One of the central elements of Jim Halpert's character as originally conceived is his devotion to playing pranks at the office to relieve boredom.
By far, his most common target is his overbearing desk mate, Dwight Schrute, though he later moves on to playing pranks on Stamford co-worker, Andy Bernard, when he transfers branches. He will sometimes prank another coworker, such as the unsuspecting Kevin, if thrown into an awkward situation or bored. More often than not, Pam Halpert collaborates with Jim on the pranks on Dwight.
Here are some of the more notable pranks Jim has played on Dwight, Andy, or any other unsuspecting co-worker. A few of them are Dwight's pranks too.
- Encased Dwight's stapler in Jell-O ("Pilot").
- Built a pencil fence between his and Dwight's desk ("Pilot"). This backfires when he states that he could fall and pierce an organ.
- Encased Michael's 'World's Best Boss' coffee mug in Jell-O ("Pilot").
- Changed Dwight's assigned race from "Asian" to "Dwight" in the Diversity Day exercise ("Diversity Day", deleted scene).
- Locked Dwight inside his own "work space" ("Health Care").
- Assisted Pam in making a list of absurd medical conditions, such as Spontaneous Dental Hydroplosion ("Health Care").
- Agreed to participate in an "alliance" with Dwight, using it to feed his paranoia in a variety of ways including dying his hair blond in order to spy on the Stamford branch and hiding him in a box. The prank backfires when Roy sees Jim giggling with Pam at her desk and Dwight denies Jim's allegations about the alliance ("The Alliance").
- Convinced Dwight to purchase a purse from a vendor ("Hot Girl'), and then made fun of him for having it (deleted scene).
- Found Dwight's wallet in the parking lot, and decided, on Pam's suggestion, to give the wallet back to Dwight intact and unchanged. Dwight, not believing Jim, immediately canceled all his credit cards ("Office Olympics", deleted scene).
- Threw stuff in Dwight's coffee mug ("Office Olympics").
- Posted Dwight's résumé online with Pam, specifically for positions in Alaska ("Halloween").
- Relocated Dwight's desk to the men's restroom ("The Fight").
- Popped Dwight's fitness orb ("Performance Review").
- Convinced Dwight a Thursday was a Friday causing him to be late for work the next day ("Performance Review").
- Made Dwight believe that Jim's party was a surprise party for Michael. This prank backfired when Michael crashed the party ("Email Surveillance").
- Put Dwight's items in the vending machine. Following this, he hands Dwight a bag of nickels, for him to use to get his wallet back ("Booze Cruise").
- Gave Dwight dubious "tips" on public speaking, causing him to give a similar speech to Mussolini. The prank backfired; the speech was a smashing success. ("Dwight's Speech")
- Convinced Dwight in an interview that Dwight had smoked marijuana ("Drug Testing").
- Paid coworkers five dollars to call Dwight "Dwayne" for an entire day ("Conflict Resolution").
- Convinced Dwight an abandoned infant was in the women's restroom causing him to walk in on Meredith "on the can" ("Conflict Resolution").
- Used a macro so that every time Dwight typed his name, it appeared as "diapers" ("Conflict Resolution").
- Replaced Dwight's writing instruments with crayons ("Conflict Resolution").
- Incrementally increased the weight of Dwight's telephone handset, then abruptly decreased the weight, causing Dwight to smack himself in the face with the phone ("Conflict Resolution").
- Placed a bloody glove in Dwight's desk and attempted to convince him that he had committed murder. Dwight, in fact, thought that "Jim was the real murderer" ("Conflict Resolution").
- Created an absurd identification badge for Dwight by changing his middle name to "Fart" and labelling him as a security threat ("Conflict Resolution").
- Repositioned Dwight's desk by moving it an inch at a time over the course of the day ("Conflict Resolution").
- Encircled Dwight's desk in police tape ("Conflict Resolution", deleted scene).
- Convinced Dwight, with Pam, that he had telekinetic powers ("Casino Night").
- Caused Dwight to fold in Texas hold 'em poker whenever he coughed as Dwight believed this was Jim's tell that he had good cards ("Casino Night").
- Held Dwight's bobblehead doll for $5 ransom (Third Season Primetime Preview).
- Encased Andy's calculator in Jell-O. This prank backfired when Andy reacted violently ("Gay Witch Hunt").
- Convinced Dwight and Michael that gaydar was a genuine electronic device that can be purchased. Later sent "gaydar" to Dwight, which Dwight amusingly used and set off the sensor on himself ("Gay Witch Hunt").
- Gained access to Dwight's hotel room at a paper convention in Philadelphia, only to find a hooker in his room that is actually Angela, though he doesn't appear to recognize her ("The Convention").
- Made high-pitched noises with Pam, hoping Dwight would schedule an appointment with an ear doctor, called "pretendonitis" ("The Coup").
- Switched his squeaky chair with Karen's chair, and then refused to get up all day to prevent her from taking it back ("Initiation").
- Sent faxes signed "Future Dwight" on Dwight's own stationery ("Branch Closing").
- Stared at Dwight's forehead for no reason ("The Merger").
- Gave Andy wildly incorrect "tips" on winning Pam's affections. Pam later returned the favor in a deleted scene ("The Convict").
- Ordered fifteen large sausage pizzas to the office under the name 'Dwight' ("The Convict", deleted scene).
- Told Dwight that the Benihana waitress couldn't remember how to butcher a goose, causing Dwight to tell her how to in violent detail ("A Benihana Christmas").
- Told Dwight that the Benihana waitress was asleep when really Andy was telling her to close her eyes and imagine her dream home ("A Benihana Christmas").
- Tricked Dwight into believing he was being recruited by the CIA and made him destroy his cell phone ("A Benihana Christmas"). Note: Jim initially declined to participate in this prank (which Pam had been running since before Jim's return), feeling such high jinks would be inappropriate given his newfound responsibilities, but changed his mind after realizing that what he did at Benihana was no different than what he had done in the past.
- "Narrated" Dwight's absurd behavior when Dwight taped a meeting, with Karen and Phyllis joining in. This backfired when Andy took the joke too far ("Back From Vacation").
- Glued Dwight's office drawers together ("Back From Vacation", deleted scene).
- Changed Dwight's voicemail to make him sound like a chipmunk ("Back From Vacation", deleted scene).
- Told Dwight there was a 4:00 A.M. meeting who was the only one to attend ("Back From Vacation", deleted scene).
- Shipped Dwight's desk by mail to Roswell, New Mexico, where Dwight was vacationing ("Back From Vacation", deleted scene).
- Slapped Dwight across the face when Dwight claimed that "70% of attacks are from the rear" ("Traveling Salesmen").
- Intentionally slammed the brake smashing Dwight's face into the driver's seat when Dwight sat in the back of Jim's car saying that "The back is the safest part and the driver will always protect his side first" ("Traveling Salesmen").
- Hid Andy's cell phone in the ceiling tiles then called it repeatedly. Andy again reacted violently, punching a hole in the wall ("The Return").
- Hired a Benjamin Franklin impersonator instead of a male stripper for Phyllis's bachelorette party ("Ben Franklin").
- Told Dwight that the Ben Franklin impersonator was the real Franklin ("Ben Franklin").
- Pavlov Experiment conditioned Dwight to expect an Altoid mint each time he heard a computer chime through use of the Pavlovian Theory ("Phyllis' Wedding").
- Manipulated Dwight into patrolling for wedding crashers. Dwight mistakenly evicts a guest who suffers from dementia ("Phyllis' Wedding").
- Convinced Dwight that Jim was turning into a vampire ("Business School").
- Hid the key to Michael's straitjacket ("Cocktails").
- Relayed intentionally incorrect messages from Dwight to Andy when Dwight was "shunning" his traitorous co-worker ("Safety Training").
- Dressed up as Dwight and parodied his speaking style. Dwight returned the favor but was unable to successfully mimic Jim's pattern of speech and insult him for who he was ("Product Recall").
- Named his team "Voldemort" as a response to Dwight naming his team Gryffindor ("Beach Games").
- Tricks Kevin into figuring out who is more attractive: Karen or Pam, by the end of the day. Jim leaves for New York before 5:00. ("The Job").
- Hired Elizabeth the Stripper by convincing Michael she was a "rabies nurse" ("Fun Run").
- Sent IMs with Pam, convincing Dwight that the Dunder Mifflin website achieved self-awareness ("Launch Party").
- Mocked Andy when Andy was trying to figure out what he should do when Dwight made a sale against the website ("Launch Party").
- Encased the rocket launcher belonging to Dwight's avatar in Second Life ("Local Ad", deleted scene).
- Along with Michael and Dwight, put on a fake mustache and infiltrated Karen's branch. This was admittedly against his will ("Branch Wars").
- Deliberately guessed the wrong names playing "Celebrity" when Michael was giving blatantly obvious clues ("Dinner Party").
- Stole Jan's CD ("Dinner Party").
- "Proposed" to Pam by asking her if she would wait while he tied his shoe ("Chair Model").
- "Proposed" to Pam by asking her if she'd get him a cup of coffee ("Did I Stutter?").
- Linked Dwight's cell phone to his Bluetooth headset and took his calls. Additionally forwarded Dwight's office phone to his own ("Goodbye Toby").
- Recorded with a stopwatch all personal time that Dwight takes in order to prove Dwight wrong when he claimed that he has never stolen company time ("Business Ethics").
- Jim pretends to be William, M. Buttlicker, in a role-play to help both Dwight and Jim improve the way they speak to customers. Evidently Dwight does not do very well in the role play and Jim (Bill Buttlicker) asks to speak to Dwight's manager, Michael takes the phone from Dwight and quickly makes a million dollar sale, with one condition, Michael must fire Dwight ("Customer Survey").
- Scared Dwight by sending him a scream video. It seemingly backfired when Dwight knew what it was, but as he watched it anyway Jim popped up next to him in a mask ("The Surplus", deleted scene).
- Seemingly wrapped Dwight's chair, desk and everything on it in wrapping paper when in fact he actually replaced his chair and desk with a Christmas-wrapped cardboard version of the desk, and an incredibly loosely assembled chair. It became evident when Dwight tried to sit and everything collapsed ("Moroccan Christmas").
- Planted a 500 foot red wire from the back of Dwight's computer to the top of a telephone pole ("Prince Family Paper").
- Wore a tuxedo to mock Dwight's dress code memo ("New Boss"). The prank backfired when Charles Miner from Corporate visited the branch and considered Jim's prank unprofessional.
- Had Andy believe he and Pam were not getting along and he was having an emotional break down. Andy then told everyone in the office to leave Jim alone which then backfired when Phyllis told Andy that Jim was messing with him (Heavy Competition").
- Tricked Michael into thinking it's 5 o'clock with the assistance of the rest of the office ("Company Picnic").
- Wrote down that Dwight "held back tears..." on Dwight's complaint to Jim ("The Promotion").
- Told numerous people that Andy's testicles were torn off due to his injuries to destress himself from the imminent marriage ceremony ("Niagara").
- Blows Michael off by pretending to lose his phone signal and hangs up on him while on Jim's honeymoon ("Mafia").
- Playing loud music in his office while Dwight tries to listen to him talk to Andy through the wooden mallard ("The Lover").
- Giving Dwight's surveillance mallard to Kelly ("The Lover").
- Tricks Dwight into fighting himself by determining that Dwight's only worthy opponent is himself ("Murder").
- Inserts Dwight's tie into his own coffee mug (Manager and Salesman).
- Put someone's (Likely Dwight's) phone in Jello (Manager and Salesman, deleted scene)
- Stacked Pam's and Dwight's desks to form "Quad-desk" (St. Patrick's Day).
- Constantly guessing at who Michael is imitating despite hearing the true answer ("New Leads").
- Communicated with Pam in Morse code, to talk about Dwight in front of him, and tricking him into thinking there was a bomb in the office. (Despite having limited time and money, they hired a nanny so they could take the class in retaliation for Dwight telling Pam to lose her baby weight). ("The Cover-Up")
- Adds 5 keys to Dwight's key ring but the prank fails after Pam laughs. Jim's full plan was to slowly add an obscene amount of extra keys to Dwight's key ring just a few at a time. Eventually, he would cause Dwight's pants to fall down ("Nepotism").
- Tricks Gabe in to listening to an audio recording of Jo Bennett's long, boring autobiography by editing samples of Jo Bennett's voice together ("WUPHF.com").
- Throws a snowball at Dwight's face (specifically the mouth) inside the office. This backfires after Dwight retaliates by terrorizing and scaring Jim in a series of surprise snowball attacks ("Classy Christmas").
- Tricks Todd Packer into leaving Dunder Mifflin for a non-existent job in Florida, with Dwight's help. Michael learned of the ruse, but decided not to warn Packer after he insulted Holly ("Todd Packer").
- Jammed Dwight's desk drawers after Dwight said that doing so would not be a good prank ("Todd Packer").
- Sells Dwight magic beans at a garage sale. Jim convinces Dwight to trade a telescope marked at $150 for "Professor Copperfield's Miracle Legumes". Jim later replaces the beans Dwight had just planted with fully grown ones. ("Garage Sale")
- Tricked Dwight into thinking the office was mounting an insurrection against him, after he became acting manager, by putting up notices for a group called the FIST and talking about a mission called "Operation Overthrow" ("Dwight K. Schrute, (Acting) Manager").
- Tricks Dwight into following bizarre party customs when Schrute Farms hosts a garden party, after buying a book online for $2 that Jim himself had written (The Ultimate Guide to Throwing a Garden Party by James Trickington) ("Garden Party").
- Pushed Dwight off a stool he was secretly sitting on, after Dwight claimed he would constantly stand at work to increase productivity. Jim had also pulled money out of Dwight's wallet and thrown it on the floor, knowing Dwight couldn't pick it up, and publicly praised Dwight's intention to never sit again, making it impossible for Dwight to sit in front of his co-workers ("Mrs. California").
- Tricked Dwight into believing he'd been recruited by the CIA two additional times. (see above) ("Christmas Wishes")
- Attempting to trick Dwight into playing a prank on him by letting Dwight overhear his credit card number and security number (Andy had threatened to give both of their Christmas bonuses to the victim if either of them pulled a prank on the other). This failed when Dwight used the credit card number to send flowers to Pam in Jim's name ("Christmas Wishes").
- Attempted to frame Dwight for defacing a picture of his daughter. This backfired when Andy pointed out this was a fireable offense, prompting Jim to half-admit he'd done it ("Christmas Wishes").
- Let Dwight write the word IDIOT on Dwight's forehead, in an attempt to frame Jim to get his Christmas bonus, rather than tell Dwight that Andy had decided not to withhold anyone's bonus ("Christmas Wishes").
- Switched Dwight's desk with one made of Lego ("Pool Party").
- Sat a live dog with a shirt, tie, and glasses like Dwight's in Dwight's chair ("Pool Party").
- Placed a meatball on Dwight's chair, filled his desk drawers with meatballs, and encased his stapler in a large meatball. This turned out to be a ruse by Dwight and Stanley to trick Jim into providing them with free meatballs ("Pool Party").
- Tricked Dwight into thinking he'd won a walk-on part on NCIS, which Dwight traveled to Los Angeles for ("Jury Duty").
- Tricked Dwight (and, inadvertently, Erin) into thinking Jim's hotel room was a murder scene by placing a suitcase of money on a chair, writing "IT WAS DWIGHT" on the wall, hanging a rope made of sheets over the balcony, and falling out of his closet, pretending to be dead ("Tallahassee").
- Suggested he'd poisoned Dwight after Dwight began suffering stomach pains (which later turned out to be appendicitis) ("Tallahassee").
- Tricked Dwight and Gabe into competing in a leg-curl competition, during which, he had them rest their arms on pillows, then had them each hold phone receivers, while Pam took a picture, which was then photo-shopped to make the two look like they were at a slumber party ("Turf War").
- Switched Dwight's suit with a tear-away Velcro version while at the dry cleaners, then tore it off of Dwight in the Dunder Mifflin parking lot, leaving Dwight in his underwear for his co-workers to see ("Free Family Portrait Studio").
- Convinced Dwight that Clark is a better Dwight than he is. Jim tried to convince Dwight that Clark has a belt higher than a black belt ("New Guys").
- A man dressed like Jim, claiming to be Jim and everyone else believes is Jim takes Jim's place. Jim and Pam's actor friend, Steve, pretends to be Jim while Jim is at the dentist. Steve is Asian and pretends that he has been Asian the whole time and Dwight just never noticed. Steve knew everything Jim knew including his sales history and his password to access his messages. He also replaced his own family photos with ones of Pam, Steve, and two Asian children ("Andy's Ancestry").
- Convinced Dwight that electromagnetic radiation causes infertility. Jim placed a bag of popcorn with only one kernel popped under Dwight's chair hoping that Dwight will believe the poorly insulated wiring is what caused it. He convinces Dwight to shut down the building ("Work Bus").
- Tricked Dwight into believing he was on a radio talk show. Jim, Pam, Nellie, and Darryl tricked Dwight into believing he was on a radio talk show to talk about Dunder Mifflin. Dwight seems confident and tells them that he is basically the CEO as David Wallace is very "hands off" and lets Dwight run the company. They trick him into taking off his shirt and pants by telling him the buttons on his clothes are making noise that is interfering with the audio on the "radio show." The four then play different "experts" and make Dwight believe that the paper is dangerous and the stock is plummeting. Dwight, unable to answer to all these troubles, starts blaming David Wallace. The four then make Dwight believe that David Wallace has become insane and kidnapped a mailman and is holding him hostage. The prank nearly backfires when Dwight actually calls David. David however ignores Dwight and hangs up ("The Boat").
- Sent Dwight (and unwittingly the entire office, except Pam) on a quest for "the Holy Grail", using a series of clues called "The Dunder Code" which Robert Dunder had supposedly left in the office years ago. The prank had been laid by Jim around 2005–2006, who subsequently forgot about it. By the time Dwight found the clues, years later, with the staff joining in, the grail had been found by warehouse worker Glenn, who was using it as a coffee mug ("Customer Loyalty").
- Convinced Dwight that he was in the Matrix. He trained a cat to run through the ceiling to create the illusion of it appearing twice, and thus a glitch in the Matrix, hired various actors and workers from the office to further convince him, before having Hank (masquerading as Morpheus's brother, Borphius), offer him the blue or red pill, like in the movie. This backfires when Dwight reveals that he's completely happy with his life, and wouldn't leave it for anything. Pam is touched but Jim is disappointed, before rushing to him after realizing the blue pill is not safe to swallow ("Finale", deleted scene)
- Told Dwight that he couldn't be his bestest mensch because he had to be older than him. He reveals that he called Michael to come in from Colorado to be his true bestest mensch. Simply the "Best Prank Ever" (Also, the last) ("Finale").
- Called Dwight as a concerned citizen to complain about how "loud" Dunder Mifflin paper is (Where Are They Now?)
List of pranks pulled by others
In a few cases, others have pulled or attempted pranks.
- Pam, Ryan, and Kevin mocked Michael's efforts to talk about the death of loved ones, by recalling scenes from the movies Million Dollar Baby, The Lion King, and Weekend at Bernie's, and passing them off as memories ("Grief Counseling").
- Karen programmed the "9" button on Jim's phone to speed-dial a number in Hong Kong. (Josh Porter explained the prank to Jim, suggesting he was in on it, or that Karen had pulled the same prank before) ("Gay Witch Hunt", deleted scene).
- Pam tricked Dwight into running laps around the building to see if he could beat Toby (who was not participating), using a digital thermometer as a stopwatch, then leaving him outside ("The Merger").
- Karen tricked Jim into believing she dated most of the guys at David Wallace's cocktail party, including David Wallace. She told Jim he was her first, also a lie ("Cocktails").
- Pam drew of a sketch of a local flasher to look exactly like Dwight, except with a small mustache and no glasses, which Dwight, who did not recognize himself, then papered all over the neighborhood ("Women's Appreciation").
- Dwight paid Erin to announce she'd won an art contest, thus mocking Pam's art aspirations ("Café Disco").
- Darryl tricked Andy into thinking Sabre was covering up that their printers were a possible fire hazard. (This was retaliation for Andy blaming the warehouse two years earlier for a late shipment he'd forgotten to process). This backfired when they filmed a printer catching fire, proving Andy right. An unsettled Daryl decided to quit pranking for good ("The Cover-Up").
- Pam, with Kevin's help, rearranged the elevator buttons to prank Dwight, to make up for accidentally ruining Jim's key prank (see above). This backfired when they both became stuck in the elevator and Dwight (who had been drinking excessive amounts of water) began urinating in the corner ("Nepotism").
- Dwight placed a live porcupine in his own desk drawer, in an attempt to frame Jim. This backfired when Jim tricked Dwight into revealing the porcupine's name ("Christmas Wishes").
- Dwight defaced his own car, writing "JIM IS AWESOME" in an attempt to frame Jim and get his Christmas bonus (see above). This backfired as Andy had decided not to withhold anyone's bonus (Christmas Wishes).
- Dwight filled a bucket (taken from Jim's garage) with various disgusting ingredients and placed it above the door to the break room, intending to drop it on himself and blame Jim. This failed when the bucket fell on Kathy instead ("Christmas Wishes", deleted scene).
- Dwight put a jack-o'-lantern over his head and scared Erin. This backfired when he was unable to remove it afterwards ("Here Comes Treble").
- Dwight tricks Michael into eating a bull testicle after not recommending Dwight to replace Michael. ("Goodbye, Michael").
- When Jim is faced with a litany of various pranks he has pulled on Dwight he says they don't sound that funny one after another, but insists that Dwight deserves it ("Conflict Resolution").
- Jim comments about how when he saw Dwight again after being away at Stamford for awhile, he realized that all the pranks he pulled were petty and stupid...until Dwight spoke ("The Convention").
- In a deleted scene from "Finale", it is revealed that Jim pulled so many pranks on camera that he had to speak at various schools telling kids not to be like him.