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The Office Fans' Popular Take On Jan That Annoys Melora Hardin To No End

Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin) from the American version of "The Office" started as a character who played straight to Michael Scott's (Steve Carell) ridiculousness before she became unhinged in later seasons. In the episodes before Jan and Michael's first kiss in season 2's "The Client," Jan is more reasonable — often annoyed at Michael's shenanigans. In season 2's "Sexual Harassment," it's an exasperated Jan who comes down to the Scranton branch to try to explain to a petulant Michael that he needs to be careful about what he says to his employees.

In a 2008 interview with Vanity Fair, Hardin explained that when she first auditioned for the role, there was talk of her relationship with Michael happening at some point. But her eventual transformation wasn't discussed. "After we had filmed the pilot episode, Steve Carell and [executive producer] Greg Daniels and I were having lunch one day, and we all recognized that there was definitely an interesting spark between Michael and Jan. We kind of laughed and said, 'Well, if this show gets picked up, Jan and Michael should hook up somewhere along the line, at some convention or something. So we foresaw that that was in the cards for them. But as far as Jan's weird unraveling, I don't think anyone knew that was going to be the case."

Once she started dating Michael, Jan became a toxic, narcissistic character that was almost universally hated by fans. But Hardin has a different, more nuanced take on the character.

Melora Hardin thinks Jan is complex

In a 2020 interview with Today, Hardin looked back on her time playing Jan on "The Office." She mentioned that she doesn't love fans' popular take on her character. "She was, to me, a very multidimensional character. And I just loved her, I always loved her. And I really hate when people walk up to me and say 'Jan's such a b****.' I'm like 'Clearly, you weren't watching very closely.' Because she's so much more than that...She has her moments, for sure. But, anyway, I think she's really complicated and super funny and I loved playing her." 

After all the times that Jan has to step in to fix a problem that Michael has caused in the early episodes, Jan has good reason to think of Michael as an unreliable and immature partner. Maybe some of her actions are a little more understandable, even if they aren't justified. Still, many people feel bad for Michael after the way Jan treated him. Many specifically point to a scene in season 5's "Baby Shower" where Jan makes it clear that she no longer wants to date Michael. However, she still has the audacity to suggest he shouldn't date Holly (Amy Ryan).

Fans really enjoy piling on Jan

Fans of "The Office" sure do hate Jan. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that they love to hate Jan. Multiple threads in the r/DunderMifflin subreddit are dedicated to hating Jan, such as the thread started by u/dgettanajr entitled "Jan is such a b****." The user went on to say "I just finished watching the baby shower episode, and at the end, she tells Michael to not date Holly. Like, she is nothing but a negative force in his life and Michael is too childish/autistic/immature or whatever to realize that." Others agreed with hating Jan, such as u/BoneThugs78 who wrote "Spoiler Alert: Nothing changes with her b**** a**! I can't stand her!!!"

In another thread started by u/TPGStorm entitled "Wow I hate Jan," u/Briantheboomguy also brought up the baby shower episode, mentioning that she takes advantage of Michael. She makes him think he's going to be there for the baby's delivery when she has no intention of letting him be, and then asks him not to date Holly. User u/TPGStorm chimed in, "She made him have 3 vasectomies and then got artificially inseminated — who does [that] to a person who really wants to have kids? And the way she bragged about her success in season 7." So Hardin might find the character complex and nuanced, but fans have only one word to describe Jan, and it isn't a pretty one.