The Presence of Role Models in The Office by Greg Daniels

Categories: Role Model

The Office is a comedic television show of the early 2000s. There are many personalities within this series. Within the first few seasons, those inner traits begin to surface to the audience. Every person is a role model in their own way, but there isn’t one person who is a general role model for the show. I believe this because of the few reasons corresponding to how the characters butt heads with each other and “own” certain situations. Those characters are, of course, the main characters who are on most episodes.

Characters such as Michael, Pam, Jim, Dwight, Andy, and Robert. The Office has many emotions which can either amuse or disturb the audience. Many people would argue that there isn’t a role model in the show, I however, disagree. There isn’t one single role model yes. But, there are many situations where one person shows themselves to be a role model. Each character has their own characteristics on whether they know how to lead a situation or not.

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Within the first few seasons, those inner traits begin to surface to the audience. Every person is a role model in their own way, but there isn’t one person who is a general role model for the show. The Office is so great because of the crude humor being paired with occasional dry humor and awkward/cringe situations. Michael has very dry humor and says many “zingers” corresponding with other coworkers in serious situations. Those zingers aren’t things that should be said in those times.

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He can be immature and overall, does not have a filter.

For an example, in Season 1, Episode 2, Michael mimics an Indian convenience store owner before Kelli (of Indian ethnicity). This is his way to be funny and sometimes he does not see why that is wrong. As a viewer, it hurts to watch. But, it is a funny scene where she slaps him after. Michael is full of “that’s what she said” jokes at very inappropriate times. That is self explaining, making sexual references from regular sentences. Along with being a comedy show, there is a lot of romance. Pam and Jim are the best example. Jim slowly falls for Pam while working in the office. Playing pranks on Dwight with her and having to watch her in a toxic relationship with Roy brings him closer to knowing his true feelings for her. It isn’t until later in the show where he asks her on a date and that lit the flame of their long lasting relationship. Many side relationships are included in the show as well. Angela hooks up with Dwight and Andy multiple times. This creates tension between characters while still forcing them to work together with each other. Michael also has a love story. He, throughout the series, will end up dating about 5 women (one being Pam’s mother). One of the women take control over him and he doesn’t know how to say no because he is “in love”. Realized later that she was taking advantage of him It is a genius combination of comedy and drama that keeps the fans on the edge of their seats and coming back to watch more.

There are 35 characters in The Office; these characters include main, recurring, and guest characters. I will be focusing on explaining the few main characters that are in almost every episode to help understand how the characters represent a role model in the show. The main characters are Michael, Pam, Jim, Dwight, Andy, and Robert California. They’re in the majority of each episode (when they are in the episode) and are in many episodes. Michael Scott has been the branch manager of Dunder Mifflin (Scranton Branch), The Michael Scott Paper Company, as well as Dunder Mifflin Sabre. When it comes down to separating Michael’s personal life and his work life, he doesn’t understand at all. He always makes cringe, awkward comments that put all of his employees in discomfort. In his eyes, his employees look up to him the same way he looked up to his past boss, which isn’t the case at all.

Most of his employees put up with him and go with the jokes to please him. Jim and Pam are an inseparable couple in the office. Throughout the show, it is obvious on as to how much they grow together and as people. Their relationship is often the focus in the show, going on side stories that are devoted to building more knowledge between the two. Jim has an uneasy feeling about Pam being engaged with Roy for 3 years with a wedding date set. Him confessing his feelings for her is a huge turning point in the earlier seasons that creates a new subject of focus. He makes many subtle hints on his feelings for Pam before she knows he likes her back. Pam is an art student, and the receptionist for Dunder Mifflin in the early show. She too has a crush in the office, which gratefully is Jim. Together they make many heartfelt moments and make viewers wish they had that in their lives. Andy, Dwight, and Robert are lesser forces in the show but still just as important to the plot. Andy is a high class graduate of Cornell University. He has anger issues, but a huge heart as well.

Throughout the later seasons, he falls for the new receptionist Erin and it shows how sweet he is. Dwight is a very blunt and lawful person. He follows all the rules to a T and has had dreams of being Branch Manager. Being the subject of Jim’s pranks gives the viewers a laugh because of how he reacts and reports to Michael, who thinks he needs to ease up. Dwight also has some love affairs, mainly with Angela but also with other females that aren’t often appearing throughout the series. Robert California is a man of mystery, an alcoholic, and the CEO of Sabre. He is a very interesting character, to the point where it is hard to explain. As the website, Dunderpedia puts it, “California is an intense, eccentric and immensely confident character known for his awkward obsessions and unorthodox management style.”. This is the best way to explain his personality. He tries to flirt with many women in the show and is perceived by the employees as scary and sometimes, a horndog. The definition of a role model according to Google is, “a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated.” which I agree with. Role models are people who have distinguished qualities or actions that are coveted and admired by others. Most people want to replicate their role models, whether it is their fashion, career, or lifestyle.

Every character in the office shows qualities of a role model, or at least prove the exact opposite. I will give examples of characteristics of a role model in Michael, Pam, Jim, and Dwight. For Robert though, I will explain why there is very little about him that proves role model worthy. My best example is Michael. Michael is a very childish person, while he does do many stupid things and say the wrong words at the wrong times, he is a caring person. He truly cares about the happiness of others, sometimes over his happiness. For example, the Christmas party where Phyllis was Santa Clause. In the moment, everyone liked having Phyllis as Santa. Michael didn’t like that and preferred if he was Santa. Although he crashed the party because of it, he only had good intentions. He thought a traditional Christmas required a male Santa, and believed his employees would be the happiest if Christmas was perfect. Michael has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), which clearly explains all of his quirks and lack of self control. He wants what’s best for his employees while getting things his way.

A huge role model in the show is Jim. Jim creates the definition of “goals” in relationships. Him being so sweet to Pam and very caring towards her sets a great example of how to treat a woman to viewers. Going out of his way to impress her, Jim is often found doing things just to make Pam’s day better. No, you shouldn’t prank people all the time, but it made Pam happy and that is all he cared about. Pam also is a big role model, she has a huge devotion to her career and her family. Once Cece was born, she tried her hardest to raise her and keep things perfect with Jim. Pam also worked towards her career in art, relocating to pursue her education. Jim met her half way from the office and Pam’s school to propose to her at a gas station. This doesn’t sound like the best location, but seeing Jim get on one knee in the rain after driving a large amount just to see her, warmed everyone’s hearts. Dwight shows many great values involved with following the rules. He is a great example on where the lines are for taking work and situations too seriously. Once he is Branch Manager (for a week) he takes the protection of his employees and saving money way too seriously. He ends up carrying a pistol to impress the past CEO of Sabre, but that ended up backfiring…literally. He shoots a bullet into the ground and is demoted back to a salesman with no hope to regain control of the office.

Dwight, even while being blunt and forward, cares about others. He put a lot of effort into Angela once she had a baby because he thought the offspring was his. Although the baby wasn’t his, he showed a very high level of care towards the baby. This just shows that no matter how hard of a shell people have, they do have a heart and care about important things in their lives. Robert is not the best role model. He is more of the opposite of one. Robert shows us how not to manage an office and how not to act. He carelessly allows Nellie become the Branch Manager of Dunder Mifflin without even evaluating her. She, of course, runs the office downhill numbers wise. Robert also gets very intoxicated on alcohol one night, and proceeds to call Nellie, leaving her a voicemail that is NSFW (not safe for work). Eventually the message is found and Robert says he regrets getting drunk and sending it, but as a viewer, i disagree.

The man is misogynistic and proves that by creating an “inner circle” including only the guys who don’t really care to be working. Jim is kicked out because Pam questions it and is seen unaccepted because of his assumption of Robert being misogynistic. Watching the episode again, it was very obvious that Robert was. In conclusion, role models are people we in society look up to. They’re like father figures, making us want to become better people. We craft ourselves subconsciously by paying close attention to these role models, and slowly pick up on the things which betters ourselves. In the television show The Office, there are hundreds of examples of this. It is hard not to be influenced by what you watch, what music you listen to, and what is in your Netflix history. But in most cases, these role models better people as a whole. Society needs more role models in the media and television.

Works Cited

  1. “Robert California.” Dunderpedia: The Office Wiki,
  2. “Goodbye, Steve Carell: 16 of Michael Scott’s Cringiest ‘Office’ Moments.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 9 Oct. 2014, michaels-worst-moments-pics-photogallery.html.

Cite this page

The Presence of Role Models in The Office by Greg Daniels. (2021, Sep 30). Retrieved from

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