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Is It Ok If I Call Her?: Jim and Ryan
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May 6th 2007

It seems to me like Jim and Ryan, in their rare moments onscreen together, have a sibling-rivalry kind of relationship, with Jim the older one and Ryan the younger one. It really stuck out to me when Ryan mentioned emailing Karen about going out. So, am I just crazy for thinking that, or am I on to something?

May 6th 2007

I don't know, I think they kind of hate each other. But then again, so do many siblings.

May 6th 2007

I think they have started hating each other this season, but they seemed kind of cool with each other in previous seasons: they sat together during The Dundies (for a time), and were hanging out during Casino Night. It seems to me that Ryan's general misery at work makes him dislike most of the people there (which is, admittedly, a sweeping assumption with little to back it up).

May 6th 2007

I don't see Ryan coming to Jim's rescue any time soon. The only warmth I've seen between the two is when Ryan said, "Welcome back," in A Benihana Christmas, and even then it was only after he took all the excuses.

May 6th 2007

I was thinking more indirect than direct (like maybe hitting on Karen again, or something).

May 6th 2007

Their realtionship reminds me of how you can be friends with people out of convenience but greater intimacy just shows you that the other guy's a jerk. It's logical to hang out with the other guy from the office in your age range, but actually being friends.....well, Ryan's a jerk, so no dice.

May 6th 2007

I'd say Pan's on to something with that. What I'm wondering is why Ryan never went after Pam. Not his type? Or is it out of some twisted respect for Jim, since Ryan seems to know, and has always known, Jim has "real" feelings for Pam and didn't want to just hook up with her as Ryan thought Jim was doing with Karen.

May 6th 2007

I don't think it was as complicated as that. Karen at the time was new to the Scranton office, which gave Ryan a bit more confidence. Everybody hits on the new girl, right?

May 6th 2007

I find the Jim/Ryan dynamic fascinating and think the show does a really good job with it. I definitely think there is an underlying tension there and they will hang out some at work functions because they are close in age, but deep down they do not like each other. I think Ryan didn't have much respect for S1 & S2 Jim because he saw him as a slacker who was settling to work at Dunder-Mifflin. Then I think that Jim sensed that and thought Ryan was a condescending prick who didn't have room to judge because what's so impressive about being a temp at Ryan's age, even if he is in business school? Now, even with the career changes both of them have gone through in S3, those feelings linger.

What I'm wondering is why Ryan never went after Pam. Not his type?

I think it's this. All we have to judge Ryan's type by is Kelly, and she's basically a direct opposite of Pam, both in looks and personality. Also, Ryan might have seen it beneath himself to go for a receptionist. And he was probably scared of Roy. He's kind of a little guy and he was crapping in his pants when Lonnie confronted him.

since Ryan seems to know, and has always known, Jim has "real" feelings for Pam

An interesting scene in Casino Night, near the beginning Pam and Roy are playing roulette, she wins and they start cheering. In the background Jim and Ryan are sitting together, Jim's watching Pam and Roy and makes one of his sad faces. Ryan turns to him and says something, it's inaudible but it seems as if he's saying something to the effect of "Are you ever going to do something about this?" So maybe Ryan indirectly pushed Jim towards his confession at the end of the night.

May 6th 2007

As long as we are talking indirect...

Now that Kelly has admitted the relationship with Ryan is awful, she may try to confide in Jim again (like in the Valentine's Day episode right before they got together). Confiding in Jim involves a glurge of words that could include sympathy and commiserating, especially if she thinks Jim and Karen are on the outs (for whatever reason) or that it's so romantic how he let Pam walk away so she could be herself or how Pam is sacrificing herself for Jim's happiness. Of course, we've hoped Phyllis would say something and Michael would say something and even that Oscar would say something, and no one has said anything to either Jim or Pam. I think they are going to have to do it on their own.

I don't really think Ryan and Jim have any kind of relationship at all. It's semi-antagonistic because they seem to be trying to prove that just because they are the same age doesn't make them friends automatically. If there were other guys (Dwight seems enough older and not from the same background to discount) their age in the office, they wouldn't be in an artificial relationship. If there were other guys, they could ignore each other. No one would expect them to be friends necessarily. Pam and Karen and Kelly can ignore each other or not and it doesn't look weird.

May 6th 2007

An interesting scene in Casino Night, near the beginning Pam and Roy are playing roulette, she wins and they start cheering. In the background Jim and Ryan are sitting together, Jim's watching Pam and Roy and makes one of his sad faces. Ryan turns to him and says something, it's inaudible but it seems as if he's saying something to the effect of "Are you ever going to do something about this?" So maybe Ryan indirectly pushed Jim towards his confession at the end of the night.

I would think more along the lines of not wanting to spend time with whiny, depressed mopey Jim and he was changing the subject saying something about football, Chapelle Show, etc.

May 6th 2007

Ryan's probably not subtle enough to see what's so great about Pam. Boobs. Wait, what? What was I talking about?

I think it's partially the "taken by Roy" thing, and partially the fact that there isn't the least bit of spark to their relationship. I'd bet that Ryan thinks Pam is boring, and Pam thinks Ryan's a jerk.

May 6th 2007

An interesting scene in Casino Night...

Holy cow, JLJ, I totally missed that. You can see it in Ryan's eyes (BJ's eyes are so expressive) that he's frustrated by Jim's frustration.

May 6th 2007

Yeah, I was watching that one yesterday and noticed that. Is there a lip-reader in the house? It definitely seems like a Pam-centric conversation, if they've just observed her.

I've fallen into "friendship"s with people at work who I wouldn't ordinarily consider friends (and we rarely stay that way after they left), so I think Jim and Ryan could almost have been "friends by default" like that. As for antagonism, I'm not sure I see it like that. Ryan definitely looks down his nose at Jim, but they're similar in a lot of ways (mid-twenties, not sure about their jobs or personal lives). Maybe it's the shame of recognition each sees in one another that keeps them from being buddies in a real sense.

May 6th 2007

You can see it in Ryan's eyes (BJ's eyes are so expressive) that he's frustrated by Jim's frustration.

I agree with this, and it's frustrating: Ryan's character is really given almost nothing to do. It's hard to see where he's coming from, so we're reduced to saying "he's a jerk." And he is a jerk, but I'd really like to see more of him. Shoot, maybe if they switch to the hour format he'll have more to do, because right now he seems just like a cocky dude with little reason to be cocky.

May 7th 2007

Maybe it's the shame of recognition each sees in one another that keeps them from being buddies in a real sense.

Or maybe it's the fact that Ryan's a smug little a-hole who took Jim's desk and wouldn't give it back after the merger.

Personally, I love the line that Jim throws at Ryan post-merger: "I liked you better as the temp." Me too, Jim...me too.

May 7th 2007

Or maybe it's the fact that Ryan's a smug little a-hole who took Jim's desk and wouldn't give it back after the merger.

I really think it started here. I never sensed any tension between them in the first two seasons. In fact, it seemed like they kind of got along. Asking if he could call Katy may have been a bit out of line, but Jim was all about Pam, so I doubt it actually upset him, and if Ryan knew he was all about Pam, well then that sort of absolves him. This season has been a different story, though. I think it has mostly to with the way Ryan has changed since becoming a "regular" employee. Their personalities are very different, and it didn't take much to offset their already thin friendship.

May 7th 2007

I think Ryan liked himself better as the temp. Then he had outs and options. Now he has to acknowledge his position on his resume and eventually provide a reason for leaving, which will be terminated for lack of competence or quitting after barely a year (if he makes it that long). Neither is an auspicious start. When he was just the temp, he could have downplayed it.

I do like the idea of Ryan going for and getting a corporate job. If they have programs to train people to be graphic designers, I'm sure it wouldn't matter that they hired a person without successful direct sales experience. I can see him applying secretly; maybe Karen and Jim were competing for it and it all goes wrong between them, and neither gets it anyway.

May 7th 2007

Ryan likes himself better as the temp because back then he was just a temp. No investment in the company. He could clean out his desk in five seconds. It was just a job to pay the bills while he got his business degree. Now it's a career, and he might have to throw himself in front of a train. (But now I'm straying off topic.)

May 7th 2007 edited

My thinking is that Ryan wouldn't have gone after Pam initially because a) she was with big old Roy, and b) she was the established one in the company, and I doubt an incoming temp would think it was a good idea to hit on the receptionist at the company he's going to be temping with.

I think he probably hasn't hit on her since then because she's obviously a "good girl". She's the kind of girl you marry, and he definitely doesn't want that. Kelly is a ditz who apparently puts out, Karen was unchartered territory so he thought he'd send her an email to feel her out.

But back on topic...I don't think Ryan and Jim think much of each other. Neither has the qualities the other would respect. Ryan is a dog to his girlfriend, a little snot-nosed college pr-ck who thinks he's better than everyone else and too cool for school...not very appealing to everyman Jim. Jim is unambitious and spent three to four years (and counting) lovestruck by the aforementioned 'good girl' receptionist...Ryan probably thinks he's a p-ssy.

So...pr-ck vs. p-ssy. Whoa...that's what she said...and sorry for the language. I'm not feeling the love for either of these guys lately. I think they can both go to h-ll in a handbasket. ;)

May 7th 2007

I think lots of Ryan's animosity stems from the fact that he's always been slightly jealous of Jim. They've both got looks, a good sense of humor, and they're both stuck in a job they really don't like. But Jim can still find some reason to come to work each day (maybe not lately, but once upon a time), while Ryan is stuck in the annex. Plus, Michael likes Jim, but Michael likes Ryan. But at the same time, Ryan still thinks he's better than Jim because he's above everything that Jim puts into Dunder Mifflin, like the pranks and actually selling paper. So while Ryan envies Jim, he still won't admit this or change, because that's just the kind of (what Emmyjean called him) he is.

May 10th 2007

Ryan definitely looks down his nose at Jim

Even though Jim is like way taller :), yes this is true. I just watched the ep where Jim is trying to book a trip to Austalia and Ryan's TH is about how Jim never changes, always eat the same sandwhich, will probably go to Philly for the weekend. And then in The Fire Jim asks him about business school, tehir last decent moment together befopre Ryan thought 1)Jim lacked ambition and 2) started going after his womens.

(this is why I love the 'Cooler - we're not criticized for analyzing minute details!)

Jim doesn't seem ambitious, but I think he can be when he's happy doing something he's good at, he's obviously better with people than Ryan. I really hope some awesome guy takes Kelly away from him and he sheds a single tear.

May 10th 2007

It's pretty clear that Ryan's disdain is based on the fact that Jim is unambitious, set in his ways, etc., but this thought just occured to me: is it possible that Ryan sees Jim as someone who could potentially acheive more, deserve his respect, maybe even be a role model/mentor figure, but isn't, and is therefore letting him (Ryan) down? Ryan certainly is a bit stuck-up, but it seems that out of all the people who work there, Jim would be just about the least worthy of being looked down upon, based soley on their flaws. Personally I like this idea, and I think it lends itself to the way that it seems like they could potentially get along, and the way that the tension between them is mostly under the surface. (As opposed to most of the tenison on the show, which is usually pretty obvious, at least to us.)

May 11th 2007

Personally I like this idea

Me too, TRBF, Ryan's in business school, really trying and to him Jim is achieving everything Ryan wants from girls to work without changing

May 30th 2007

I don't think that Ryan and Jim hate each other--I really think a lot of their tension has to do with the fact that Ryan can't respect Jim, because Jim is obviously bright and talented but seemingly unmotivated. Jim probably views Ryan as a smarmy, overly-motivated frat guy and so doesn't feel he can connect to Ryan the way he can with Pam or Karen. So they end up having this kind of quiet head-nod type relationship that many guys have in workplace situations. I don't think there is active dislike on either character's part, so much as a silent admission of a (perceived) lack of common ground. I say this because I feel like Ryan and Jim are a lot alike in different ways, and that maybe each perceives the other as worse version of themselves.

As far as Ryan not being as interested in Pam, I think it is part out of respect for Jim (I really don't consider Ryan to be a jerk, and he at least has that much common courtesy) and partly because Pammie just isn't his type. She's pretty, but by far what attracts Jim to her the most is her personality, and Ryan doesn't connect with Pam for probably the same reasons he doesn't connect with Jim. Frankly, I don't see anyone at Dunder-Mifflin truly being a real relationship fit for Ryan in the long run.

May 30th 2007

I always figured Ryan was a jerk. Then I thought, maybe he just puts that front on just to try as hard as possible not to become like those around him, just another office worker. But after further thought, I think he's just a jerk, and a coward for not standing up to Kelly and not going out with her in the first place. "Just having fun" is the stupidest idea ever, in my mind, and just is immature.

May 30th 2007

If you ask me, Ryan is one of those characters that accurately reflects real life, Asdfaeou. People have different ideas about relationships, and they also have a lot of these unresolved personal circumstances which don't always resolve themselves easily. It seems that a lot of the people who classify Ryan as just a jerk are unable or unwilling to handle the grey area that Ryan tends to inhabit. Having a dysfunctional relationship doesn't make one a jerk, IMO.

May 30th 2007

No, being an asshole makes one a jerk. His relationship with Kelly is somewhat true to life (inasmuch as anything involving Kelly can be true to life), but Ryan behaves like a jerk in many, many situations. This may be related to his unhappiness with his job and whatnot, but it's still there.

May 30th 2007

See, that's the thing though, I don't really view Ryan in most situations as an asshole or a jerk. He doesn't come across as particularly likable in many situations but I think it stops well short of putting him in the jerk category. Andy or Roy are people I'd call a jerk.

May 30th 2007

Andy or Roy are people I'd call a jerk.

The difference I see among the three is that Andy and Roy act the way they do because that's simply what they are. But Ryan seems to make it a conscious choice to be a jerk, which makes his behavior even more aggravating.

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