The Office: 5 Characters Who Grew A Lot (& 5 Who Didn’t)
Who is your favorite character from The Office? This article explains which characters grew during the series and which did not.
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What started as a quirky remake of a British workplace comedy series has evolved into a transcendent work of televisionary genius. The Office, which premiered on NBC in 2005, took us on an unsuspected emotional rollercoaster through its nine-year series run. The Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin was home to a colorful cast of characters, from the ridiculous and inappropriate manager to a high-strung, seemingly ditsy customer service rep.
Our nine-year relationship with The Office’s accountants, quality assurance specialists and salesmen has evolved into a lifelong commitment full of happiness, heartbreak, and humanity. We watched as some characters learned from their life experiences while others regressed or remained stagnant. Here are five characters who grew a lot and five who sadly stayed the same.
10 Grew: Michael Scott
Michael started out a clueless boss who never said the right thing. He was desperate for connection and friendship, for someone to love him and show they truly care. While Michael has always been an excellent salesman (evident through glimpses of his sales game throughout the show), he’s struggled to succeed when it comes to creating and maintaining lasting, meaningful relationships.
By his final appearance in season 7, Michael is happily engaged to the woman of his dreams, Holly Flax, and eager to start their family together. While he isn’t buddy-buddy with any of his former coworkers, his friendships with Jim and Pam have evolved from exchanging simple workplace pleasantries into appreciating each other’s successes and being happy for one another.
9 Didn’t Grow: Dwight Schrute
The Assitant to the Regional Manager and aspiring freelance bodyguard, Dwight Kurt Schrute is one of the most well-known characters in TV history. He’s constantly the butt of office jokes and pranks, but he never stops his quest to make the office a safer, efficient and productive workplace. Despite Dwight’s inevitable promotion and engagement to Angela, he doesn’t really mature. He’s still the same strict disciplinarian with an affinity for order and obedient subordinates.
8 Grew: Pam Beesley
Although her character started as a quiet, timid receptionist, Jenna Fischer’s Pam Beasley takes it upon herself to reclaim her own happiness. The climactic moment of her character arch comes sooner than others; in season four Pam admits a conscious effort to be more honest, stronger, and fight for what she wants.
She is tired of being disrespected and decides to do something about it. She spent a better part of three seasons and three years engaged to a man who took her for granted and didn’t make her happy. Maybe she stayed with him out of obligation, maybe she was holding on to the last small shred of high school romance she and Roy had left. Eventually, Pam breaks off her engagement; she takes the initiative to get out of an unhappy situation that would undoubtedly lead to a miserable marriage.
7 Didn’t Grow: Jan Levinson
From her first appearance in episode one, Jan Levinson-Gould is the quintessential hard-ass boss; she’s professional, calculated and doesn’t put up with an ounce of bulls—. While she started out as a composed and stable presence, her romantic relationship with Michael brought out her crazy side.
As she and Michael go from their buzzed first-kiss to a casual almost-hookup and all the way to living together, she becomes hysterical and intrusive to the point of paranoia. In the episode “Dinner Party,” Jan flies off the handle and delivers her most cringe-worthy comedic performance. Her character may have gotten funnier, but we are laughing at her…not alongside her.
6 Grew: Angela Martin
Hell hath no fury like an Angela Martin scorned. From the first season, Angela’s character is established as a cold, “tightly wound” accountant with an authoritarian personality. For most of the series, Angela is at war with the world, always finding something to complain about. However, as her relationship with Dwight blossoms through the second season, we see her cold heart slowly thaw and her rigid, conservative nature started to bend. By the finale, she marries her soulmate, has developed lasting friendships with her coworkers, and starts to become more of an optimist.
5 Didn’t Grow: Meredith Palmer
Meredith will always be a little perverted, a little drunk, and might BM in the shredder every New Year’s party, but we’ll still love her. Meredith is another great example of a character who wasn’t meant to be more than a hilarious presence in an otherwise normal office setting. She’s wildly inappropriate and never afraid to show her unflattering side. In the midst of serious plot points, she was a great bit of stress relief.
4 Grew: Erin Hannon
Unpopular opinion, but Erin had one of the most drastic maturity shifts out of any character on The Office. Sure, by the last season, her talking heads were unbearable, gawky messes, but they don’t downplay her decision to leave Andy in pursuit of happiness and respect she deserved.
Andy was a neglectful and dishonest boyfriend who took her for granted, and Erin decided enough was enough. Although her personality was dumbed down to the point of cartoonish stupidity, she made the incredibly intelligent choice to reclaim her independence.
3 Didn’t Grow: Stanley Hudson
Every show needs a minor character to sit in the background and occasionally deliver sarcastic comedic relief. For The Office, that character is Stanely Hudson. He’s oftentimes sassy with brash comebacks, but can you blame him when he has to deal with Michael Scott level stupidity five days a week? Normally, office shenanigans didn’t bother him, unless he was directly affected, and then you bet he would get involved. We don’t see Stanley grow very much throughout the series, but that’s because he wasn’t written with the intent of a climactic character revelation. He’s a simple, supporting character, and what’s wrong with that?
2 Grew: Jim Halpert
Every now and again there comes a character who is so inherently likable that you can’t help but love them. For NBC’s early 200os audiences, that character was Jim Halpert. Jim was charismatic without oozing sexuality, charming without putting forth too much effort. We quickly recognize he’s a prankster, but as the series delves deeper into his relationship with Pam, we see his flaws and shortcomings. Sure, he’s a total jerk to Pam in later seasons when their marriage is tested by his acceptance of a new job in Philadelphia, but we also watch as he learns to be a better husband and father. He realizes he needs to treat Pam with more respect because…well she simply deserves it.
1 Didn’t Grow: Andy Bernard
By the end of his first line of dialogue, we were already sick of the “Nard Dog.” It’s assumed his purpose is to slowly annoy everyone in the office, but there’s a turning point where his antics go from innocent to vindictive. We get a glimpse into Andy’s home life when we see his disapproving parents and how he always comes in second place to his younger brother.
However, his family’s treatment of him doesn’t justify Andy taking out his insecurities on his girlfriend and coworkers. By the final season, Andy alienates himself in pursuit of a show business career while blatantly insulting almost everyone he works with. He went from disarming to spitful, and it’s no wonder most were happy to see him go.