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Andy Dwyer, Jim Halpert, & The Danger In Confusing TV Actors With The Characters They Play

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Andy Dwyer  Jim Halpert    The Danger In Confusing TV Actors With The Characters They Play Side by Side 1 1 png

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One of the top comments on Chris Pratt’s recent political Instagram post in which he advocated for merging Church and State reads, “Really disappointed that you aren’t like Andy Dwyer in real life. Because he would never say anything like this. It’s so disappointing when you love an actor[’]s characters so much and then like the actor less and less the more you find out about him.” But this isn’t the first time that Chris Pratt’s been involved in a controversy that Andy Dwyer would never find himself in.

Earlier this year, Ellen Page bashed the Parks and Recreation comedian for belonging to a Church that is “infamously anti lgbtq.” Via Twitter, she wrote, “If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed. Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t to sides. The damage it causes is severe.” For the record, Chris denied that his Church was anti-LGBTQ and said, “I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone.” However, there is evidence to the contrary. His devout Christian beliefs, along with his vocal decision not to support either political party and his “thirty- or forty-gun arsenal,” has lead many to believe that’s he’s conservative — something goofy and lovable Andy Dwyer never was.

Unfortunately, he’s just one of many male actors who are frequently confused with the character they play on TV — and one of many who may be more unlikable — or at least holding more controversial perspectives — than their characters. But it often goes unnoticed, because they become the characters they play in the eyes of the fans. On one side of the extreme, we have Bill Cosby. Thanks to The Cosby Show, Bill was beloved by all. But also thanks to The Cosby Show, his decades of abuse towards women went unnoticed and brushed aside, because how could Dr. Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable drug and rape women? He wouldn’t![1]

The other side of the extreme lies in Jim Halpert John Krasinski, who, besides how obsessed he is with his wife, we don’t know much about. Casting aside the fact that Jim might be considered problematic himself if The Office was airing today[2], he’s the ideal dream man.

And as the legacy of The Office set the bar for capital-N Nice capital-G Guys in comedic television, John Krasinski became the face of the ideal dream man. With the loop of watching and re-watching The Office on Netflix a beloved pastime for millennials everywhere (for now, at least), John Krasinski himself has morphed into the millennials’ ideal dream man. Just look at number 1 on this list of 10 times John Krasinski proved he was the man of our dreams. Spoiler alert: It’s the fact that Jim and Pam have the best love story. Not exactly something John Krasinski had much to do with at all.

Have we had our Jim-Halpert-goggles on when it comes to inspecting Emily Blunt’s husband? There are obvious issues with the fact that he plays the titular character on Jack Ryan. Jack Ryan’s main purpose, after all, is to kill Muslim terrorists. Couldn’t this more recent version of the character [3] be like, nabbing white terrorists on their way to shoot-up a gay nightclub? Just sayin’. Then there’s his starring role in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, a movie that is about killing Islamic terrorists. After the movie sparked a political debate over Hillary Clinton‘s fitness to be President [4], John Krasinski stayed decidedly out of it.

He told The Daily Beast, “I don’t care if you’re Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Hillary Clinton herself. All of them can safely say that if the movie succeeds in portraying these guys as heroes, then that’s an important thing that we should all acknowledge. Now here comes my political spin on it: even Ted Cruz, for him not to say it acknowledges our heroes but to make it about that night and connecting it to Hillary, you’re allowed to do that, just say how heroic these guys are first. Give them their due. And then say, ‘And now I’m going to talk to you about how it relates to Hillary Clinton.’ But for the most part, that’s not what’s happened.” He said the one thing that people really should take away from the movie is the heroism of soldiers who fight for the U.S. “On either side, this is what I hope people learn: In moments like this, when we’re talking about the military, don’t score points. We should all be on the same page.”

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying John Krasinski is a bad dude. What I’m saying is that we don’t know. And, perhaps, that conflating these characters with these actors has unintentionally prohibited us from looking more critically at the roles they’re taking, the quotes they’re giving in interviews, and the policies and candidates they are (or particularly are not) supporting.

[1] Could also be because Hollywood has always kind of hated women and supported abusers.
[2] He’s a white man who never once stood up against Michael Scott‘s racist, misogynist, or homophobic comments… come on.
[3] The character Jack Ryan has been featured in 21 novels and four films. He’s also been played by Harrison Ford, Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, and Ben Affleck.
[4] She played a role in the real-life events that inspired this film and the movie came out in 2016. Suss, Michael Bay [a].

[a] Oh right, Michael Bay hates women.

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