: He started out as a generic, mild mannered rookie working his way through college but after being hired as a full time salesman, he becomes more snippy and sarcastic and is shown to be an insensitive and aloof boyfriend to Kelly since he has a hard time mastering commitment. After being promoted to VP of company sales, he became incredibly pretentious, rude, selfish and egotistical. After being fired from his VP position and forced to become a temp again, he remained pretentious, sarcastic, selfish and arrogant while also becoming openly uncaring about his job as well as behaving like a callous sociopath.
  • Color Character: Most of his outfits are predominately blue or contain at least one item of blue. When he takes Jan's job, he starts wearing less items of blue, instead opting for darker colors.
  • Composite Character: Although he is originally based on Ricky Howard from the UK show, when he takes Jan's place in corporate in season 4, his role and behavior become similar to that of Neil Godwin.
  • Cool Hat: His trilby. Where'd he get it? He'd rather not say.
  • Dark Is Evil: Well, "Dark Is A Massive Douchebag", anyway; his arc as VP and subsequent uptick in power-mad assholish egotism corresponds with a tendency to wear expensive black suits with matching black/dark coloured shirts. When he loses the VP job he maintains some of the jerkass tendencies but loses the intimidating get-up, to symbolise the fact that no one is going to put up with him throwing his weight around.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the early seasons this was one of his defining characteristics, particularly on Confession Cam. He lost it once he got Drunk with Power and let his ego run wild.
    (Phyllis introduces Bob to the Dunder Mifflin staff)
    Kevin: Kevin Malone.
    Bob Vance: Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration.
    Stanley: Stanley Hudson.
    Bob Vance: Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration.
    Ryan: Ryan Howard.
    Bob Vance: Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration.
    Ryan: What line of work you in, Bob?
  • Didn't Think This Through: He was clearly desperate to make the website work, both because it was his brainchild and because if it failed, his job would have been on the line. But telling everyone to take the sales they made through their clients personally and credit them to the website as well (to make it look like the website was working) wouldn't have fooled anyone for more than a month at most. As soon as an accountant tried to reconcile sales figures with accounts receivable, the jig would have been up.
  • Drunk with Power: He very quickly starts throwing his weight around with his former co-workers and acting like an asshole after getting promoted to VP. This, of course, makes his ultimate downfall into positions lower than the one he was promoted from all the more humiliating for him, as few of the people he lorded over are inclined to think well of him when he comes crawling back.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Lampshaded. Ryan confirms Angela's boyfriend is gay because he liked Ryan's pictures on facebook. At three in the morning. Not to mention Michael's man crush on him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: At one point, Creed asked for his help in setting up a blog. He instead set up a Word document disguised as a blog, to "protect the world from being exposed to Creed's brain". He describes the contents as being "pretty shocking, even for the Internet."
  • Feigning Intelligence: As Regional VP, he turns out not so competent or confident in his position, and the use of "business buzzwords" doesn't hide it.
  • Foil: To Michael. Both were put in management positions they were completely unsuited for. But while the dimwitted Michael attempted to make up for his shortcomings by being overly friendly towards his employees, the brainy Ryan became a completely smug jerk who was willing to break the law to hide his failures.
    • Also to Jim. Both hate working at a paper company as they see it as wasting their lives, both engage in on-again / off-again office romances with a female co-worker, both jump at the chance to be promoted in order to get out of the office only to make a mess of it, both have crushes on Pam, Jim in season 1 sees his job as temporary while season 1 Ryan is literally a temp etc. The difference is that Jim is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who plays pranks on coworkers out of attention or boredom (and mostly against Dwight) but still values them as people, while Ryan is a shallow narcissist who acts polite to others on the surface but doesn't actually care about anyone but himself except, to a limited extent, those who care about him.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: A Downplayed Trope for him since not much focus is put on his placement in the social dynamics of the office but its pretty clear that pretty much no one in the office cares at all for him, especially after he conned his way to management and acted like an asshole to everyone. Only Michael and Kelly want to spend time with him and even they get fed up with how much of a Jerkass he is.
  • The Generic Guy: During the first two seasons his defining characteristic was being The New Guy. He finally got more focus starting in Season 3.
  • Going Native: Ryan was one of the most sane people in the beginning of the show; As of season 6, he has his own "quirks" like everyone else, probably from just accepting being stuck in the office for his life. His quirks mostly involves him being inconsistent with his morals, interests, fashion and personality which makes him a bit of a erratic person.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: He grows a Beard of Evil after being promoted and promptly shaved it off when he realized Michael was growing one to mimic him.
  • Hey, You!: In the early seasons, a lot of his co-workers just called him "Temp" or "the Temp". Stanley refers to him as "the kid" at least once.
  • Hidden Depths: Apparently he is quite the poet. In "Angry Andy" when Kelly gets a new boyfriend, he is jealous and writes a poem about her. He refuses to read it when Pam asks him to, however she and Jim dig it out of the trash and upon reading it start crying.
  • Hipster: He has settled into this characterization starting in the sixth season.
  • Informed Ability: He is sometimes credited as being clever or talented for how far he got in the company but in actuality his ideas were all stolen and unsuccessful. Even the website idea actually came from Dwight attributing his failure as a saleman coming from companies leaning more on the internet over time.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Ryan as "hottest in the office." It's mostly Michael and Kelly's crushes on him that inform this, and Ryan himself. Michael describes him in his diary as "just as hot as Jan but in a different way".
  • Insufferable Genius: Ryan is undeniably very smart and can be a little arrogant and pretentious about it. Though it's downplayed, both because most of his smarts tend to be booksmarts and, even accepting that, he's still not as smart as he likes to think he is.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: Ryan's photography.
  • Jerkass: Simply keeping to himself and avoiding attention from his co-workers, he stops coming off as shy by season 3. Turned into a complete douchebag the next season. Now he doesn't hold back and is openly sarcastic. He goes from a contemptuous, disdainful and condescending human being to a complete sociopath who poisons his own son Drake with strawberries (which Drake is allergic to) and abandons him to continue his unhealthy relationship with Kelly.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • While it's clear he's a Know-Nothing Know-It-All most of the time, he's correct that the primary reason for Dunder-Mifflin's struggles is that the company refuses to pivot its business strategy towards a marketplace that is becoming more and more paperless. Similarly, his idea to upgrade the Dunder-Mifflin website is a good one, as when Jim shows the current site to the camera crew, it's completely outdated and nonfunctional even by the standards of 2007. The problem is he goes over-the-top with it, lashes out at people when it proves more difficult than he thinks, and ends up willing to go to unethical lengths to make it seem more successful than it is.
    • He's not wrong on how Michael's behavior is wildly inappropriate.
    • Ryan had every right to be mad at Kelly for lying about being pregnant just to go on a date with him.
    • When giving Jim a verbal warning, he's not entirely wrong that Jim isn't exactly the most motivated person around Dunder-Mifflin and could probably make more sales if he put more effort and enthusiasm into his job, but the warning itself is clearly based on spite, envy and insecurity over Jim's criticisms of his website initiative and better relationship with David, and he subsequently goes way overboard in targeting him.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Throughout the first two seasons he would talk about the things he had learned in business school, suggesting that he was knowledgeable in the field than his older co-workers. However, it soon becomes exceedingly clear despite his smarts, he has no idea what he's doing as he is a failure as a salesman and his website fails to attract any customers.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Ryan is generally aloof and antisocial and he's not the most popular coworker due to his smugness, shadiness and pretentious attitude.
  • Manipulative Bastard: On occasion when he finds the opportunity that benefits him.
  • Manchild: Not as blatant as Michael, but Ryan's temperament and personality is comparable to that of a teenager's.
  • Narcissist: Ryan is completely focused on himself and has little to no regard to those around him; he shows he is willing to lie and commit fraud in order to cover up his failures, despite this only exacerbating them when he is caught; after Michael gives him a job in the office again after being fired as Vice President and arrested for said fraud, Ryan feigns reform while secretly keeping a list of everyone he thinks has wronged him (even just for snarky remarks) and plotting to ruin their careers once he climbs up the corporate ladder again (which he never does); he eventually sinks so low as to deliberately poison his own infant son, whom he quickly abandons, just so he can hook up with Kelly again, and he is only concerned with her out of jealousy that she found a new boyfriend. He is selfish, arrogant, lazy, sociopathic, manipulative, pretentious, insensitive, two-faced and basically an all-round jerk who puts on a transparent facade of being a decent person, which he abandons whenever he gets status or even the illusion thereof.
  • Nerd Glasses: Ryan starts wearing big thick rimmed glasses after they started becoming trendy.
  • Only Sane Man: Early on he had this role, even sometimes acting as the Audience Surrogate.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: In season 4. He tries to cover it up with excessive use of office buzz words and hip terminology, but he obviously has no idea what he is doing.
  • Put on a Bus: Left the office to pursue Kelly in season 9.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Ryan and Kelly. He was an aloof and snarky temp who is one of the smartest characters, she was a ditzy and bubbly chatterbox.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Starts wearing nice suits once he gets Jan's corporate job, but soon his suits start to reflect how much of a jerk he's become when he stops wearing ties and starts looking more disheveled due to his drug habits and stress.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: One attribute he's picked up from Michael.
  • Smug Snake: He gets more egotistical and narcissistic throughout the show despite becoming one of the most pathetic characters.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In season 4. Ryan's morality gets more and more questionable as the show develops.
  • Two First Names: His first and last name can both be used as a given name for a male.
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: His positions at the office were clearly shown throughout the first five seasons, but in the sixth season he phased into having no clearly indicated position in the office. The seventh season episode 'The Inner Circle' lampshades this and has him temporarily pretend to be Kelly's supervisor for Deangelo to give the appearance that he actually does work at the office. What's more, Jim eventually exiles him to the supply closet and that's where he stays for the rest of his run on the show.

    Andrew Baines "Andy" Bernard
"I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them."
Played by: Ed Helms
Seasons: 3-9

Sales Representative/Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin, Scranton.

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: After getting some positive online comments in regard to his banjo playing in the documentary promos, he decides to quit and become a performer.
  • Ambiguously Bi: In "Gossip", he's shown to be quite unsure about being straight, to the point of being conflicted on believing or not the false rumor that he was gay, and genuinely unsure about whether he would reject Brad Pitt.
  • Amusing Injuries:
    • He rips his scrotum while trying to do a split at the night before Jim and Pam's wedding. This is Played for Laughs, of course.
    • Andy's doing a Parkour high jump right on top of an empty cardboard box.
    • His bloody nipples during the rabies fundraising race.
    • Andy trying to break a steel golf club over both of his legs.
  • Berserk Button: In the earlier seasons he really doesn't like pranks.
    "I need to know who put my calculator in Jell-O, or I'm gonna lose my freaking mind!"
    "A lot of people here for some reason think it's funny to steal someone's personal property and hide it from them. Here's a little newsflash! It's not funny! In fact, it's pretty freakin' unfunny! Oh, my GOD! [punches a hole in the wall]"
  • Birds of a Feather: Was this with his Love Interest Erin until season 9. Being both goofy, eccentric, and easygoing, they get along well.
  • Breakout Character: His role gets bigger and bigger as the series progresses, even resulting in a Promotion to Opening Titles in mid-Season 6.
  • Butt-Monkey: Jim's cell phone prank, getting marooned on Lake Scranton, tearing his scrotum while dancing, falling neatly into an open box while parkour-ing, getting sunburnt while sailing to the Bahamas his second day on the water, and finally, being made into a meme.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: With Erin. Though lately, it seems that he's gotten over her.
  • Characterization Marches On: After going through Anger Management, he faces some pretty big Villain Decay and goes from an obnoxious Manipulative Bastard to an eccentric yet likable guy.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Even for an Ivy League graduate selling paper in a small Rust Belt city right behind the Poconos.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: He later becomes this towards Erin, making him Not So Different from her previous boyfriend Gabe. After ditching and neglecting Erin for three months when he was in the Bahamas, he becomes possessive of her, going secretly through her cell phone and later trying to fire Pete when he finds out about their relationship.
  • Competition Freak: Both him and Dwight have this as one of their defining traits.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Bizarrely, despite having earlier put Gabe through this so Andy could end up with Erin, Season 9 pulls this with Andy so that Erin could be paired up with new character Pete instead.
  • The Dilbert Principle: Was promoted to Regional Manager between Seasons 7 and 8 despite being repeatedly shown to be the worst salesman among the cast. A rare positive example in that he seems to be much more competent as a manager than a salesman (pre-Season 9, anyway).
  • Formerly Fat: In "Livin' the Dream: Part 1", Andy mentions he was an overweight child, as he ended up breaking several pool diving boards.
  • Fratbro: Andy was a former Frat Bro at Cornell and was in an a capella group. He often gives his co-workers silly nick names and even has several of his own ("Nard Dog" being the most common). It seems he was pretty popular at college but not so much in the workplace.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: There are points where he's even less liked than Dwight. Fitting considering that he's just as annoying and bizarre but lacks Dwight's business acumen.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: If you have to attend anger management after punching in a wall in the workplace, you're this trope.
  • Hate Sink: For most of season three, he's an obnoxious, ass kissing Manipulative Bastard who acts as an antagonist for Jim and Dwight. Once he's sent off to anger management, this aspect of his character is dropped as his Character Development kicks in.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Throughout the series Andy sings songs clearly not meant for his vocal range, including "Zombie" by the Cranberries, "Stayin' Alive" by The Beegees and "Closing Time" by Semisonic. His singing of "Zombie" is especially notable as it ultimately led Jim to play the prank on him that caused him to have an angry outburst, putting him in anger management and ultimately contributing to his Villain Decay.
  • Hot-Blooded: Until he goes to anger management. Though, once he gets pushed over the edge, his anger issues resurface.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Andy tells Oscar that he will use his breakup with the Senator as inspiration for sad scenes, which causes Oscar to ask why Andy doesn't use his own breakup with Erin as inspiration. Andy then criticizes Oscar for bringing up such a painful memory.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: It's easy to forget that he doesn't appear until season 3, since he quickly becomes a fairly prominent character since his introduction, even replacing Michael as regional manager after he leaves.
  • I Minored in Tropology: While his major at Cornell was Economics, fitting for a salesman, he minored in Women's Studies.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: By a little girl no less in "Test The Store". He attempts to obscure the detail about his black eye...until the mother comes by forcing her daughter to apologize. He later gets another black eye after Kelly accidentally punches him. Toby is sympathetic, heavily implying he was abused by his ex wife.
  • Irony: After spending most of the back-half of Season 9 making pathetic attempts to break into show business, "Finale" reveals that he became a popular Breakout Character in the In-Universe documentary, meaning he didn't even need to bother with the commercials and student films and America's Next A Capella Sensation.
  • It's All About Me: Pre-anger management and much of Season 9.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: He went to Cornell and makes a point of mentioning it constantly, though, as one of the less-famous schools in the league, this might not impress people as much as he thinks.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He was initially an obnoxious and egotistical sycophant with anger issues and tendency to an annoy people with his insensitive attitude, but after going to Anger Management he Took a Level in Kindness. Come Season 9, with Andy getting accustomed to being the new boss, Andy Took a Level in Jerkass again.
  • Large Ham: His love for theatrics, erratic outbursts and overall dramatic behavior makes him the hammiest character in the show. He even calls himself a drama queen.
  • Manchild: Andy often acts like a selfish, dramatic and bratty child who throws temper tantrums when he feels offended or doesn't get his way.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Initially. At least successfully around Michael, when he makes him believe that Dwight is untrustworthy and convinces him to fire him.
  • Mean Boss: In season 9, he doesn't treat his subordinates very well, especially Nellie, and later Erin and Pete, after he comes back from his boat trip.
  • Memetic Mutation: Becomes a rather unflattering one in-universe. By the events of "Finale", he's made peace with it, and even managed to make it work for him a bit.
  • The Nicknamer: Consistently calls Jim "Big Tuna" (or simply "Tuna") after seeing him eat a tuna sandwich on his first day at Stamford. He likes to refer to himself as "Nard Dog") and calls Pam "Pama-lama-ding-dong" when he flirts with her. He also called Ryan "Big Turkey", presumably for the same reason. In season 9, he also calls Pete "Plop", because he supposedly defecates a lot.
  • Not as You Know Them:
    • Changed quite radically between the 8th and 9th seasons, into a more confident and assertive but much less sensitive and likable figure. Notably he became much more hostile to Nellie in part to make her more sympathetic.
    • A lesser, but still notable, example is that, in early Season 8, Andy proved that, while he was still naive as a boss, he was willing to learn and fully capable of handling completely unreasonable circumstances (like being demanded to double profits at the drop of a hat, or having the entire warehouse staff quit at once and having to deal with Darryl being completely uncooperative about resolving the situation). In Season 9, everyone seems to start treating Andy like a complete imbecile near the level of Michael Scott.
  • Odd Friendship: With Darryl.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: After he gets promoted to regional manager. When he first took over, he was actually shown to be a bumbling but decent boss who the others liked working with, but in season 9 his entire character took a sharp turn. He terminates a major account on a technicality and the office works better during the three months he's not there.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: In season 3, he rivals Dwight to become Michael's Number Two, and he's an even more shameless sycophant than Dwight.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In mid-Season 6, thanks to the trope below and Ed Helms having a starring role in a blockbuster comedy.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: With Erin. They ultimately break up permanently in the final season.
  • The Rival: To Dwight. Initially they are very hostile to each other, but after Andy's Character Development, it becomes more of a Friendly Rivalry, at least when they are not interested in the same woman.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: At first. After going to anger management, his confidence drops to practically nil. He becomes too overconfident again towards the end of the show, after he receives a compliment about his musical talent and immedietely quits his job to become famous.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • To Angela, in season 4. Even if she's not interested at first, he keeps insisting to make her change her mind, giving her presents and trying to Serenade Your Lover. He also says things like "All night dreaming about Angela's smoking hot body", and does things like scratching her back as an excuse to touch her (because she said her back was itchy). He would also be a case of Abhorrent Admirer, but eventually convinces her to date him.
    • To Erin, even when he's dating Jessica in season 8. When he sees Erin getting into Robert's car after a party, he follows them. He eventually even follows her to Florida to win her back.
      Erin: Wow. Andy is such a weird stalker. Following me home like that when he has a girlfriend? I should get a restraining order. [squeaks]
  • Stalker Without a Crush: In season 3, he constantly pesters Michael to get his approval, to the point that even Michael eventually finds him creepy and needs to hide behind a door to avoid him.
  • Teeny Weenie: According to Meredith in "Sex Ed" and "Search Committee".
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In the final season. Managed to get his Kindness back by the time "Finale" rolls around.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: He starts off as one of the biggest jerks in the cast before he is sent to anger management. Thankfully, his time there teaches him how to keep his temper under control and be a better person to others. Once he returns, he's one of the lovably dorky characters in the show.
  • Two First Names: His first and last name can both be used as a given name for a male.
  • The Unfavorite: Especially evident when Andy's parents and little brother attend his garden party. Foreshadowed way before that when he explains that he was originally named Walter Jr. but was renamed Andrew because his younger brother "fit the name better".
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Really wanted to impress his family with being new manager of Dunder-Mifflin in a garden party. He doesn't get it from his father. He seems to get over this when his father single-handedly ruined the Bernard family in a single night and left him to pick up the pieces, leaving Andy with zero concern with his father or what he thinks. Unfortunately, this also added to Andy's season-wide descent into a Jerkass, making it debatable as to whether this really was good for him.
  • White Anglo-Saxon Protestant: Is a trust-fund baby from a wealthy New England family.
  • Yes-Man: At first. After anger management, his friendliness with Michael becomes more due to being a genuine nice guy than this trope.
  • You Are in Command Now: Andy's the new official manager of Dunder-Mifflin at the start of s8, though this doesn't last for long.

    Bob "Robert California" Kazamakis
"I'm the [bleep] lizard king."
Played by: James Spader
Seasons: 7note -8

Chief Executive Officer of Sabre and Dunder Mifflin, replacing Jo.

  • Above the Influence: In "Christmas Wishes", it seemed for awhile that he would try to take advantage of Erin's drunkenness when he offered to take her home, considering the divorce he was going through, a few comments he made to her, and the fact that he convinced her to drink in the first place. But no, he drops her off, gives her some advice, and leaves, much to the relief of Andy, who followed them suspecting the same thing.
  • The Alcoholic: Somewhat. It isn't a normal part of his personality, but he definitely has his episodes. The primary one was in "Turf War", where he comes into the office hungover, and it is explicitly mentioned that he got drunk the night before out of depression about his divorce, and among other things, shut down another branch and tried to hit on Nellie.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Especially played up in the 8th season finale, Spader's last episode as a regular. He hijacks Oscar's "It gets better" video, drinks a coconut and penis-flavored energy drink (lamenting the fact that they added coconut), and kisses Andy on the lips.
    • Deleted scenes from the episode Free Family Portrait Studio would have destroyed any and all ambiguity, as there was a sub-plot where Robert compliments Jim and Pam on their intimate relationship, and then says "I want to be part of it" and invites them to come to his home on Saturday night. Eventually he decides to cancel but he confirms that yes, he was asking for a threesome, and he only decide against it because he had started to see Jim and Pam less as subordinates and more as equals and "without the underlying power dynamic I'm just a guy f*cking two parents."
  • And Starring: Spader gets an "And James Spader" credit as of Season 8.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: In a different way from other characters on the show. His modus operandi is to make himself unpredictable and unreadable to keep everybody on edge around him, such as provoking rivalry between office members, giving employees tasks he works to undermine, and delivering a kiss on the lips to Andy as a goodbye. He even claims that Andy doesn't know his real name, and introduces himself with a different name to David Wallace, making it unclear which name is real, if either, or how many names he's used.
    Jim: Robert California will walk around the office and just strike up a conversation with a random person. It's intense and creepy; but also weirdly exhilarating.
  • Contrasting Replacement Character: To Michael. While Michael was an awkward, childish, and excitable boss who was secretly brilliant in his field, Robert is a genius who makes bad decisions and maintains a stoic yet dominant demeanour.
  • Fan of the Underdog: Not so much one himself, but he does invoke this trope in his making Andy Regional Manager, claiming that it works on the "unexceptional".
  • Last Episode, New Character: He is introduced in the season 7 finale.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He managed to talk Jo - previously established as far from stupid herself - into giving him her job. Jim is both amazed and quietly terrified by this.
    Jim: [during Search Committee, right after his interview] He creeps me out. But I think he might be a genius.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Seemed to ping-pong in and out of this trope for awhile, Depending on the Writer. After his divorce with his wife, however, he dove headlong into this trope, making a series of bizarre decisions that drove Sabre into the ground, Dunder-Mifflin only surviving due to the intervention of Andy and David Wallace.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In season 8.
  • Put on a Bus: In the season 8 finale, he convinces David Wallace to give him a new job, "helping" undereducated Eastern European high school gymnasts. We won't be seeing him again, but dear, oh dear, those poor gymnasts...
  • Serious Business: He has some sort of intense obsession with Sesame Street (or as he calls it, "The Street"). He cites a short film he saw about paper production on the show as a qualification to work at Dunder Mifflin, thinks the rise of Elmo on the show is a sign of how "ours is a cultural ghetto", and his son is named Bert.
  • Slave to PR: It doesn't come up much, but some of his decisions are apparently tied to Jo's legacy. Notably, despite not believing that the retail store idea would work, he had to go along with it anyway since Jo endorsed it (though he got around that by claiming that one of the employees in charge of the project botched the execution).
  • Slimeball: While he oscillates between being a Pointy-Haired Boss and Manipulative Bastard, he regards almost everything in terms of sex. Whenever he talks to his staff one-on-one, they usually go away with a vague feeling that they've somehow been sexually harassed regardless of the topic of discussion. He even tries to start a naked pool orgy at a party he hosts at his house, much to the extreme discomfort of the guests who all work for him.
    Robert California: There is only sex. Everything is sex. Do you understand that what I'm telling you is a universal truth?

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