Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Resolved: Michael Scott is not a jerk.

Although this topic generated a lukewarm response at a Saturday night poker gathering, I believe that it is a topic rife for debate.

I maintain, that despite his many faults and shortcomings, Michael Scott, regional manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin, is not a jerk. He is egotistical, immature, self-absorbed, oblivious, dense, inappropriate, and often grossly unempathetic. But the only time he is really a jerk is in his dealings with Toby. When he insults or offends anyone else, it’s usually not his intent to do so. He also has a tremendous desire to be liked and accepted, although he’d prefer to be honored and adored. And, finally, except for the aforementioned Toby, he seems to genuinely like everyone else in the office, especially and curiously, Ryan. Therefore, in my estimation, he is not a jerk and shouldn’t be characterized as such.

Now, you can call Andy a jerk, because he is manipulative and scheming, and doesn’t care what people think about him. Dwight could be considered a jerk, at times, but I don’t believe he should be held responsible for what the voices inside his head tell him to do. Angela can be a jerk, in a prudish sort of way, but her meanness is born of intense fear and debilitating repression, so we’re more likely to pity her than dismiss her. But Michael is just a fool, a jester who thinks that we are all laughing with him, when often we are laughing at him.

So now I put it to you, Dear Commentors, is Michael Scott a jerk?


nancy said...

For all the reasons you state, Michael is NOT a jerk. An idiot, but not a jerk. That he bought his own "World's Best Boss" coffee mug makes me love him.

One of the Office blogs has an interesting take on his disdain for Toby. He's the only corporate hack in the Scranton office, and therefore not under Michael's supervision.

Randy said...

I am with the "Not a jerk" group. He is oblivious to the PC world but not a jerk. For someone to be a jerk, I think you have to purposely be mean to them. In Michael's case, the source of his offenses are ignorance.

Love the show! Nice Topic.

Peter James Bond said...


How about this?

Is Don Imus a jerk or just many of the same adjectives you and Randy used to describe Michael?

I think it is an interesting parallel in regard to how people see others.

My opinion is that most will not see Imus in the same way. Why? Because he is not as entertaining as Michael.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

PJ Bond,

I agree that the Don Imus situation does offer an interesting parallel. So much so that rather than respond to it in the comments section, I'm going to prepare another post as it is an issue I've been wanting to address.

So please save any Imus conversation until later in the week.


I agree with the Toby theory; he's like a stepchild that Michael just can't warm to.


I also agree that intent to inflict harm is a prerequisite of jerkdom.

Thanks for commenting,


Love the topic!

No, Michael is not a jerk. Nancy said it best- he is an idiot, but not a jerk. He is ignorant to the world, a naive child in the corporate world.

Great show!